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Egypt Demands Compensation for 10 Plagues

April 18th, 2014

IsraelToday.com

“We demand that the State of Israel pay compensation for the ten plagues that our forefathers in Egypt suffered thousands of years ago as a result of the curses of the Jewish forefathers.” So wrote prominent Egyptian columnist Ahmad Al-Gamal shortly before the Jewish Passover, causing a great stir.

“What is written in the Torah is that Pharaoh discriminated against the children of Israel. What have we to do with it? We therefore need not suffer!” exclaimed Al-Gamal, drawing a clear difference between the Egyptian kingdom of the Pharaohs and Islamic Egypt of today. Note that Islam accepts the biblical narrative as historical evidence.

The columnist suggested that the government in Cairo press charges against Israel: “The Jews caused the land to be stricken with locusts and all agriculture destroyed, turned the Nile red with blood so that one could drink its waters, sent darkness, frogs, and killed the firstborn.”

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Al-Gamal continued: “During 40 years of wandering in the desert, the Children of Israel enjoyed our goods, which they stole before abandoning us.” He also recommended that Egypt bring charges against France, Great Britain, and Turkey for those nations’ historical conquests of Egypt.

The Egyptian column was picked up by the Israeli press, especially religious news outlets, which readily acknowledged all that Al-Gamal wrote as historical fact.

Some Israeli columnists retorted that Egypt need first compensate Israel for keeping the Jewish forefathers as slaves and for killing all male Jewish babies in the generation prior to the Exodus.

Jews Ordered to Register in East Ukraine

April 17th, 2014
A leaflet distributed in Donetsk, Ukraine, calls for all Jewish people over 16 years old to register as Jews. (Photo: The Coordination Forum for Countering Anti-Semitism)

A leaflet distributed in Donetsk, Ukraine, calls for all Jewish people over 16 years old to register as Jews. (Photo: The Coordination Forum for Countering Anti-Semitism)

Oren Dorell, USA TODAY

Jews in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk where pro-Russian militants have taken over government buildings were told they have to “register” with the Ukrainians who are trying to make the city become part of Russia, according to Ukrainian and Israeli media.

Jews emerging from a synagogue say they were handed leaflets that ordered the city’s Jews to provide a list of property they own and pay a registration fee “or else have their citizenship revoked, face deportation and see their assets confiscated,” reported Ynet News, Israel’s largest news website.

Donetsk is the site of an “anti-terrorist” operation by the Ukraine government, which has moved military columns into the region to force out militants who are demanding a referendum be held on joining Russia. The news was carried first by the Ukraine’s Donbass news agency.

The leaflets bore the name of Denis Pushilin, who identified himself as chairman of “Donetsk’s temporary government,” and were distributed near the Donetsk synagogue and other areas, according to the reports.

Pushilin acknowledged that fliers were distributed under his organization’s name in Donetsk but denied any connection to them, Ynet reported in Hebrew.

Emanuel Shechter, in Israel, told Ynet his friends in Donetsk sent him a copy of the leaflet through social media.

“They told me that masked men were waiting for Jewish people after the Passover eve prayer, handed them the flier and told them to obey its instructions,” he said.

The leaflet begins, “Dear Ukraine citizens of Jewish nationality,” and states that all people of Jewish descent over 16 years old must report to the Commissioner for Nationalities in the Donetsk Regional Administration building and “register.”

It says the reason is because the leaders of the Jewish community of Ukraine supported Bendery Junta, a reference to Stepan Bandera, the leader of the Ukrainian nationalist movement that fought for Ukrainian independence at the end of World War II, “and oppose the pro-Slavic People’s Republic of Donetsk,” a name adopted by the militant leadership.

The leaflet then described which documents Jews should provide: “ID and passport are required to register your Jewish religion, religious documents of family members, as well as documents establishing the rights to all real estate property that belongs to you, including vehicles.”

Consequences for non-compliance will result in citizenship being revoked “and you will be forced outside the country with a confiscation of property.” A registration fee of $50 would be required, it said.

Olga Reznikova, 32, a Jewish resident of Donetsk, told Ynet she never experienced anti-Semitism in the city until she saw this leaflet.

“We don’t know if these notifications were distributed by pro-Russian activists or someone else, but it’s serious that it exists,” she said. “The text reminds of the fascists in 1941,” she said referring to the Nazis who occupied Ukraine during World War II.

Morton Klein, president of the Zionist Organization of America, the oldest pro-Israel group in the USA, said the leaflets should be seen in the context of a rising tide of anti-Semitism across Europe and the world, and that it should prompt a strong response from the White House.

“This is a frightening new development in the anti-Jewish movement that is gaining traction around the world,” Klein said.

Secretary of State John Kerry called the incident “grotesque.”

“It is beyond unacceptable,” Kerry said. “And any of the people who engage in these kinds of activities — from whatever party or whatever ideology or whatever place they crawl out of — there is no place for that.”

Kerry, who participated in a conference on Ukraine with his counterparts from Russia, Ukraine and the European Union, told reporters all parties condemned anti-Semitism and all religious intolerance.

Michael Salberg, director of the international affairs at the New York City-based Anti-Defamation League, said it’s unclear whether the leaflets were issued by the pro-Russian leadership or a splinter group operating within the pro-Russian camp.

But the Russian side has used the specter of anti-Semitism in a cynical manner since anti-government protests began in Kiev that resulted in the ousting of Ukraine’s pro-Russian former president Viktor Yanukovych. Russia and its allies in Ukraine issued multiple stories about the the threat posed to Jews by Ukraine’s new pro-Western government in Kiev, Salberg said.

Those stories were based in part on ultra-nationalists who joined the Maidan protests, and the inclusion of the ultra-nationalist Svoboda party in Ukraine’s new interim government. But the threat turned out to be false, he said.

Svoboda’s leadership needs to be monitored, but so far it has refrained from anti-Semitic statements since joining the government, he said. And the prevalence of anti-Semitic acts has not changed since before the Maidan protests, according to the ADL and the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union, which monitors human rights in Ukraine.

Distributing such leaflets is a recruitment tool to appeal to the xenophobic fears of the majority, “to enlist them to your cause and focus on a common enemy, the Jews,” Salberg said.

And by targeting Donetsk’s Jews, they also send a message to all the region’s residents, Salberg said.

“The message is a message to all the people that is we’re going to exert our power over you,” he said. “Jews are the default scapegoat throughout history for despots to send a message to the general public: Don’t step out of line.”

That Jew Died For You–video

April 17th, 2014

As the Church rediscovers its Jewish roots, it must also confront its history.

Visit the website to make comments there and to see personal stories and other background material.

Jews for Jesus explains why the organization made this film:

Below are the key points we wanted to get across in the film as well as a more expanded explanation.

Jesus has often been wrongly associated with the perpetrators of the Holocaust. In reality, He is to be identified with those who were the victims. As a Jew, if He were in Europe at the time, Jesus may well have suffered the same fate of the six million who perished in the concentration camps.

Jewish teaching promotes the idea that the death of Jews in the Holocaust accomplished kiddush ha Shem, the sanctification of God’s name. How much more then, the Bible tells us, Jesus’ death was intended by God for kiddush ha am, the sanctification of the people. Through Him we can be made right with God. (See Hebrews 13:12)

Rescue Jewish Property and petition

April 16th, 2014

At one time Jewish People made up a large community in Iraq. They lived successfully, although they endured various degrees of persecution along the way. In 1941 things began to change dramatically resulting in a terrible pogrom (an organized massacre). 1948 and 1967 brought new waves of persecution along with the forced relinquishment of property. Many precious articles of Jewish history were plundered by the Iraqi government as most of the Jewish People fled or were airlifted to safety. The government of Iraq imposed intense restrictions on those who remained, causing them to live in fear of persecution, beating, and murder.

In 2003, the looted belongings of a 2,500 year old Iraqi Jewish history were discovered by Coalition forces searching the flooded basement of Saddam Hussein’s intelligence headquarters. Recognizing the historical value of the treasures, Coalition members contacted the US National Archive who stepped in to recover and restore the collection of nearly 2,700 books and 10,000 personal records. In order to take the archives out of Iraq, the US agreed to return them once the costly restoration was done.

HOWEVER, we are asking you to join your voice in pleading with the US to do the right thing by the owners of the archives, the Jewish People not Iraq who plundered them from Iraqi Jews through acts of intolerance, prejudice, persecution, and brutal treatment. One tragedy was averted by the generosity of the United States stepping in to restore these precious documents of history. Another tragedy is on the horizon as the Iraqi Jewish Archives are set to be returned to Iraq in June of 2014.

Can we expect Iraq — a country that refuses to recognize Israel and continues to show hatred to Jewish People — to handle the treasures of Jewish history with any respect? Can we expect Iraq to honor the valuable historic archive of a people they hate? No. We want to see the archives returned to their rightful owners.

Please speak up with us for what is right and add your name to the petition today. Take Action. Click here and sign The Petition NOW!

If the previous link doesn’t work with your browser, try this one.

If you still have trouble opening the petition, copy and paste this address into your browser: www.rescuejewishproperty.org/site/take-action-sign-petition

Matza…and other delights

April 16th, 2014

Food photographer Yula Zubritsky explores the ins and outs of matza in a holiday-themed photo series.

By Rachel Neiman / Israel21c.org

Matza — also known as the bread of affliction — is generally not considered a sensual delight. Crunchy? Yes. Cardboard consistency? You got it. Difficult to digest? Roger that. But a delicious delicacy? Not so much.

Like it or not, matza is on the menu every Passover and so — having no other recourse — we dress it up with sweet toppings, savory spices, egg coatings and all manner of mix-ins. But on Seder night, it’s four glasses of wine and three pieces of plain matza that make up the meal which opens and closes with — you guessed it — matza.

matza 3 pieces 4 glasses of wine

The topography of matza — ridges, furrows, perforations, lights and darks — is the subject of a holiday-themed series by food photographer Yula Zubritsky.

matza topography Yula-Zubritsky

Through her lens, matza becomes a graphic element…

matza graphic element Yula-Zubritsky

And an architectural one…

Matzo, Matza , matzah,passover, jews

Here’s a novel way to hide the Afikomen — in plain sight!

matza Afikomen in plain sight Yula-Zubritsky

Who knew matza could be so versatile?

New immigrants mark Passover in Israel after fleeing Ukraine

April 15th, 2014

Instability in Ukraine prompts 70 percent rise in Ukrainian immigration • Jewish Agency head Natan Sharansky says there is “symbolic significance” to the immigrants’ arrival just ahead of the holiday that celebrates freedom.

By Yori Yalon / IsraelHayom.copm

Immigration to Israel from Ukraine has risen 70% in 2014 | Photo credit: Boris Buchman

Immigration to Israel from Ukraine has risen 70% in 2014 | Photo credit: Boris Buchman

Immigration to Israel from Ukraine has risen 70 percent in 2014 due to the instability in that country. According to figures from the Jewish Agency for Israel, 375 new immigrants from Ukraine arrived in Israel in the first three months of the year, compared to 221 in the same period of 2013.

Last week, dozens of new immigrants from Odessa–including medical professionals, engineers, and economists–arrived and for the first time will celebrate Passover in Israel. Odessa is the fourth-largest city in Ukraine, and some 30,000 of its residents have the right to move to Israel under the Law of Return. Over 100 new immigrants from Odessa alone have come to Israel since the start of 2014, three times the number who came in the first three months of 2013.

The Jewish Agency and the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews in Odessa hosted a model Passover seder like the one the new immigrants will attend here. The new arrivals were also briefed on life in Israel.

Miriam Blonovsky, a dental hygienist who is moving to Israel with her husband Vitaly (a mechanical engineer) and their six-year-old daughter, said that she and her family visited Israel a few months ago and understood that this would be their home.

“When we went back to Ukraine, we starting getting ready to emigrate [to Israel]. Now our dream is coming true,” she said.

In light of the instability in Ukraine, Jewish Agency head Natan Sharansky and IFCJ head Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein recently announced that Ukrainian Jewish communities would be receiving extra aid. Eckstein stressed that he was impressed by the strength of the community, which had gone through a difficult time, and promised to keep providing them with financial help to emigrate to Israel.

Sharansky said that “the immigrants’ choice to come to Israel on the eve of Passover and build their home and their children’s future has symbolic meaning.”

Christians Rediscovering Passover

April 14th, 2014
Leonardo da Vinci's mural painting of the Last Supper, located at the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan, Italy. Nothing reattaches Christians to their Jewish roots faster than realizing the Last Supper was actually a Passover seder meal being led by a Jewish rabbi, writes David Parsons. Credit: PD-Art.

Leonardo da Vinci’s mural painting of the Last Supper, located at the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan, Italy. Nothing reattaches Christians to their Jewish roots faster than realizing the Last Supper was actually a Passover seder meal being led by a Jewish rabbi, writes David Parsons. Credit: PD-Art.

By David Parsons/JNS.org

For Jews and Christians, the Passover season is a special time for reflection on the rich spiritual truths contained within this remarkable holiday. Indeed, we can all observe the command to “remember” the incredible Israelite deliverance from bondage in Egypt.

For Christians, the events of a momentous Passover some 15 centuries later have given added meaning to this holiday, so that the truths of the first are reinforced in the latter. Deliverance from Pharaoh’s taskmasters became freedom from slavery to sin. The blood of a lamb on the doorposts became a typology of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.

Yet the parallels between Pesach and Easter were lost for centuries to most Christians when the early Church fathers deliberately severed our faith from its Jewish roots. In time, this hostility to Judaism produced vicious blood libels against Jews at Passover.

Today, however, multitudes of Christians are rediscovering our Hebraic roots. Indeed, TIME magazine recently identified growing Christian interest in our faith’s Jewish heritage as one of the ten top trends of our day.

Even respected Jewish scholars have started joining Christian theologians in rediscovering the “Jewishness” of Jesus and the Hebraic origins of Christianity. One notable in this regard is the late Prof. David Flusser of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, considered the leading Orthodox Jewish expert on the Second Temple era and Early Christianity.

Flusser placed Jesus within the Pharasic tradition and viewed him as among the great sages of his time, such as Hillel and Ben-Shammai. But Flusser concluded that the Galilean preacher went boldly beyond the classic Judaism of that day, for instance by proclaiming the advent of the Kingdom of God and espousing a radical ethic of loving one’s enemy.

As a result of such groundbreaking scholarship, the Feast of Passover is one occasion when the lineage and cultural identity of Jesus as a “son of the covenant” now holds so much more meaning for Christians. In fact, nothing reattaches Christians to their Jewish roots faster than realizing the Last Supper was actually a Passover seder meal being led by a Jewish rabbi.

Thus, we can now see in the Gospel narratives just how closely Jesus held to Jewish traditions in presiding over the Passover meal with his disciples—or rather, his talmidim.

For instance, he followed the custom then developing in First Century Judaism of serving four cups of wine at the Passover meal to mirror the four great “I wills” of Exodus 6:6-7. When Jesus took the third cup—considered the “cup of redemption”—he used it to seal a new covenant with his followers.

Interestingly, he also used customary Jewish words of betrothal at that same moment, promising to go build them all mansions in his Father’s house and to come back for them one day as a bridegroom for his bride (John 14:2-3).

In serving them wine and unleavened bread, Jesus further played off the command to “remember” the Passover by instructing his disciples to always partake of it “in remembrance of me!”

Then, one of the most extraordinary moments of the Last Supper came when he washed the feet of his disciples.

Like other great rabbis of his day, Jesus had developed a unique preaching style by telling parables, many of which are universally known to this day, such as the Good Samaritan and the Prodigal Son. But he was different in the way he also practiced what he preached. In washing the feet of his disciples, the rabbi Jesus taught by deed and not just words what it means to be a servant in His kingdom (John 13:14-15).

And finally, Jesus demonstrated tremendous grace that evening when he gave the place of the guest of honor to his immediate left to Judas, even though he knew this was the one about to betray him. What a difference it would have made down through history if Christians had understood that Jesus was never bitter towards Judas.

Sadly, it is too late to change that history. But we are witnessing a sea-change in Christian attitudes towards the Jewish people today, as we understand better the Jewish matrix of our faith. This historic shift is helping to build Christian support for an embattled Israel at a critical hour. And just as importantly, it is shielding multitudes of Christians against modern-day blood libels and other anti-Semitic lies now being hurled at the Jewish state.

David Parsons, ICEJ

David Parsons, ICEJ

David Parsons is an ordained minister who serves as media director for the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (www.icej.org).

Pro-Israel Students Need to Watch This — StandWithUs

April 5th, 2014

stand with us logo

(Originally published on Oct 18, 2013)

Do you have an active anti-Israel group at your campus? If you do, a malicious new campaign called Divestment may be coming your way. Learn the basics about Divestment and BDS (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions) here and contact StandWithUs for help at campus@standwithus.com. For more information visit www.standwithus.com.

Stand With Us logo lg
About StandWithUs
When you picture Israel, what do you see?
Every year the next generation of Israeli leaders and ambassadors are identified, and these StandWithUs Israeli fellows are challenged to elevate Israel in the world.
They invite people from across the globe, to see for themselves what Israel really is.
How it looks? How it sounds? How it tastes?

We bring young professionals, students, influential opinion makers, leaders of today and of tomorrow.
What we do defines what face of Israel these people will see.
We show that we aspire for peace, tolerance, and diversity.
That Israel is a fertile ground for high-tech and innovation.
Driving towards Eco-friendly solutions by thinking out of the box.

So when you picture Israel, what do you see? You see all of this and more.

StandWithUs

San Remo Mandate: Israel’s Magna Carta–video

April 1st, 2014

San Remo’s Mandate: Israel’s ‘Magna Carta’ – CBN.com
Chris Mitchell’s CBN News report following the 90th anniversary of The San Remo Mandate

(Originally uploaded on Jul 9, 2010, following the 90th anniversary of the San Remo signing on April 25, 1920.)
The 1920 San Remo resolution answered a fundamental issue that still plagues the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks today: whether Israel has a right to the land. The Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN)

The Palestinian Narrative: Seeking Peace by Waging War

March 29th, 2014

By Steve Feldman & Christopher J. Katulka / AmericanThinker.com

All along, this has been the modus operandi of the Palestinian-Arabs and their supporters. They have fired thousands of rockets at Israeli civilians; committed shootings, stonings, and bombings; and incited hatred and violence among the Palestinian-Arab population. Outside the region, they seek to defame or delegitimize Israel, or to punish Israel economically. This onslaught has been incessant. Hardly the ingredients for “peace.”

A major conference taking place in Philadelphia, starting Friday (March 28) and extending into Saturday, by supporters of the Palestinian-Arabs looks to perpetuate the attacks rather than end them.

Friends of Sabeel North America (FOSNA) is staging “The Role of the US in Israel-Palestine: Current Realities and Creative Responses” at the American Friends (the Quakers) Service Committee headquarters in Center City Philadelphia. FOSNA is a support arm of a radical Christian Palestinian-Arab group based in Jerusalem called Sabeel.

Sabeel is a stew of Christian liberation theology and replacement theology that politicizes religion to advance a political agenda. In this case, that agenda is an end to the Israel we know and love – an Israel that serves as a vital ally to America.

Rather than truly seeking ways to coexist or to build up a normal Palestinian-Arab society, FOSNA has assembled a roster of Israel-haters and antagonists to present discussions and workshops geared toward delegitimizing and defaming Israel, hurting the Jewish state economically, and eroding support for Israel – particularly among American Christians.

Based on a conference schedule posted on its website, the FOSNA conference will encourage the termination of American military aid to Israel; recast “the Israel-Palestine conflict as a civil rights struggle, with parallels to South Africa and the American South”; seek to increase anti-Israel activities on campuses; and promote the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement. FOSNA believes that the mainstream media is not already biased against Israel and thus will discuss strategies to make it more unfavorable to Israel, and to turn more Christians against Israel.

According to FOSNA’s website, conference sponsors include Adalah-NY: The New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel; the American Friends Service Committee (Quakers); the Catholic Peace Fellowship; the Philadelphia Coalition for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel; the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania; Philadelphia Jews for a Just Peace; and the Peacemaking Committee of the Presbytery of Philadelphia.

To the Jewish community, the lack of a consistent position regarding Israel within Christianity can be confusing. Groups including Friends of Israel (founded in 1938), Christians United For Israel (founded about a decade ago), and smaller groups such as Delaware’s Olive Tree Ministries are fervently pro-Israel, while other Christians such as the Quakers and “Main Line” Protestant denominations have been antagonistic toward Israel. This divide is as old as the modern State of Israel itself.

When the State of Israel declared its independence in 1948, many Palestinian-Christian clergymen abandoned the Hebrew Bible because they believed that it was too Zionist. In an effort to reclaim it for their people, they replaced the Israelites with Palestinians in the narrative. For example, instead of adhering to the biblical context of the Exodus, they supplant that with an interpretation of the Palestinian-Arabs going to the Knesset, saying: “Let my people go!”

“Palestinian Liberation Theology” takes interpretive liberties with the biblical accounts and prophecies of the Hebrew Bible in order to mold it to specific political and theological agendas. It maintains that certain Torah passages are outdated and irrelevant, claiming they reveal a primitive way of understanding God’s revelation to man. A majority of these “irrelevant” sections often involve God’s promise to return the Jewish people to their land, or to give them land.

“Palestinian Liberation Theology” is still considered fringe within mainstream Christianity. Its proponents wish to advance the cause of the Palestinian Christians, who desire to create a Palestinian state. The impetus for the movement stems from “Replacement Theology,” a faulty method of biblical interpretation that claims that the church has replaced the role of Israel in the Bible.

Sabeel and Friends of Sabeel also distort history, international law, and the situation on the ground – casting Israel as “oppressors” and responsible for every “injustice” that allegedly afflicts Palestinian-Arabs. Everyone else is apparently blameless for their claimed suffering. Moreover, there is no mention of Palestinian-Arabs’ and Arabs’ repeated rejections of their own state if it means living alongside a Jewish one. Also escaping the finger-pointing is the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which has maintained a long-term “refugee” status for these individuals rather than resettling them, as is its directive.

In Sabeel’s view, history begins in 1948, and thus it accuses Israel of existing on “78% of historic Palestine leading to the displacement of most of its Palestinian inhabitants[.]” Ironically, they fail to acknowledge that Jordan (née Transjordan) was created from the eastern 78% of the territory that the League of Nations had set aside for a Jewish homeland.

Further, Sabeel considers all of the land as “Palestinian,” accuses Israel of practicing “apartheid,” and dates the “occupation” to 1948. The facts that the Palestinian Arabs rejected the U.N. Partition Plan in 1947 that offered them a state of their own, that the international community gave the land to the Jewish people for “close settlement” (as per the Mandate for Palestine issued by the League of Nations), that Judea and Samaria and the eastern half of Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip were illegally occupied respectively by Jordan and Egypt from 1948 to 1967, and that the charge of “apartheid” is laughable do not seem to matter. It is truly a case of “Don’t let the facts get in the way.”

While much of this battle is an internal Christian matter, the Jewish community can play an influential role. Activities such as the Philadelphia Jewish Community Relations Council’s Interfaith Mission to Israel introduce Christian clergy to Israel, offering an opportunity to see and hear Israel for themselves rather than through anti-Israel propaganda.

The Zionist Organization of America frequently interacts with Christians on an organizational level and individually. Other Jewish groups do likewise. Contacts at the grassroots level and one-on-one conversations with friends and colleagues to convey the historical facts and current realities are also important.

As the peace process ramps up and the deadline set by America to at least reach a “framework” toward peace approaches, we who support Israel’s shared democratic values as an asset to and ally of the U.S. can and must reinforce American support for an Israel that is strong, secure, and thriving.

Steve Feldman is executive director of the Zionist Organization of America’s Greater Philadelphia District. Christopher J. Katulka, formerly of Langhorne, is church ministries representative and director of ORIGINS for the Friends of Israel.


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