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Israelis warned to steer clear of more than 40 countries

April 9th, 2015

Jewish Telegraphic Agency (
March 24, 2015

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s Counter Terrorism Bureau in its spring travel warnings called on Israelis to stay away from more than 40 countries.

Recent terrorist attacks by Islamic extremists in Belgium, Canada, Australia, France and Denmark raise concerns over additional attacks against Western targets, including Israeli and Jewish targets, by veterans of the fighting in Syria and Iraq who are affiliated with Global Jihad, including Islamic State, and by local elements inspired by the terrorist organizations, the bureau said in a statement.

The bureau warned Israelis to avoid visits to Syria, Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Yemen and Saudi Arabia — it is illegal for Israelis to travel to those countries — as well as Afghanistan, Libya, Sudan, Somalia, Burkina-Faso, Indonesia, Ivory Coast, Malaysia, Mali, Mauritania, Pakistan and Togo, due to concrete threats. Any Israelis in those countries now were advised to leave immediately.

“The global terrorist campaign by Iran and Hezbollah continues to threaten Israeli and Jewish targets around the world, especially tourists and Jewish symbols (rabbis, community leaders, Chabad houses),” the bureau said.

The bureau also said there are high concrete threats regarding travel to Algeria, Djibouti, Mauritania and Tunisia, and basic concrete threats regarding travel to Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. There are continuing potential threats regarding travel to Azerbaijan, Turkey, Morocco, Oman, Kenya and Nigeria, according to the bureau, which recommends that the Israeli public avoid non-essential visits to these countries.

There are very high concrete threats regarding travel to southern Thailand, the southern Philippines island of Mindanao, Chechnya, the northern India state of Jammu and Kashmir, the Sinai Peninsula and northern Nigeria. A severe travel warning remains in effect for the Sinai Peninsula, according to the bureau.

The bureau said there also is a high concrete threat regarding travel to eastern Senegal.

The warnings were issued ahead of the spring holidays in Israel, including Passover and Independence Days, when many Israelis travel abroad. The warnings are based on “solid and reliable information, which reflect tangible threats, and which are based on the intelligence picture for the given period,” the bureau said.

Israel’s unemployment rate hits record low of 5.3%

April 7th, 2015

Jewish and Israel news (
March 27, 2015

(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to The Israeli unemployment rate dropped by 0.3 percentage points in February, hitting a record low of 5.3 percent, compared to 5.6 percent in January, the country’s Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) said Thursday.

Israel’s unemployment figures are now among the lowest jobless rates recorded among the member nations of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The data show a drop in unemployment even though the number of job-seekers rose from 203,000 in January to 214,500 job-seekers in February.

According to the CBS, unemployment in Israel has dropped by 2.6 percentage points since 2009.

Passover sacrifice reenacted by Jewish priests-in-training

April 4th, 2015

The Times of Israel
By Amanda Borschel-Dan, March 31, 2015

After 2,000 years, a group that wants to build the Third Temple stages what it says is a historically accurate practice run

Garbed in white and sounding silver trumpets, priests-in-training prepare for a practice Passover sacrifice. (Courtesy of The Temple Institute)

Garbed in white and sounding silver trumpets, priests-in-training prepare for a practice Passover sacrifice. (Courtesy of The Temple Institute)

The fall of the Second Temple 2,000-odd years ago may have seen the end of sacrificial offerings in Judaism. But ahead of Friday’s festival of Passover, the Jerusalem-based Temple Institute has released a video offering an “authentic reenactment” of the ancient biblical practice.

The sacrificial lamb marks the miraculous exodus of the Jewish people from Egypt, as recorded in the Hebrew Bible. The ceremony was formally suspended for Jews with the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE, and is now only performed by the Samaritan community, which will hold its annual event on Mount Gerizim in the West Bank on May 2, 2015.

The roots of the sacrifice are found in the Book of Exodus. Ahead of the last of the 10 plagues on Egypt, the death of the firstborns, God tells Moses to speak to the people of Israel and instruct each household to obtain a lamb on the 10th of Nisan. The lambs should be kept until the 14th, when the people of Israel should slaughter them at dusk. Later, they should take its blood and put it on their doorposts and on the lintel of the houses in which they are eating. The fire-roasted lamb’s flesh should then all be consumed that night with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.

In the biblical Kingdom of Israel, the annual sacrifice was conducted by the Kohanim, or priestly class, on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount. Interestingly, although Jesus is often referred to as the “Paschal lamb,” historians say an actual Paschal lamb was likely the main course at the historical Last Supper. Based on the Christian scriptures, many scholars claim the famous meal was indeed a Passover Seder. (This week, millions of Christians will commemorate it on “Maundy Thursday.”)

Located in Jerusalem’s Old City, the Temple Institute is a non-profit government- and privately funded center of “research and preparation for the Holy Temple.” It recently established a bi-weekly “Cohanim Training Academy,” in which students considered members of the priestly caste (through patriarchal lineage) are taught and practically prepared for future “Holy Temple service.”

The international director of the Temple Institute, Rabbi Chaim Richman, claims that the video, which was uploaded Monday and is somewhat graphic, portrays the “most accurate and authentic reenactment of this service to have taken place in nearly 2,000 years.”

The slick English-language clip, narrated by Richman, shows the fledgling priests putting their knowledge into practice.

It opens at a sheep pen in the picturesque Samarian hills near Shiloh. Orthodox Jewish children and men mill about, and a lamb is inspected and chosen. The clip shows the priests-in-training donning their white garb, blowing long silver trumpets, and examining tools against a painted backdrop of the Second Temple. The priests slaughter the unblemished animal, pass its blood from one to another in silver vessels, and place it in a clay oven.

The video ends with an image of a sandwich made from two matza bread slices, lamb meat and lettuce, the meal described by Exodus. (All meat was donated to needy families.)

The vessels in the video can be found at the Temple Institute, which receives some funding from the ministries of education and tourism and gives onsite tours in its Jerusalem Old City headquarters. There, it houses over 60 recreated vessels, formed after decades of research, “for use in the Third Holy Temple.”

A Jewish visitor to the Temple Mount looks at the Dome of the Rock, 2013. (photo credit: Sliman Khader/Flash90, File)

A Jewish visitor to the Temple Mount looks at the Dome of the Rock, 2013. (photo credit: Sliman Khader/Flash90, File)

Because a “real” Passover sacrifice must be conducted on the Temple Mount, the video depicts a practice offering.

That is not for lack of trying, however. In 2007, the Supreme Court heard a petition brought by Rabbi Adin Steinsalz and other rabbis and organizations, including the Temple Institute, to perform a sacrifice on the Temple Mount.

The Israeli government, fearing such a sacrificial ceremony would inflame already-sensitive inter-religious relations, had denied the request, a decision the Supreme Court upheld. A year later, in 2008, the Temple Institute was sued by animal rights organization Let the Animals Live. The case, also heard by the Supreme Court, was rejected.

For almost a decade, the Temple Institute and other organizations have continued to petition the police, or directly to the Supreme Court, to conduct a Passover sacrifice on the Temple Mount.

Rabbi Chaim Richman, international director of the Temple Institute (courtesy)

Rabbi Chaim Richman, international director of the Temple Institute (courtesy)

This is no whimsical notion. In a conversation with The Times of Israel Monday, Richman said the Passover sacrifice’s importance to the Jewish people is comparable to circumcision, in terms of its standing in Jewish law.

Forbidding the sacrifice, he said, is “equal to saying you can’t circumcise your sons.” The Passover sacrifice is “like the national circumcision of the Jewish people.”

He bases this opinion on a variety of Jewish texts, including Ezekial 16:6, which mentions “two bloods” and is interpreted by rabbinic scholars to represent circumcision and the Passover sacrifice. The verse is read in the Passover Haggadah, and, separately, repeated by the congregation at a circumcision ceremony.

Both commandments, said Richman, are “considered to be totally imperative for the spiritual stature of the Jewish people.”

While Richman couldn’t be called optimistic regarding this year’s petition, he said the institute has lately seen “a tremendous amount of identification from all across the board, with Jews from all different streams, identitying and expressing solidarity with renewing the Passover offering.”

But, until its petition is granted, at least you can watch it on YouTube.

Prisons are Recruiting Grounds for Islam

April 1st, 2015

Clip from The Third Jihad on Prison Radicalization:

from the Levitt Letter, May 2015

U.S. Prison Chaplain is Islamist

An Egyptian born imam who has publicly supported the death penalty for those who choose to leave Islam has been hired by the U.S. Department of Justice to teach Islam in prisons.

Fouad al-Bayly, the imam of the Islamic Center of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, said in 2007 that Ayaan Hirsi Ali—a Somali women’s rights activist, former member of the Dutch parliament, and fierce critic of Islam—deserves to die for her public attacks on Islam.

In 2007, al-Bayly protested a planned speech by Ali during which he told reporters: “If you come into the faith, you must abide by the laws, and when you decide to defame it deliberately, the sentence is death.”

This is a mainstream view among Islamists. Ali has every reason to take death threats seriously. She has received multiple death threats in the past. Dutch film director Theo van Gogh, whose film Submission (scripted by Ali) criticized Islam, was murdered in 2004. A note pinned to his chest with a knife said that Ali was next.

Yet government records show that despite his extremist past, Fouad al-Bayly (as of 2014) was hired to teach Islam to inmates in prison.

Records state that he received two contracts: one for $10,500 for February of 2014 to provide “religious services, leadership and guidance,” and another one for $2,400 dated to December to provide “Muslim classes for inmates.”

This is not the first time imams and mosques with extremist connections have been allowed access to prisoners despite their records. Dar al-Hijrah, an extremist mosque attended by three of the 9/11 hijackers, has engaged in prison outreach in Washington D.C. for 10 years.

In another example, the head of Islamic Affairs for the New York State Prison’s Department of Ministerial Services was later caught justifying the 9/11 attacks and terrorism to prison inmates.

Col. Kemp: The “Disproportional Response” Myth

March 31st, 2015

Colonel Richard Kemp: The “Disproportional Response” Myth

The former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, Colonel Richard Kemp explains the concept of proportionality in international law and how the term is being hijacked to unjustly criticize Israel.


Jerusalem U is registered as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization

Florida City Wages Soviet-Style Crackdown On Churches

March 31st, 2015
Todd Starnes is a regular contributor of FOX & Friends and He writes a weekly column for Human Events and (B H Publishing Group)

Todd Starnes is a regular contributor of FOX & Friends and He writes a weekly column for Human Events and (B H Publishing Group)

The Christian Post
By Todd Starnes, March 6, 2015

A government crackdown on churches has Christians in Lake Worth, Fla., wondering if they live in the United States or the former Soviet Union.

Churches in Lake Worth, population 36,000, have been ordered to acquire a business license. As if the church has to get the government’s permission to preach and pray?

But wait. It gets worse, folks.

City officials were so concerned about one congregation that they dispatched a code enforcement officer cloaked in a hoodie to spy on a Southern Baptist church that was meeting in a coffee house.

Folks, it’s like the plot of a Cold War spy novel.

“Government employees are public servants and prohibited by the Constitution from inhibiting religious freedom,” said Mat Staver, founder of the religious liberty law firm Liberty Counsel. “That is a far cry from sneaking around and into a church and acting like KGB agents.”

Staver is calling on city leaders to immediately rescind the business license mandate on churches. He is also representing Common Ground Church, the congregation that was targeted by the city’s investigator.

The church owns and operates a coffee house in downtown Lake Worth. For the past three months, it has used the coffee house for a weekly worship service. Prior to that the congregation rented space in other buildings in the community.

Pastor Mike Olive told me there had not been any problems until early last month, when he had an encounter with Andy Amoroso, a city commissioner.

“After we opened up the coffee bar and started doing services, I heard that he told people we were anti-gay,” Olive said. “So I went to his shop to ask him about that.”

I reached out to Amoroso on Wednesday but he did not return my telephone calls.

Pastor Olive told me he tried to convey to Amoroso that the church’s message is ‘Love God, Love People.’

“Our message to the gay community is the same as it is to the straight community,” he said.

The commissioner, Olive said, did not seem to appreciate his message.

“He pointed at me and said, ‘Listen, you better not have a church down there,” Olive told me.

By the strangest of coincidences, a code enforcement officer showed up for a Sunday service on Feb. 8. He was wearing a hoodie and was armed with a concealed video camera, according to the letter Liberty Counsel sent to the city.

The code enforcement officer’s notes read like something out of a KGB report.

“I walked back to the Coffee Bar and was able to visualize, in my opinion what appeared to be a ministry in progress,” he wrote in the report.

He documented how he observed “people holding what appeared to be Bibles or religious books as one had a cross on it” and “what appeared to be a ministry in progress.”

“I was approached by an unknown man with a cross around his neck,” he wrote.

I’m surprised the code enforcement officer didn’t call up the National Guard for reinforcements.

The officer wrote that he was “able to capture on my city phone a video which will be attached to this case file for future court presentation.”

It’s pretty shocking stuff for a city that prides itself on being a tolerant, multicultural city. But as we all know — tolerance and diversity do not extend to Christians.

“It was pretty shocking,” Pastor Olive said. “We had no prior warning.”
The following Sunday a city employee showed up again and told the church it had one week to vacate the building. They were accused of operating a church in a business rental property without a Lake Worth business license.

For the record — the church was only licensed to sell java — not preach Jesus.

William Waters, the city’s community sustainability director, told me they have nothing against the church — they were simply responding to a complaint.

“We had a complaint that a gathering of people was taking place there in the form of a church,” he said. “We investigated that and determined that, yes, there were people gathered there.”

So if 115 people gather for coffee, that’s OK. But if they gather for worship — it’s against the law?

“We have to treat everybody the same,” Waters said. “We couldn’t give preferential treatment to churches versus other businesses.”

And in the city’s opinion, a church is, in fact, a business — just like grocery store, a Waffle House or an adult novelty shop.

So why all the super-secret spy stuff? Why send an investigator to infiltrate a Southern Baptist worship service? Why not just call the pastor and explain the rules and regulations?

“It could eventually go to the special magistrate,” Waters told me.

“Evidence had to be documented as to what the gentleman found when he went to visit the place on that Sunday.”

He said every business in the community received letters about the permits and fees — including churches.

Joan Abell, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church, told The Lake Worth Tribune she was troubled by the city regulations.

“We’ve been there 99 years and we’ve never had to have a license,” she told the newspaper. “Where do you all of a sudden say the church has to have a license to gather and pray?”

Waters could not tell me how many churches have complied with the city’s demands. Local news accounts indicate the First Baptist Church paid nearly $500 in fees to the city.

Staver said the city’s actions violate the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the Florida Constitution, the Florida Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the federal Religious Land Uses and Institutionalized Persons Act.

“Churches are not businesses and need not obtain such licenses,” Staver wrote in a letter to the city.

Waters said any church that refuses to comply could be shut down by the fire department.

“There’s a variety of things that could happen if you don’t comply with the use and occupancy requirement,” he said.

As for Pastor Olive — his church will no longer meet in its church-owned coffee house. Instead, it is taking its congregation “underground” until the issue is resolved.

“We just want to urge the city — don’t allow God and our faith to be zoned out of downtown,” the pastor said.

It appears to me that this is a standoff that could use a healthy dose of all that multicultural tolerance and diversity that Lake Worth takes pride in.

Passover videos

March 30th, 2015

More Passover videos /

If Moses had Facebook

Let Them Go (Passover version of “Let It Go” from Frozen) (This young woman could sing a duet with Idina Menzel!)

More parodies on “Let It Go” from Frozen, with more humor.

Let It Go — Passover edition

Jew Direction: “Not Slaves Any More” a Passover parody on Katy Perry’s “Roar”

Clay Christensen on Religious Freedom — video

March 28th, 2015

In the 90-second clip below, Clay Christensen, a professor at Harvard Business School, details a conversation he had with a Marxist economist from China, in which the other man said democracy works because people believe that “they aren’t just accountable to society, they’re accountable to God.”

“Christensen then asks: “As religion loses its influence over the lives of Americans what will happen to our democracy? Where are the institutions that are going to teach the next generation of Americans that they, too, need to voluntarily choose to obey the laws. Because if you take away religion, you can’t hire enough police.”

2015 Technion Passover video

March 27th, 2015

Passover Pesach 2015 Seder Rube Goldberg Machine from Technion in Israel

Israel’s Technion students get ready for Passover–the festival of freedom–and let their imagination run wild. Watch closely as this Rube Goldberg machine, created by students from the Faculties of Mechanical Engineering and Architecture and Town Planning, relates highlights of the Passover story.

Filmed in the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering in The Sydney & Shirley Gendel and Emanuel Friedberg Family Creative Design Student Laboratory, a Project of the American Technion Society, Cleveland Chapter.

Watch Behind the Scenes to see how it was made.

Muslim Holidays in New York Public Schools: Why Not?

March 27th, 2015

PJ Media
by Robert Spencer, March 9, 2015

New York City officials announced last Wednesday that public schools in the city — the nation’s largest school district — will now be closed for the Muslim holidays of Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha. Multiculturalist leftists, of course, are thrilled, and tarring anyone who isn’t as a racist, bigoted Islamophobe — but the decision may not have been as wise and commonsensical as its supporters are claiming.

Far-Left New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio was, predictably, among those waving pompoms and lighting sparklers to celebrate (champagne, of course, was out of the question). “This is a common-sense change,” he declared, “and one that recognizes our growing Muslim community and honors its contributions to our city.”

What contributions to New York City have Muslims made? De Blasio, alas, didn’t say. He might have noted the sharp new security procedures that have made the simple act of walking into a building a much more complicated procedure than it was before September 11, 2001. He could have mentioned the inspiring new 9/11 Memorial and Museum. He could have pointed to architectural improvements: the new high-rise building that is marginally less ugly than the Twin Towers that it replaced. But on this key question, he was mum.

Others, meanwhile, had their mind on more practical matters. New York City Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina said: “Muslim students and their families who observe Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha shouldn’t have to choose between an instructional day and their religious obligations. This new addition will also enable a teachable moment in the classroom for our students to learn about religious tolerance and the societal contributions of various cultures.”

This is absurd, of course. Missing a couple of days of public school is hardly a major catastrophe for any child, and people of all beliefs and perspectives and religions have to keep their children out of school now and again for various reasons, with no harm done. If these children wanted to observe these holidays by staying out of school, they could have done so, without imposing the holiday on the non-Muslim students.

The Muslim population of New York, while it is growing, is hardly large enough to justify this. If it’s discrimination against Muslims to have school on Muslim holidays, why isn’t it discrimination against Hindus to have school on Hindu holidays? Because Hindus don’t have loud, aggressive advocacy groups claiming victimhood status and trying to deflect attention away from numerous mass murder attacks and plots in New York City that were inspired and incited by their religious texts.

Instrumental in bringing this about was Linda Sarsour, executive director of the Arab American Association of New York. She called the decision “a win for our children and for future generations in this country. Muslims are a part of the fabric of this country. We make our country proud, and today, New York City made us proud.”

The centrality of the Islamic supremacist Sarsour, a close associate of de Blasio, to the effort demonstrates what it is really about: an attempt to reinforce the idea that Islam is in all respects the same kind of thing as Judaism and Christianity, completely benign and wholly and in all ways to be welcomed. (It also is an effort to obscure the Judeo-Christian foundations of this nation.) The implication is that there is just a tiny minority of extremists who are twisting and hijacking the real thing, but only “Islamophobes” care about them. This will have the effect of further discouraging any honest analysis of how Islamic jihadists use the texts and teachings of Islam to justify violence and supremacism, and of stigmatizing those who perform such analysis. And that’s the idea.

Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jains, etc. should consider flying planes into a couple of New York skyscrapers; then they’ll get their holidays off, too. Because one thing is certain: if Islamic jihadists hadn’t perpetrated the 9/11 attacks, Muslims wouldn’t be getting their holidays onto the school calendar now. Ever since 9/11, Islamic supremacist advocacy groups have labored to deflect attention away from the fact that 3,000 were murdered by people acting in accord with Islamic texts and teachings, and to prevent scrutiny of those teachings and of their communities, by claiming victimhood, claiming that they have been unfairly targeted by law enforcement, claiming that they’re victims of racism and bigotry. Leftist politicians have rushed to accommodate their demands and redress their claimed grievances. This is just another example of that.

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