By: Sam Sokol – Jewish Telegraphic Agency; jta.org
Walk into an Israeli post office or one of the many local stores that have lately been serving as ad-hoc delivery centers and you’ll be confronted by a jumble of boxes sealed with the telltale black and blue packing tape from Amazon.com.
Orders from the American online retail giant have surged here in recent weeks, following the launch of the company’s Hebrew-language online storefront and the offer of free shipping from the United States.
American immigrants to Israel have long relied on sites like Amazon to purchase products unavailable to them in the Jewish state, but the available evidence suggests a surge in purchases of the kinds of everyday items that were previously not cost-effective to have shipped in from abroad.
“I bought toys for my grandchildren at a fraction of the cost, makeup, hair products. My friend bought saline,” Ronit, a resident of the Jerusalem suburb of Beit Shemesh, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. “It’s good for my wallet because a lot of stuff is just so much cheaper: ziploc bags, shampoo, makeup.”
By: JNS – Breaking Israel News; breakingisraelnews.com
“I will bless those who bless you And curse him that curses you; And all the families of the earth Shall bless themselves by you.” Genesis 12:3 (The Israel Bible™)
In a Christmas greeting video published on Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed appreciation for Christian support of the State of Israel.
“Merry Christmas to all our Christian friends in Israel and around the world,” he said, standing alongside his wife, Sara. “The State of Israel is the culmination of so many prophecies and our deepest held values. We share the common civilization, the Judeo-Christian civilization, that has given the world the values of freedom, individual liberty, the sanctity of life and the belief in one G-d.”
By: Jonathan S. Tobin – Jewish News Syndicate; jns.org
An effort to appropriate the holidays in order to delegitimize Israel denies Jewish history and ignores the truth about the fate of the Christian minority in Arab lands.
It used to be confined to an annual piece of theater staged by the Palestinian Authority every Christmas. The festivities in P.A.-governed Bethlehem are primarily aimed at promoting Christian tourism. But statements alleging that Jesus was a Palestinian have always accompanied the activities there, including a parade to the Church of the Nativity.
The efforts by the late terrorist chieftain Yasser Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas, his successor as head of the P.A., to appropriate Christmas as a prop for their war on Israel have generally been dismissed as holiday nonsense by sensible people. But there’s more to this than just the desire of the Palestinian leadership to exploit the fact that the international press pays attention to events in the otherwise sleepy city in the Judean hills south of Jerusalem once a year.
By: Jeremy Sharon – The Jerusalem Post; jpost.com
Senior Wakf official: Any change would spark strong response from Arabs and Muslims. Jewish activists: Final goal is to rebuild the Temple.
Jewish worshipers are able to pray on the Temple Mount with what appears to be the tacit consent of police forces at the site, The Jerusalem Post observed during a visit there on Thursday.
Despite the insistence by Israel Police that there has been no change in the decades-old policy, Jews now pray – in full view of the police – in an unobtrusive and inconspicuous manner.
A senior Wakf Department official said he was unaware of any change in the status quo on the Temple Mount, but warned that any change would lead to renewed protests and spark a strong response from Arabs and Muslims.
By: David Lazarus – Israel Today; israeltoday.co.il
Local Christians are joined by Jews in celebrating Christmas in restored Aramean village
For the first time in modern history, Christmas was celebrated in a public square in Israel with carols sung in the same Aramaic language that dates back to the times of Jesus, and before. This unique historical event was held on Shabbat in the Aramean Maronite village of Bir’am in the Upper Galilee, just south of the Lebanese border.
Over 300 guests joined the celebration, including Jews and Christians, for the Christmas tree lighting and traditions dating back to 350 AD, when Christianity spread rapidly throughout the region.
The event was organized by members and supporters of the Israeli Christian Aramaic Association and members of the original Maronite community in northern Israel.
Jewish News Syndicate – jns.org
On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, the Israeli Tourism Ministry will provide free shuttle service between Jerusalem and Bethlehem for Christian pilgrims.
An estimated 165,000 Christians are expected to visit Israel during the Christmas holiday season, according to Israel’s Tourism Ministry.
Tourism Minister Yariv Levin will host the annual pre-Christmas reception for Israeli Christians and church leaders, which will also be attended by ambassadors, leaders of Christian organizations in Israel and other dignitaries from different communities.
By: Times of Israel Staff – timesofIsrael.com
State Department officials agree on outline for permanent structure with Mayor Moshe Lion; construction expected to start within a year
The US embassy in Jerusalem on Monday received approval for its plans to build a permanent structure in the city.
Representatives from the US State Department met with Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion at the mayor’s office to discuss the move.
By: Michael Gryboski – The Christian Post; christianpost.com
Hundreds of Pakistani Christian women and girls have been sold off as brides to men in China, with many suffering abuse and forced prostitution, according to an Associated Press report.
Pakistani investigators found that 629 women and young girls were trafficked into China after being sold off by family members to marry Chinese men, the AP reported Wednesday.
To compile the list, investigators looked at Pakistan’s border system which digitally records travel documents at national airports. The list covers the marriages of 629 women and girls that took place between 2018 and April of this year. Investigators believe that all were sold by their families.
By: Emily Jones – CBN News; cbn.com
JERUSALEM, Israel – Thirteen countries in the United Nations on Tuesday unexpectedly changed course and voted against an annual resolution expressing support for a Palestinian UN agency accused of being anti-Israel.
For the first time, Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Greece, Lithuania, Netherlands, Romania, Slovakia, Brazil and Colombia voted against an annual resolution supporting the Division for Palestinian Rights of the Secretariat, the UN body that oversees the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.
Each one of those countries had previously abstained from the vote.
By: Michael Brown – The Christian Post; christianpost.com
Soon after I came to faith in Jesus in 1971 as a 16-year-old, drug-abusing, hippie rock drummer, my father said to me, “Michael, I’m glad to see the changes in your life, but we’re Jews, and we don’t believe in this.”
He introduced me to the new rabbi of our synagogue, fresh out of Jewish Theological Seminary, and the rabbi and I quickly became friends, a friendship that has lasted to this day.
One of the first books the rabbi gave me detailed the history of antisemitism in the Church, a shocking, painful, and often bloody history.