A Palestinian State Benefits No One

By: Ryan Jones – Israel Today; israeltoday.co.il

More and more Palestinians say they simply can’t live without Israel

It is widely assumed that a Palestinian state will not only benefit the Palestinian Arabs, but is crucial to their future as a “people.”

But, as legendary Hollywood producer Jerry Belson wrote for an episode of Odd Couple back in the 1970s, “Never ASSUME, because when you ASSUME, you make an ASS of U and ME.”

The entire land-for-peace process has been based on this assumption. The thing is, it isn’t shared by a great many Palestinian Arabs, the people who the scheme is ostensibly designed to benefit.

“Everyone wants to work [in Israel], everyone wants quiet, and a good life,” a man from Gaza told Ynetnews last week after Israel issued a record number of work permits in response to relative calm in the region.

That many Palestinians now realize this “quiet, good life” cannot be had under either the Palestinian Authority (PA) or Hamas is a recurring theme in recent years.


Nigeria: 5 Churches Burned, Many Christians Killed in Boko Haram Invasion

By: Anugrah Kumar – The Christian Post; christianpost.com

More than 100 Boko Haram militants opened fire sporadically and indiscriminately and set churches and houses on fire, killing many people, in the town of Garkida in Gombi area of the northeastern state of Adamawa, according to initial reports.

At least five churches were destroyed, including two houses of worship belonging to the Church of the Brethren denomination, an Anglican Communion church, and a church and a separate office of Living Faith Church.

There are unconfirmed reports of possible abductions.


Islamic Terrorism Spreading in Majority-Christian Mozambique; 700 Dead, 100,000 Displaced

By: Samuel Smith – The Christian Post; christianpost.com

Over 100,000 people have been displaced and at least 700 have died in the majority-Christian country of Mozambique since 2017, as the spread of radical Islamic extremism in Africa is starting to plague the continent’s southeast region. 

This month, the U.N.’s High Commission for Refugees said it is boosting its response in Mozambique’s northeastern Cabo Delgado province, an oil-rich coastal region on the Indian Ocean.

Although southeast Africa was once considered relatively peaceful compared to its counterparts in the north, there’s concern that the region is becoming a foothold for militants that appear to be aligned with the Islamic State.


Cross Can Stay at Florida Public Park, Circuit Court Panel Rules

My: Michael Grybosski – The Christian Post; christianpost.com

A 34-foot tall cross can remain at a public park in Florida, according to a ruling from a three-judge panel that reversed an earlier decision from the same appeals court.

The panel with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit ruled Wednesday that the cross at Bayview Park in Pensacola could remain.

Circuit Judge Kevin Newsom, author of the panel opinion, noted that they reversed an earlier ruling against the cross because of a remand from the U.S. Supreme Court.


Iranians Threaten to Destroy the Tomb of Queen Esther and Mordechai

By: Emily Jones – CBN News; cbn.com

JERUSALEM, Israel – An Iranian group is reportedly threatening to destroy what local Jews believe to be the ancient burial site of Queen Esther and Mordechai in Hamedan in retaliation for President Donald Trump’s “Deal of the Century” Israeli-Palestinian peace plan.

The Basij group, a hardline student wing of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, released a statement earlier this month threatening to tear down the tomb and replace it with a Palestinian consulate.

“We warn the United States and the Zionist regime …that the first act of fulfilling their filthy desires and the slightest attack on Palestine and the holy al-Quds (Jerusalem) means that they will no longer occupy a place as Esther’s tomb…we’ll turn it into a Palestine consulate and you will see the fulfillment of this promise,” their statement said.

Ali Malmir, the director Hamedan’s tourism office, told Iran’s ISNA news site on February 7 that it is not possible to tear down the tomb because there are specific rules for cultural heritage buildings that cannot be violated.


Israelis Called to Gather at Western Wall to Pray for Coronavirus Victims around the World

By: Marcy Oster – Jewish Telegraphic Agency; jta.org

Hundreds of Israelis gathered at the Western Wall on Sunday evening after a prominent rabbi in Israel called for a mass prayer for those infected by the coronavirus.

Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, the chief rabbi of Safed, and the Association of Communitiy Rabbis, organized the service in Jerusalem’s Old City as reports surfaced Sunday that at least three Israelis on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship docked in Tokyo Bay have tested positive for the deadly virus.


As Sea of Galilee Fills to Bursting, Israelis’ Joy Overflows

By: Nathan Jeffay – The Times of Israel; timesofisrael.com

At perennially parched freshwater lake where Jesus walked on water, weeks of major rainfall could see nearby dam opened to send water into Jordan River for first time since 2013

TIBERIAS — It’s a Tu Bishvat dream come true for Tiberias residents: The Sea of Galilee is at its highest level that most can remember.

“We’re at the top level of excitement that people reach around here,” said Rami Ben-Tzvi, 72, standing by the rowing club that he runs. He looked in amazement at the water in front of him. Although the level is still 210.04 meters (689 feet) below sea level, it’s some 1.75 meters (5.74 feet) higher than at the start of January.

Ben-Tzvi said the last time he can remember such a scene at the Sea of Galilee, Israel’s largest source of fresh water, was during the major storms of 1992. He noted that it’s a new sight to many locals.

Rain since early January has been so plentiful that if the downpours predicted for the rest of this week take place, the water level could soon rise by around 1.25 meters (4.1 feet), at which point a city accustomed to worrying about drought would be at risk of flooding.


Israel Boasts an Eight Percent Annual Increase in Tourism for January

By: Zachary Keyser – The Jerusalem Post; jpost.com

Almost 270,000 tourists came into the country via international flights, also about 8% more than last January and almost 18% more than two years ago.

Around 308,500 tourists visited Israel during January, an 8% increase from last January and a 20% increase from 2018, according to the Tourism Ministry. Israel welcomed a record 4.5 million tourists into the country in 2019.

Nearly 268,900 of those tourists entered the country via international flights, a 7.6% increase from last January and 17.8% more than January 2018.

Revenue from incoming tourists during January was about $437 million (NIS 1.5 billion).

“Tourism records continue to shatter, and we end January 2020 with an 8% increase in incoming tourism on January 2019 and 20% more than in January 2018,” Tourism Minister Yariv Levin said.


Netanyahu Holds National Preparedness Meeting over Coronavirus Outbreak

Jewish News Syndicate; jns.org

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a meeting at his office in Jerusalem with ministry director generals and staff officials on Sunday morning to discuss how to deal with the recent outbreak of coronavirus in China.

“Our readiness will include all arms of the Israeli administration. Our foremost goal is to postpone the arrival of the virus to Israel. I say ‘postpone’ because its arrival is unavoidable. We will then identify, treat, isolate and deal with those infected,” said Netanyahu following the meeting.

He expressed his appreciation for China’s efforts to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus (2019 n-Cov), but added that “the spread is apparently inevitable, in the sense that we will need to deal with it forthwith.”