Israel in the News Jan/Feb 2017
Trump, Pence: ‘We Stand With Israel’
Donald Trump will be the most pro-Israel president in the history of the United States, a Trump advisor told The Jerusalem Post. “The level of friendship between the U.S. and Israel is going to grow like never before, and it will be better than ever, even [better than] the way it was under Republican administrations in the past,” David Friedman said.
Trump and his running mate, Mike Pence, declared their unwavering support for Israel via video at an October 2016 Trump rally in Jerusalem. “I love Israel and honor and respect the Jewish faith and tradition,” Trump said. “My administration will stand side by side with the Jewish people and Israel’s leaders to continue strengthening the bridges that connect…Americans and Israelis. Together, we will stand up to the enemies like Iran bent on destroying Israel and her people.”
Pence stated, “We stand with Israel because her cause is just, because her values are our values, and because her fate is our fate. Israel is not just our strongest ally in the region….Israel is our most cherished ally in the world.” He added, “Let the word go forth from Jerusalem—the eternal, undivided capital of the Jewish people and the Jewish state—that Donald Trump and I are proud to stand with Israel.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Trump a “true friend of the state of Israel” and said he looks forward to working with Trump “to advance security, prosperity, and peace,” Arutz-7 reported. “I am confident that President-elect Trump and I will continue to strengthen the unique alliance between our two countries and bring it to ever greater heights,” Netanyahu said on Twitter.
Trump’s first step toward fulfilling his campaign promises concerning Israel will be to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Friedman said.
From news reports
Italian Newspaper Leads Protest Against UNESCO
The popular, pro-Israel Italian newspaper Il Foglio organized an unprecedented protest at the Rome headquarters of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) recently to stand against UNESCO’s vote denying the Jewish people’s 3,000-year connection to their holy sites in Jerusalem. The paper also expressed its anger at Italy’s abstention in that vote.
Italy, it said, should have voted against the decision, as did the United States, Great Britain, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Germany, and Estonia. Il Foglio displayed an Israeli flag over its entire centerfold, in solidarity with the Jewish state.
UNESCO’s move does not simply deny Jewish history, said the newspaper’s writers; it is a re-creation of Nazi ideology.
Italy’s Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has since publicly admitted Italy should have voted against the resolution, and he promised to stand with Israel. “It is incomprehensible and unacceptable, it was a mistake,” Renzi told Italian radio. “Suggesting that Jerusalem and Judaism have no connection is like suggesting the sun causes darkness. If we have to break with European unity on the subject, so be it.”
Three hundred people attended the protest, including the paper’s staff, left- and right-wing members of Parliament, the head of Rome’s Jewish community, and both Jewish and Gentile Italians who said they were fed up with politicians who sacrifice truth and principles for power and money.
At the protest, readers’ letters were pasted together to resemble the Western Wall. Il Foglio’s editor said since UNESCO eliminated the Wall from Jewish history, “we turned the UNESCO branch in Rome into our own Western Wall for one day.”
Apologist: Israel Proves God’s Existence
“God’s argument for God” is the modern nation of Israel, Christian apologist Kurt Wise explained at a recent apologetics conference in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Wise said the revival of the Hebrew language; the birth of the modern nation of Israel; and the land’s transformation from a barren wasteland into a green, fruit-producing nation provide merely a few examples of fulfilled prophecy and bear witness to the veracity of the one true God—the God of Israel. (See Zephaniah 3:9 and Ezekiel 36:6–9, 23–25.) “If Israel is not restored to the blessing of God in the Land of Israel,” Wise stated, “then Yahweh is not God, and the Bible is not His Word.”
Wise is the pastor of Alvin Bible Church in Alvin, Texas, and a graduate of Southern Evangelical Seminary (SES), where he received his master’s degree in apologetics. The conference, sponsored by SES, was held at Calvary Church.
Ancient Scroll Contains Leviticus
Scientists have discovered that a 1,700-year-old Hebrew scroll found in the ancient Jewish community of En-Gedi in Israel contains verses from Leviticus, The Christian Post reported. Michael Segal, a professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, called the En-Gedi Leviticus scroll “the most extensive and significant biblical text from antiquity” since the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Though found by archaeologists in 1970, it remained illegible until recently when researchers from the University of Kentucky used a complex digital analysis called “virtual unwrapping” to decipher the disintegrated text, according to LiveScience.com.
From news reports
Netanyahu to Receive Private Plane
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will receive an Israeli version of Air Force One this year, The Times of Israel reported. The private plane will consist of special defense systems and advanced communications that will allow the prime minister to communicate with those on the ground at all times.
“The budget for purchasing and outfitting the plane was a reported $70 million—enough to purchase an advanced aircraft and install the necessary specialized equipment. Versions of the aircraft are capable of flying nonstop from Israel to North America,” the Times reported.
Israel’s prime ministers have always flown on rented planes or commercial airliners.
From news reports
YouTube Restricts Pro-Israel Videos
YouTube has restricted a video of former Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz giving a five-minute lecture on the history of Israel, The Boston Globe reported.
The video was published on the YouTube channel called Prager University. According to Prager University’s president, conservative talk show host Dennis Prager, YouTube has been blocking many of the channel’s educational talks by well-known intellectuals and media personalities. “Given no rational response for the restrictions, there seems to be little reason to suspect anything other than suppression of conservative thought,” Prager said.
If a viewer sets YouTube to “restricted mode,” the Dershowitz video cannot be seen. “Restricted mode” is a setting that categorizes videos as having offensive, inappropriate, and objectionable adult and sexual content.
PA: Visiting Jews is Unacceptable
The Palestinian Authority (PA) detained four Arab-Palestinians from the village of Wadi al-Nis for drinking coffee with Jews in a sukkah (a booth built for the holiday of Tabernacles) in Gush Etzion, Judea. “All Palestinians condemn the [visit], and visiting settlers is completely unacceptable,” PA Deputy Governor of Bethlehem Muhammad Taha said.
Israeli Oded Revivi had invited 30 Palestinians to his sukkah as a goodwill gesture. “It’s quite pathetic to be arrested for having a cup of coffee with your neighbors,” said Revivi, who works to build bridges with the Arab villages around his settlement. He said he believes peace comes from person-to-person contact. Among the guests were representatives from the Israel Defense Forces and the Border Police. Taha condemned the Palestinians who attended and said the government will hold them accountable.
Congressmen Say Judea, Samaria Belong to Israel
U.S. Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) recently told an Israeli delegation in Washington, DC, “I want to say to all the people of Samaria that they are beloved by the American people, and we believe that Judea and Samaria are not the ‘West Bank’ but part of the state of Israel.” Israeli Yossi Dagan met with more than a dozen Republican and Democratic legislators to discuss U.S. support for Israel’s presence in Judea and Samaria. “There are people in the U.S. Congress who, no matter what, will continue to work on behalf of Judea and Samaria, who will continue to do whatever they can to fight on behalf of Israel,” Franks said.