Israel in the News Mar/Apr 2017
UN Battle Over Jerusalem Intensifies
Following the UN Security Council’s vote condemning Israel’s presence in eastern Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu showed his resolve by going to the Western Wall to light the second candle of Hanukkah in December. Resolution 2334 claims the Wall is in occupied Palestinian territory.
“In light of the UN decision, I thought there was no better place to light the Hanukkah candle than right here, the Western Wall,” Netanyahu said. “According to the UN decision, the Maccabees did not liberate Jerusalem, they conquered Palestinian territory. According to the UN decision, their villages…were occupied Palestinian territory.”
The resolution passed 14–0, unopposed by the Obama administration, which failed to exercise its veto. Netanyahu’s spokesperson David Keyes told FOX News he believes President Obama was behind the anti-Israel resolution. “We have rather ironclad information from sources in both the Arab world and internationally that this was a deliberate push by the United States, and in fact they helped create the resolution in the first place,” Keyes said.
President-elect Donald Trump lambasted the Obama administration for failing to protect Israel. “We cannot continue to let Israel be treated with such total disdain and disrespect,” he said. Unfortunately, the Security Council is unlikely to reverse itself regardless of what President Trump does.
Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon declared, “We will overcome this evil decree.” Holding up a Bible and citing thousands of years of Jewish history in the Holy Land, he told the UN, “We have full confidence in the justice of our cause….We will continue to be a Jewish state proudly reclaiming the land of our forefathers…where King David ruled from Jerusalem,” The Times of Israel reported.
From news reports
Archaeology Confirms Jerusalem’s Jewish History
Archaeologists have uncovered three new pieces of evidence that further prove the Jewish people’s ancient connection to Jerusalem and the Temple Mount and contradict recent attempts by the United Nations and the Palestinian Authority to erase the city’s Jewish history. The discoveries include a 2,700-year-old Hebrew papyrus fragment, a 1,950-year-old Jerusalem coin, and a 10th-century Muslim inscription that confirms Jerusalem’s Jewish history.
The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) recovered the papyrus fragment, an ancient shipping invoice from the first Temple period, after antiquities thieves ransacked a cave in the Judean desert, according to JNS.org. The fragment provides “the earliest extra-biblical source to mention Jerusalem in Hebrew writing,” the IAA said. Israeli politician Miri Regev called the discovery “further tangible evidence that Jerusalem was and will remain the eternal capital of the Jewish people.”
Regev also unveiled an ancient coin from the second Temple period, which her advisers discovered in Jerusalem’s City of David. Bearing the inscription “Free Zion” on the front and “Two years to the Great Revolt” on the back, the coin was minted in AD 67, three years before the Romans destroyed the second Temple. “Exactly 1,900 years later, in 1967,” Regev said, “the paratroopers entered Jerusalem’s Old City and renewed its freedom.”
Even early Muslim sources confirm Jerusalem’s Jewish history. While excavating a mosque in the Arab-Palestinian village of Nuba, archaeologists recently discovered an inscription from the early Islamic period referring to today’s Dome of the Rock as “Bait al-Maqdess,” the Arabic version of the Hebrew name for the Temple.
According to Israeli archaeologists Asaf Avraham and Peretz Reuven, the inscription “further confirms that for centuries after the Islamic conquest, Muslims continued to link Jerusalem’s Temple Mount to the Jewish Temple of the Bible,” IsraelToday.com reported.
From news reports
PA: Return Our Dead Sea Scrolls
The Palestinian Authority plans to demand the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) force Israel to “return” the Dead Sea Scrolls to the Arabs, a source told Eitan Klein, deputy director of the Israel Antiquities Authority. The Scrolls were found in caves in Israel between 1946 and 1956.
“This is another instance of provocation and the chutzpah of the Palestinians trying to rewrite history and erase our connection to our land,” said Israeli Ambassador to UNESCO Carmel Shama-Hacohen. Housed at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, the Scrolls date back to the second Temple period and include some of the earliest known copies of the Hebrew Bible, which predates the Muslims’ Qur’an by more than 1,000 years.
Congressmen Fight Israel’s Aid Limit
Democratic and Republican lawmakers have vowed to challenge a limit on U.S. defense aid for Israel that former President Barack Obama set during his final months in office. The Memorandum of Understanding between the United States and Israel guarantees Israel $38 billion in aid over 10 years; but it also states if Congress increases the aid, Israel must return the extra funds.
U.S. Reps. Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Randy Weber (R-TX), and Eliot Engel (D-NY) called the restriction “unconstitutional” because it interferes with Congress’s ability to act as a coequal branch of the federal government. Engel vowed to “fight every step of the way” to bring about the revocation of the aid limit. U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) said if Israel is attacked, Congress should be able to provide Israel with extra aid to defend itself.
Buffet Invests in Israel
U.S. billionaire Warren Buffett recently organized an event that raised $60 million in investments in Israel bonds. Buffett hosted 43 investors who each made a minimum $1 million new investment in Israel bonds, while Buffett himself invested $5 million.
“You can tell prospective investors that I would have taken a perpetual bond if you had offered one. I believe Israel is going to be around forever,” Buffet said. “If you are looking for brains, energy, and dynamism in the Middle East, Israel is the only place you need to go.”
Lone Soldiers Fight BDS
Two Israeli organizations have launched a new initiative called the Gideon Project to enlist Israel Defense Forces lone soldiers to combat the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement on college campuses throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe. The organizations, Reservists at the Front and the Lone Soldier Center, described the project as a “challenging and unique Zionist mission, on the front lines of the fight against hate organizations.”
Lone soldiers (people who immigrated to Israel with no family and serve in the military) will lecture on college campuses to underscore the human-rights violations of Arab leaders and show that supporting those leaders encourages oppression and retaliation against Arab civilians. “We have to take an active approach and work to persuade others through a conviction in the justness of our path,” said Amit Deri, chairman of Reservists at the Front.
Vatican Promotes Trips to “Palestine”
The Vatican’s travel agency has released a new set of bus ads that advertise trips to “Palestine: The Holy Land.” The trip’s itinerary includes visits to sites in Jerusalem yet fails to mention Israel.
Morton Klein, head of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), demanded the Vatican end such promotion: “The ZOA regards this as a sinister reiteration of Catholic replacement theology, whereby Jews and Judaism are theologically dismissed from history. We urge the Vatican to cease organizing and promoting tours to Israel that do not name the country [and] do not refer to its Jewish history.”
Later, the ZOA retracted the story: “It now seems that the Vatican travel office does not organize tours of Christian sites; they are operated by private contractors.” But someone, probably relying on English speakers’ ignorance, misinformed the ZOA. The buses bear the yellow logo, “ORP,” which stands for Opera Romana Pellegrinaggi, the Vatican’s pilgrimage office and official travel organization—not a private contractor.
Israeli Researchers Reverse Bone Loss
Researchers at the Israeli biotech company Bonus Biogroup have discovered a new way to successfully reverse human bone loss. In a recent study, the group injected semiliquid bone graft into the jaws of 11 people to repair bone loss. The researchers grew the material from each patient’s own fat cells and then injected it into the problematic bones. In a few months, the material hardened and merged with the existing bone to complete the jaw, the firm said.
“For the first time worldwide, reconstruction of deficient or damaged bone tissue is achievable by growing viable human bone graft in a laboratory and transplanting it back to the patient in a minimally invasive surgery via injection,” said Bonus Biogroup’s Chief Executive Shai Meretzki. The group plans to conduct more clinical trials.