February 4, 2019

More Dead Sea Scroll Finds

This winter, excavations in the Qumran area of Israel were underway searching in new caves for insights on the community who wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls and to possibly find new manuscripts. The team was led by Hebrew University archaeologist Oren Gutfeld and Liberty University’s Randall Price. The two experts believe there are more artifacts and ancient documents to be discovered that may have slipped through bedouin and looters hands.

The Dead Sea Scrolls are considered one of the most significant archaeological finds in the 20th century. The Dead Sea Scrolls revealed to the world the first pre-Christian Old Testament, a physical Old Testament that comes before Jesus. To think that more discoveries are out there to help understand the Jewish world Jesus lived in gets me excited, and it shows God has physically preserved His Word for thousands of years so that we can know just how reliable and trustworthy it really is.

(Chris Katulka, The Friends of Israel Staff Writer)


Report: Hizbullah Terror Group In Midst Of Deep Economic Crisis

Are U.S. sanctions beginning to have an impact on Hizbullah?  Sky News Arabia has reported that the Shiite terrorist organization has postponed a number of payments, including to Hizbullah members as a result of financial difficulties.

According to the report, which appeared on Sky News Arabia website Wednesday (30th), employees of Hizbullah’s media, education, medical and even military systems have complained of deep pay cuts lately, with some reportedly receiving only 60% of their salaries last month.

Despite their increasing frustration at the situation, Lebanese media outlets and workers whose salaries have been cut have refrained from publicly criticizing Hizbullah out of concern that it would damage the organization’s standing.

Sanctions imposed on Iran have also put a dent in Hizbullah’s cash flow.

According to Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, Iran provides Hizbullah with an annual budget of $1 billion.  With Iran in the midst of a financial crisis, Hizbullah may not be able to count on Tehran investing all of that money in the future.

At a ceremony marking 40 years since the Islamic Revolution at Tehran’s Shah Mosque Wednesday (30th), Iranian President Hassan Rouhani admitted his country was in the throes of the worst financial crisis it had faced in 40 years.  He blamed economic pressure from the US for Iran’s monetary troubles.



Israel Reaffirms Ban On PA Activity In East Jerusalem

Public Security and Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan has signed an extension to an order aimed at preventing Palestinian Authority (PA) activity in Jerusalem.  The move, taken on Thursday (31st), was based on a recommendation from the Shin Bet domestic security agency and Israel Police, said the ministry.

Under the terms of an agreement reached in 1994 as part of the Oslo process between Israel and the Palestinians, PA activity is barred from Jerusalem during what was supposed to be only an interim period of self-rule leading to a Palestinian state, because Jerusalem is not part of the authority’s territory.

However, the Palestinians tried to stretch the rules by conducting events in the eastern part of the city, which they ultimately believed would be the capital of their own state.  They would also argue that events taking place were cultural and not PA government activity.

An Israeli closure-order covers Orient House, which has served as PLO headquarters in east Jerusalem, the Palestinian Prisoner’s Club, East Jerusalem Chamber of Commerce, Supreme Council for the Arab Tourism Industry, Center for Palestinian Studies, and the Office for Social and Statistical Studies.

“I will continue to strengthen Israeli sovereignty and sovereignty throughout Jerusalem, and prevent any Palestinian attempt to establish a foothold in the eastern part of the city,” Erdan said.  “The extension of the closure of the Palestinian institutions is a message to the Palestinian Authority and the residents of east Jerusalem,” he added.

Erdan charged that the PA has been stepping up its activity in east Jerusalem by transferring significant financing to support activities which take place there.  Intelligence and police forces are constantly working to trace and stop these transfers, according to the minister.

He confirmed that an event that was scheduled to take place at a hospital was banned earlier this month, because it was organized under the auspices of the Palestinian Authority, explaining that the PA tries to play on the international community’s emotions by sponsoring events at locations which indicate a humanitarian dimension.

However, said Erdan, the event was to have included “symbols of PA sovereignty such as the playing of the Palestinian Authority anthem, political speeches in the name of the Palestinian Authority, and participation of senior Palestinians.”



Florida Recognizes Jerusalem As Israel’s Undivided Capital

Florida’s state cabinet took the unusual step of recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s “eternal and undivided capital” this week.

It issued a proclamation on Tuesday (29th) in a move that places it one step ahead of the Trump Administration’s stance on Israel, which recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, but has not spoken of whether it supports a united or divided Jerusalem.

In explaining the move, Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis said that state governor, Republican Ron DeSantis had supported Trump’s decision to relocate the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, when he represented Florida in Congress last year.

“We have made it clear that we stand with our closest ally in the Middle east.  I too believe in standing strong with our friend and partner and ally,” said Patronis, speaking at Tuesday’s (29th) cabinet meeting in the state capital of Tallahassee.

“As a state we must continue to demonstrate our broad and deep support of our ally and economic partner by implementing pro-Israel policies,” Patronis said.  “Today we declare to the world that Florida stands united with Israel.”

Florida’s vote stands in stark contrast to the opinion of the United Nations and that of the international community at large, which has yet to recognize Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem and believes that east Jerusalem should be the capital of a future Palestinian state.

Israel and Florida have a strong economic partnership.  According to the Jewish Virtual Library (JVL), Florida is Israel’s 13th largest trade partner and one of 33 US states with cooperative agreements with Israel.  Since 1996, Florida has exported more than $3.8 billion in goods to Israel and that number is growing.

There are 621,460 Jews who live in Florida, making up 3.2% of the state’s population in 2017, according to JVL.  

(jpost.com; reuters.com)


Israeli Contractor To Supply India With $93m Worth Of Surface-To-Air Missiles

Israeli government-owned defense contractor Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd. (IAI) entered into $93 million worth of agreements to provide India with naval medium-range surface-to-air missile (MRSAM) systems, IAI announced Wednesday (31st).  The contracts were entered into with the Indian Navy and Bombay-listed government-owned company Cochin Shipyard Ltd.

In October, IAI signed a $777 million contract with Indian state-owned company Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) to supply it with long-range surface-to-air defense missiles and missile defense systems.

To date, MRSAM has produced more than $6 billion in sales, according to IAI statements.

Israel is the third largest arms supplier to India, according to a 2017 arms transfer report by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.  Between 2013 and 2017, India made up 49% of Israel’s arms exports, the report showed.

Founded in 1953, IAI is Israel’s largest aerospace and defense company.  The company develops, manufactures and supplies anti-missile systems, unmanned and robotic systems, and intelligence and cybersecurity systems.



String Of Attacks On Jews Rattles Brooklyn Neighborhood

Police in New York are investigating two separate attacks targeting Jewish men in Brooklyn’s Crown Heights neighborhood, the latest in a string of apparent anti-semitic assaults.

According to reports in local media, a 51-year-old Orthodox Jewish man was violently attacked by three men around 1 a.m. Wednesday morning (30th).  Police said the men approached the victim on President Street and punched him in the face and body.

An hour earlier, police say, a 22-year-old Orthodox man was attacked half a block away by three men.

“They didn’t say anything at all,” one of the victims told the New York Post.  “Next thing I knew, I was on the ground – my yarmulke and glasses in the gutter somewhere.  It was just an attack of hate and anti-Semitism,” he said, adding, “I guess I look identifiably Jewish.”

The New York Police Department believes the cases are linked, and so far have made two arrests.

There have been several other assaults on identifiably Jewish victims in Crown Heights recently.

Last week, two residents were violently attacked on Kingston Avenue by a group of teenage males.

The NYPD is assigning extra patrol cars and police foot patrols in the neighborhood in response to the attacks.

(nypost.com; timesofisrael.com)