News Digest — 3/25/22

PA Muslim Leaders Threaten Violence If Jews Visit Temple Mount During Ramadan

Arab leaders, Including the Mufti of Jerusalem, have warned that Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount during the month-long Muslim holiday of Ramadan should expect a violent response at the site and possible consequences for Israel’s security.

Palestinian and Muslim leaders have long-held that Jews visiting or praying at the compound, which is the holiest site in Judaism and Islam’s third holiest, is inherently provocative and could trigger uncontrollable violence.

Sheikh Mohammad Hussein, the Mufti of Jerusalem, warned of “dire consequences” on Wednesday (23rd) should Jewish visitors continue to “be present at the Muslim holy site.”

Ignoring the historical connection between the Temple Mount and Judaism, Hussein said that the Israeli government has “malicious intentions” by not banning Jews from the site.

Israel “will be responsible for all consequences of its hideous decisions that increase and fuel hatred and hostility in the region as part of its attempt to control the Al-Aqsa Mosque,” he added.

Muslims will take matters into their own hands to ensure that Jews cannot visit or pray at the Temple Mount, as such actions constitute a “heinous crime” that “harms the security of Al-Aqsa,” he continued.

“Permitting Jews to visit the Temple Mount provokes the feelings of about two billion Muslims in the world, which poses a real danger and calls for a serious Arab-Islamic response.”

The Palestinian Authority-controlled WAFA news agency similarly branded the Temple Mount as a “Muslim-only worship area” and said the presence of Jews is an unacceptable blow to the status quo.

Quiet visits to the site by Jews are typically framed by mainstream Palestinian and Arabic-language media as “settlers storming Al-Aqsa,” though visitors never step foot inside of the mosque and usually keep their distance from the building.

Tom Nisani, CEO of Beyadenu, a group advocating for Jewish visits on the Temple Mount, told World Israel News that Jews would continue to visit the site, despite the threat.

“The right of Jews to ascend the Temple Mount and pray there is a basic right, and we will not give up,” Nisani said.

“The threats of all those terrorists, from the Mufti of Jerusalem to the Palestinian Authority, are threats that the powerful State of Israel must ignore, and, if necessary, take action on the ground to protect the Jews ascending the Temple Mount.

Nisani added, that “the reaction of Islamic extremists proves that instead of celebrating their holiday, they are busy exploiting it for the purposes of terrorism, incitement and murder.”



In Wake Of Terrorist Attack Negev Residents Rush To Arm Themselves

In the wake of Tuesday’s (22nd) terrorist attack in Beersheba, Negev residents rushed to obtain defense to carry a personal firearm Israel Hayom has learned.

Nevertheless, the owner of a gun shop located about 330 feet away from the scene of the attacks said sales have not increased yet due to the lengthy and complex process of obtaining such a permit.

“Weapons are not something you can buy the next day.  Perhaps in a month or two, we will see an increase in sales,” he said, adding that meanwhile, residents arm themselves with tear gas.”

One of the customers, a local school teacher, came to buy tear gas at the store for herself, “and a group of teachers and parents of students.” 

An attorney from the Negev, who had received his long-awaited permit shortly before and was planning to buy a gun soon, told Israel Hayom that he decided to purchase a weapon because “we see that the military and the police cannot deal with everything – I understood that citizens must protect themselves.”

The attorney recalled how during last year’s fighting in Gaza, protesters in the mixed city of Lod ( where both Jews and Arabs live together) rioted in the streets, with residents locking doors and staying inside for safety.

“I remember someone said on TV at the time, ‘I locked my door and prayed they wouldn’t break in and try to do something.  I would have felt much safer if I had had a gun.’”



Archeologists Discover Oldest Hebrew Text In Israel, Matches Biblical Text

Biblical archeologist Dr. Scott Stripling, along with a group of internationally renowned scientists, unveiled what he says is the oldest example of Hebrew text ever found in the Holy Land, dated circa 1200 BCE.

The discovery was made at Mt. Ebal in Samaria, in the vicinity of Nablus (Shechem). Remarkably, the text also includes the Holy name of God (YHVH)

The archeologists – from the Associates for Biblical Research, a Christian apologetics ministry dedicated to demonstrating the historical reliability of the Bible through archeological and biblical research, as described on its website – held a press conference on Thursday (24th) at the Lanier Theological Library in Houston, Texas, to announce the exceptional discovery.

The tiny, two-by-two centimeter defixio (curse tablet) came to light in December 2019 when Stripling, ABR’s director of excavations and director of the Archeological Studies Institute at the Bible Seminary in Katy, Texas, led an ABR team to wet-sift the discarded material from Adam Zertal’s excavations on Mt. Ebal from 1982 to 1989.

These types of amulets are well known in the Hellenistic and Roman periods, but Zertal’s excavated pottery dated to the Iron Age I and late Bronze Age, so logically the tablet derived from one of these earlier periods,” Stripling said.

“Even so, our discovery of a Late Bronze Age inscription stunned me.”

Mt; Ebal is mentioned in Deuteronomy and the Book of Joshua as the site of biblical curses, the ABR noted – as opposed to Mt. Gerizim across from it, which is the site of blessings. 

Moses urged the Israelites in his farewell before his death to follow God’s commandments and that He had given them the choice between a life of blessings and one of curses:

“And it will be, when the Lord, your God, will bring you to the land to which you come, to possess it, that you shall place those who are blessing, upon Mt. Gerizim, and those cursing upon Mount Ebal.” (Deuteronomy 11:29)

The ancient inscription uncovered by the archeological team contains 40 letters and reads: “Cursed, cursed, cursed, cursed by the God” – followed by the Hebrew name for God (YHVH).

“You will die cursed.  Cursed you will surely die.  Cursed by [God’s name] – cursed, cursed, cursed.” 

 The tablet also may have directed Divine wrath on enemies.

NOTE:  In Deuteronomy 28 God had told the children of Israel that obedience to Him would bring them a life of blessing, whereas disobedience to Him would bring them a life of cursing.  (Deuteronomy 28: 1-62) 



Israel Votes For UNGA Resolution Demanding Russia To End Ukraine War

Israel was among 140 countries supporting a UN General Assembly resolution on Thursday (24th) demanding an end to Russia’s war against Ukraine and calling for civilian protection.

It was also among 70 countries to endorse the text, the second such resolution approved by the GA since the start of the war on February 24.  Israel also supported and helped sponsor the first text, which was approved with 141 votes.

Five countries voted against – Russia, Syria, North Korea, Eritrea and Belarus – and 38 countries abstained.

Israel, which spoke in support of its vote at the UNGA was represented by deputy ambassador Noa Furman rather than by ambassador Gilad Erdan.  The absence of the top envoy is sometimes a diplomatic attempt to downgrade the significance of the message.

After the vote, Furman told the UNGA that Israel reiterates its call for de-escalation and dialogue, in view of our positive relations with both parties.

“We are assisting in the mediation efforts to stop this tragic war,” she said.

“We have normative historical and ethical obligations to be part of the humanitarian efforts” and have sent a field hospital called Shining Star and 100 tons of humanitarian assistance to Ukraine,” Furman added.

“Israel hopes to light the path of refugees in need of medical care.  We will extend a helping hand to them as has always been the State of Israel’s custom in such a humanitarian crisis,” Furman said.

Countries have turned to the GA, given that Russia has used its veto power to block any such resolutions from passing the Security Council.

“The world has spoken,” Sweden’s mission to the UN tweeted after the vote.

Iran, which abstained on the vote, said it supported the need for humanitarian assistance and wanted an end to the war, but did not agree with all the provisions of the text.

The US has spoken vocally in support of the resolution, which was submitted by Ukraine.

“Today is an important moment for the world to stand together in the face of unconscionable violence that has taken a grave humanitarian toll,” US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield told the assembly during a debate held on Wednesday (23rd) prior to the vote.  “In front of us, we have a resolution proposed by Ukraine that has a response to this humanitarian catastrophe.  An abstention in the face of Russia’s atrocities is unacceptable.  Russia must be held accountable for the humanitarian crisis it is creating.”

“By voting for this resolution, you are voting for an end to the war, respect for and protection of humanitarian and medical personnel, and unhindered humanitarian access.  You are voting for civilians to be allowed to safely flee the violence, including many of your own citizens who are working, living, and studying in Ukraine.”



Kansas Becomes 20th US State To Endorse IHRA Anti-Semitism Definition

The Kansas State Senate has passed a resolution recognizing the growing problem of anti-Semitism in the United States and called for the adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Working Definition of Anti-Semitism.

Last month, the bipartisan resolution was unanimously approved in the Kansas State House of Representatives by a vote of 121-0.

“The State of Kansas adopts the non-legally binding International Holocaust Remembrance Aliance Working Definition of Anti-Semitism” an official document stated.  Furthermore, it was stated that the Kansas department of Administration “shall ensure that the IHRA’s working definition of anti-Semitism is made available as an educational resource for all state agencies.”

The Combat Anti-Semitism Movement (CAM) has applauded the Kansas State Senate over the passage of the resolution adopting the IHRA definition.

“The passage of this resolution in Kansas is highly symbolic, especially considering the murderous shooting that took place at the JCC of greater Kansas City a number of years ago,” said Sacha Roytman Dratwa, CEO of CAM.  “That this passed without any opposition speaks volumes about how seriously Kansas is taking the issue of anti-Semitism.”

“As the resolution itself makes clear, the IHRA definition has become the internationally recognized and authoritative definition used by governments, international organizations and educational institutions: and we hope that other American states that have not adopted it yet will do so soon, especially with the worrying increase in anti-Semitism in the US – CAM will continue to push for this in the US and across the globe,” he said.

Kansas becomes the 20th state to endorse or ratify the definition, either through the passage of laws or gubernatorial proclamations.  To coincide with International Holocaust Remembrance Day in January, Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, Nevada, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming all issued proclamations, while the commonwealth of Virginia issued an executive order to adopt the anti-Semitism definition.

A recently released study by CAM and the Kantor center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry at Tel Aviv University showed that 865 entities around the world have adopted the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism since 2016. The report is believed to be the world’s most comprehensive list of such adoptions and endorsements.