This is Not Okay!

Day-in-and-day-out Israel lives with discrimination.  They are accused of apartheid and many nations of the world engage in the BDS (Boycott, Divest, Sanction) Movement against Israel.

But at times that discrimination becomes absurd.  Hatred of the Jews has become hatred of Israel, and extends even to Arab-Israelis!  Here is a great example:

Only a few weeks ago I was blessed to spend a day in Samaria (West Bank), where we witnessed Jews and Palestinians working side-by-side.  (See Jews and Arabs Side-by-Side…Despite BDS)  What a contrast in ideology.  Please pray for the spirit of the Lord to fall upon Jews and Palestinians alike, that each group would come to know the true source of peace.

Terror Strikes in the West Bank

My heart was heavy when I heard news of the Tuesday morning terror attack upon Israeli security and police officers in the West Bank.  I was especially burdened because I was in the West Bank (Biblical Judea and Samaria) only a couple weeks ago and was so encouraged by what I saw and experienced there.

Our special trip on that day was into Samaria where I witnessed with my own eyes an incredible place where Jews and Palestinians work happily every day side-by-side in a cooperative effort we don’t often hear about in the media.  (Take time to read Into the West Bank and Jews and Arabs Side-by-Side…Despite BDS.)

I’m not so naive to think that, because I saw the “good” side of life in the West Bank, that terrorism doesn’t occur.  In fact, we went to an overlook, towering above Nablus, a terrorist haven.  So, we were vividly reminded that life in the West Bank can get messy, as it did Tuesday morning.

But the report still stunned me.  Partly because I simply can’t imagine why, when the Israelis extend the hand of peace and friendship to such a great degree, there are those who attack without provocation and for no known reason.  Please don’t misunderstand me.  Israel is not perfect…they have issues just like the rest of us.  But the reality is that many Palestinians are given decent, better paying jobs in Israeli-owned and operated companies than they would ever find in territories controlled by the Palestinians.  In fact, most prefer to work for Israeli companies where they are typically treated much better and paid much better.

Image result for har adar shootingIn this case, 37-year-old Nimr Mahmoud Ahmad al-Jamal possessed a legal work permit, but instead of making his way to work that morning, he pulled a gun out of  his clothing and randomly opened fire on Israeli security and police officers near Har Adar, killing three before being shot dead himself.  (That is the typical ending to a Palestinian attack.  One would think the payoff isn’t worth it, but the twisted mindset of those bent on terror is not easily understood.)

We did not travel through Har Adar that day, but the images of the cities and villages that we saw are still etched in my mind, as is the vivid remembrance of touring a factory where Jews and Palestinians were joyfully working together.  I’m saddened by this event, as it will almost certainly have an impact on the ease in which Palestinians are able to obtain work permits.

Image result for har adar shootingIt also heightens animosity on both sides.  While the Jewish nation mourns the loss of three brave servicemen (and another wounded), Fatah and Hamas, the ruling parties in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, applaud the attacks.  Islamic Jihad does likewise.

I am so glad I was there to witness cooperation between Jews and Palestinians, because news like this taints the reality that there are Palestinians who likely feel “stuck” in the clutches of oppressive tyranny.  It is confirmation to me of why the Bible tells us to pray for Israel.  Will you join me in turning this weekend’s Yom Kippur commemoration into a time of pleading on behalf of Jews AND Palestinians, that repentance will come, and that SOMEHOW the grace of God which has appeared, bringing salvation to ALL men (Titus 2:11), will grip the hearts and minds of Jews and Palestinians alike?

This week has been filled with debate over whether spoiled men playing a child’s game should stand or kneel.  Christian friends, let’s get on with what counts for eternity…will you kneel in prayer to the King of Kings on behalf of His chosen people and their neighbors?

Jews and Arabs Side-by-Side…Despite BDS!

Hi friends!  We’re in the middle of exploring the Biblical land of Samaria, talked about consistently in the Bible.  Yesterday I gave you a brief overview of the demographics and today I want to tell you about Jews and Arabs working together side-by-side in Samaria.

Image result for bdsBut first, a bit about BDS…boycott, divest, sanction.  Many nations around the world, spearheaded by Europe, have signed on to the BDS movement, in attempts to financially destroy Israel.  Yet, it doesn’t make sense!  Why?

  • There are as many Arabs as Jews working in the West Bank.
  • If West Bank-produced products are boycotted, factory workers…including Palestinians…lose their jobs.
  • When Palestinians go back to their homes without work, terrorism increases.
  • The Palestinian Authority pays significant amounts of money to anyone willing to kill a Jew.  Thus, crime pays if you are a Palestinian!
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Israel & Moshe

Now, to the rest of the story, as told to us by Moshe.  After the War of Independence, a young lad named Israel came to the land with his family.  They worked long, hard days and Israel helped in the field rather than go to school, as making a life for a family was very difficult.  Despite only an elementary education and no understanding of how to use a computer, Israel holds over 120 patents worldwide!  He sketches his ideas out with pencil and paper and others use CAD technology to move his ideas into production.

Israel also knows that the “undesirables” in society often just need a little help to get over the hump.  Thus, he started a factory in Samaria and began hiring Jews and Arabs to work side-by-side with one another.  All his workers get the same benefits and all are paid well for their position.  When a family (Jew or Arab)

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Twitoplast in Petah Tikvah

faces a crisis, the company (Twitoplast) steps in to help.  The company’s plant manager and lead chemist are both Palestinian, and both were put through specialized schooling to prepare them for their jobs.

As we walked through the factory, everyone had on the same “work uniform”…a turquois company t-shirt and work pants.  We could tell absolutely no 2017-0907 Twitoplast Chemist.jpgdifference between Jews and Palestinians.  According to Moshe, wages are high. But he told us that an Israeli’s take home pay feeds the mouths and cares for the needs of his immediate family, while the Palestinian’s same take home pay feeds the mouths and cares for the needs of his extended family…parents, brothers, sisters and anyone else in the household.  Thus, the goodness of the factory owner reaches an average of 10 Palestinian family members.

When Israel was asked why he does what he does, his response was because he loves people…all people!  Tikkun olam!

2017-0907 Baby DeviceBTW – in Phoenix we see too many children forgotten in hot cars.  The same must be true in Israel as well.  One of Israel’s latest patents is for a small, simple device that hooks to the strap of a child’s car seat.  Once the child is strapped in, the parent (or caregiver) puts the device (with a paperclip-like flap) on his or her clothing.  On the plastic device are the words “איפה הילד?” (Where’s the child?)  Thus, if someone sees the person with that device on his/her clothing and no child present, they ask the question!  Simple, but effective, and they provide them free of charge to anyone purchasing a car seat or leaving a hospital with a newborn!

So you see, despite BDS, and despite what you hear on the news, it is possible for Jews and Palestinians to be at peace with one another!  Let’s pray that the spirit of evil that prevails upon so many will be lifted!

Keep watching…my adventures in the West Bank are not over!  I’ll tell you about a terrorist-laden area next!

 

Reunited in Love of Israel

What a blessing to reunite with dozens of like-minded friends who love Israel! I’m in Washington DC, joining a couple hundred fellow graduates of the Christian Friends of Yad Vashem Leadership Conference.  Those Leadership Conferences, held at the Holocaust Museum and Research Center in Jerusalem, seek to bring together Christian leaders from around the world to study specifically about anti-Semitism and the Holocaust.

At last night’s reception, I counted at least 15 of my 27 classmates from 2015, and we had a great time catching up with one another.  Most of us are actively involved one way or another in sharing the truth about anti-Semitism and the Holocaust.  We were greeted by Dr Susanna Kokkonen (Director of Christian Friends of Yad Vashem) and welcomed by Shaya Ben Yahuda (Yad Vashem International Relations Director), both very dear friends of ours.  We were also welcomed by Cary Summers from Museum of the Bible, a supporting partner in the Conferences, as well as these Reunion/Refresher events.

During the evening, we were reminded that anti-Semitism is on the rise and, though painted with a different brush, is still the same picture the world ignored prior to the Holocaust.  After that, the world said, “Never again,” yet the BDS movement and Jewish hatred on college campuses (often sparked by radical Palestinian agendas) are rampant.  Friends, as Christians we cannot be silent.

As the evening progressed, we were treated to a special live production of “Portrait of Courage: A Call to Action,” performed by volunteers of Operation Exodus.  This was a depiction of what life was like in Jewish communities in Europe prior to the Holocaust, how covertly things changed, and the life-saving results of a few non-Jews who took action (sometimes at the risk of their own lives) to rescue Jews from the rampage of the Nazi killing machine.  It was quite moving and very well done, and certainly served as a call for us not to be silent in the current state of affairs.

Operation Exodus is dedicated to fulfilling a mission the prophet Isaiah described this way:

Thus says the Lord God,

“Behold, I will lift up My hand to the nations
And set up My standard to the peoples;
And they will bring your sons in their bosom,
And your daughters will be carried on their shoulders.
~Isaiah 49:22

Indeed, God is calling the nations to bring His sons and daughters home.  Yes, we have a responsibility in that!  Given the current rise of anti-Semitism, there is a growing call for American Jews to return home.  Most seem very happy and content in America (just as they were in Europe), but I wonder…will the same sudden destruction, brought about by American anti-Semitism, overtake them like a storm, as the German version in the 1930’s did?  God forbid!

Those ignorant of past mistakes are bound to repeat them.  Let’s not be part of that crowd.

At the end of the program we saw a short video about a group of young men who individually made aliyah (return to the homeland).  More tomorrow, but I leave you with this: