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In Israel, everyone is equal in the eyes of the law

Israel is still reeling from the news that former President Moshe Katzav has been found guilty on two counts of rape and sexual assault. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that today marked a “sad day for the State of Israel and its residents.”

But the Prime Minister also made a point that is well worth making: the verdict proves that in Israel — unlike so many other places in the Middle East — even high officials are held accountable for their actions. Opposition leader and Kadima Chair Tzipi Livni echoed Netanyahu’s remarks, and added that the ruling carries an important message to woman victimized by such attacks: “The court’s decision conveys a clear message with regard to public officials, but more importantly, it conveys a message to the victims. In these difficult times for Israeli society, the message should strengthen the weak in society: women and anyone who is victimized.”

Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch added: “This is a sad day, but this is a day demonstrating more than anything what it means to be equal before the law.” It is this commitment to equality, upheld by rule of law, that makes Israel a beacon of democracy in a part of the world where democracy is scarce to nonexistent.

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Thursday, December 30th, 2010 at 1:13 PM  | David Kuner

Israel’s desert — and ocean — is blooming

Up until Israel’s establishment in 1948 many believed that the Holy Land held no natural resources. Oil and gas deposits were still undiscovered, and even water sources were — and continue to be — sparse.

When Jews began streaming into Israel after the country’s founding, they quickly got to work dealing with the scarcity of resources. God promised the Jewish people in the Bible that when they settled the Holy Land the desert would bloom, and, thanks to innovative methods of irrigation and other scientific wonders developed by Israelis, that is exactly what happened. Previously barren desert was, and continues to be, transformed into forests and fertile land filled with fruits, vegetables, and other crops planted by Jewish farmers.

Now we see that God’s promise is broader than we thought – God has made the ocean bloom as well and provided the Jewish people with a rich supply of natural gas. For the first time in the Jewish state’s history, Israel might finally become a real competitor in the Middle East for exporting this modern gem of natural gas. God indeed keeps his promises and will always provide for His nation of Israel!

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Thursday, December 30th, 2010 at 12:32 PM  | afarkas

Israel's desert — and ocean — is blooming

Up until Israel’s establishment in 1948 many believed that the Holy Land held no natural resources. Oil and gas deposits were still undiscovered, and even water sources were — and continue to be — sparse.

When Jews began streaming into Israel after the country’s founding, they quickly got to work dealing with the scarcity of resources. God promised the Jewish people in the Bible that when they settled the Holy Land the desert would bloom, and, thanks to innovative methods of irrigation and other scientific wonders developed by Israelis, that is exactly what happened. Previously barren desert was, and continues to be, transformed into forests and fertile land filled with fruits, vegetables, and other crops planted by Jewish farmers.

Now we see that God’s promise is broader than we thought – God has made the ocean bloom as well and provided the Jewish people with a rich supply of natural gas. For the first time in the Jewish state’s history, Israel might finally become a real competitor in the Middle East for exporting this modern gem of natural gas. God indeed keeps his promises and will always provide for His nation of Israel!

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Thursday, December 30th, 2010 at 12:32 PM  | afarkas

Iran hangs man convicted of spying for Israel

Iran recently hung one of seven spies convicted of supplying Israel with secrets on Iran’s nuclear programs, and the regime’s courts sentenced another suspect to death by hanging for “counter-revolutionary activities.” According the French news agency AFP Iran has carried out 171 death sentences over the last year for a wide range of crimes like drug dealing, rape, adultery, and anti-revolutionary activities.

It appears that the death sentences were a response to Iran’s frustration over the sabotage inflicted on their nuclear program. Iran’s drive towards a nuclear bomb has been severely damaged by factors including the stuxnet virus – which is said to have set Iran’s nuclear program back by two years – as well the assassination of two senior Iranian nuclear scientists.  No one has taken credit for these attacks but Iran has laid the blame on Israel.

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Tuesday, December 28th, 2010 at 2:32 PM  | afarkas

121 injured in Israel train fire

A fire broke out on a commuter train in northern Israel on Tuesday morning. The fire was caused by an electrical short in the rear engine. 121 passengers suffered mild to light injury. Four fire fighting units and many MDA units rushed to the scene to help contain the situation.

Thank God that paramedics were able to treat most of the passengers on the spot. While Israel is still recovering from the shock of the Carmel fire which left 43 dead, Tuesday’s incident was reported with a deep sense of relief from the entire country that no one was fatally injured.

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Tuesday, December 28th, 2010 at 9:16 AM  | afarkas

Lieberman: No apologies to Turkey

Speaking at a conference for ambassadors, Israeli foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman had some harsh words for Turkey and the Palestinian Authority. Lieberman refused Turkey’s demand for Israel to apologize for the Gaza flotilla incident, which left nine Turkish citizens dead, and instead demanded that Turkey apologize for its support of terrorist groups and its ongoing incitement against the Jewish state.

As for the peace process between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, Lieberman stated that he does not believe that peace will be achieved in the near future, and that Israel has a plan set in place to deal with the conflict once the current talks break down. He went on to say that no matter what Israel will offer the Palestinians they will never accept a peace accord with Israel.

Lieberman is known for his often candid speech — he routinely makes headlines for his strong rhetoric against Israel’s foes in the Middle East. Oddly enough, his style of being blunt — and sometimes even rude — probably helped get him elected. Israeli’s have tired of the usual rhetoric of appeasement towards their enemies and preferred Lieberman’s off-the-cuff political style.

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Monday, December 27th, 2010 at 7:58 AM  | afarkas

From “America” to Israel

Dan Peek, cofounder of the 1970s rock band America (which boasted over a dozen Top 10 hits including “A Horse With No Name”) is now singing about Israel. In the 1980s Peek had a spiritual awakeing and reinvented himself as a contemporary Christian artist. This in turn led him to develop a strong and unfailing love for Zionism:

“I’m very pro Israel, I guess I would be considered a rabid pro-Zionist. I would be foaming at the mouth against giving up any more land – including the Old City.

The main reason I wanted to write the “The Wailing Wall” was for encouragement.

There’s a verse in the Bible that says ‘Comfort ye, comfort ye my people.’ So I wanted to encourage Israelis by letting them know they have friends.”

“The world has become somewhat blinded from the truth,” he added.

“At one point, a lot of the world was sympathetic to Israel, but slowly it’s changed. However there are a goodly number of American citizens who are very pro-Israel and back her to the hilt. It’s just that these avid supporters tend to sometimes get drowned out in the US.”

The other song, “Wings of Eagles,” which Peek said had been donated to the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, focuses on immigration to Israel, one of the tenets of Christian evangelical philosophy which prophesizes an ingathering of Jews to Israel heralding a Messianic era.

“It’s also a song of hope and encouragement that Jews in danger around the world will be able to come to the Promised Land,” said Peek.

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Thursday, December 23rd, 2010 at 12:55 PM  | David Kuner

From "America" to Israel

Dan Peek, cofounder of the 1970s rock band America (which boasted over a dozen Top 10 hits including “A Horse With No Name”) is now singing about Israel. In the 1980s Peek had a spiritual awakeing and reinvented himself as a contemporary Christian artist. This in turn led him to develop a strong and unfailing love for Zionism:

“I’m very pro Israel, I guess I would be considered a rabid pro-Zionist. I would be foaming at the mouth against giving up any more land – including the Old City.

The main reason I wanted to write the “The Wailing Wall” was for encouragement.

There’s a verse in the Bible that says ‘Comfort ye, comfort ye my people.’ So I wanted to encourage Israelis by letting them know they have friends.”

“The world has become somewhat blinded from the truth,” he added.

“At one point, a lot of the world was sympathetic to Israel, but slowly it’s changed. However there are a goodly number of American citizens who are very pro-Israel and back her to the hilt. It’s just that these avid supporters tend to sometimes get drowned out in the US.”

The other song, “Wings of Eagles,” which Peek said had been donated to the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, focuses on immigration to Israel, one of the tenets of Christian evangelical philosophy which prophesizes an ingathering of Jews to Israel heralding a Messianic era.

“It’s also a song of hope and encouragement that Jews in danger around the world will be able to come to the Promised Land,” said Peek.

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Thursday, December 23rd, 2010 at 12:55 PM  | David Kuner

Anti-Israel ads to appear on Seattle buses

On the second anniversary of Operation Cast Lead, Israel’s military incursion into Gaza, a group called the Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign has rented ad space on the sides of 12 city buses with the words “Israeli war crimes: Your tax dollars at work.” The shocking and provocative ad shows a picture of a Palestinian family standing next to a demolished house in Gaza and encourages supporters to write to Congress and ask lawmakers to revoke U.S. military aid to Israel:

The David Horowitz Freedom Center, founded by the conservative U.S. writer and political activist of the same name, also announced it has purchased bus panels to parody the anti-Israel ads. The Horowitz ads will run a graphic photo of an Israeli bus in flames, with the words, “Palestinian war crimes: Your tax dollars at work.”

On his blog, Horowitz described his motivation.

“These ads are part of an escalating attack on Israel by the left throughout American culture. We expect this sort of obscene propaganda in our radical universities but not on our city streets. These lies cannot go unanswered,” he wrote.

Seattle administrators seem to have been caught off guard by the controversy and are puzzling over how to handle it. Bus company officials are meeting today with members of the county council, as well as representatives of the American Jewish Committee, the Anti-Defamation League and other Jewish groups.

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Thursday, December 23rd, 2010 at 7:23 AM  | David Kuner

Israeli teen wounded in rocket attack

Multiple rockets and mortar shells have been fired into Israel from the Gaza Strip over the last two days, one of which struck in an open field just meters from an Ashkelon kindergarten, wounding a teenage girl in a nearby building:

The girl, who was cut by flying glass in the shower, was treated by Magen David Adom paramedics and then taken to hospital for further evaluation; two other people, include a propane delivery man, were suffering from shock. A number of buildings in the area sustained light damage.

“We were lucky,” said Ilan Goldsmith, community manager at Kibbutz Zikim, where the rocket hit. “It exploded at quarter to eight this morning, the exact time when parents are bringing their children in.”

The Palestinian-made Qassam rocket corkscrewed into the kibbutz, he said, exploding on a shady path about 10 meters (30 feet) from the kindergarten and two adjacent nursery buildings for the under-three year olds.

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Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010 at 12:07 PM  | David Kuner

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Rabbi's Commentary
Together in Hope, Courage, and Faith

Recent terror attacks against nations founded on principles of peace, democracy, and the value of human life have been carried out by those who find these godly principles troubling and threatening. But despite the constant threat, these biblical ideals assure us Who will win this war.


Read Rabbi Eckstein's message »

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