Friday, December 06, 2013
This week on Jerusalem Dateline: International plans call for dividing the city of Jerusalem in the name of peace. What do Jewish and Arab residents think about dividing their city?
Also, Muslims accuse Israel of threatening the al Aksa Mosque on Jerusalem's Temple Mount, while archaeologists say that claim is false.
And a Jewish family in Jerusalem's Old City celebrates Hannukah, the Festival of Lights.
Saturday, November 30, 2013
This week on Jerusalem Dateline: We take a special look at Rome, the world's second Holy City.
Take a tour of some of the most important sites in the Christian faith and the connections with Jerusalem, beginning with the Apostles nearly 2,000 years ago.
Also, spiritual warfare in Rome rages as the Catholic church fights the spread of satanic cults.
Plus, the story of a small band of Jewish believers who brought Christianity to Rome and the emperor who helped make it a global faith.
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
During the 1930s Winston Churchill stood nearly alone against the growing menace of Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany. He railed about Germany’s re-arming throughout the decade.
“From his backbench seat in Parliament, Churchill badgered, "Germany is arming – she is rapidly arming – and no one will stop her." But Winston was seen as an alarmist distraction by the coalition government of Labour, Liberal and Conservative parties focused primarily on domestic issues … But Churchill would not be silenced. In a barrage of speeches, broadcasts and articles he raised public awareness of Germany's rearmament and Britain's lack of preparedness.” (an excerpt from the “Gathering Storm:”)
Churchill was prescient and prophetic. Germany was re-arming. Hitler was preparing for war. The world was lurching toward the abyss. Yet Churchill’s voice in the 1930s wilderness was seen by many as “an alarmist distraction.”
Today, Benjamin Netanyahu too is crying out in the wilderness of 2013. He is sounding the alarm against an Islamic regime bent on the destruction of the Jewish state. He is warning the West its recent Geneva agreement makes the world a more – not less – dangerous place. He sees the churning of thousands of Iranian centrifuges and sees another, but this time nuclear, abyss.
Yet today – like Churchill – for some he is “an alarmist distraction.” For example, British (ironically) Foreign Secretary William Hague warned: “We would discourage anybody in the world, including Israel, from taking any steps that would undermine this agreement and we will make that very clear to all concerned.”
In this crucible of our times, perhaps Netanyahu sees a historic parallel between himself as today’s Israeli prime minister and yesteryear’s British prime minister.
During last week’s visit to Moscow, Netanyahu sat down with Israeli and foreign reporters for an off-the-record briefing. This reporter asked Netanyahu the following question, a question his spokesman did allow to be “on the record:”
“During your U.N. speech, you quoted from [the prophet] Amos [about Israel not being uprooted again from the Land after returning from a 2000 year exile]. Given the Iranian nuclear threat, in what way do you feel the weight of Jewish history on your shoulders? Do you feel a bit like Churchill in 1938?”
“He was in opposition then. That was different. And there are many other differences. But I think that securing the future of the Jewish state is the responsibility of the government … That’s my job. I need to make sure I do everything in my power in the time that I have as the leader of Israel to make sure that the chain of Jewish existence and the chain in the life of the Jewish people in the Jewish state is not severed … This is my responsibility."
Churchill bore the criticism and scorn of the political class. Yet history proved him right. Netanyahu can expect the scorn and criticism of those seeking appeasement with a genocidal regime. My sense is that, like Churchill, time will show him to be on the right side of history and – like Churchill – a man for the hour.
Friday, November 22, 2013
This week on Jerusalem Dateline: As the world powers negotiate with Iran over its nuclear program, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visits Russia to try and persuade President Vladimir Putin not to back an agreement giving the Islamic Republic the upper hand.
Plus, Russian Jews are the largest immigrant population in Israel. Hear about the modern-day migration that's been 3,000 years in the making.
And, she's one of the strongest advocates for Israel in the U.S. government. Our interview with U.S Rep. Michele Bachmann.
Friday, November 15, 2013
This week on Jerusalem Dateline: The growing threat of global anti-Semitism. As the international community grows colder towards Israel, some ask if the European Union is taking steps to make it worse.
Plus, restoring a symbol of the fight for Israel's independence. How a windmill project strengthened bonds between Christians and Jews.
And, he's the most influential Jew outside of the state of Israel. Billionaire Ron Lauder shares his views on the peace process and the future of Israel.
Monday, November 11, 2013
This week on Jerusalem Dateline: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry comes to Israel for yet another attempt at a Middle East peace. How far will the U.S. push Israel to make a deal?
Plus, the man who has assembled one of the largest collections of biblical artifacts in the world. Now, it's going on display in Israel
And, a revolution and an execution -- one family's story symbolizes the fury that descended on Egypt's Christians when they dared to stand against an Islamic dictator.
Friday, November 08, 2013
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry made an unexpected detour from Jerusalem to Geneva for what many expect may be the beginning of a deal with Iran over its nuclear program.
But Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says it’s a bad deal. He met Kerry just before he left for Geneva and made his case.
“I reminded him that he said that no deal is better than a bad deal. And the deal that is being discussed in Geneva right now is a bad deal. It’s a very bad deal. Iran is not required to take apart even one centrifuge. But the international community is relieving sanctions on Iran for the first time after many years.
Iran gets everything that it wanted at this stage and pays nothing. And this is when Iran is under severe pressure. I urge Secretary Kerry not to rush to sign, to wait, to reconsider, to get a good deal. But this is a bad deal, a very, very, bad deal. It’s the deal of a century for Iran; it’s a very dangerous and bad deal for peace and the international community.”
According to NBC News, the deal would require that Iran “halt advancements in its nuclear program in return for what a senior U.S. official calls ‘very limited, temporary and reversible’ relief from economic sanctions, as a ‘first step’ agreement, ahead of a comprehensive final deal.”
In unusually tough diplomatic language Netanyahu also said “Israel utterly rejects it [the deal] and what I am saying is shared by many, many in the region whether or not they express it publicly. Israel is not obliged by this agreement and Israel will do everything it needs to defend itself, to defend the security of its people”
In the following excerpt from Dateline Jerusalem, this reporter cited the way Netanyahu looks at this standoff between Iran and the West through history’s prism.
While Israel stood on the front lines, Benjamin Netanyahu warned of Iran’s global agenda. After all, Israel represented just the “little Satan” while the United States was the “great Satan.”
In Iran’s view, both had to be defeated. Netanyahu drew a clear history lesson and parallel from the war. He compared the ominous threat coming out of Iran to 1938, the year before the outbreak of World War II. Then, the world failed to act against Nazi Germany. Now, the world is failing the test to stand against Shiite Iran.
At a speech before the Jewish General Assembly, he warned that Iran’s nuclear program represented another Holocaust in the making.
“It’s 1938 and Iran is Germany. And Iran is racing to arm itself with atomic bombs,” Netanyahu told the assembly. “Believe him [Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad] and stop him. . . .This is what we must do. Everything else pales before this.”
He noted Israel would be Iran’s first, not last stop: “Israel would certainly be the first stop on Iran’s tour of destruction, but at the planned production rate of 25 nuclear bombs a year . . . [the arsenal] will be directed against ‘the big Satan,’ the U.S., and the ‘moderate Satan,’ Europe. . . . Iran is developing ballistic missiles that would reach America, and now they prepare missiles with an adequate range to cover the whole of Europe.”
Netanyahu criticized the world for not being more forceful against the Iranian nuclear threat, much like the world avoided confronting the rising power of Nazi Germany in 1938: “No one cared then and no one seems to care now.” He warned of Tehran’s nuclear and missile program: “[It] goes way beyond the destruction of Israel – it is directed to achieve worldwide range. It’s a global program in the service of a mad ideology.”
This “mad ideology” is something the West needs to know. It explains the why behind Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
Many Iranian Islamic leaders, including Iran’s new President Hassan Rouhani – like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad before him – believe in the return of the Mahdi or the Twelfth Imam.
According to Ron Cantrell, author of “The Mahdi: Hijacked Messiah,” the Mahdi descended from the Prophet Mohammed himself but vanished in the middle of the ninth century. Now more than 1,100 years later, Shiites anxiously expect the Twelfth Imam to come back at the end of the age.
Cantrell explained the Mahdi comes “with a promise that he would return and he would bring Islam to its total fruition as the world’s last standing religion. The Mahdi is a personage that is expected to come on the scene by Islam as a messiah figure. He is slotted to come in the end of time according to their writings very much like how we think of the return of Jesus. Although there are some staggering differences between our Messiah and the Islamic expected Messiah.”
But in Shiite eschatology, chaos precedes the return of the Mahdi and marks the end of the age. This is an apocalyptic time marked by wars, plagues, and famines, followed by the Day of Judgment.
Cantrell says, “This is an important situation that we are heading into with the nation of Iran. Chaos and worldwide turmoil is a prerequisite for the coming of the Mahdi. Now Ahmadinejad has stated that this chaos must take place before the Mahdi can come on the scene. He is willing to make this situation take place. …This situation…straddles the worlds of public policy and spiritual warfare. The implications for public policy and the response of the West are staggering and the spiritual ramifications profound.”
When you mix this messianic theology with nuclear weapons, Iran’s current foreign policy becomes a toxic brew with regional and global ramifications. If Iran got the bomb it would change the face of the Middle East. Iran could cast its nuclear shadow over the region and especially its Sunni rivals like Saudi Arabia and their Gulf neighbors. It would put themselves off limits to any credible military intervention unless their adversary—whomever that might be—wanted to risk nuclear retaliation. Any one of many terror groups—most likely Hezbollah—would be emboldened knowing that their patron had their “nuclear” back. Iran with its ballistic missiles—possibly nuclear tipped—could pose a constant existential threat to Israel.
Yet, despite Netanyahu’s warning of Iran’s clear and present danger, its nuclear clock keeps ticking.
For Israel Iran’s nuclear program – one that might eventually be able to produce 25 nuclear bombs a year – represents an existential threat. They’re in the nuclear crosshairs and the target of Iran’s deadly end-times theology spewing out of their leaders.
For many the bottom line continues to be that the only thing worse than a strike on Iran’s nuclear program is a nuclear Iran. For Israel, it’s a question of life or death. Now the questions hanging over the Middle East are: will Israel strike Iran? Can they stop Iran’s nuclear program? Will Iran get the bomb before Israel bombs?
Whether Israel attacks Iran or if Iran gets the bomb, either way, it will be a hinge of history: history will change, and likely for the worse.
History records another era – set in the heart of the 20th century – in which the West chose to sign an agreement with a dictator dedicated to a genocidal path rather than confront him. In 1938, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain signed an agreement with Adolf Hitler. Winston Churchill described the moment: "You were given the choice between war and dishonor. You chose dishonor and you will have war."
Soon history will record if the West once again has chosen dishonor and whether it will reap the winds of war.
Thursday, November 07, 2013
Secretary of State John Kerry shuttled between Bethlehem, Amman, and Jerusalem over the past few days. He’s intent on brokering a peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians. His entourage sped through the streets of Jerusalem, clogging traffic and racing between Israel’s president’s home, the prime minister’s residence, and the David Citadel Hotel.
Despite all his best efforts will he succeed?
For those who have followed the “peace process” for years, the statements of the latest U.S. secretary of state ring hollow. Not because of any lack of sincerity on Kerry’s part, but the phrases seem reminiscent of the last secretary of state and the one before that … and so on. “Confidence building measures” … “historic opportunities” … “painful concessions for peace” ….
Here’s one of Kerry’s latest statements:
“I'm convinced from my conversations today with Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu, as well as President [Mahmoud] Abbas, that this is not mission impossible, this can happen. It will require both leaders to make big historic difficult decisions, but I'm also convinced that those are decisions that are absolutely totally in the interest of their country, Israel, and their country-to-be, Palestine.”
But does Kerry know what the “… country to-be, Palestine” means for many Palestinians?
For example, had he read a recent speech by Mahmoud Abbas:
"All our holy places are still under occupation, and so far we have not liberated one inch of Palestinian land. All Palestinian land is occupied -- Gaza is occupied, the West Bank is occupied, the 1948 lands [i.e., Israel] are occupied and Jerusalem is occupied.”
Does he know that Palestinians over and over have stated -- in Arabic -- that their struggle with Israel is not a territorial issue, but religious doctrine?
Here’s an excerpt from Dateline Jerusalem -- a new book by this author -- that explains why Kerry may never succeed:
One of the PA’s messages is that the whole of Israel, not just the West Bank, is Palestine. For example, a PA-produced documentary shows that Acco, the Sea of Galilee, Haifa, and Jaffa are Palestinian lands, all currently part of modern-day Israel. This message buttresses the Islamic belief that land once under the control of Islam can never be relinquished to the “infidel.” This belief puts Muslims under a religious obligation to win back that land. The fact that Jews hold sway in Palestine makes the affront that much more injurious. With this kind of indoctrination, [Itamar] Marcus [of Palestinian Media Watch] despairs of a true peace between Israelis and Palestinians. When the PA raises a whole new generation of Palestinian children with the idea Jews stole their land, that all of Israel is theirs, and they have a religious obligation to take back the land, peace will be virtually impossible to achieve.
Marcus says, “It’s part of the great deception. To the world they say it’s a territorial war. To their own people they say it’s a religious war for Allah. If it’s a territorial war, you can compromise on territory. But if it’s a religious war, you’re prohibited from compromising.”
And if there are no consequences or change within the PA, Marcus believes peace will remain elusive.
“If that doesn’t happen, there is no peace process, even if they’re meeting in Jordan or meeting any place else, it’s not a real peace process. As our book title says, it’s just a deception process.”
But does Kerry know about this “deception process?”
Given Abbas’s statements and the pervasive incitement in official Palestinian media, it’s hard to imagine a scenario in which Abbas can agree to recognize a Jewish state, cease to demand all the “settlements” in the West Bank be dismantled and sign a final agreement with Israel.
Friday, November 01, 2013
This week on Jerusalem Dateline: Swapping prisoners for peace talks. Israeli families are angry that killers are going free, while others fear it could lead to more terrorism.
Plus, who owns Jerusalem? Muslims and Jews both make historical claims, but who has the historic and legal right to the holy city?
And, biblical prophecy fulfilled. Why some Christians head to the Holy Land to help farmers harvest their crops.
Friday, October 25, 2013
From the discovery of the "Copper Scroll" to the search for the location of the Ark of the Covenant, Jerusalem Dateline explores some of the mysteries of the land of Israel.