Friday, January 23, 2015
This week on Jerusalem Dateline: Terror in Tel Aviv, the northern border heats up, and Iran threatens attack.
Plus a new book on the rise of ISIS, Christian persecution, and preparing for the days ahead.
And an American hero helps Israel's military.
Friday, January 16, 2015
This week on Jerusalem Dateline: The Jewish victims of last week's French terror attacks are buried in Jerusalem. Plus, will French Jews return to Israel?
Also, Egypt's president calls on Islam to reject radicalism.
Finally, is the Bible fact or fiction? A new film examines the Exodus.
Wednesday, January 07, 2015
Today's Paris terror attack is part of the new normal plaguing our civilization. It's designed to sow fear and wipe out our freedoms, especially freedom of the press.
Here's a portion of Destination Jerusalem, a new book by this reporter to be released later this month:
It addresses how these attacks are penetrating our daily lives and what's the strategy behind these onslaughts.
CHAPTER 11 PREPARING…AND PREPARING THE WAY
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." -Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities
DATELINE: LONDON, May 22, 2014.
Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale ran over British soldier Lee Rigby on Wellington Street in southeast London. In broad daylight, they got out of their car, hacked Rigby to death and dragged his body into the street. One attacker shouted, "You people will never be safe!"1
DATELINE: MOORE, OKLAHOMA, September 26, 2014.
Thirty-year-old Alton Nolen beheaded co-worker Colleen Hufford, a 54-year-old "quick-tosmile" grandmother at Vaughan Foods. CEO Mark Vaughan, an off-duty sheriff's deputy, averted more deaths when he shot Nolen. Nolen's postings on Facebook included "Sharia law is coming" and a poster that read "Islam will dominate the world."2
DATELINE: SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA, November 15, 2014.
Iranian born Man Haron Monis held dozens of hostages captive for 16 hours in a Sydney café. He forced his captives to hold an Islamic flag on the window. The siege shocks the country and one Australian headline shouts "The instant we changed forever."
Solitary jihadists struck infidels in so-called "lone wolf " attacks from Oklahoma to England and halfway around the world. ISIS sent out fiendish commands giving detailed instructions on how to attack Westerners: "Rig the roads with explosives for them. Attack their bases. Raid their homes. Cut off their heads. Do not let them feel secure. Hunt them wherever they may be. Turn their worldly life into fear and fire. Remove their families from their homes and thereafter blow up their homes."4
These assaults involved just a few, but the psychological shock rippled through those nations and around the world. An individual attack can often jar people more than a massive bloodbath. When ISIS marched and then murdered hundreds of Iraqi soldiers in the sands of the Iraqi desert, it jolted the West. But when ISIS beheaded American journalist James Foley, it hit home, shifted the national debate in the US and prodded a reluctant President to war. The motivation sprang from the fact that Foley was a US citizen, but also from the intimate and personal nature of the murder. Beheading seems one of the most gruesome end-of-life experiences; contemplating it, an anathema. Suddenly this abhorrent act became more personal, real. That could be me. That could be my son, my brother, my friend. We grieved with Foley's parents, John and Diane. The nature of the slaying itself seemed the stuff of horror films, but this was not a movie. It was real. Tragically, the individual beheadings continued…journalist Steven Sotloff…British aid worker David Haines…and so on.
Closer to home and fueled by Islamic State directives, could rogue groups maraud or "lone wolves" attack? Suddenly, ISIS isn't just "over there" but now "over here." Maybe next door. People might go to work thinking, Could I be next? What if I go to the mall and something happens? Call it the "new normal" when someone doesn't "go postal" but "goes ISIS."
Today's ubiquitous streams of communication-Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the 24/7 news cycle-amplify these attacks. Everybody knows. For ISIS, it's all part of their strategy. To intimidate, sow fear and bully a people…or a nation. It's psychological and spiritual warfare. It's by design. It's terror…it's fear…on the loose. As this Arab folk tale tells us, it can be deadly: "A wise old man, traveling on a desert road to Baghdad, met the figure of Pestilence hurrying ahead of him. 'Why are you in such a haste to reach Baghdad?' asked the old man. 'I am due to take 5,000 lives in the city,' Pestilence replied, before it went away. "Later, on the return journey, they met again. 'You lied to me,' said the old man reproachfully. 'You said you would take 5,000 lives, but you took away 10,000 instead.' "'I did not do it!' Pestilence swore. 'I took 5,000 and not one more; Fear killed the rest.'"5
Friday, December 19, 2014
You may be one of the millions of people who have enjoyed the humor and commentary of the Dry Bones cartoon. But why Dry Bones?
Yaacov Kirshen explained to us the reason for the name based on a Hebrew prophet nearly 3,000 years ago.
Here's the scriptures from the book of Ezekiel 37: 1-14:
1 "The hand of the Lord came upon me and brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley; and it was full of bones.
2 Then He caused me to pass by them all around, and behold, there were very many in the open valley; and indeed they were very dry.
3 And He said to me, "Son of man, can these bones live?" So I answered, "O Lord God, You know."
4 Again He said to me, "Prophesy to these bones, and say to them, 'O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord!
5 Thus says the Lord God to these bones: "Surely I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live.
6 I will put sinews on you and bring flesh upon you, cover you with skin and put breath in you; and you shall live. Then you shall know that I am the Lord."'"
7 So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and suddenly a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to bone.
8 Indeed, as I looked, the sinews and the flesh came upon them, and the skin covered them over; but there was no breath in them.
9 Also He said to me, "Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, 'Thus says the Lord God: "Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live."'"
10 So I prophesied as He commanded me, and breath came into them, and they lived, and stood upon their feet, an exceedingly great army.
11 Then He said to me, "Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They indeed say, 'Our bones are dry, our hope is lost, and we ourselves are cut off!'
12 Therefore prophesy and say to them, 'Thus says the Lord God: "Behold, O My people, I will open your graves and cause you to come up from your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel.
13 Then you shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O My people, and brought you up from your graves.
14 I will put My Spirit in you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken it and performed it," says the Lord.'
Friday, December 12, 2014
This week on Jerusalem Dateline: Condemning Israel for Jerusalem building, the mayor strikes back.
Plus, what do elections mean for Israel?
And Muslim women speak out against honor killings and American beauties experience the beauty of Jerusalem.
Friday, December 05, 2014
This week on Jerusalem Dateline: Political crisis: Israel heads to early elections. Iran's ugly goals: why the Islamic State is a greater threat than ever.
And the app that's bringing biblical archaeology to life for kids everywhere.
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
November 18, 2014, 7 a.m.
Paramedic Haim Gartner – one of the first on the scene – described what he saw.
“We go inside. We see people are just lying down with this Jewish … tallit [prayer shawl] covered with blood. Part of them I’m wasn’t sure if they were shot or just cut up, I mean stabbed,” Gartner recalled. “You … run from person to person to check who’s alive, who’s not alive … every face you see you hope it’s not your brother, or your brother-in- law, or father-in-law, or parents cause you know we live in this neighborhood.”
Jerusalem Municipality Police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld gave the gruesome report:
“Two terrorists Palestinians from east Jerusalem entered inside the synagogue. They were armed with knives, axes and a pistol. The synagogue was packed at the time with people praying in peace and quiet and as a result of this terror attack where shots were fired and innocent people were sadly attacked. Four Israelis were pronounced dead at the scene.”
Amateur video captured the final shootout with police. They shot and killed the terrorists.
Rosenfeld said the entire attack took seven minutes.
Seven minutes to wrack a community, shake a city, and stir the world.
Har Nof, a quiet, religious Jerusalem neighborhood was the scene of the assault. Har Nof means “mountain of the view” and overlooks a panoramic vista on the outskirts of the city. In the early morning hours, grief and shock greeted its residents along with the autumn sun.
The attack took place about 7 a.m. We arrived later to report on Jerusalem’s worst terror attack in six years. Dozens of police scoured the area. Hundreds of residents surrounded the slopes beside the synagogue. A helicopter whirred overhead. Reporters faced their cameras and told the story in French, Chinese, English, and of course Hebrew.
David – a local – painted a picture of what he calls home.
“They came into a quiet neighborhood. It’s not in east Jerusalem or occupied territories or any of that lexicon. They came in here to people who were praying and killed them while they’re praying in cold blood, people who were going to come home to take the kids to school. The kids are sitting home or actually walking around over here wondering where their fathers are,” he told us.
Another local – Avi – watched us finish our “stand up.” With tears he offered to give us pictures from inside the synagogue. The pictures revealed the full extent of the carnage.
Men draped in the prayer shawls sprawled on the floor, blood spattered around them: Fathers who never came home; husbands who never said goodbye; friends who never gave one last hug.
They died in their beloved, but blood-soaked synagogue and never went home. According to Jewish custom, they were buried by sundown.
Three of the four were Americans, one British.
The four came early in the morning to pray at the “Bnei Torah,” the Sons of the Torah synagogue. Psalm 74 reflected the butchery that morning.
“The enemy has damaged everything in the sanctuary. Your enemies roar in the midst of Your meeting place; they set up their banners for signs. They seem like men who lift up axes among the thick trees. And now they break down its carved work, all at once, with axes and hammers. They have set fire to Your sanctuary; they have defiled the dwelling place of Your name to the ground. They said in their hearts, ‘Let us destroy them altogether.’” (Psalm 74: 4-8)
Hamas echoed that destruction and quickly called the murders a “heroic act.”
Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank gave out sweets to celebrate. Abu Ali, father of one of the attackers, called it “a religious war.”
Hamas called for more “revenge attacks.”
Yossi Klein Halevi ended his powerful commentary with this conclusion:
“In an era of moral madness, in which much of the world judges Israel more harshly than it judges Hamas, this must be said: Nothing Israel does or doesn’t do is responsible for provoking young Palestinians to hack to death Jews in prayer. The provocation is Jewish prayer itself, the right of the Jewish people to live in its land.
“One image from the synagogue massacre will haunt Jews for a long time to come. According to a medic on the scene, terrorists severed an arm wrapped in the straps of tefillin, the phylacteries in which religious Jews recite their morning prayers.
"That terrible image has reinforced the prevailing sense within Israeli society that the war against the State of Israel is only the latest phase of an old war against the Jews.”
Thursday, November 06, 2014
Few people understand or have seen the persecution of Christians in the Middle East like Canon Andrew White, who has been in the eye of the storm.
White oversees St. George's Church in Baghdad. His ministry, The Foundation for the Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East offers comfort and humanitarian supplies to many of the Christians devastated by the march of ISIS throughout Iraq and Syria.
Here's an excerpt from a recent and revealing interview with the man known as the "Vicar of Baghdad."
Friday, October 17, 2014
This week on Jerusalem Dateline: A symbolic gesture that gives a push to a Palestinian state.
Plus, “Beneath the Helmet,” we get a sneak peak at the show that’s taking you inside the IDF.
Finally, we take a look at how the media overlooks Palestinian abuses and targets Israel.
Friday, October 10, 2014
This week on Jerusalem Dateline: Benjamin Netanyahu urges world: defeat ISIS, but don't forget Iran.
Plus, unraveling the mystery of the Four Blood Moons.
And, the Palestinian Authority claims to stand for the oppressed, so why are they getting rich?