History Of Jewish Temples On The Temple Mount: Beginning In 957 B.C.

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF WIKIPEDIA)

 

The Hebrew name given in the Hebrew Bible for the building complex is either Beit YHWH (House of Yahweh, or Jehovah), Beit HaElohim “House of God”, or simply Beiti “my house”, Beitekhah “your house” etc. The term hekhal “hall” or main building is often translated “temple” in older English Bibles. In rabbinical literature the temple is Beit HaMikdash, “The Sanctified House”, and only the Temple in Jerusalem is referred to by this name.

First Temple[edit]

The Hebrew Bible says that the First Temple was built in 957 BCE[1] by King Solomon.[2] According to the Book of Deuteronomy, as the sole place of Israelite sacrifice (Deuteronomy 12:2-27), the Temple replaced the Tabernacle constructed in the Sinai Desert under the auspices of Moses, as well as local sanctuaries, and altars in the hills.[3] This temple was sacked a few decades later by Shoshenq IPharaoh of Egypt.[4]

Although efforts were made at partial reconstruction, it was only in 835 BCE when Jehoash, King of Judah in the second year of his reign invested considerable sums in reconstruction, only to have it stripped again for Sennacherib, King of Assyria c. 700 BCE. The First Temple was totally destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BCE (425 BCE according to historical Jewish sources) when they sacked the city.[5]

Second Temple[edit]

According to the Book of Ezra, construction of the Second Temple was authorized by Cyrus the Great and began in 538 BCE, after the fall of the Babylonian Empire the year before. It was completed 23 years later, on the third day of Adar, in the sixth year of the reign of Darius the Great (12 March 515 BCE),[6] dedicated by the Jewish governor Zerubbabel. However, with a full reading of the Book of Ezra and the Book of Nehemiah, there were four edicts to build the Second Temple, which were issued by three kings. Cyrus in 536 BCE, which is recorded in the first chapter of Ezra. Next, Darius I of Persia in 519 BCE, which is recorded in the sixth chapter of Ezra. Third, Artaxerxes I of Persia in 457 BCE, which was the seventh year of his reign, and is recorded in the seventh chapter of Ezra. Finally, by Artaxerxes again in 444 BCE in the second chapter of Nehemiah.[7] Also, despite the fact that the new temple was not as extravagant or imposing as its predecessor, it still dominated the Jerusalem skyline and remained an important structure throughout the time of Persian suzerainty. Moreover, the temple narrowly avoided being destroyed again in 332 BCE when the Jews refused to acknowledge the deification of Alexander the Great of Macedonia. Alexander was allegedly “turned from his anger” at the last minute by astute diplomacy and flattery. Further, after the death of Alexander on 13 June 323 BCE, and the dismembering of his empire, the Ptolemies came to rule over Judea and the Temple. Under the Ptolemies, the Jews were given many civil liberties and lived content under their rule. However, when the Ptolemaic army was defeated at Panium by Antiochus III of the Seleucids in 198 BCE, this policy changed. Antiochus wanted to Hellenize the Jews, attempting to introduce the Greek pantheon into the temple. Moreover, a rebellion ensued and was brutally crushed, but no further action by Antiochus was taken, and when Antiochus died in 187 BCE at Luristan, his son Seleucus IV Philopator succeeded him. However, his policies never took effect in Judea, since he was assassinated the year after his ascension.

Antiochus IV Epiphanes succeeded his older brother to the Seleucid throne and immediately adopted his father’s previous policy of universal Hellenisation. The Jews rebelled again and Antiochus, in a rage, retaliated in force. Considering the previous episodes of discontent, the Jews became incensed when the religious observances of Sabbath and circumcision were officially outlawed. When Antiochus erected a statue of Zeus in their temple and Hellenic priests began sacrificing pigs (the usual sacrifice offered to the Greek gods in the Hellenic religion), their anger began to spiral. When a Greek official ordered a Jewish priest to perform a Hellenic sacrifice, the priest (Mattathias) killed him. In 167 BCE, the Jews rose up en masse behind Mattathias and his five sons to fight and win their freedom from Seleucid authority. Mattathias’ son Judas Maccabaeus, now called “The Hammer”, re-dedicated the temple in 165 BCE and the Jews celebrate this event to this day as a major part of the festival of Hanukkah.

The temple was rededicated under Judas Maccabaeus in 164 BCE.[2] During the Roman era, Pompey entered (and thereby desecrated) the Holy of Holies in 63 BCE, but left the Temple intact.[8][9][10] In 54 BCE, Crassus looted the Temple treasury,[11][12] only for him to die the year after at the Battle of Carrhae against Parthia. According to folklore, he was executed by having molten gold poured down his throat. When news of this reached the Jews, they revolted again, only to be put down in 43 BCE.

Around 20 BCE, the building was renovated and expanded by Herod the Great and became known as Herod’s Temple. It was destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE during the Siege of Jerusalem. During the Bar Kokhba revolt against the Romans in 132–135 CE, Simon bar Kokhba and Rabbi Akiva wanted to rebuild the Temple, but bar Kokhba’s revolt failed and the Jews were banned from Jerusalem (except for Tisha B’Av) by the Roman Empire. Emperor Julian allowed to have the Temple rebuilt but the Galilee earthquake of 363 ended all attempts ever since.

After the Muslim conquest of Jerusalem in the 7th century, Umayyad Caliph Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan ordered the construction of an Islamic shrine, the Dome of the Rock, on the site of the Temple. The shrine has stood on the mount since 691 CE; the al-Aqsa Mosque, from roughly the same period, also stands in the Temple courtyard.

Recent history[edit]

The Temple Mount, along with the entire Old City of Jerusalem, was captured from Jordan by Israel in 1967 during the Six-Day War, allowing Jews once again to pray at the holy site.[13][14][clarification needed]Jordan had occupied East Jerusalem and the Temple Mount immediately following Israel’s declaration of independence on May 14, 1948. Israel officially unified East Jerusalem, including the Temple Mount, with the rest of Jerusalem in 1980 under the Jerusalem Law, though United Nations Security Council Resolution 478 declared the Jerusalem Law to be in violation of international law.[15] The Muslim Waqf, based in Jordan, has administrative control of the Temple Mount.

Location[edit]

There are four theories as to where the Temple stood; where the Dome of the Rock is now located, to the north of the Dome of the Rock (Professor Asher Kaufman), to the east of the Dome of the Rock (Professor Joseph Patrich of the Hebrew University).[16] and to the south of the Temple Mount on Mount Ophel.[17][18][19][20]

Physical layout[edit]

Remnants of the 1st century Stairs of Ascent, discovered by archaeologist Benjamin Mazar, to the entrance of the Temple Courtyard. Pilgrims coming to make sacrifices at the Temple would have entered and exited by this stairway.

The Temple of Solomon or First Temple consisted of three main elements:

and the Temple building itself, with
  • the larger hekhal, or Holy Place, called the “greater house” in 2 Chr. 3:5 and the “temple” in 1 Kings 6:17, and
  • the smaller “inner sanctum”, known as the Holy of Holies or Kodesh HaKodashim.

In the case of the last and most elaborate structure, the Herodian Temple, the structure consisted of the wider Temple precinct, the restricted Temple courts, and the Temple building itself:

  • Temple precinct, located on the extended Temple Mount platform, and including the Court of the Gentiles
  • Court of the Women or Ezrat HaNashim
  • Court of the Israelites, reserved for ritually pure Jewish men
  • Court of the Priests, whose relation to the Temple Court is interpreted in different ways by scholars
  • Temple Court or Azarah, with the Brazen Laver (kiyor), the Altar of Burnt Offerings (mizbe’ah), the Place of Slaughtering, and the Temple building itself
The Temple edifice had three distinct chambers:
  • Temple vestibule or porch (ulam)
  • Temple sanctuary (hekhal or heikal), the main part of the building
  • Holy of Holies (Kodesh HaKodashim or debir), the innermost chamber

According to the Talmud, the Women’s Court was to the east and the main area of the Temple to the west.[21] The main area contained the butchering area for the sacrifices and the Outer Altar on which portions of most offerings were burned. An edifice contained the ulam (antechamber), the hekhal (the “sanctuary”), and the Holy of Holies. The sanctuary and the Holy of Holies were separated by a wall in the First Temple and by two curtains in the Second Temple. The sanctuary contained the seven branched candlestick, the table of showbread and the Incense Altar.

The main courtyard had thirteen gates. On the south side, beginning with the southwest corner, there were four gates:

  • Shaar Ha’Elyon (the Upper Gate)
  • Shaar HaDelek (the Kindling Gate), where wood was brought in
  • Shaar HaBechorot (the Gate of Firstborns), where people with first-born animal offerings entered
  • Shaar HaMayim (the Water Gate), where the Water Libation entered on Sukkot/the Feast of Tabernacles

On the north side, beginning with the northwest corner, there were four gates:

  • Shaar Yechonyah (The Gate of Jeconiah), where kings of the Davidic line enter and Jeconiah left for the last time to captivity after being dethroned by the King of Babylon
  • Shaar HaKorban (The gate of the Offering), where priests entered with kodshei kodashim offerings
  • Shaar HaNashim (The Women’s Gate), where women entered into the Azara or main courtyard to perform offerings[22]
  • Shaar Hashir (The Gate of Song), where the Levites entered with their musical instruments

On the east side was Shaar Nikanor, between the Women’s Courtyard and the main Temple Courtyard, which had two minor doorways, one on its right and one on its left. On the western wall, which was relatively unimportant, there were two gates that did not have any name.

The Mishnah lists concentric circles of holiness surrounding the Temple: Holy of Holies; Sanctuary; Vestibule; Court of the Priests; Court of the Israelites; Court of the Women; Temple Mount; the walled city of Jerusalem; all the walled cities of the Land of Israel; and the borders of the Land of Israel.

Temple services[edit]

Model of Second Temple made by Michael Osnis from Kedumim.

The Temple was the place where offerings described in the course of the Hebrew Bible were carried out, including daily morning and afternoon offerings and special offerings on Sabbath and Jewish holidaysLevites recited Psalms at appropriate moments during the offerings, including the Psalm of the Day, special psalms for the new month, and other occasions, the Hallel during major Jewish holidays, and psalms for special sacrifices such as the “Psalm for the Thanksgiving Offering” (Psalm 100).

As part of the daily offering, a prayer service was performed in the Temple which was used as the basis of the traditional Jewish (morning) service recited to this day, including well-known prayers such as the Shema, and the Priestly Blessing. The Mishna describes it as follows:

The superintendent said to them, bless one benediction! and they blessed, and read the Ten Commandments, and the Shema, “And it shall come to pass if you will hearken”, and “And [God] spoke…”. They pronounced three benedictions with the people present: “True and firm”, and the “Avodah” “Accept, Lord our God, the service of your people Israel, and the fire-offerings of Israel and their prayer receive with favor. Blessed is He who receives the service of His people Israel with favor” (similar to what is today the 17th blessing of the Amidah), and the Priestly Blessing, and on the Sabbath they recited one blessing; “May He who causes His name to dwell in this House, cause to dwell among you love and brotherliness, peace and friendship” on behalf of the weekly Priestly Guard that departed.

— Mishna Tamid 5:1

In the Talmud[edit]

The Talmud (Yoma 9b) provides traditional theological reasons for the destruction: “Why was the first Temple destroyed? Because the three cardinal sins were rampant in society: idol worship, licentiousness, and murder… And why then was the second Temple – wherein the society was involved in Torah, commandments, and acts of kindness – destroyed? Because gratuitous hatred was rampant in society. This teaches you that gratuitous hatred is equal in severity to the three cardinal sins: idol worship, licentiousness, and murder.”[23][24]

Role in contemporary Jewish services[edit]

Part of the traditional Jewish morning service, the part surrounding the Shema prayer, is essentially unchanged from the daily worship service performed in the Temple. In addition, the Amidah prayer traditionally replaces the Temple’s daily Tamid and special-occasion Mussaf (additional) offerings (there are separate versions for the different types of sacrifices). They are recited during the times their corresponding offerings were performed in the Temple.

The Temple is mentioned extensively in Orthodox servicesConservative Judaism retains mentions of the Temple and its restoration but removes references to the sacrifices. References to sacrifices on holidays are made in the past tense, and petitions for their restoration are removed. Mentions in Orthodox Jewish services include:

  • A daily recital of Biblical and Talmudic passages related to the korbanot (sacrifices) performed in the Temple (See korbanot in siddur).
  • References to the restoration of the Temple and sacrificial worships in the daily Amidah prayer, the central prayer in Judaism.
  • A traditional personal plea for the restoration of the Temple at the end of the private recitation of the Amidah.
  • A prayer for the restoration of the “house of our lives” and the shekhinah (divine presence) “to dwell among us” is recited during the Amidah prayer.
  • Recitation of the Psalm of the day; the psalm sung by the Levites in the Temple for that day during the daily morning service.
  • Numerous psalms sung as part of the ordinary service make extensive references to the Temple and Temple worship.
  • Recitation of the special Jewish holiday prayers for the restoration of the Temple and their offering, during the Mussaf services on Jewish holidays.
  • An extensive recitation of the special Temple service for Yom Kippur during the service for that holiday.
  • Special services for Sukkot (Hakafot) contain extensive (but generally obscure) references to the special Temple service performed on that day.

The destruction of the Temple is mourned on the Jewish fast day of Tisha B’Av. Three other minor fasts (Tenth of Tevet, 17th of Tammuz, and Third of Tishrei), also mourn events leading to or following the destruction of the Temple. There are also mourning practices which are observed at all times, for example, the requirement to leave part of the house unplastered.

The Common Threads Between Science And Divine Creation Explained, Some

(I GOT THE IDEA FOR THIS POST FROM A COMMENT I MADE TO A FELLOW WRITER ‘LOGAN’ AT ‘CURIOUS HUMANS’)

 

I am a person that believes that we are all children of the Devine power of God. Yet I know very well from a little over 50 years of studying Scripture that all of the Christian Churches (that I know of), as well as our Jewish friends, have many things wrong right from the beginning of the first Book of the Bible. I totally believe that the Scriptures and Science actually agree on many, many things, in fact, they agree on the vast majority of issues. There is no reason for people who believe that God created all things to be so uptight about things like the big bang theory. I also believe that human beings have evolved greatly from the first Gentiles who have probably been here on this planet for at least a million years. Did we evolve from at least as far back as the Neanderthals, yes, without a doubt? Did we evolve from monkeys or gorillas, no! Did our ancestors crawl up out of the Oceans, no! Is there really such a thing as ‘the missing link’, no! Science has never been able to find the so-called ‘missing link’ because it as never existed, there is a gap between monkeys and mankind, we were never one and the same. If people who believe in a Devine Creator would quit blindly following ‘Church Doctrine’ their eyes might be opened to the truth of what Scripture are really telling all of us.

 

I have written articles here on this blog before about these issues of creation by God and creation by accident. To me, it is ridiculous for Christians to insist that the Earth is about 5,500 to 5,600 years old. To believe that one must not believe the Apostle Peter, the Prophets, or God Himself when we are told that the human day is not God’s day. We are told that a human lifetime, the example of 80 of our years are literally equivalent a blink of an eye compared in God’s time. So, why do we Christians and Jewish believers insist on degrading God down to our level? My Jewish friends please correct me on this next sentence if you believe that I am wrong on what I am about to say.  To me, what I have garnered about the Jewish calendar is that it begins with the time they believe that Adam and Eve were cast out of the Garden Of Eden. (You can find this information in the following Los Angles Times Article:

Jewish Calendar Starts With Adam Symbolism

September 23, 1989 |ALLEN S. MALLER | Special to Religious News Service)
I believe that this year would be about year #5578 on the Jewish calendar, I believe that the Jewish New Year begins right after the 10 day Holiday of Yom Kipper. Many Christians consider the birth of Jesus (Yahushua) to be the beginning of the ‘Christian Calendar’ yet if we really dig into History we will find that the lifespan of Jesus was from 4 B.C. to 29 A.D. The Arabic Calendar begins in the Christian Calendar when Mohammad fled from Medina to Mecca in about year 630 A.D. I do ask my readers who are of the Islamic Faith to drop me a comment if this date is a little bit off and let me know the true date please.
I do say that it seems a bit odd to me though that so many people believe what is being taught from the Pulpits without questioning what they are being taught. Why do people have a Bible in their home or bother taking one to Church if they are never going to study the Scriptures on their own? Even in the times of Jesus and His Apostles when He/they would go into the Synagogue’s to teach, the people there would search the Scriptures daily to see if what they were being taught was correct or not. Why is it that Christians today do not open their Bibles to see if what they are being taught is correct, or not?
Now, I would like to get back to the time of Adam and Eve for a moment. Many people who are looking into the window’s of Christianity dismiss Christianity as idiotic because of the belief that the world began 5-6,000 years ago, and honestly, I can’t blame them. Please, get your hands on a Bible and actually look at the first two chapters of the first Book of the Old Testament, the Book of Genesis. Now please read where it is speaking of the six days of Creation. On the sixth day, God created Men and women and told them to go out into the world and multiply. Then Scripture speaks of how on the seventh day God rested. Then, in the next chapter we are told the story of the creation of Adam, then Eve. This is after the sixth and the seventh day, not during the sixth day at all.
Now, if you think I am crazy, or not, please keep reading. After Adam and Eve were cast out of God’s Garden you will see the story of Adam and Eve’s first two children, the story of Cain and Able. After Cain killed Able God cast him out of this area just outside the Garden area. Now, please think about a few things that we are being told here. When God told Cain that he was being cast out he said that “all those who find me will kill me.” Excuse me, all WHO? Aren’t there only three people on the whole Earth at this time? Aren’t Adam, Eve, and Cain the only people? So all of Who? What did God say and do to Cain at that moment? God put a mark upon the forehead of Cain and said He put it there so that “all of those who find you will not kill you.” Again folks, all of WHO? Then we are told that Cain traveled to the East into the land of Nod and there he took a wife! Wait a moment, where the heck did she come from?
There are many issues that Christianity and the other Faiths in the world have wrong and that is because the base of what they are teaching is corrupted. If your teachings are built on a sandbar there is no way it can stand in the storm of reality. Folks the truth is so plain, it is given to us, but we refuse to see it. God created humankind many thousands, hundreds of thousands or possibly even a million years or so before God created Adam and Eve. Yet, not until God created Adam did He “breathe into him the breath of life and he became a living Soul.” This is not said during the creation of mankind in day six. God created us Gentiles first but He did not create this Royal Bloodline until He created Adam and Eve. Folks, even Jesus Himself referred to us Gentiles as “dogs” because until after His Resurrection was complete we were not counted into the salvation that up until that time was reserved only for the Hebrew Bloodline. I could go on much further in this conversation as there are great errors in the Church’s teachings that are running millions of people far away from Christianity causing their Souls to be given over to Satan for damnation. Folks, we will all answer for our laziness of not caring enough to learn what the Truth is so that we could actually save a lot of these people who are going to be cast into Hell. If we are egotistical enough to believe that their blood will not be upon our own hands, we are not only lazy, we are delusional. This article just topped 1,300 words so I am going to close this conversation with you now if there is enough interest in the comment section I will continue my thoughts with you soon in another post. Thank you all for the kindness of your time, Shalom.

Trump Says U.K. First, Putin Says Iran First, Xi Says Egypt First

Trump Says U.K. First, Putin Says Iran First, Xi Says Egypt First

 

Before you freak out, or, think that I have done flushed my brain down a toilet I need to let you know that, no, of course they didn’t say any such a thing. So, why did I say such things in the headline? There are two simple reasons, first, to draw your attention to the article, two, to make people think a little bit. The first is self-explanatory. Now, concerning the second of the two reasons. Anyone who reads my articles knows quite well that I believe that Donald Trump is the biggest idiot and the biggest ass to sit in the Oval Office since Andrew Jackson back in the first half of the 18 hundreds, and friends, that is really saying a whole lot because we have really had a lot of trash as Presidents in our Nations History.

 

There are many people, it seems mostly Democrats, who think that it is a horrible slogan that Mr. Trump came up with during his primary run, “America First.” Here is where I have to say that you folks who are ragging him over this slogan, you are quite goofy yourself. What the heck was the man suppose to say, England First, or Mexico First? Just what do you think any politician at any level, of any country, should do? If President Putin at the next Russian election started putting out propaganda saying that the Russian people and government need to start putting Iran, or Syria first, do you think that even in Russia that he would win the election? Possibly even worse, it would probably get him shot. Even as powerful as President Xi Jinping is in China if he came out with a policy saying China is going to start putting Egypt or North Korea before the people of China do you honestly believe that he would live five more years to finish out his term?

 

What I am getting at is that you folks here in the U.S. that are whining about Mr. Trumps ‘America First’ slogan are showing the world just how big of dummies you are. Also, the U.S. Media outlets who fall in line with such ignorance help fuel Liberal stupidity in European countries and in a few other Nations as well. For politicians and for the people of every Country on Earth, if you are not putting your country first, then you are truly a traitor to every person in your Country. For we folks who are Christians or Jewish, we all need to look at the teachings of Scriptures. You should know very well that we are supposed to cater to the needs of our families first and once our families are secure and safe, then we are to be charitable from the inside out. By this, I mean our family, our community, then outward, such as our County, our State, our own Country, then the world. We are to take what we really need from our own work, our own earnings, then use the rest to help others. This is where we are told not to hoard, not to store up for many years ahead for ourselves, but to use the extra that we have to help others. This is why we are told that charity covers many sins.

 

Even though I know that Donald Trump doesn’t have a clue about the teachings of the Bible it does not mean that everything he says is incorrect, most everything, but not all things. As our President, Mr. Trump is supposed to ‘Put America First’, if he is not doing so, then he is a traitor to the American people. Unfortunately, I personally do not believe that this ‘slogan’, to him, is anything but a slogan, something he thinks his voter base wants to hear. Personally, I have no doubt of any kind that Donald Trump, his Dad, and his adult kids, as well as his son in law Mr. Kushner, have done, or will do, anything except and ONLY, put themselves first, always! Yet in U.S. politics, do you honestly expect anything except selfishness?

It’s time for God’s “True Fast”

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BIBLE HUB WEBSITE AND THE IFCJ)

 

ANSWERING THE CALL:
It’s ti
me for God’s “True Fast”
Help those in need by having a True Fast at your church
Between earthquakes, hurricanes, flooding, and fires—people all over the world are crying out for help. Today, in the former Soviet Union, thousands of Jewish children live in abject poverty. Some are orphaned, many are homeless. Thousands of elderly Jews who have escaped death during the Holocaust are now living out their final years in poverty and isolation.

It is time for the Church to respond. It is time for the “True Fast” God desires, as described in Isaiah 58.

God emphasizes the importance of a fast focused on feeding the hungry, providing shelter for the homeless, clothing the naked, and comforting the lost, the lonely, the sick, and the imprisoned.

In today’s “True Fast,” Christians have an opportunity to answer the cries of needy Jews and support The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews‘ ministries because, as Paul explained in Romans 15:27“For if the Gentiles have shared in the Jews’ spiritual blessings, they owe it to the Jews to share with them their material blessings.”

Join together with churches in your community and all over the world to take care of those in need, being God’s hands and feet to those around us.

Download FOR FREE all the resources you will need to guide your church though a “True Fast.” Including:

  • sermon outlines
  • slides tied to each sermon
  • bulletin inserts
  • devotional packets for home, Sunday school, or small group use

Now is the time for your church to get involved and help those in need.

Get your free resources today and help feed the poor, clothe the naked, and provide shelter for the homeless.

Shalom,

Paul C. Paino
Church Relations
THE FELLOWSHIP
INTERNATIONAL FELLOWSHIP OF CHRISTIANS AND JEWS
30 North LaSalle Street, Suite 4300 Chicago, IL 60602

P.S. With these resources you will have everything you need to prepare and hold a “True Fast” that can change lives in your community and around the world. Download for FREE now!

“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen… to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—when you see the naked, to clothe them.”
— Isaiah 58:6-7
ifcj-fast-btn.png

How Dare Israel Blow Up Hamas Tunnels That Are In Israel

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE PAKISTANI NEWS AGENCY ‘DAWN’)

 

A mourner reacts as Palestinian Islamic Jihad militants hold their weapons during the funeral of their comrades killed in an Israeli operation to blow up a tunnel stretching from the Gaza Strip into Israel, in Nuseirat in the central Gaza Strip on October 31, 2017. —AFP
A mourner reacts as Palestinian Islamic Jihad militants hold their weapons during the funeral of their comrades killed in an Israeli operation to blow up a tunnel stretching from the Gaza Strip into Israel, in Nuseirat in the central Gaza Strip on October 31, 2017. —AFP

Tensions rose on Tuesday after an Israeli operation to blow up a tunnelfrom the Gaza Strip killed seven Palestinian militants in one of the deadliest incidents since a devastating 2014 war.

The seven men, from the armed wings of Gaza’s rulers Hamas and allied group Palestinian Islamic Jihad, were killed on Monday when Israel blew up the tunnel it said had crossed into its territory and was intended for attacks.

They were being buried on Tuesday in their respective neighbourhoods in the Gaza Strip.

Hamas leader Ismail Haniya appeared at a funeral in central Gaza attended by a few thousand people, witnesses said, while senior Hamas figure Khalil al-Hayya spoke at one in the southern part of the strip.

“(Hamas) knows how to manage the conflict with the enemy and how to get revenge and strike at the time and place that hurts the enemy,” Hayya said, according to a statement.

Hamas and Israel have fought three wars since 2008 and the last conflict in 2014 was waged in part over tunnels from Gaza that were used to carry out attacks.

Israel said it had been monitoring the digging of the tunnel for an unspecified length of time and was forced to act after “the grave and unacceptable violation of Israeli sovereignty.”

It said the operation was carried out on the Israeli side of the border and stressed it was not seeking a further escalation.

No tunnel opening had been found on the Israeli side of the border. It had come from the vicinity of the city of Khan Younis in the Gaza Strip, Israeli’s military said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday his country would “not tolerate any attacks on our sovereignty, on our people, on our land, whether from the air, from the sea, from the ground, or below the ground”.

“We attack those who seek to attack us.”

Sensitive moment

The operation comes at a sensitive time, with rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas pursuing a reconciliation accord aimed at ending their 10-year rift.

Hamas is due to hand over control of the enclave’s borders to the Palestinian Authority (PA) on Wednesday under the deal mediated by Egypt and signed on October 12.

It is due to return the Gaza Strip to full PA control by December 1.

Both Haniya and Palestinian prime minister Rami Hamdallah spoke of ensuring the reconciliation pact remains on track.

“The response to this massacre… is to move forward towards the restoration of national unity because the enemy realises our strength is our unity,” Haniya said.

Senior PA official Mustafa Barghouti accused Israel of trying to disrupt the reconciliation bid.

Separately in the West Bank on Tuesday, Israeli forces opened fire on a “suspect” vehicle, killing one Palestinian and wounding another, Israel’s army and the Palestinian health ministry said. There did not appear to be any connection.

Hamas forces have used tunnels in the past to enter Israel and carry out attacks, but discoveries of those stretching into Israeli territory since the end of the 2014 war have been rare.

In April 2016, Israel’s military said it had located and destroyed a tunnel extending from the Gaza Strip into Israel in the first such discovery since the 2014 conflict.

First test of unity

An Israel army spokesman said on Monday that Israel used advanced technology to locate the tunnel but declined to elaborate.

The army has been seeking to build an underground wall surrounding Gaza that would block such tunnels, among other methods it has been developing.

Israeli leaders have been keen to show they are addressing the threat of tunnels from the Gaza Strip.

A state inquiry in February accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and top army brass of being unprepared for the tunnels used by Hamas during the 2014 conflict.

Hamas has ruled Gaza since a near civil war with Fatah, based in the occupied West Bank, in 2007.

Since then they have fought three wars with Israel, while Gaza’s two million citizens have suffered as Israel has blockaded the strip.

Egypt’s border with the enclave has also remained largely closed in recent years.

Wednesday’s scheduled handover of the border crossings is a first key test of the Hamas-Fatah reconciliation deal.

Israel has said it will reject any unity government that includes Hamas if the group does not disarm and recognise the country, among other demands.

During the 2014 war, 32 tunnels were discovered, including 14 that extended into Israel, according to a UN report on the conflict.

The devastating conflict killed 2,251 Palestinians, while more than 10,000 were wounded and 100,000 were left homeless.

On the Israeli side, 74 people were killed, all but six of them soldiers.

Spanish Jews Come Out Against Catalan Independence

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

AS SPANISH JEWS WE WHOLLY SUPPORT THE SPANISH CONSTITUTION’

Breaking neutrality, Spanish Jews come out against Catalan independence

Despite umbrella body statement, Jews living in the secessionist region appear divided over the crisis that is roiling the country

  • People gather to celebrate the proclamation of a Catalan republic at the Sant Jaume square in Barcelona on October 27, 2017. (AFP PHOTO / PAU BARRENA)
    People gather to celebrate the proclamation of a Catalan republic at the Sant Jaume square in Barcelona on October 27, 2017. (AFP PHOTO / PAU BARRENA)
  • Catalan president Carles Puigdemont casts his vote for a motion on declaring independence from Spain, during a session of the Catalan parliament in Barcelona on October 27, 2017. (AFP PHOTO / LLUIS GENE)
    Catalan president Carles Puigdemont casts his vote for a motion on declaring independence from Spain, during a session of the Catalan parliament in Barcelona on October 27, 2017. (AFP PHOTO / LLUIS GENE)
  • People gather in front of the 'Generalitat' palace (Catalan government headquarters) at the Sant Jaume square to celebrate the proclamation of a Catalan republic in Barcelona on October 27, 2017 (AFP PHOTO / PAU BARRENA)
    People gather in front of the ‘Generalitat’ palace (Catalan government headquarters) at the Sant Jaume square to celebrate the proclamation of a Catalan republic in Barcelona on October 27, 2017 (AFP PHOTO / PAU BARRENA)
  • Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy gives a press conference after a cabinet meeting at La Moncloa Palace in Madrid, on October 27, 2017. (AFP PHOTO / JAVIER SORIANO)
    Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy gives a press conference after a cabinet meeting at La Moncloa Palace in Madrid, on October 27, 2017. (AFP PHOTO / JAVIER SORIANO)
  • People gather in front of the 'Generalitat' palace (Catalan government headquarters) at the Sant Jaume square to celebrate the proclamation of a Catalan republic in Barcelona on October 27, 2017. (Lluis Gene/AFP)
    People gather in front of the ‘Generalitat’ palace (Catalan government headquarters) at the Sant Jaume square to celebrate the proclamation of a Catalan republic in Barcelona on October 27, 2017. (Lluis Gene/AFP)
  • People celebrate after Catalonia's parliament voted to declare independence from Spain on October 27, 2017 in Barcelona. ( AFP PHOTO / PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU)
    People celebrate after Catalonia’s parliament voted to declare independence from Spain on October 27, 2017 in Barcelona. ( AFP PHOTO / PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU)
  • People celebrate after Catalonia's parliament voted to declare independence from Spain in Barcelona on October 27, 2017. (Pau Barrena/AFP)
    People celebrate after Catalonia’s parliament voted to declare independence from Spain in Barcelona on October 27, 2017. (Pau Barrena/AFP)

Breaking with its policy of neutrality on Catalan independence, the main umbrella group of Spanish Jews on Friday blamed separatists for the kingdom’s crisis and declared allegiance to the constitution.

The Federation of Jewish Communities in Spain, or FCJE, did this in a statement released hours after Catalan lawmakers voted to declare independence from Spain, as Madrid vowed in turn to “restore legality” and quash the region’s secessionist bid.

Expressing “deep concern over the grave national crisis,” the statement by the federation went on to state this crisis was “caused by the unilateral declaration of independence” of the regional government of Catalonia through its parliament.

”As Spanish Jews we wholly support the Spanish Constitution, the rule of law as applied in accordance with the law, solidarity and equality between all Spanish people and the unity of Spain,” read the statement. Authorities will “restore normalcy in Catalonia,” continued the anti-secessionist statement, “and throughout all of Spain, and that, finally, fraternity and peaceful coexistence as Spanish citizens.”

The Madrid-based federation’s statement notwithstanding, the Jews of Catalonia, who, according to the European Jewish Congress make up a third of Spain total Jewish population of 45,000, are deeply divided on the issue of independence, according to Victor Sorenssen, the leader of the Jewish community of Barcelona, which is the capital of Catalonia.

Barcelona Jewish Community Spokesperson Victor Sorrenssen ( Screen Capture/ YouTube)

“This is a political matter that doesn’t directly concern Judaism, so the community has no position on it as such,” Sorenssen said earlier this month of the organization representing Barcelona’s Jews.

Jews of Catalonia, an anti-secessionist group, on Friday lauded the Madrid-based federation for its “important” message, as they called it on Twitter.

“The only representative organ of Jews in all of Spain has some out in favor of unity and against separatism,” the tweet read. “Kol HaKavod FCJE! The separatists represent only themselves.”

But a spokesperson for the pro-independence group “Jews for Independence” told JTA the FCJE does not represents the various opinions of Jews in Catalonia and elsewhere in Spain on this issue.

“We welcome the birth of our Catalonian Republic. It is no longer a dream,” the spokesperson said.

The motion declaring independence was approved with 70 votes in favor, 10 against and two abstentions, a result that caused Spanish shares and stock to fall sharply internationally, the Agence-Presse France reported.

Shortly before the Catalan vote, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy urged lawmakers in the federal parliament to give him the power to dismiss Catalonia’s secessionist leader Carles Puigdemont, his deputy and all regional ministers.

If approved, the measures under Article 155 of the constitution, designed to rein in rebels among Spain’s 17 regions, would enter into force on Saturday.

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225,000 Hungarian Holocaust Victims Identified

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

Yad Vashem identifies 225,000 Hungarian Holocaust victims

The Holocaust museum’s specially trained team pored over pages of records, mapping forgotten victims no one cared to document on the way to their deaths

Hungarian Jews were marched down Wesselenyi Street in the heart of Budapest's Jewish Quarter, on their way to be deported to Auschwitz. (Bundesarchiv Bild)

Hungarian Jews were marched down Wesselenyi Street in the heart of Budapest’s Jewish Quarter, on their way to be deported to Auschwitz. (Bundesarchiv Bild)

Born in Budapest in 1937, Chayim Herzl remembers being taken by his mother Eugenia to visit his father Reuven Salgo at a labor camp outside the city in 1943.

“My hand was small, and I was able to pass some food to him through the fence. That was the last time I saw him,” said Herzl.

He lost his mother in early 1945 when men from Hungary’s Arrow Cross took her  from their safe house outside the ghetto, organized by diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, while he hid under the bed.

Having lost his father at age six and mother at eight, Herzl has only fleeting memories of his parents. Now, thanks to a comprehensive decade-long project to collect names of Hungarian Holocaust victims, completed in a collaboration between Israel’s Holocaust Memorial Museum Yad Vashem and funded by the Fondation pour la Mémoire de la Shoah, Herzl has regained something he calls, “indescribably priceless” — information.

Through the project, Herzl learned that his father died just days before the end of the war in a POW death march, after having been forced into a labor corps in the Hungarian army fighting on the Eastern front. Beyond that, he now has a document with his father’s signature. The signature, his father’s orthographic fingerprint, is the only piece of his father’s writing Herzl owns.

“Through the efforts of Yad Vashem’s Names Collection project in Hungary, I was finally able to find a sense of closure in knowing what happened to my father. Finding a document containing his signature is evidence to the world that my father lived and a testimony to the tragic fate that befell him and so many Hungarian Jews,” said Herzl.

“The job is not yet complete: My mother, from the day she was taken from me, has vanished from the face of the earth and remains among the undocumented. I know that Yad Vashem is committed to leaving no stone unturned in the effort to identify as many Holocaust victims as possible,” Herzl told The Times of Israel.

Chayim Herzl (Salgo) was born in 1937 in Budapest, Hungary, the only child of Reuven (Rudolf) and Eugenia (Geni) Salgo, née Herzl. (courtesy Yad Vashem)

Ten years ago, approximately 40 percent of Hungarian victims were identified after the advances made by Holocaust historian and Holocaust survivor Serge Klarsfeld. Klarsfeld in the 1980s launched the Nevek Project, gathering names from lists of prisoners of forced labor and concentration camps during WWII. Due to funding and bureaucratic issues, he abandoned his project.

Building on Klarsfeld’s Nevek Project, Yad Vashem-trained historians have added some 225,000 victims’ names over the past 10 years of intensive research. This major project was funded by the Fondation pour la Mémoire de la Shoah and supported by the late French politician and Holocaust survivor Simone Veil, who served as its first president. On Thursday, Yad Vashem hosted an event that included a special tribute to Veil.

“Simone Veil saw special importance in the collection of names of Hungarian Jews. She witnessed firsthand the arrival and extermination of Hungary’s Jews at Auschwitz-Birkenau. It was important to her that their identities be memorialized and therefore decided to support this important initiative,” said Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev.

But the scope of Yad Vashem’s Names Collection project goes well beyond identifying Jewish Hungarian victims. It is, to date, the largest project Yad Vashem has undertaken and represents a holistic approach to collecting information and documents that far surpasses previous efforts.

“This is the most successful project that Yad Vashem’s Archives has undertaken. The holistic approach of the project has become a model for other endeavors we are currently promoting in the name-gathering process, in particular the Polish Names Project, and we hope that with the continued support of the French Foundation we will achieve similar results to those we obtained in collecting names of Jewish victims from Hungary,” said Shalev.

In addition to Poland, which has signed a cooperation agreement with the institution, Yad Vashem is implementing the information-gathering model it founded in Hungary to its names recovery efforts in the territories of the former Soviet Union and the Balkan States.

In conversation with The Times of Israel Thursday, Dr. Alexander Avram, director of the Hall of Names and the Central Database of Shoah Victims’ Names, explained the project’s procedures and resonance.

Eugenia (Geni) Salgo, née Herzl, mother of Chayim Herzl (Salgo). (Courtesy Yad Vashem)

Unlike the initial goals of the Nevek Project of attaching a name to every victim, the Yad Vashem project “has revealed part of their individual stories, and in some cases, for the first time was able to connect a rare photograph with the name of the faceless murdered,” said Avram.

The intensive work began in 2007 and was conducted under the leadership of three Yad Vashem historians who trained a staff of some 20 researchers who were on-the-ground in Greater Hungary: Hungary, Slovakia, parts of Romania, Serbia, and Transylvania. Through special diplomatic agreements forged with the Hungarian government in 2005 and 2006, said Avram, the researchers were granted full access to all state archives for this specific project.

“It is not easy in these countries to find documentation about the Holocaust and Jews,” said Avram. “They are no key words for catalogues; there is no archive in Europe that has a topic ‘Holocaust’ and catalogues for this or for Jews.”

The team pored over archive material from all sorts of offices — including the Ministries of the Interior, Defense and Agriculture — “page by page, to map those documents important to Jews and the Holocaust,” he said. The important pages were scanned and sent to Yad Vashem, which is in the process of uploading the pages into its database.

The team, trained by Yad Vashem, must be fluent in Hungarian, and have skills in German, Romanian, Serbian and other languages of the region to decipher the handwriting of the pre-World War II documents.

In December, the intensive research collection is finishing, but the team will continue to decipher documents to add more names and stories into the database.

“In our database we have 4,700,000 names of Jews murdered in the Holocaust. That means that more than 1 million who are not identified,” said Avram. Whereas in central and western Europe some 95% of the victims documented as Jews were arrested, sent to transit camps, and then on to death camps, in eastern Europe there is less of a paper trail.

A Hungarian Jewish woman and young children walk towards the gas chambers in Auschwitz. (Budesarchiv Bild)

Although he said the teams of researchers at Yad Vashem will continue to document victims, it is important to note, said Avram, that the teams have “exhausted most of the easy sources, and now look for names scattered in less unexplored sources where they will sometimes read a book of 500 pages to reach four or five names.”

“We are focusing our efforts in the countries where we have a more significant gap in names of victims,” said Avram. In Hungary, for example, although there were organized transports, “nobody cared to register the names of the Jews on the transports,” he said.

Like the case for Herzl, who discovered his father’s fate through the Yad Vashem project, Avram hopes to find more than mere monikers for the remainder of the victims.

“We can sometimes build a personal story. Previous attempts were to document names of victims; in this project we are trying to go further than that,” he said, and transform the name into a person.

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Can A Person Be A Christian And A Racist At The Same Time?

All I Can Give To You Is My Beliefs From My Understanding Of Biblical Scripture

 

Every time I start to write an article here in the blog I always first spend a few moments in prayer asking God to please guide my every thought and key stroke through the power of His Holy Spirit. I have studied the Scriptures now for a little over 50 years and I know a lot about all of the Canonized Books and several of the Non-Canonized ones as far as the Protestant and Catholic Churches are concerned. Yet, I make no claim to know absolutely everything about anything, yet I refuse to lie to you concerning anything, especially concerning the Scriptures. The following is my best understanding from my years of study concerning the question that is the title of this article.

 

My first thoughts were to answer the title question with a simple ‘No.’ But, is that really a ‘totally’ correct answer? I think that the technically correct answer would have to be yes. The reason for the yes is in my attempt not to be a Judge of anyone. My belief is that if a person is a racist when they die that they will without a doubt be condemned to Hell at their Judgement before the Judgement Seat of Christ. When a person is submerged in Baptism they are raised a ‘New Creature’ and ones old sins are washed away. But if a person rises out of the watery grave of Baptism still holding onto their old life and old hatreds all they accomplished in the Baptism was to get themselves wet. Racism is hatred, there is nothing ‘love’ about racism. If our heart is not filled with the love of God then our bodies are not the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit of God. Why do you think that the Lord Jesus says that His own know His voice? The reason is because the Holy Spirit is His and of course He knows His own voice.

 

For those folks who say they hate the Jewish people because they ‘killed Jesus’ they do technically make a great error. All people of the world should rejoice that the Jewish/Hebrew people fulfilled Scripture 2,000 years ago and had the Christ ‘Jesus’ killed. The reason that the Jewish people of the time did this was because God ‘hardened their hearts’ so that they would do this and in doing so fulfill the teachings and prophesies written in the Old Testament. If the Jewish people had not done this event then you and I would not have any chance of salvation, none! Everyone who was not of 100% pure Hebrew blood was a Gentile, which before the Resurrection of Christ was not considered “a people’ even by Jesus, we were all ‘unclean.’ If you will read the tenth chapter of the Book of Acts you will gain a better understanding of what I just wrote to you. At the very end of the last chapter (28th) of the Gospel of Matthew is written what is called Jesus’s ‘Great Commission’ to His Apostles to go into all the world and teach all nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father the Son and the Holy Spirit. Only after the Resurrection of Christ Jesus were people like you and I eligible for salvation. Please take a few moments to read the fifth chapter of the Book of Matthew where Jesus gives a sermon known as the ‘Beatitudes’ in the first twelve verses. Jesus taught us that if we hate our brother without a cause that we are condemned already. Without a cause, as in something that a person has absolutely no say so over. If you hate a person because you think they are to ugly or to short or to tall or because they were born in another country or even in a different part of your own country, you are acting like an idiot and you are sinning. The same would stand if you hate all men or all women, or even hate them because their skin color is different from yours. These are all things that not a single one of us have had any say so in what so ever, none!

 

Jesus told the Apostles to go into all Nations to all people to all tongues and to teach them salvation. Jesus died on that Cross so that low life Gentiles like you and I could have a chance at the same salvation that before His Resurrection we had no avenue to. Jesus went through with all of that pain so that us non-Jews could be saved, all of us, from all Nations, all tongues, all people. Who in the heck do you or I think that we are to hate anyone of God’s children over something that they have no say over, like what skin color they were born with. When we are filled with this hate it is not those that we hate that we are condemning, it is ourselves. So yes, a person can be baptized and call themselves a Christian, a follower of Christ and also be a racist. A person can call themselves King Kong but that does not mean that they are. People can say anything they want to say but we all need to understand that our words can and will condemn us just as a hate filled heart will condemn us. This is true even if we do not act out our hatreds because God does know what is in our hearts and what our thoughts are. If you say that you are a Christian yet you are a racist, a person who hates their brother without a cause, they are in effect walking up to Jesus as He is hanging on that Cross and spitting in His face and telling Him He is wrong and it is you who are correct. After all, remember, Jesus was a Jew.

Netanyahu rips UN, says Iran turning Lebanon, Syria into war fronts against Israel

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

Greeting Guterres, Netanyahu rips UN, says Iran turning Lebanon, Syria into war fronts against Israel

With secretary general by his side, PM accuses United Nations of bias against Israel and of allowing Iran to build missile sites and Hezbollah to smuggle arms

 August 28, 2017, 4:08 pm 13

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) welcoming UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem, August 28, 2017.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) welcoming UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem, August 28, 2017. (GPO)

AP — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu greeted visiting UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday with blistering criticism of the international body’s treatment of Israel and accused it of failing to prevent arms from being smuggled to Lebanon’s Shiite Hezbollah terror group.

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Netanyahu also claimed that Iran is building sites in Syria and Lebanon for the manufacture of “precision-guided missiles,” with the aim of deploying them against Israel.

Both Hezbollah fighters and Iran have backed President Bashar Assad’s government forces in the civil war that has ravaged Syria.

“Iran is busy turning Syria into a base of military entrenchment, and it wants to use Syria and Lebanon as warfronts against its declared goal to eradicate Israel,” Netanyahu said. “This is something Israel cannot accept. This is something the UN should not accept.”

The Israeli leader offered no specifics to support his allegations.

Guterres arrived on Sunday for a three-day visit to the region, his first since taking office at the beginning of the year. His meetings with Israeli and Palestinian leaders are aimed at encouraging the resumption of peace talks.

Speaking at a joint press conference with the UN chief, Netanyahu criticized the United Nations, saying that it fails to check Palestinian hate speech, “absurdly denies” Jewish connections to Jerusalem and has not stopped arms from reaching Hezbollah in Lebanon.

He was referring to a recent UN cultural agency resolution about Jerusalem that angered Israel, which said it diminishes Jewish ties to the city. Israel also criticized the UN peacekeeping force in Lebanon, or UNIFIL, for being, according to Israel, soft on Iranian-backed Hezbollah forces in the border area.

Guterres vowed that he will “do everything in my capacity” to ensure UNIFIL fulfills its obligations. The UN peacekeeping force’s mandate is up for renewal at the end of the month and Israel is pressing for the force to have an increased presence to better monitor and prevent what Israel says is Hezbollah building up its weapons.

“I understand the security concerns of Israel and I repeat that the idea or the intention or the will to destroy the state of Israel is something totally unacceptable from my perspective,” the UN chief said.

Earlier, President Reuven Rivlin called on Guterres to curb what he described as “the discrimination against Israel” in some UN institutions.

President Reuven RIvlin (R) with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres at the President's Residence in Jerusalem, August 28, 2017. (Mark Neiman/GPO)

President Reuven RIvlin (R) with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem, August 28, 2017. (Mark Neiman/GPO)

Guterres, in turn, stressed his commitment to impartiality in “treating all states equally.” He said those who call for Israel’s destruction peddle in a “form of modern anti-Semitism” — though he also said he doesn’t always agree with the country’s policies.

During a visit to the Holocaust memorial before meeting Israeli leaders, he warned that anti-Semitism remains “alive and well” in today’s world and vowed to combat all forms of racism and bigotry.

“I believe that the horror of the Holocaust should be such that anti-Semitism should now be dead forever,” he said, adding how he was shocked “to listen to the chant of a group of neo-Nazis in a developed country in the world, chanting ‘blood and soil’, the slogan of the Nazis.”

Guterres will meet Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah on Tuesday in the West Bank. He is scheduled to visit Gaza on Wednesday.

UN chief in Jerusalem: Calls for Israel’s destruction Are ‘Modern Anti-Semitism’

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

UN chief in Jerusalem: Calls for Israel’s destruction are ‘modern anti-Semitism’

In meeting with President Rivlin, Antonio Guterres says international body will treat Jewish state with ‘impartiality’

 August 28, 2017, 12:33 pm 9

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres talks to the press after his visit to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial museum in Jerusalem on August 28, 2017. (AFP Photo/Menahem Kahana)

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres talks to the press after his visit to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial museum in Jerusalem on August 28, 2017. (AFP Photo/Menahem Kahana)

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres said Monday that calling for Israel’s destruction is a “form of modern anti-Semitism” and said he would treat Israel with “impartiality” amid vocal complaints by Israeli officials that the world body is biased against the Jewish state.

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“I do believe that in particular when you mention those who call for the destruction of the State of Israel that that is a form of modern anti-Semitism,” Guterres told President Reuven Rivlin at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem.

“But you also understand that I sometimes disagree with positions of the Government of Israel or any other government, and that is absolutely normal in a society where many of your citizens have exactly the same expressions of opinions,” he added.

“We will always be very frank in the dialogue with the State of Israel in trying to find ways for peace to be possible in this region, but we will always be very committed to make sure anti-Semitism doesn’t prevail and that equality in the treatment of all states is fully respected.”

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres (C) and Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon (R) visit the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum on August 28, 2017. (AFP Photo/Menahem Kahana)

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres (C) and Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon (R) visit the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum on August 28, 2017. (AFP Photo/Menahem Kahana)

Guterres, who was greeted upon his arrival Sunday with complaints from Israeli officials of the UN’s “anti-Israel bias,” said under his leadership the international body will treat Israel with “impartiality,” as he said it does with every country.

“I want to express to you, Mr. President, that you can be fully confident that in my role as Secretary General, and in relation to the functions of the secretariat that I am supposed to meet, I am very keen in stressing the values of the Charter, and the very important value of the Charter, impartiality,” he told Rivlin.

“And impartiality means treating all states equally, and I am totally committed to that in my action and in everything I can do for the organization I lead.”

The secretary general also mentioned his trip to the Yad Vashem Memorial Holocaust museum earlier Monday and mentioned his home country Portugal’s own history of anti-Semitism in the 16th century.

“Yad Vashem is there to remind us that we need to be in the first line in fighting against antisemitism, but first of all fighting against all other forms of bigotry, be it racism, xenophobia, even anti-Muslim hatred, to promote understanding and to promote dialogue,” he said.

In his remarks at Yad Vashem, Guterres said he was “shocked” by the anti-Semitic and Nazi chants at the violent white supremacist rally earlier this month in Charlottesville, Virginia, and also warned that anti-Semitism is “alive and well.”

“I was shocked a few [days] ago to listen to the chant of a group of neo Nazis in developed country in the world chanting ‘blood and soil’ – [a] slogan of the Nazis. That is a dramatic demonstration that it is our duty to do everything possible and as Secretary General of the United Nations I fully assume that commitment to do everything possible to fight anti-Semitism in all its expressions,” he said.

“As I said I’m truly committed to fight anti-Semitism, as to fight racism, xenophobia, anti-Muslim hatred and all other forms of bigotry that unfortunately we are not yet able to make our world free of.”

In his remarks, Rivlin called on Guterres “to work to end the discrimination against Israel” at the UN, while also thanking him for “brave leadership” on the issue.

“This targeting of Israel, this singling out of the world’s only Jewish state, and even actions and statements that threaten to destroy Israel are unacceptable, and should come at a price. No member state in the UN should be allowed to behave like that,” the president said.

“We appreciate your brave leadership regarding the discrimination against Israel. We hope that working together, we can create a more productive partnership between Israel and the UN, for the sake of our region, and for the sake of all humanity.”

President Reuven Rivlin (R) and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres speak to the press prior to their meeting at the President's Residence in Jerusalem on August 28, 2017. (AFP Photo/Gali Tibbon)

President Reuven Rivlin (R) and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres speak to the press prior to their meeting at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem on August 28, 2017. (AFP Photo/Gali Tibbon)

Guterres arrived in Israel Sunday evening for a three-day visit that will include meetings with senior Israeli officials in Jerusalem and Palestinian officials in the West Bank, as well as a stop in the Gaza Strip, where the UN runs a major Palestinian aid program.

Stephane Dujarric, the spokesperson for the UN chief, said that the purpose of his trip was “to engage directly with Israeli and Palestinian people and their leaders” about “finding a long overdue peaceful resolution to the conflict.”

Guterres is set to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu later Monday.

On Sunday, Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely announced that Israel will discuss two key issues with the UN head during the visit: ending “anti-Israel bias” at the 193-nation organization, and changing the mandate of its peacekeeping mission in Lebanon, known as UNIFIL.

“We are seeking a dramatic change in the way the UN treats Israel. It’s time to place the issue squarely on the table and address it head-on,” Hotovely said, threatening funding cuts for the body if changes were not implemented.

The trip came as the UN Security Council is debating renewing the mandate of UNIFIL’s peacekeepers for another year, with a vote expected on August 30.

UN envoy Nikki Haley and Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon on the Lebanese border, June 8, 2017. (David Azagury/US Embassy Tel Aviv)

UN envoy Nikki Haley and Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon on the Lebanese border, June 8, 2017. (David Azagury/US Embassy Tel Aviv)

The US ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, has blasted the commander of UNIFIL, Irish Maj. Gen. Michael Beary, accusing him of turning a blind eye to Hezbollah weapons smuggling.

Pointing to Haley’s comments, Hotovely said that “if the UN does not drastically change its behavior it will lose both support and funding” from Israel and other countries.

“It’s no longer just us threatening this,” she said. “The US position has changed. Led by Nikki Haley, they have made clear that they will not tolerate bias against us and will no longer be giving an open check.”

Guterres’s spokesman Dujarric has said in the past that the UN secretary general has “full confidence in (UNIFIL’s commander’s) work.”

Raoul Wootliff and agencies contributed to this report.

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