Israeli Parliament member rips up New Testament


Joel C. Rosenberg

(Jerusalem, Israel, July 19, 2012) — Please pray for Michael Ben Ari. He’s a member of the Israeli parliament (Knesset) who this week was given the gift of a Hebrew New Testament study Bible by the Israeli Bible Society but chose to rip it to shreds and throw it into the garbage and do so in front of the press. It was a reprehensible act and a childish temper tantrum and the controversy over what he did and why he did it has made headlines here in Israel and around the world. The good news is several leading Israeli officials condemned Ben Ari’s action and called for him to apologize. Personally, I’d like to see Prime Minister Netanyahu make a strong statement condemning Ben Ari’s action, as well. I’m not aware that the PM has yet done so.

At the end of this column, I post some of my thoughts about why I believe this controversy is important.

But first, here are the latest details: “MK Michael Ben Ari (National Union), a member of the Israeli parliament tore up a copy of the New Testament and threw it in the trash, an act that was apparently caught on camera,” reported Ynet News. “Ben Ari and several other Knesset members received by mail on Monday a copy of the New Testament, sent by the Bible Society in Israel, an organization that distributes religious books. In the letter sent with the book, director of the Christian organization Victor Kalisher wrote that the new edition ‘sheds light on the Holy Scriptures and helps understand them….We hope the book will help you and illuminate your way.’….However, while most MK’s chose to ignore the book or return it to its sender, the rightist lawmaker chose to term the book a ‘provocation,’ tore it up into shreds and then threw it out. ‘This abominable book (the New Testament) galvanized the murder of millions of Jews during the Inquisition and during [other] instances,’ Ben Ari said adding that ‘Sending the book to MK’s is a provocation. There is no doubt that this book and all it represents belongs in the garbage can of history.’”

“The religious and ultra-Orthodox Knesset members should honor those who want to read the book, Kalisher said,” noted the Times of Israel, “adding ‘it could help them expand their own knowledge.’ Kalisher also denied the notion of missionary activity, saying his organization studied and spread the holy scriptures, providing people with knowledge and study tools. There was no intention to ‘hurt the feelings of Knesset members,’ he said. ‘It’s a Jewish book, written by Jews. To better understand Judaism you need to study the New Testament.’

MK Ben Ari’s deplorable behavior was denounced by other Knesset members, including the Speaker of the Knesset Reuven Rivlin. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), to their credit, also called on MK Ben Ari to apologize for his behavior. I agree with the ADL and am encouraged by their statement, which I’ve posted on the blog.

That said, I would encourage all of the Members of the Israeli Knesset to ready and carefully study this Hebrew edition of the New Testament and to proactively study the life of Yeshua (Jesus) of Nazareth. Indeed, my prayer is that all Israelis would read and study the New Testament and decide this question: Is Yeshua the Jewish Messiah foretold by the Hebrew prophets, or not? This is the most important question in all of human history, and the most important and urgent of questions that must be answered by each and every Jew and Gentile. Indeed, our eternal destiny depends on how we answer this question and what actions we take based on our answer. Thus, I’m grateful this controversy has been sparked. May it lead many to decide to obtain a copy of this Hebrew New Testament and study carefully it for themselves.

[To read these stories in full — and/or to read excerpts from IMPLOSION, and/or to find links to the latest news and analysis of events and trends in the U.S., Israel, Russia, and the Middle East — please go to: http://flashtrafficblog.wordpress.com/.%5D

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Gamla Mountain – Israel


From the Vulture Trail you will also get a sight of the spectacular Mount Gamla. You can cross to it from the bird watching site – following signs to the “ancient path”, a hiking trail which takes about 90 minutes to cross (it is only about 1 hour to 1 and a half hours return but is windy and steep.) For those who do venture across, ancient Mount Gamla is a site of historic importance with a similar tale to tell as Masada, aside the Dead Sea. A battle against the Romans and many people committed mass suicide to avoid falling into the hands of the enemy.

Gamla Waterfall – Israel


From the entrance of Gamla, a 90 minute trail (45 minutes each way) leads to the Gamla Waterfall, passing ancient dolmans – stone structures which are shaped like tables, but nobody is sure of why. Once you reach the waterfall, you’ll be struck with what is the tallest flowing waterfall in Israel – at 170 feet.

Nuclear talks in Baghdad go nowhere; next round in Moscow


NEW EVIDENCE SHOWS IRAN ENRICHING URANIUM TO 27% PURITY, UP FROM 20%: Nuclear talks in Baghdad go nowhere; next round in Moscow

by Joel Rosenberg

Posted: May 25, 2012 in Uncategorized

“The U.N. atomic agency has found evidence at an underground bunker in Iran that could mean the country has moved closer to producing the uranium threshold needed to arm nuclear missiles, diplomats said Friday,” according to the Associated Press. “The International Atomic Energy Agency has found traces of uranium enriched up to 27 percent at Iran’s Fordo enrichment plant, the diplomats told The Associated Press. That is still substantially below the 90-percent level needed to make the fissile core of nuclear arms. But it is above Iran’s highest-known enrichment grade, which is close to 20 percent, and which already can be turned into weapons-grade material much more quickly than the Islamic Republic’s main stockpile, which can only be used for fuel at around 3.5 percent.”

Meanwhile, the nuclear talks held this week in Baghdad between Iran and six world powers went nowhere. The only thing agreed upon was to hold more talks. The next round is scheduled for June 18-19 in Moscow. This will give Russian Czar Vladimir Putin an opportunity to dramatically shape the future of the showdown between Iran and Israel. How will he use it? Putin is reportedly headed to Israel in June, though as far as I know the dates are not yet set. But clearly next month is going to be a critical moment in Russian-Iranian-Israeli relations. UPDATE (5/25): Russia’s Putin to visit Israel in June.

All this comes as Iran’s top military commander said his country was fully committed to completely destroying the State of Israel. “The Iranian nation is standing for its cause and that is the full annihilation of Israel,” Maj. Gen. Hassan Firouzabadi , the Iranian military’s chief of staff, said in a speech to a defense gathering Sunday in Tehran.

Remembering the Holocaust: Never Again!


By Joel C. Rosenberg

Today in Israel, and around the world, we stop to remember the evil that was perpetrated during the Holocaust, pray for the survivors and their families, and recommit ourselves to the principle: Never Again.

“A two-minute siren sounded across the country at 10 am Thursday in memory of the six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust,” reports Ynet News. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered a moving address honoring Holocaust Remembrance Day, and applied its lessons to the current showdown with Iran. Israeli President Shimon Peres also discussed Iran today in light of the Holocaust. I commend these to your attention.

Last November, I had the opportunity to travel to Poland with two pastors and their wives to visit the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camps for the first time. My son, Caleb, and I produced a short video of that trip which might help you and your family and friends get a brief glimpse inside the tragedy and what it means.

Most of all, please pray for these survivors, that the Lord would draw them close to His heart and heal their memories and show them His amazing grace and mercy. As the Hebrew prophet Isaiah wrote, “How lovely on the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who announces peace and brings good news of happiness, who announces salvation, and says to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’” (Isaiah 52:7)

Joel C. Rosenberg’s Blog


Joel C. Rosenberg’s Blog.

As I have stated in the past about prophecy and events that are occurring in the present, being aware is not to scare us, but to prepare us. Joel Rosenberg is a trusted source for keeping us updated on current events and biblical background.

Historian: Israel safest place in Mideast for Christians


Ryan Jones

Israel Today Magazine

The steep drop in the number of Christians living in the Palestinian Authority-controlled territories is often blamed on Israel. But Middle East historian and Israel’s current ambassador to the US, Michael Oren, says that a similar erosion of Christian populations in other countries in the region suggests the Palestinian narrative is simply not true, and that Israel is in fact the safest place in the Middle East for Christians today.

“As 800,000 Jews were once expelled from Arab countries, so are Christians being forced from lands they’ve inhabited for centuries,” Oren wrote in the Wall Street Journal.

“In Egypt, 200,000 Coptic Christians fled their homes last year after beatings and massacres by Muslim extremist mobs. Since 2003, 70 Iraqi churches have been burned and nearly a thousand Christians killed in Baghdad alone, causing more than half of this million-member community to flee. Conversion to Christianity is a capital offense in Iran… Saudi Arabia outlaws private Christian prayer. …[and] since the Hamas takeover of Gaza in 2007, half the Christian community has fled,” explained Oren.

By contrast, Oren sought to remind readers that prior to Israel’s surrender of Bethlehem and other Christian cities to Yasser Arafat’s PLO in 1995, the Palestinian Arab Christian population was actually growing. But today, Bethlehem’s Christians have been reduced from 20 percent of the population to a mere 5 percent.

And that can hardly be blamed on Israel, considering that the Christian population in those territories still controlled by the Jewish state continues to flourish.

“Since Israel’s founding in 1948, its Christian communities have expanded more than 1,000%,” wrote Oren. “Christians are prominent in all aspects of Israeli life, serving in the Knesset, the Foreign Ministry and on the Supreme Court. They are exempt from military service, but thousands have volunteered and been sworn in on special New Testaments printed in Hebrew.”

Instead, it is the same Islamic menace that is driving Christians out of the rest of the region that is also negatively impacting the Palestinian Arab church.

Oren recalls that as a government representative in 1994 he was sent to meet with clergy members in Bethlehem ahead of the city’s handover. Anticipating their new position of power over local Christians, Hamas activists had spray-painted the terror group’s name on the Church of the Nativity. The clergy “were despondent but too frightened to file a complaint,” recounts Oren.

As a non-Jewish believer in Jesus living in Israel, I can fully support Oren’s assessment. Israel is a safe haven for Christians. We are fully accepted and respected. Oren acknowledges that there are incidents of intolerance, and that is true, but it is also true of “Christian” nations like America, Germany or the UK.

To suggest that Israel is an oppressor of Christians, especially a purposeful oppressor, is a gross misrepresentation and a disservice to those Christians who truly are being oppressed and driven out by other forces.