We often say that the Jewish life cycle revolves around the Jewish calendar, its holy days and the foods we eat accordingly. There is even a a Jewish motto about it: “They tried to kill us, we won, let’s eat!” But let us remember that on the Jewish calendar, outside of the biblically ordained Levitical feasts (Leviticus 23), there are several other dates marking some critical events in our history. One such date is Tisha B’Av or the ninth of the month of Av. This annual fast (lasting 25 hours in Jewish tradition) commemorates several tragedies that occurred in Jewish history. It is believed that on the ninth of Av:
• The 12 spies returned
• The First Temple was destroyed
• The Second Temple was destroyed
• The 135 CE Bar Kochba revolt was put to an end by the Romans
• The first Crusade started
• Jews were expelled from England in 1290
• Germany entered World War One
• “The final Solution to the Jewish Question” was officially put in motion in 1941
• Large scale deportation of Jews to Auschwitz and Treblinka started in 1942
Needless to say that this is a very somber date for Jewish people worldwide. This is a time when the Book of Lamentations is read in synagogues. Jewish people fast, do not bathe and do not have marital relations on this day.
This year, the ninth of Av fell on July 25 and I cannot help but think about the way that it might be remembered and added to the long list of catastrophes for the Jewish people.
We are in the midst of a global crisis with the Islamic Republic of Iran which is on the threshold of acquiring its own nuclear arsenal. The same Iran has recently and repeatedly vowed to destroy Israel and the United States.
Since 2008, President Obama’s foreign policy has been less than spectacular. Like every previous president since 1948 and to no avail, he tried to make a positive contribution to the Middle East peace process. But it is clear that Mr. Obama has an obsession with Iran, and like the National Review aptly said it: “The Obama administration values a future relationship with Iran more than it values the historic relationship it has with Israel.” President Obama’s obsession with Iran might only be surpassed by his obsession for his own “messianic legacy”. In any case, both are tightly linked and they unfortunately are at the expense of Israel.
During Thursday’s Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing, we heard Secretary of State John Kerry try to defend the current Iran nuclear agreement with the 5+1 super powers. Frankly, it is starting to feel more and more like another check will soon be added to the ominous list of Tisha B’Av tragedies. Especially in light of Mr. Kerry’s answer when asked by Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) about US loyalty in the eventuality of a unilateral Israeli strike to sabotage Iranian facilities. First, there was a foggy answer from Secretary of Energy, Ernest Moniz. Mr. Rubio reiterated his question to which he got a firm “No” from Mr. Moniz, stating that the US was not under any obligation to protect Iran. Immediately following, Mr Kerry chimed in and tried to sound as if the current administration was Israel’s friend and that all would be good. He never gave a firm yes or no, but finished by saying: “ …I don’t see any way possible that we would be in conflict with Israel with respect to what we might want to do there. I think we might have to wait until we get to that point.“
The problem with that statement from Mr. Kerry is that it can be interpreted several different ways depending on what the audience wants to hear. When I hear the phrase with respect to what we might want to do there, I am left wondering if “what they might want to do” is bomb Iran in accord with Israel or help Iran to defend itself from an Israeli attack (cyber or military). Pick one, they both work! There is some wording on page 142 of the document drafted for the deal stipulating that the 5+1 would help Iran defend themselves against sabotage once the deal is approved. This would make me think that the US would lean towards helping Iran, and frankly, this wouldn’t surprise me under the current administration.
Then there is the statement he closed with: “I think we might have to wait until we get to that point.” which is even more frightening. If we truly have to wait for the eleventh hour when Israeli planes are in Iranian airspace or even later if possible, it is akin to asking people to wait until Hiroshima was detonated before deciding if it was the best option.
Israel, the United States and the rest of the free world cannot afford to wait and see because the more time we give the Islamic Republic of Iran to acquire the bomb the less time we will have to successfully respond. In other words if we wait much longer there might not be much left to see.
I continue to keep my trust in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and His unconditional love for Israel. But I must remain pragmatic in understanding that the highest human casualties in the history of mankind are yet to come.
It sure feels like Tisha B’Av again but hang in there because Rosh Hashanah is just around the corner!
It was only 15 years ago that I was conducting research for my first book on anti-Semitism, They Have Conspired Against You. This led me to an in-depth study of the 83rd Psalm written by Asaph who was a contemporary of King David.
Psalm 83 spoke of many enemies of Israel and of the pleading of Asaph with God for His miraculous intervention on behalf of the Jewish people. Of the several points made by this short psalm, I was intrigued by the ten people groups who were described as conspiring against Israel.
In digging a little deeper, I realized that this covenant of nations had never taken place in the history of Israel. I also thought that there was a strong possibility that Asaph’s usage of the sentence: “They make shrewd plans against Your people, And conspire together against Your treasured ones. They have said, “Come, and let us wipe them out as a nation, That the name of Israel be remembered no more” could very possibly be a literary device to express emphasis in despair. Maybe Asaph wanted to express that Israel had enemies–a true statement–and for emphasis, he described all her neighbors as the enemies, akin to someone with a few foes saying:”The whole world hates me!”
Of course, an equally valid interpretation could be that it is a future attack on Israel by a confederation of countries and/or states. I find it fascinating to look at the people described in Psalm 83:6-8: The tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites, Moab and the Hagrites; Gebal and Ammon and Amalek, Philistia with the inhabitants of Tyre; Assyria also has joined with them, and compare them to modern day countries or people groups. The results could even be too close for comfort.
Edom – Southern Jordan
Ishmaelites – Ishmael was one of the fathers of all the Arabs.
Moab – Central Jordan
Hagarenes – Egypt
Gebal – Lebanon
Ammon – Northern Jordan
Amalek – The Sinai Peninsula
Philistia – The Gaza Strip
Tyre – Lebanon
Assyria – Iraq and parts of Syria
By these standards, Israel finds herself surrounded by enemies who have conspired together to destroy the Jewish state. This would be a likely scenario in light of the fact that eventually the whole world will go against Israel, but we are faced with an inconsistency. There are two countries that have an ongoing peace treaty with Israel in the whole Middle East: Jordan (Edom, Moab and Ammon) and Egypt (Hagarenes). Yet these are listed as enemies of Israel, so how can this be possible? I wonder if the answer could not be found in the events of the last year and the progress of ISIS (Islamic State) in the region? ISIS is continuously making progress in a very volatile region, not to mention their global recruitment over the last year. A quick review of their progress could lead credence to an upcoming fulfillment of Psalm 83:
• ISIS started their bloody takeover campaigns in parts of Iraq and Syria.
• ISIS has also been trying to gain some ground in Northeast Lebanon and Northern Lebanon. The mere idea that Lebanese Christians would praise Hezbollah for fighting ISIS is frightening at best and most likely temporary.
• They even got into the Gaza Strip, giving Hamas a run for their money.
• Of course, they also recently launched an offensive in the Sinai Peninsula. How’s that peace treaty with Israel looking right now? Very shaky if ISIS spreads further into Egypt!
• This leaves us with Jordan and the Iraqi border, which have also been affected.
So there you have it in a nutshell. To an extent, ISIS has infiltrated all the areas listed in Pslam 83, INCLUDING JORDAN AND EGYPT, the only two countries with existing peace treaties with Israel. Asaph might have spoken prophetically and we might be getting really close to seeing the evil confederacy of Psalm 83 being formed. It was almost impossible to fathom that Psalm 83 would have a literal fulfillment 15 years ago. Today and with the advance of the Islamic State, I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if it took place. And what if it did take place?
While the entire civilized world appears to be in agreement regarding the barbarism displayed by ISIS, it is now becoming obvious that the terrorist group is not being stopped, let alone even contained. It is very surreal and quite puzzling to see ISIS recruits coming from all corners of the world to train under “the black banner of death”. So yes indeed, the grip around Israel is tightening at the hands of ISIS.
Israel has her plate very full with a Hamas ruled Gaza Strip in the south and a Hezbollah ruled Lebanon in the north. The Jewish state has been on high alert since May 14, 1948. They will not provoke but they will certainly respond. They will do it better and faster than the rest of the world because their existence depends on it. To an extent, the rest of the world’s existence also depends on how serious we are about ISIS. But when you hear people such as Richard Barrett, former head of counter-terrorism at MI6 who said that:” We cannot destroy ISIS, so we will have to learn to live with it“, you wonder how serious anybody really is about defeating ISIS? We are not even discussing how Islamic ISIS really is or is not, but we are still faced with a terrorist group that is organized, wealthy, well advertised and very arrogant. The minute that ISIS crosses the line where Israel feels threatened, they [Israel] will respond swiftly and efficiently. No question about it.
We must also keep in mind the rest of Psalm 83 like verse 5 describing the enemies of Israel as the enemies of God Himself:“For they have conspired together with one mind; Against You they make a covenant.” God may or may not intervene between ISIS and the world, but if they [ISIS] go against Israel, I am certain that He will get involved. Yet, there is still time for the enemies of Israel to repent because God might be just but He is also patient as Psalm 83:15-18 says:
So pursue them with Your tempest And terrify them with Your storm.
Fill their faces with dishonor, That they may seek Your name, O Lord.
Let them be ashamed and dismayed forever, And let them be humiliated and perish,
That they may know that You alone, whose name is the Lord, Are the Most High over all the earth
The prophetic hourglass was turned on May 14, 1948 and it is running out of sand in its top section.
In the midst of a global crisis involving Iran’s race for nuclear power, Benjamin Netanyahu was re-elected for another two-year term. The landslide victory showed us that Israel isn’t so fed-up with Bibi’s policies. It actually proved that Israelis are very concerned about the Iranian threat and feel that Bibi is the best man to handle the crisis.
The Lausanne “Agreement”–if we can call it that–has left much to be desired. It transforms the West from an inspector into a powerless spectator. Iran’s carefully crafted nuclear “smoke and mirror” show is supposed to appease the international community, so we hear from the media and President Obama.
In a recent interview for NPR, Mr. Obama delivered a 22 minute promotional piece on the exciting deal that is being made with Iran. I would say that it was more propaganda than promotion. While he seems to denounce anti-Semitism, Mr. Obama doesn’t see the need for Iran to recognize the existence of Israel as part of a viable deal as he said: “So there’s still going to be a whole host of differences between us and Iran, and one of the most profound one is the vile, anti-Semitic statements that have often come out of the highest levels of the Iranian regime. But the notion that we would condition Iran not getting nuclear weapons, in a verifiable deal, on Iran recognizing Israel is really akin to saying that we won’t sign a deal unless the nature of the Iranian regime completely transforms. And that is, I think, a fundamental misjudgment.”
Mr. Obama’s dismissal of Israel’s safety goes along with the recent disclosure of a Department of Defense top-secret document exposing Israel’s nuclear information. There were several other countries’ sensitive nuclear information on that 360-pages document. Somehow, they were all redacted out of the document before its release, to leave only Israel’s information readable. To be sure, Israel’s nuclear capability is no news to the world, but this was the first official announcement about it by a foreign state. How could Mr. Obama possibly say that his administration has done more for Israel than any other previous president? Unless of course he means that he has done more than any other president to put Israel in arms way…Don’t get me started on that one!
Yet Mr. Obama clearly wants us to believe that he is helping Israel when he says: “And as I’ve indicated before, if you look at my track record since I’ve been in office, we have had as much or greater military cooperation and intelligence cooperation with Israel than any previous administration. We have been steadfast in the defense of Israel when it comes to them defending themselves, even when there have been periods of great international controversy.”
It looks to me as if Israel is left with the decision to strike Iran if they feel that the threat is getting to close for comfort. Frankly, this is a decision that is currently better left on Netanyahu’s shoulders than any other Israeli prime minister. Additionally, I fear that the decision to strike Iran is no longer a matter of if but simply when! Iran knows how to play the clock. Deal or no deal, they continue to see the time span as a great opportunity to continue with their nuclear program with very little outside control. This will allow Iran to acquire the capability to build a bomb a lot sooner. For all we really know, Iran might be a lot closer than we think to become a nuclear lethal force.
The real danger that isn’t discussed much is the fact that we are now in a stage of what has been called “Apocalyptic Islamism”. There is very little if anything that the West can do to stop the raging hatred and determination of the mullahs in bringing in the “Twelfth Imam”. Both ISIS and Iran–while not necessarily working hand in hand–have a common goal of Islamic global hegemony painted on a backdrop of End-Times with the blood of the “infidels”. Iran of course also helps fulfilling Hezbollah’s agenda by proxy.
This really leaves only one option, and that is the physical destruction of Iranian nuclear facilities–a feat that only Israel seems to be willing to undertake. Of course, once the big boy on the Middle East playground has pushed the bully over, the rest of the cowards will magically appear on the scene. Then we might see an overnight alliance of powers who up to then didn’t have the chutzpah to go after the Khameini regime. Even Mr. Obama might join the ranks of those who oppose Iran at that time.
It appears to be “damned if you do and damned if you don’t” for Netanyahu, but since Israel’s survival is a non-negotiable, It might just be a matter of time before Bibi makes a move. He certainly is facing some of the toughest decisions of his entire political career and could certainly use the prayer of those who love Israel.
Preventing Iran from going nuclear ISN’T ONLY A MIDDLE EAST PROBLEM, it is a global one. Ignoring a problem never made it go away, but we are being told than Iran is on the road to full compliance. Is it on that very road that they also shout “Death to America” and “Death to Israel”. Global leadership isn’t necessarily measured in GNP or a country’s worth anymore. It might be measured more by the ability, willingness and determination to avoid a nuclear cataclysm at any cost. In the case of Iran, I think that only Israel has got it and only Bibi can lead them into making such a decision. I still pray for all of it to be averted because any loss of life is a tragedy. Jews and Muslims alike need to be touched by God and meet their Messiah and redeemer (Isaiah 52:13-53-12). The Bible does shed some light on all of this.
There is a promise from the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob that He will not only protect Israel but also destroy her enemies. This eschatological promise is based on God’s unconditional and eternal Abrahamic Covenant with Israel and the Jewish people (Genesis 12:1-3) and it should be an encouragement and a call to prayer for those of us who support Israel.
In that day the Lord will defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and the one who is feeble among them in that day will be like David, and the house of David will be like God, like the angel of the Lord before them. And in that day I will set about to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem (Zechariah 12:8-9)
A 26-year-old Iranian woman convicted of murdering a man she accused of trying to rape her as a teenager was hanged on Saturday, the official news agency IRNA said, despite international pleas for her life to be spared.
Reyhaneh Jabbari walked to the gallows at dawn on Saturday in Tehran’s Evin prison after failing to secure a reprieve from the murder victim’s relatives within the 10-day deadline set by sharia law in force since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
The death sentence sparked U.S. and European Union condemnation and the government of President Hassan Rouhani, who won election last year on promises of liberal reform at home and easing Iran’s isolation abroad, to intervene to get it commuted.
President Obama gave his first State of the Union address of 2014. Once again, he took the opportunity to put responsibility on Israel to make concessions, painful concessions for a peace agreement that will never exist or be recognized by the Palestinians.
The Obama Administration is lying to the American people that they are supporting Israel’s achievement to be recognized by the Palestinians. He is lying when he says he wants a secure Israel. He spoke about bringing our troops home, but he wants to put troops on the border in the Jordan Valley. This will severely limit Israel’s right to defend herself.
Here is the comment he made, putting Israel on the spot AGAIN: “As we speak, American diplomacy is supporting Israelis and Palestinians as they engage in difficult but necessary talks to end the conflict there; to achieve dignity and an independent state for Palestinians, and lasting peace and security for the State of Israel – a Jewish state that knows America will always be at their side.”
Senators Robert Menendez (NJ) and Mark Kirk (IL) have written the Nuclear Weapons Free Iran Act of 2013 with approximately 60 co-sponsors of the bill. Both Democrats and Republicans support putting sanctions back on Iran which were working before President Obama decided that diplomacy with a maniacal Jew hating regime would heal the planet and tame the ocean waters. While I vehemently disagree with Senator Menendez on almost everything politically, Senator Menendez is a hawk and a staunch supporter of Israel and her right to exist and defend herself. He is an outspoken defender of Israel’s existence, more so than some Democrat Jewish members of the House and the Senate. We know the Republicans stand together in support of Israel. That is a given. This bill does more than put sanctions back on Iran. It also puts the President in his place from his interference in the sanctions, as they were finally starting to work. Now, we can only imagine the progression Iran is reaching in their goal to finish their weapon, which is made to destroy Israel and the United States.
President Obama personally said any bill that comes to his desk to put sanctions back on Iran, he will veto it. I saw the look on Senator Menendez’s face, and it was one of anger. For the sake of national security he thinks diplomacy will work? Comparing Kennedy and Reagan’s abilities to defy all odds against an armed Soviet Union to his own failures is a slap in the face to their memory.
President Obama is deluding himself if he thinks Iran will willingly give up their nuclear weapons program whose intent is to destroy Israel. He said he will stand ready to implement more sanctions if Iran’s leaders do not seize the opportunity for diplomatic talks. I say let Obama own what he said last night. We the people will hold him accountable for his own words and actions.
John Kerry was for Israel defending herself before he was against it. Recently, Minister of Defense, Moshe Ya’alon, trashed John Kerry’s demands to forcibly remove IDF troops from strategic areas in Judea and Samaria. In layman’s terms; allow Israelis to be murdered by Palestinians on a daily basis. John Kerry says that censors and TV screens will do more to combat terrorism than a trained Israeli soldier with a Galil, Negev or Tavor 21 rifle. There is nothing this man can teach us Jews about our enemies that we haven’t already experienced. The Obama Administration and Progressives around the world have long held the view that “if only Israel didn’t exist the world would be so much safer.” I have news for you people; History has proven that when Israel fights terrorism as she has for the last few thousand years, she keeps it from coming here.
I appreciate the special bond America shares with Israel, our common values of a free republic (I despise the word democracy) , Jews and Christians bond to the land. It is like no other relationship America has with any other nation. However, times have changed, Israel takes care of herself, defends herself and builds her own weapons now. The dependency on our weapons systems isn’t like the early days when President Kennedy kept his promise to sell arms to Israel and always have his door open to Jewish leaders. Those Democrats don’t exist anymore anyway. Today, Israel is given an ultimatum; give up more land, and we’ll give you what you need to defend yourself.
Our bond with Israel will never change. It is this Obama Administration that has created this co-dependency of threats, manipulation, and coercion and retribution for Israel building on her own land by way of getting suddenly cozy with Iran. I was in Israel March 2012. I can assure you that Iran is already on Israel’s doorstep by way of Hezbollah in Lebanon. I saw it with binoculars while visiting Kibbutz Misgav Am which is right on the tip of the border between Lebanon and Syria.
It is interesting to note that John Kerry has visited Israel TEN TIMES while Obamacare was being implemented. A bit suspicious don’t you think? If this Administration has used and abused Israel to deflect from the American people finding out what Obamacare is really all about, treating Bibi Netenyahu like a dishrag, ordering his cabinet to come to the White House through the backdoor, pointing his finger in his face, and demanding Israel go back to pre 67 borders. In this video Bibi reiterated AGAIN that Israel must and will maintain a long-term presence in the Jordan Valley.
I dug up this video of President Bush and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon having one of their first meetings at the White House. I encourage all of you to watch it and see how loving and kind President Bush was to Israel. In this video he gives it straight to the media that he expects Israel to respond with force if Sadaam Hussein ever attacked Israel. In return, Ariel Sharon praises and thanks President Bush for being one of the best Presidents that understood Israel’s need to defend herself and her right to exist.
When I watched this video for my article this morning, I cried. Not because Ariel Sharon has passed, but because this was a real friendship, a true relationship, and a real President who treated Israel always with the utmost respect and dignity she deserves. Say what you want about President Bush, when it came down to Israel, he REFUSED to deal with Yasser Arafat and only talked to Israel. That, my friends, is called standing on principle.