A New Christian Antisemitism: Denying the Link Between the Jewish People and Israel

The task of theology requires an assessment, not only of the Bible, but of reality around us.

Read the post in Hungarian / Olvasd el magyarul: “A mai Izraelnek nincs köze a zsidósághoz” – Egy újfajta keresztény antiszemitizmus

Let them go to the Land and to Jerusalem, build the Temple, raise up the priesthood, principality and Moses with his Law so that they again become Jews and possess the Land. If that happened, they should soon see us on their heels and also become Jews.

– Martin Luther (from Heiko Oberman’s Wurzeln des Antisemitismus. Christenangst und Judenplage im Zeitalter von Humanismus und Reformation)

Setting aside the sarcastic nature of this quote from Luther, it raises a question that is increasingly relevant to the complicated endeavor known as Jewish-Christian relations. Namely, what would Luther’s theology of the Jews have been had the current State of Israel existed in his time, prosperous and populated by millions of Jews ingathered from the four corners of the earth? I’m not suggesting that Luther would have made good on his promise to convert to Judaism. But would he have made this statement in this way? Certainly not.

Luther, and Augustine before him, looked at the state of the Jewish people – scattered, powerless, and in a seemingly eternal exile – and drew their theological conclusions based on what they saw and understood from the Bible. They, and many other Christian theologians before and after them taught that the church had replaced Israel as the future recipient of the covenantal promises of the Bible.

A few months ago, I was invited by a Presbyterian pastor from the United States to speak to her church after she had met me on a visit to Israel. As a member in good standing of the Presbyterian Church of the United States of America (PCUSA), she requested permission from the General Presbyter of her state to host the event. The response of the GP was lukewarm. Unsurprisingly, he was not happy with her request.

The PCUSA has had an obsessive antagonism to Israel for a number of decades. For example, at their 2018 General Assembly they passed resolutions referring to Israel as “a colonial project” and as “an apartheid state”. Just Googling “PCUSA and Israel” will provide easy access to these and other similar positions.What caught me off guard was a particular statement in his email to the pastor.“ I don’t think the Old Testament nation of Israel and the present-day nation of Israel are equivalent. Nor should they be in my estimation.”

What was the intent of this claim? Was this meant as a historical statement or as a theological one? Did he mean to assert that the Jewish people of today are not descendants of the Biblical people of Israel? While this may ring true to most modern people who don’t see themselves as genetically descended from any particular nation from 3,000 years ago, it is a claim that presents a historical problem that I am not sure this General Presbyter has considered.

The history of Jewish continuity is a matter of record. Despite of a few relatively short gaps in the written record, there are continuous records of communal life from every century and almost every generation of Jews going back at least 1,500 years.

Let’s put it this way. I doubt that he was claiming that today’s Jews are not descendants of the Jews of, say, the 16th century, or the 12th century. This claim makes no sense at all. The genealogical record well known. Was he claiming that the Jews of the 10th century had no connection to the Jews of the 5th century at the end of the Talmudic era? Implausible, to say the least. And the Jews of the 2nd Temple period are easily connected to those of the Babylonian exile in the times of Ezra and Zechariah just prior.

Is his claim theological, rather than historical? If so, more questions abound. Perhaps with the advent of Christianity, Judaism is now irrelevant and therefore there are no Jews. If so, why did neither Luther in the 16th century nor Augustine in the 5th century make this claim? They and other Christian theologians were unabashed in their antipathy for the Jewish people. Why did they not make a similar assertion?

I believe that the answer lies in the point with which I began. The task of theology requires an assessment, not only of the Bible, but of reality around us. Luther had no reason to deny the Jewish lineage of the Jews around him. For Luther, the idea that the flesh and blood descendants of the Nation of Israel would one day return to the Land of Israel and take possession of it was so far-fetched that he could sarcastically pledge to convert to Judaism if it ever were to happen. It was easy to say that the Jews no longer have any kind of special covenantal relationship to the God of the Bible. The reality of the Jewish predicament in his time was enough to support his theology.

Our friend, the General Presbyter, has no such luxury. If he accepts the historical fact that the Jewish people today are the descendants of ancient Israel, the theological dominoes begin to fall. If the Jews are Biblical Israel, then the nation of Israel has, in fact returned to the land of Israel. If they have returned to the land after being “scattered to the ends of the heavens” (Deuteronomy 30:4), “taken possession of it”, and become “more numerous and more prosperous than [their] ancestors” (Deuteronomy 30:5), then what does this mean about the modern State of Israel? What does this mean about centuries of Christian supersessionist theology claiming that the Jews have no covenantal relationship to God anymore?

Rather than humbly deal with the implications of this theological upheaval, as many other Christians including the Catholic church have done, this General Presbyter chooses to invent a new solution to his conundrum.

According to Dr. Tricia Miller, a Christian academic who monitors Christian attitudes about Israel, this new claim that today’s Jews are not really Jews has been circulating for only the past twenty years or so in mainline Protestant circles. It is not difficult to identify the obviously political motives for this new idea.

The replacement theology of the past was supported by the reality of the Jewish predicament in a seemingly endless exile. However anti-Jewish, it was a justifiable interpretation of the realities of history as they seemed at the time.

With this theology now rendered untenable by current events, the antisemitic theologians of the PCUSA and their ilk have taken a new approach. Rather than adjust their theology based on the new realities that God has brought into the world in our time, they choose the reverse. They choose to reinterpret reality to suit their anti-Jewish theological stance. Rather than argue that the church has replaced Israel, they argue that there is no Israel at all.

It’s time to call this new approach by mainline Israel haters what it is: the denial of Jewish identity and Jewish history is the new theological antisemitism.

Rabbi Pesach Wolicki lives in Bet Shemesh and is an author and lecturer in the field of Jewish-Christian relations.

Source: Jerusalem Post

Jordanian Firefighters Prepare for Huge Fire on the Temple Mount

Firefighters from Jordan arrived in Israel to conduct mass casualty drills in the case of fire in the Al-Aksa mosque on the Temple Mount. The drill also featured search and rescue operations.

Although the stated purpose of the exercise was to react in case a fire broke out at the mosque, sources close to the matter believe that it was yet another Waqf stunt to flex their muscles and try to show Israel that they are in charge of the Temple Mount.

Avraham Binyamin of the right-wing NGO Regavim responded to the event saying: “There is a lot of significance involved with Jordan going to the site and training there as a security force. It symbolizes who is the owner of the site. It’s not the place to just show up and practice fire drills.”

The police spokesperson told Breaking Israel News that they were unaware of the drill.

“If it was authorized by the police, that just shows that Israel is acquiescing its authority over the Temple Mount. If they were unaware, then that’s even worse”

– Binyamin added.

The fire alarm systems were installed, designed and supervised by the Jordanian Civil Defense Ministry according to the report on Jordan TV. The report added that another purpose of the drill was to “preserve the religious and historical heritage” of the site.

Arson attack on the Temple Mount in 1969 by an Australian tourist.

Apparently this isn’t the first time Jordan has pulled this stunt. According to Temple Mount tour guide Michael Miller: “It’s nothing new. They’ve done it before in the past.”

The Israeli police spokesperson has not returned with a response regarding their knowledge of the drill. The event reportedly took place on the same day that the Hashemite Kingdom conducted a mass military drill in the event of a war with Israel.

The Jordanian Army conducted a series of military maneuvers this week simulating an attempted invasion of the kingdom, but which also appeared to be a message to Israel.

The maneuvers, which took place on Nov. 25 in the presence of Jordan’s King Abdullah II, were named “Swords of Karameh,” in an apparent reference to Israel’s 1968 military operation against Fatah near the Jordanian village of Karameh, in which the Jordanian Army fought alongside the Palestinian group.

Jordan’s official Petra news agency and the Jordanian media reported that the maneuvers involved large numbers of ground and air vehicles, and were aimed at “destroying the vanguard of the enemy and the bridges that can be used as crossing points” into Jordanian territory.

While the official Jordanian reports did not explicitly mention Israel, the reference to the Battle of Karameh and the fact that the drill focused on an invasion via bridges—that is, bridges over the Jordan River that forms the border between the two countries—strongly implies a connection.

King Abdullah, center, stands with commanders and officials in front of a model of the Dead Sea region’s Jordan-Israel border (Source: Hala.jo, November 25, 2019)

Furthermore, a photo of the maneuvers published in the Jordanian media showed King Abdullah standing with army commanders in front of a model of Jordan’s western border and the Dead Sea area. An article published by a local Jordanian website stated explicitly that the maneuvers simulated a battle with “the occupying entity across the river”—that is, Israel.

In attendance for the maneuvers, in addition to the king, were Jordanian Prime Minister Omar Razzaz, director of the Royal Court, several government ministers and members of the upper and lower houses of the Jordanian parliament. Also present were university heads and students, army veterans and military attachés from several unidentified countries.

(Source: BreakingIsraelNews)

As It Is Written: Scientists Admit Snakes Once Had LEGS

Paleontologists in Argentina reached for their Bibles after finding fossils of snakes with hind legs.

The report published in the journal, Science Advances, estimates the fossils found in the Rio Negro Province, Patagonia in 2013. The fossil is believed to be 95 million years old. The new discovery was appropriately named najash rionegrina. The term najash is based on the Hebrew word נחש (nachash, snake).

The scientists based their theory on fragments of a nearly complete skull which indicated they were very similar to lizards. Their shared anatomy led scientists to conclude that snakes evolved from lizards. Previous theories held that snakes evolved from small worm-like burrowing lizards with four legs. No fossils were ever found to corroborate this theory.

One theory suggested that the two-legged fossils represented a temporary stage in which the snakes transitioned from four legs to none but the researchers concluded that the two-legged stage lasted tens of millions of years.

Though some lizards are legless, the new discovery is of a skull with a large mouth and sharp teeth which is entirely different than that of lizards. The skull also had mobile joints for the jaw, much like modern snakes. The najash probably fed on large prey and were similar in size to the modern-day big-headed, big-bodied lizards like the Komodo dragon.

“Snakes are famously legless, but then so are many lizards. What truly sets snakes apart is their highly mobile skull, which allows them to swallow large prey items”, said Dr. Alessandro Palci, from Flinders University in Australia told The Daily Mail. “For a long time, we have been lacking detailed information about the transition from the relatively rigid skull of a lizard to the super flexible skull of snakes.”

Researchers say that Najash has the most complete, three-dimensionally preserved skull of any ancient snake ever found.

“It has some, but not all of the flexible joints found in the skull of modern snakes. Its middle ear is intermediate between that of lizards and living snakes, and unlike all living snakes it retains a well-developed cheekbone, which again is reminiscent of that of lizards”, said Dr. Palci.

The new discovery is consistent with the story in Genesis which states that the snake was punished for tempting Eve.

Then Hashem said to the serpent, “Because you did this, More cursed shall you be Than all cattle And all the wild beasts: On your belly shall you crawl And dirt shall you eat All the days of your life. Genesis 3:14

Since the punishment was to crawl on its belly, it is surmised that prior to the punishment, the snake did not crawl and may have had legs.

But the most remarkable non-snake-like aspect of the new find was a well-defined sacrum supporting a pelvis and functional hind legs outside of its ribcage. Another theory held that snakes developed as marine reptiles, losing their legs in the oceans, evolving from now-extinct marine lizards called mosasaurs. Though some species of sea snakes still have vestigial legs, the najash was decidedly a desert dweller.

“This snake is an important addition because it is the first snake with a sacrum. This represents an intermediate morphology that has never before been seen,” says Hussam Zaher, curator of herpetology at the University of São Paulo in Brazil, and part of the research team told New Scientist.

“‘Snakeness’ is really old, and that’s probably why we don’t have any living representatives of four-legged snakes like we do all of the other lizards,” Michael Caldwell, a vertebrate paleontologist at the University of Alberta and a co-author of the study, explained to the New York Times.

“Snakes probably were one of the first lizard groups to start experimenting with limblessness, but what’s really intriguing is that they were also very clearly showing the characteristics of their skulls, which are their specialization,” he added.

(Source: BreakingNewsIsrael)

“Be Strong and Courageous”: 200 Israeli Rabbis Thank and Bless President Trump for Fulfilling Bible Prophecies

Over 200 rabbis, including the Chief Rabbis of Israel, sent a letter to President Trump, thanking him for his recognition of Israel’s right to Judea and Samaria. The letter was composed by the Chief Rabbi of Tzfat, Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu and published in Srugim compared the political move to the prophecy of Jeremiah.

Again you shall plant vineyards On the hills of Shomron; Men shall plant and live to enjoy them.

Jeremiah 31:4

“Over 2,500 years ago, the Prophet Jeremiah claimed that the nation of Israel would return to the hills of Samaria and plant their vineyards there.”

The Rabbis then cited another verse in Jeremiah as being manifested by Trump’s actions.

Thus said the lord of Hosts, the God of Yisrael: They shall again say this in the land of Yehuda and in its towns, when I restore their fortunes: “Hashem bless you, Abode of righteousness, O holy mountain!”

Jeremiah 31:22

“We get to live in the generation where these prophecies are fulfilled word for word. 130 years ago, Jew from all over the world started returning to Israel. 72 years ago, the nation was freed from foreign rule. 52 years ago we returned to Jerusalem, Hebron, and the rest of Judea and Samaria. Our enemies did not accept this, and are still trying to stop the process. But God has promised to Abraham that ‘Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies’, and we have seen with our own eyes how ‘Five of you will chase a hundred, and a hundred of you will chase ten thousand, and your enemies will fall by the sword before you’”.

Historic decision: US accepts ALL Israeli settlements in Judea and Samaria

“We are grateful for the blessing of peace, of the hills of Israel producing fruit, and of the Israeli economy gathering strength” the letter read. “We are grateful that the world recognizes Israel’s mission to bring joy and hope to the world, to strengthen justice and bring everlasting peace. Two years ago we got your recognition of the central position Jerusalem has in our country, followed by recognition of the Golan Heights – and now we are blessed with your recognition of the legality of the Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria”.

America has Finally Decided the Bible is Not Illegal

“The United States of America were one of the first countries to support the founding of the State of Israel. The presidents of the US were honored to support Israel, and be part of the fulfillment of the Prophet’s predictions of the return of Zion and the foundation of the State of Israel. It is a rare honor for you to be the first President to lead this recognition”.

God made a promise to Abraham, that ‘I will bless those who bless you’. He promised the prophet Isaiah that ‘For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, for Jerusalem’s sake I will not remain quiet, till her vindication shines out like the dawn, her salvation like a blazing torch. The nations will see your vindication, and all kings your glory; you will be called by a new name that the mouth of the Lord will bestow’. President Trump, you are blessed to see the fulfillment of this prophecy”.

The Most Ancient Heritage of the Jews: Thousands Flock to the Cave of Patriarchs in Hebron

“We are sure you will be remembered in the history of Israel as the leader who stood fearlessly by our side. May God bless you and fulfill you as he promised Joshua: ‘Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go’”.

(Source: BreakingNewsIsrael)

The Most Ancient Heritage of the Jews: Thousands Flock to the Cave of Patriarchs in Hebron

Then Abram removed his tent, and came and dwelt in the plain of Mamre, which is in Hebron, and built there an altar unto the LORD. (Gen. 13,18)

Thousands to spend Shabbat in Hebron commemorating purchase of Cave of Patriarchs. The Torah portion that will be read on Saturday in synagogues all over the world, Chayei Sarah, describes how Abraham purchased the cave as a burial plot for his wife Sarah.

As described in the Bible, Abraham himself, as well as other fore-parents Isaac, Rebekah, Jacob and Leah, are also buried there, making it one of the holiest sites in Judaism – and also in Islam, which venerates Abraham for being Ishmael’s father. Located in the heart of Hebron’s Old Town, the monument houses both Jewish sanctuaries of worship and the Ibrahimi mosque.

Several events are scheduled for the weekend.

According to a statement by Israeli police, tens of thousands of people are expected to visit the site over Shabbat. For this reason, special security arrangements have been implemented by Israel’s security forces.

“On the very site where the Jewish patriarch Abraham offered food and drink to wayfarers from an open tent in the hot desert sun, Chabad of Hebron will do its best to live up to his example when it hosts a record crowd of 6,000 at its annual Shabbat Chayei Sarah mega-gathering beginning Friday at sundown,” the hassidic Chabad Lubavitch movement said in a statement.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Jews and Arabs lived side by side in Hebron, sharing shops, hospitals and holy sites. However, with the rise of increased Jewish Zionist immigration to Palestine and the growth of Arab nationalism and incitement, tensions grew, culminating in the massacre of 67 Jews in 1929, which effectively ended the Jewish presence in Hebron.

When Jews returned to the city in the decades succeeding the 1967 Six Day War – under the protection of the IDF and the State of Israel – the Palestinian population viewed them as hostile occupiers.

In 1994, Jewish resident Dr. Baruch Goldstein murdered 29 Palestinian worshipers in the Tomb of the Patriarchs. Riots ensued, after which the IDF closed Shuhada Street to Palestinians, which had been the heart of the city’s commercial life.

Since 1997, the city has been divided into separate communities: the Palestinian-controlled H1 area, which comprises around 80% of the city, where around 200,000 Palestinians live, and the Israeli-controlled H2 neighborhood, with around 1,000 Jewish residents. This arrangement generates friction, which often results in well-documented clashes.

In 2017, UNESCO added Hebron’s Old Town and the Cave of the Patriarchs – under the State of Palestine – to its list of World Heritage in Danger sites, sparking outrage in Israel and beyond.

(Source: Jerusalem Post)

Shame on Their Head: Hitler’s Top Hat Sells at Auction in Munich for $55,000

Rabbi Menachem Margolin, chairman of the European Jewish Association: The sale “sends a message that some things particularly when so metaphorically blood soaked, should not and must not be traded.”

Hitler’s top hat sold for more than $55,000 at a controversial auction of Nazi memorabilia in Germany.

The auction at Hermann Historica began Wednesday in Munich and continues on Thursday.

Other items that sold on the first day were a silver-plated copy of “Mein Kampf” that once belonged to senior Nazi Hermann Goering for about $145,000 and a cocktail dress belonging to Hitler’s paramour Eva Braun for $5,000, double the expected price, Deutcshe Welle reported.

A man holds a hat with the initials of Adolf Hitler prior to an auction in Grasbrunn, Germany, Wednesday, Nov. 201, 2019. A Jewish group has sharply condemned an auction of Nazi memorabilia in Germany. The European Jewish Association condemned the auction Wednesday at Hermann Historica in Munich, saying that “it’s wrong to make money off these blood-soaked items, especially in Germany of all places”. (Matthias Balk/dpa via AP)

Rabbi Menachem Margolin, chairman of the European Jewish Association, had appealed to the auction house to cancel the sale, saying that it would “send a message that some things particularly when so metaphorically blood soaked, should not and must not be traded.”

“The Nazis’ crimes are being trivialized here,” the German government’s anti-Semitism commissioner Felix Klein told Funke newspaper group. “They’re acting as if they’re trading in perfectly normal historical art objects,” he also said, adding that “there is a danger that Nazi relics become cult objects.”

Hermann Historica director Bernhard Pacher told Deutsche Welle that most customers “are museums, state collections and private collectors who really meticulously deal with the subject.”

(Source: JTA)

Jerusalem High-Speed Train and Cable Car Project: 40 MINUTES from the Airport RIGHT to the Temple Mount

New details on the cable car that will bring Jewish worshipers directly from the airport to the Temple Mount.

The Western Wall and the Temple Mount have literally over millions of people coming to visit it together all around the year. It’s probably the most visited site in Israel. It is very difficult to get to once you pass the age of 50 because the bus service to get into the Old City or taxies even; now buses can’t get in.

And so what happens is people have to be left out by the gates and sort of walk in. You know that its steps leading down and it’s very crowded. It’s not the best way to get to a site where you have hundreds of thousands of people. And so they came up with this idea because Israel is building a whole new transit system. You’ll be able to get off your plane at Ben Gurion Airport and within 20 minutes you’re in Jerusalem with the high-speed train.

If you fly from New York to Ben Gurion Airport you will be able to get on the cable car and ultimately land right there at the Western Wall Plaza to offer your prayer. Well once you get off the plane, it will be probably between 20-25 minutes to get to Jerusalem and another 10 minutes to get to where the cable car is going to be which is right next to the Menachem Begin Heritage Center by the way. It is on that hill opposite to Mt. Zion Hotel. And then it will swing around Mt. Zion and end up another 5 minutes or so and you’re right at the entrance of the Western Wall or go up into the Temple Mount.

The cable car will travel 1.4 kilometers from the old railway station to the Western Wall and there will be 73 cars with the capacity to transport 3,000 people in each direction.

Starting from David Remez street outside the old Jerusalem station, the cable car will travel above Bible Hill (Givat Hatanakh) and the Valley of Gehenna, skirt around the Diaspora Yeshiva on Mount Zion and the Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu and above the Ein Hilweh neighborhood before the terminal near the Western Wall.

Ministry of Tourism estimates are that 135,000 people visit the Old City each week. The aim of the project is to provide easier access to the Western Wall and southern side of the Old City and significantly ease pedestrian congestion in the Old City.

(Source: VCY America, JerusalemNext)

Vatican: Jews have no rights to live in Judea and Samaria

Vatican says US decision on settlements ‘undermines regional stability’ and Jews have right only to live “within the borders recognized by the international community”. That means Jews should not live in Hebron, Efrat, Shilo – or in the Old City of Jerusalem.

Historic decision: US accepts ALL Israeli settlements in Judea and Samaria

Holy See doesn’t directly mention Washington’s announcement that it no longer views settlements as illegal, but reference seems clear from statement’s wording.

The Vatican on Wednesday expressed concern that “recent decisions” could undermine regional stability in the Middle East, in an apparent reference to the US reversal of position on Israeli settlements.

The Vatican didn’t specifically cite the US conclusion that Israel’s West Bank settlements don’t violate international law. But the reference appeared clear when it spoke of “the recent decisions that risk undermining further the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and the already fragile regional stability” in the Middle East.

The Holy See reiterated its support for a “two-state solution for two peoples, as the only way to reach a complete solution to this age-old conflict.”

It said it supports Israel’s right to “live in peace and security within the borders recognized by the international community” and supports “the same right that belongs to the Palestinian people, which must be recognized, respected and implemented.”

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Monday that the US was softening its position on Israeli settlements in the West Bank and repudiating a 1978 State Department legal opinion that held that they were “inconsistent with international law.”

America has Finally Decided the Bible is Not Illegal

The US move angered Palestinians and was rebuked by many other countries as well as the United Nations.

“After carefully studying all sides of the legal debate,” Pompeo told reporters, the United States had concluded that “the establishment of Israeli civilian settlements in the West Bank is not, per se, inconsistent with international law.”

“Calling the establishment of civilian settlements inconsistent with international law hasn’t worked. It hasn’t advanced the cause of peace,” Pompeo said.

The international community overwhelmingly considers the settlements illegal. This is based in part on the Fourth Geneva Convention, which bars an occupying power from transferring parts of its own civilian population to occupied territory.

Israel rejects the position that the territories are occupied, maintaining that they were captured from Jordan in a defensive war and that the West Bank was merely controlled by Jordan, but never part of the Hashemite Kingdom or any other sovereign state.

Israel captured the West Bank, including the Jordan Valley, in the 1967 Six Day War, and later began settling the newly conquered territory.

(Source: The Times of Israel)

Hungary Blocks Joint EU-Condemnation of US Statement on Judea and Samaria

Hungarian FM said to instruct his diplomats to block any text on the legal status of settlements; France, Germany issue their own statements

The EU was scheduled to issue a formal statement Tuesday condemning the US declaration on settlements, but consensus should be reached on such decisions.

Historic decision: US accepts ALL Israeli settlements in Judea and Samaria

An effort to get all 28 European Union member states to issue a joint statement condemning the US decision to no longer consider Israeli settlements as illegal is being blocked by Hungary, according to a diplomatic source with direct knowledge of the matter.

No text has yet been circulated among member states, as Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó made it plain that his country would veto any statement on the settlement’s legality

On Monday, US Secretary Mike Pompeo declared that the current administration was changing its stance on the legality of Israeli settlements. “The establishment of Israeli civilian settlements in the West Bank is not per se inconsistent with international law,” he said.

Just a few hours later, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini issued a statement that did not directly refer to Pompeo’s statement but reiterated that the union’s position “remains unchanged: all settlement activity is illegal under international law and it erodes the viability of the two-state solution and the prospects for a lasting peace.”

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo makes a statement during a press conference at the US Department of State in Washington, DC, on November 18, 2019. (JIM WATSON/AFP)

Mogherini’s statement further said that the union “calls on Israel to end all settlement activity, in line with its obligations as an occupying power.” Brussels will continue to support “a resumption of a meaningful process towards a negotiated two-state solution, the only realistic and viable way to fulfill the legitimate aspirations of both parties,” her statement concluded.

Szijjártó instructed his diplomats to oppose any statement on the legality of settlements, even if it was formulated in general terms and avoided direct criticism of Washington’s policy change, the source said.

Budapest has been at loggerheads with Brussels over the Middle East peace process several times in recent months. For instance, the government of Prime Minister Viktor Orban also blocked a joint EU statement condemning the US administration’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Joint statements issued in the name of EU member states require unanimity.

In March, Hungary became the first EU member state to open a diplomatic mission in Jerusalem, much to the chagrin of Brussels and other member states that cling to the position that international law prohibits opening such missions in the city in the absence of a comprehensive peace deal.

In 2015, Szijjártó also publicly denigrated the EU’s policy to require Israeli products from the settlements to be labeled as such.

Given that a joint statement of all EU states proved impossible, several governments issued their own declarations, announcing that their position on the settlements had not changed.

Germany, for instance, reiterated that it considers the construction of settlements “illegal under international law and an obstacle to the possibility of a peace process.”

The Federal Government reaffirms its position towards Israel’s settlement policy in the occupied territories: the construction of settlements is illegal under int. law, an obstacle to the possibility of a peace process & makes a negotiated two-state solution more difficult.

The French Foreign Ministry issued a similar statement, adding that Paris “regrets any decision that is likely to encourage continued settlement construction.”

Even Switzerland, which is not a member of the EU, felt compelled to restate its opposition to settlements.

“Switzerland’s position towards Israeli settlements is very clear: they are illegal under international law, in particular the Fourth Geneva Convention. They also constitute a major obstacle to peace and the implementation of a two-State solution,” the government in Bern said in a press release.

“Switzerland regularly calls on the Israeli authorities to cease all settlement activity, in accordance with their obligations as the occupying power.”

The European countries’ statement joins those of nations, such as Russia, Jordan and Turkey, that have already expressed regret over Pompeo’s policy shift.

Source: The Times of Israel

Power of Prayer: Defence Minister Recites Blessing for Israel’s Victory at Meeting of Top Chiefs of Staff

Israeli’s first religious defense minister, Naftali Bennett, took time out of a cabinet meeting with the IDF’s top brass to recite the blessing for the state of Israel and for God to grant its army the strength be victorious in wars. The prayer goes as follows:

“Our Father in Heaven, Rock and Redeemer of Israel, bless the State of Israel, the first manifestation of the approach of our redemption. Shield it with Your lovingkindness, envelop it in Your peace, and bestow Your light and truth upon its leaders, ministers, and advisors, and grace them with Your good counsel. Strengthen the hands of those who defend our holy land, grant them deliverance, and adorn them in a mantle of victory.

Ordain peace in the land and grant its inhabitants eternal happiness. Lead them, swiftly and upright, to Your city Zion and to Jerusalem, the abode of Your Name, as is written in the Torah of Your servant Moses: “Even if your outcasts are at the ends of the world, from there the Lord your God will gather you, from there He will fetch you. And the Lord your God will bring you to the land that your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it; and He will make you more prosperous and more numerous than your fathers.” Draw our hearts together to revere and venerate Your name and to observe all the precepts of Your Torah, and send us quickly the Messiah son of David, agent of Your vindication, to redeem those who await Your deliverance.

Manifest yourself in the splendor of Your boldness before the eyes of all inhabitants of Your world, and may everyone endowed with a soul affirm that the Lord, God of Israel, is king and his dominion is absolute. Amen forevermore.”

(Source: BreakingIsraelNews)