Sunday, February 7, 2016: CUFI’s 10 Years

Sunday Must-Read - 10th Birthday #1

As we celebrate “CUFI at 10,” we want to share with you a piece a Jewish friend of CUFI wrote to Christian supporters of Israel on Christmas Day, 2015. Over the past 10 years, we have been blessed to gain the trust and support of many within the Jewish community who have seen CUFI’s heart for Israel and the Jewish people. We are grateful to have had the opportunity these past 10 years to work with our Jewish brethren to stand up for Israel and to fight against anti-Semitism and look forward to continuing to work “For Zion’s Sake” far into the future.

Grateful to my Christian Brethren

By Anne Etra

Yes, well. It’s not something that we spend a lot of time talking about. Jews and Christians live and work and intermarry and break bread together in the good old USA, some of my best friends are Jewish, some of my best friends are Christian…but thousands of years of history, persecution, and dogma difference still divides us, as does simple fear of the other.

Ahh. But there’s a great unifier that way too few people on both sides know about, and this is the resolute devotion to Israel of both Evangelical Christians and Jews (I know, I know: there exists now a dark, dangerous Christian revisionist history movement, as well as a destructive fashionableness among some liberal democrats to blindly denounce Israel. But that’s another blogpost).

What I know is that ever since I attended my first Christians United for Israel conference and witnessed a world I knew nothing about, I’ve Changed My Tune. Actually, I’ve just changed. Let me explain:

1. Devotion to Israel from two different directions.

I was raised with Israel: praying the sacred Shema Yisrael, singing Am Yisrael Chai, learning Israel in school, feeling Israel at home, Grandfather Rabbi Leo Jung and Israel, our family trips to Israel, and now I have many beloved relatives and friends living in her green and verdant hills. My attachment to Israel is rich and deep and visceral – and intellectual, when I consider her history. But all of this does not give me a monopoly on loving Israel.

Evangelical Christians – Christian Zionists – call them what you will – are devoted to Israel as deeply from their faith as I am from mine. That they come to this biblically and through God’s revealed word – as it is written, so it shall be done – is reverent and beautiful. They take the idea of the chosen people to heart in a way Jews do not, from a place most Jews couldn’t understand. They hang mezuzahs on their doors and quote the bible with a pure poetry that speaks to God and holiness, like rainwater falling from the heavens on Sukkoth. They visit Israel in droves, supporting her spiritually, financially, and politically. Israel is deep in their soul.

2. Agreeing fervently on one issue, disagreeing on others: what’s wrong with that?

Like many of you, I hang tough with Israel. I’ve watched her try for peace and be rejected again and again by false, non-partners. The world has a ridiculous double-standard about how Israel ought to behave, given her history and hostile neighbors. That she exists as a pulsating democracy with passions and problems and contributes so much to the betterment of the world is the only real miracle I know.

And my Christian Zionist friends agree.

They are often the first to defend Israel, to battle media bias, to stand tall with the brave IDF soldiers, to pray for the safety of her citizens. When a lying BDS group put up hateful anti-Israel billboards all over San Antonio, Texas, what did Christians United for Israel do? Yes. They erected billboards right next door telling the truth about Israel, thus mounting an in-your-face positive media counterattack.

Might we disagree on social issues? Same-sex marriage? Abortion? Yes, we might. But we can agree to disagree on these issues while remaining absolutely united in our commitment to the security of Israel, that she has a right to protect herself, and that she will, against all odds exist, prosper and thrive.

3. United in our clear-eyed view of the scourge that is antisemitism.

Rabbi David Wolpe, reviewing the recent book, A History of Antisemitism, says:

A people that is 0.2 percent of the world population, sometimes hated even in places where there are no Jews , suspected of running the world in places as disparate as Kiev and Sun Valley, the survivors of a recent gargantuan effort to wipe them out because they exist, who today are targets of a worldwide campaign by jihadists, are indeed in a unique position. This hatred cannot be tamed by analysis or lassoed by reason. Anti-Semitism is the wild, irrational eruption of the world’s dark collective unconscious.

Did you know that Christians United for Israel sends Irving Roth, Holocaust survivor to Christian campuses across the country to tell his survivor story to young students, so that they will know and understand this nightmare of the past to better serve the future? Irving has said at these events “You are proof to me that God exists.” Does it get more profound than that?

In a world where irrational Jew Hatred continues to fester, I say this: Thank you, Christian friends, for not buying into the madness. Thank you for your reverence, your Godliness, your heart. Thank you for your devotion to your faith, your resolute love of Israel and the Jewish people.

Best wishes for a blessed Christmas, and may your days be happy, healthy, and long. View the article at the Times of Israel.

Sunday Must-Read - 10th Birthday #2

Soldier Lightly Injured in Ashkelon Stabbing

2-7-2016 Early Morning Attack

Assailant shot and arrested, police checking if incident nationalistic or criminal; attack comes day after grandmother knifed in Rahat

A soldier was stabbed and lightly injured in Ashkelon Sunday morning, in a suspected nationalistic attack, police said.

The attack occurred near the southern coastal city’s central bus station.

The soldier, 20, was taken to a local hospital with light wounds to his upper body, a spokesperson from the Magen David Adom rescue service said.

The stabber managed to get away after knifing the soldier, but was shot by security forces and arrested soon after, police said.

The assailant suffered serious wounds, according to police.

Police said they were investigating if the attack was nationalistic or criminal.

Stabbings, shootings and car bombings linked to the criminal underworld have been known to take place in the working class seaside city, but the targeting of the soldier raised fears the attack was terror-related.

Bus and train stations in Israel are often crowded with soldiers on Sunday morning as troops return to base after weekend leave.

Paramedic Ariel Plaut said the victim was conscious and speaking during the trip to the hospital.

“We were driving when suddenly some civilians signaled us to stop. We saw an approximately 20-year-old man sitting on a bench. He was fully conscious with stab wounds to the upper body,” Plaut said.

The stabbing came as forces have been searching for a suspect who stabbed a Jewish grandmother in the city of Rahat Saturday before escaping.

The woman sustained moderate injuries to her neck and was hospitalized for treatment, where her condition was later defined as lightly injured.

The stabbings come during an upsurge in Palestinian attacks on Israeli targets, some deadly and many involving knives. Read more at the Times of Israel.

Head of Iranian Army: Missile Program is a Threat to Enemies, Including Israel

Iranian Army Threating Israel with Missiles 2-4-2016

The head of Iran’s armed forces said that Tehran does “not pay attention” to United Nations resolutions banning its development of ballistic missiles, and indicated that its missile program is a threat against Iran’s enemies, including Israel, Reuters reported on Thursday, citing Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency.

“Iran’s missile capability and its missile program will become stronger,” said commander-in chief Maj. Gen. Ataollah Salehi. “We do not pay attention and do not implement resolutions against Iran, and this is not a violation of the nuclear deal.”

“Our missile program is not a threat against our friends but it is a threat against our enemies,” Salehi added. “Israel should understand what it means.”

Although the UN determined in December that Iran violated UN Security Council resolution 1929 with its October test of a precision-guided ballistic missile, the Islamic Republic has never accepted any limits on its ballistic missile program. According to a report by the United States Institute of Peace, “Iran has the largest and most diverse ballistic missile arsenal in the Middle East.” Ballistic missiles are capable of delivering nuclear warheads.

An Iranian official who spoke to Reuters in May 2014 said that when American officials brought up Iran’s ballistic missile program during the early stages of the negotiations that led to the nuclear deal, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif “laughed and ignored the remarks.” After the nuclear deal with Iran was concluded in July, the Islamic Republic announced plans to carry out ballistic missile tests later in the year. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said soon afterwards that Iran would refuse to abide by any resolution that would limit its ballistic missile development. Iran conducted a second ballistic missile test in November.

Prompted by bipartisan congressional concern that it was failing to address Iran’s violation of the UN Security Council resolution, the Obama administration announced in late December that it would sanction a number of individuals and entities related to Iran’s ballistic missile program. Although the announced sanctions were described by Mark Dubowitz, executive director of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), as the “bare minimum,” the White House later delayed their implementation due to pressure from Iran.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury finally announced that it designated entities and individuals involved in Iran’s ballistic missile program on January 17, just after the Obama administration announced on Implementation Day that it would be freeing up $100 billion in Iranian assets that had been frozen due to nuclear sanctions.

Boris Zilberman, deputy director of congressional relations at FDD, wrote on Wednesday that the nuclear deal has opened the door for Russia to assist Iran in developing Tehran’s ballistic missile program. Iran’s “reintegration into the global economy” is leading to closer strategic cooperation between the two nations, which is likely to include the “advancement of [Iran’s] ballistic-missile program” with Russia’s help, according to Zilberman. Read the rest at The Tower.

Guard Stabbed by 13-Year-Old Girls in Ramle Attack

2-4-2016 Attack

Police say incident likely terror; victim suffers light wounds; two Arab teens arrested after assault at entrance to bus station in central Israeli city

A security guard, 25, was lightly wounded after he was stabbed by two 13-year-old Arab girls in the central Israeli city of Ramle.

Police said the attack appeared to be nationalistically motivated.

Police said the two suspects, both minors said by police to be around 13 years old from Ramle’s Jawarish neighborhood, were arrested with knives in their possession. One was carrying a school backpack, a police spokesperson noted.

The stabbing took place at the central bus station located in the center of the working class city. The building also houses a mall and government offices.

Police are searching the attackers’ family homes in Jawarish, according to residents.

An initial police investigation found that the two girls approached the bus station’s entrance, where the guard asked them to identify themselves. They pulled kitchen knives out of their clothing and stabbed him in the leg and hand.

A soldier and an armed civilian quickly subdued the two. They were detained and taken to Ramle Police headquarters for questioning.

Magen David Adom rescue service medics treated the victim, and he was taken to the nearby Assaf Harofe Hospital with light injuries.

A medic who happened to be at the bus station said he ran over after hearing shouts of “terrorist.”

“I saw a young man, about 25, fully conscious and upset, with several stab wounds in his extremities. I gave him initial medical care, and in a few minutes ambulances arrived and took him to the hospital,” the medic said.