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Jared Kushner lands in Israel, rushes to visit Malka family

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While Kushner arrived in Israel in a bid to restart a new peace initiative and negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians under the direction of the new administration, he immediately paid the visit to the Malka family in Givat Ezer as they continue to mourn their fallen daughter. He was joined by US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman.

A close friend of the Malka family said that the duration of the visit lasted for approximately half an hour.

“He offered the condolences to the bereaved family from the US president, who spoke to his son-in-law on the way and asked that he be kept updated about the visit,” the friend said.

“(Kushner) said that the president himself asked him to express condolences on behalf of the United States.”

The family associate went on to say that the Malka family had told Kushner about their brave daughter, her patriotism, and that that after serving in the IDF she joined the Border Police.

“She always said to them that it is important to guard the capital of Israel, Jerusalem because if we don’t protect the capital, there won’t be a state. The father told (Kushner) and the ambassador that,” the friend claimed. “The ambassador was also apprised of developments regarding the investigation, which began with the arrest of the person who drove (the attackers to the target site—ed) and the arrest of one of the terrorist’s mother.

“The father told him that on the one hand there is a mother who is crying and in pain over the death of her daughter. On the other hand, there is a mother who is praising and glorifying her son who should have killed more people from her point of view. The father addressed this stark contrast.”

Read More: Y Net

The illiberal left attacks Christian Zionists again

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Every few years, a young far-left activist discovers Christians United for Israel (CUFI) and they are appalled. The idea of conservative Evangelicals advocating for the Jewish state runs counter to every prejudice about Christians the young advocate was raised to harbor. So the individual scours the internet, desperately hunting for that one item that will confirm their bigotry. And when they come up dry, they ignore, tinker with or amend the facts because they cannot confront a simple reality: they are intolerant of Evangelical Christians.

The latest example of this pattern is provided to us by Benjamin Koatz, who authored an op-ed in The Forward demonizing Christian supporters of Israel in an effort to justify his group, IfNotNow’s decision to disrupt a pro-Israel church event. The piece does not discuss real policy disagreements with CUFI, but it makes painfully clear just how far gone are the author and his cohorts.

As part of the effort to denigrate CUFI founder and chairman John Hagee, Koatz links to a video produced by the organization We Hold These Truths. On Koatz’s own blog he notes that the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) described We Hold These Truths as a “conspiracy-oriented anti-Semitic group.”

It’s not surprising that Koatz finds common cause with the darkest fringe groups on the internet since he believes, “This far-right Evangelical Zionist dominion still reads to me like political conspiracy theory.” Nor is it surprising that Koatz’s attack was published by The Forward which has an unfortunate history in this context.

While not relying on anti-Semites to substantiate his other claims, the rest of Koatz’s assertions are equally absurd. We’ve heard them all before, and they’ve all been discredited.

For example, Koatz argues that CUFI’s members and Hagee are anti-Semites. The opposite, of course, is true. And on the specific assertion regarding Hagee’s sermon on the Book of Jeremiah, that issue was closed nearly a decade ago. In fact, at the matter’s conclusion the ADL wrote a letter to Hagee noting, “We are grateful that you have devoted your life to combating anti-Semitism and supporting the state of Israel.”

In addition, Koatz also goes to great lengths to argue that Christian Zionism is motivated by eschatology. This anti-Christian stereotype has been debunked in a variety of outlets including  New York Magazine. In fact, in 2011 Hagee noted the following in the very same outlet that published Koatz’s appalling accusations: “The vast majority of Christian Zionists and Evangelicals do not believe there is anything we can do to hasten the second coming of Jesus. Our theology is clear that we humans are utterly powerless to change God’s timetable. Yes, like many Jews we do believe that the creation of Israel was the fulfillment of biblical prophecy. And like our Jewish friends we also search the scriptures to understand what may come next in God’s plans for His creation. But since we are powerless to change these plans, our motives for standing with Israel come from elsewhere.”

It’s plain to see that Koatz is dishonest and misguided. But what is far more troubling is that he and his group behave as if Christian Zionists do not deserve the same basic decency accorded to all other people groups.

Reasonable individuals can disagree without behaving unreasonably. Groups like Americans for Peace Now, which often disagree with CUFI’s policy positions, make their case without demonizing Christian Zionists. And CUFI discusses policy on a regular basis with those who hold a different worldview. CUFI has met with leaders that span the political spectrum, from U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) to Vice President Mike Pence. At times we disagree and at others we find common ground,but never do we denigrate or demonize.

I’m not sure if Koatz and his group genuinely want to effect policy or if they are simply interested in making a spectacle, but either way, barging into a church sanctuary and advancing anti-Christian stereotypes is simply beyond the pale.

Hall of Famers’ visit giving Israeli football huge boost

Football Hall of Famers touch down in Israel

RAMAT HASHARON, Israel — Some of the greatest NFL players of all time descended on a converted soccer field outside Tel Aviv to watch local children scrimmage in a big boost for the burgeoning sport of American football in Israel.

Joe Montana, Jim Brown, Roger Staubach and Mike Singletary were among the 18 members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame who arrived for a weeklong visit to the Holy Land to meet some of the 2,000 active players in Israel’s various leagues and to learn about the growth of gridiron in the country.

Scores of young players, fans and officials erupted upon the arrival of the delegation, a group donning the signature gold Hall of Fame jackets that included Jerome Bettis, Cris Carter, Dave Casper, Eric Dickerson, Marshall Faulk, “Mean” Joe Greene, Willie Lanier, Andre Reed, Bruce Smith and John Stallworth.

The mission was organized by New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, who has been sponsoring the sport in Israel since it was launched in 1999.

“I love football. I love Israel. I love America. I think kids in America would die to have this group of players come and view them,” Kraft told The Associated Press. “The game of football teaches you lessons in life that nothing else does.”

While lagging far behind soccer and basketball in popularity, football has made great strides at the grassroots level thanks to live NFL broadcasts and the expansion of the Israel Football League, now 10 years old. Unlike baseball, which still mostly appeals to American-Israelis, football has resonated with native-born Israelis, who have taken a liking to the army-like strategy, camaraderie and collisions.

The game has really taken off in the high school league, where nine teams play across the country, and it is now no longer unusual to see kids tossing the pigskin in city parks.

On Thursday, the NFL greats watched scrimmages between various high school teams, including the six-time defending league champions Kfar Saba Hawks, who have become an unlikely breeding ground of future commandos in the Israeli military.

Together with the eight flag football leagues for men, women and children, there are about 80 teams playing football in Israel.

“This is only going to get bigger and better over here because of him,” Montana said of Kraft.

Read More: ESPN

Breaking News: Police officer critically injured in coordinated shooting, stabbing attack in Jerusalem

Police officer critically injured in coordinated shooting, stabbing attack in Jerusalem

Border Police guard was severely to critically wounded on Friday in what appeared to be a coordinated shooting and stabbing attack in Jerusalem’s Old City.

 

At least two terrorists armed with knives attacked a group of Border Police officers at Damascus Gate, critically injuring a female cop.

One of the attackers also reportedly held a homemade sub-machine gun, Carl Gustav, which jammed. Both attackers were shot and killed.

The female officer, 20, was transferred to Hadassah Hospital Mount Scopus in Jerusalem for treatment.

At the same time, at least one other attacker accosted passersby with knives at Zedekiah’s Cave nearby, injuring two people.

The victims in that attack appear to be lightly injured.

The attacker was killed but police say another assailant may be on the loose. Police were not yet confirming that a fouth attacker was being sought.

In the past year and a half the Old City, and the Damascus Gate in particular, have seen several attacks by Palestinians, and in one case a Jordanian national.

Read More: Times of Israel