According to the Washington Post: “Prosecutors alleged that Olmert, as mayor of Jerusalem in the 1990s and later as trade minister, profited from a double-billing scheme in which he charged charities and the government for trips and expenses already paid by other organizations. About $90,000 collected for trips — often to the United States and sponsored by major Jewish groups — was allegedly accumulated in his account at a travel agency and then used for personal vacations and other expenses, according to the indictment. His former office manager, Shula Zaken, 52, also was indicted in the case. The 61-page indictment includes charges related to Olmert’s acceptance of as much as $150,000 from New York businessman Morris Talansky — funds that Talansky testified last summer were meant for Olmert’s political campaigns but that he believed were used for personal purposes.”
In Germany today, Israeli PM Netanyahu was given actual, original blueprints for the building of the Holocaust death camps.
"These plans remind us of a crime that with the passing of time seems ever more incomprehensible....plans of hell."
Excerpts from a Reuters story: “Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on a visit to Germany on Thursday that one lesson Israel drew from the Holocaust was that threats to its existence could not go unchallenged….German journalists handed the Israeli leader, in Berlin for talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel, a portfolio of 29 plans from the Auschwitz death camp discovered last year. With his wife Sara at his side, Netanyahu said her father’s family had been nearly wiped out by Nazis in World War Two. ‘We cannot allow evil to prepare the mass death of innocents. The most important thing to do is to nip it in the bud,’ said Netanyahu, alluding to past threats by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to wipe Israel off the map….
“Before returning to Israel later on Thursday, Netanyahu is to visit the site of the 1942 Wannsee conference in Berlin, where Nazi leaders drew up plans for their so-called ‘Final Solution‘ to exterminate Jews. Kai Diekmann, editor of Bild, Germany’s top-selling newspaper, said as he handed Netanyahu the plans that there could never be a real normalization of German-Israeli relations after the Holocaust. ‘These plans remind us of a crime that with the passing of time seems ever more incomprehensible,’ Diekmann said, adding they were the ‘original blueprints for the most inhumane project in mankind … the plans of hell.’ Bild newspaper has said the documents, which include architects’ drawings of rooms including one marked ‘Gaskammer,’ or gas chamber, are believed to have been discovered when a Berlin flat was cleaned out. Accompanying Netanyahu on his trip to Germany is a government minister who lost his father and other family members at Auschwitz-Birkenau, the biggest concentration camp where at least 1.1 million Jews were killed.”
A fascinating story of a Palestinian's love for Jesus.
We all know how dangerous it is when a Palestinian boy becomes a Radical Muslim and a devout follower of jihad. But have you ever stopped to consider just how beautiful — indeed, miraculous — it is when a Palestinian boy becomes a Revivalist and a devout follower of Jesus instead?
A fascinating new book — My Enemy, My Brother — has just been published that was written by a Palestinian man who was born and raised in Jerusalem. You’re not likely to hear about it on the Today show or Good Morning America. But I commend to your attention. I have known the author, Hanna Shahin, for nearly two decades, and I can tell you first hand that his is an extraordinary and must-read story. During the 1967 war, as the fighting between Jordanians and Israelis was at its most intense in the battle for the Holy City, Hanna begged God to save all the members of his family from death, and if God did that, he promised to serve the Lord in full-time ministry for the rest of his life. In a series of gripping events that Hanna shares in the book, the Lord heard that prayer and answered it in an amazing way. In time, Hanna went on not only to become a minister of the gospel, but one of the most influential Revivalists in the region, using the power of radio broadcasting to beam the good news of Jesus’ love and mercy to untold Muslims and nominal Christians throughout the epicenter.
It was my honor to write the foreword to this book at Hanna’s request, and I have included it here to give you a sense of the man and his message. I hope you will pick up a copy from Amazon or your favorite Christian bookstore, as well as share one with a friend.
FOREWORD TO MY ENEMY, MY BROTHER
The book you hold in your hands is, at its core, a love story – one of the most beautiful and powerful I have ever read.
It is the story of God’s extraordinary love for a Palestinian boy in Jerusalem, a boy who grew up lonely and sad and afraid until one day Jesus Christ personally reached out and took this little boy into His arms and told him, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore, I have drawn you with lovingkindness.”
It is the story of a young man who becomes transformed by Christ’s love, a young man both called and compelled to share the good news of that powerful love and amazing grace with his fellow Palestinians, and eventually with the entire Arabic speaking world.
It is a story I suspect will touch your heart as it has touched mine, and my hope is that it will move you not only to pray faithfully for Hanna and his family and his team, but also for the Palestinian people and the entire Muslim world that all might know Jesus Christ in a real and personal way.
I first met Hanna Shahin nearly two decades ago at a church conference in the Washington, D.C. area. He and his Egyptian-born wife, Evelyn, had come to talk about how powerfully Christ was moving among Muslims, drawing them into a personal relationship with Him in numbers never before seen in human history. The Shahins explained how God was using radio broadcasting to beam the gospel message over the heads of the Arab governments who opposed the message and into the hearts of Arab men, women and children so hungry and thirsty to know that Christ really loved them and had a wonderful plan and purpose for their lives.
My wife, Lynn, and I were transfixed. We were newly married and new to Washington. We had long been fascinated with the history and future of the Middle East. But mostly what we knew was Jewish and Israeli history, given my Jewish roots. Honestly, we had never thought much about God’s specific love for Arabs. Neither of us had grown up to hate Arabs in general or Muslims in particular. But we hadn’t personally known any Palestinian or Egyptian followers of Christ. We hadn’t really studied the Scriptures carefully enough to see God’s love for Israel’s neighbors, and her enemies. But I believe the Lord brought the Shahins into our lives, in part, to help open our eyes.
We bonded quickly at that conference, and our friendship has grown and sweetened over the years. We have prayed for Hanna and Evelyn. We have invested in their ministry. We have wept with them when hardships have come. And we have rejoiced when the Lord done great and mighty things in and through their lives, which is often!
For years, I encouraged Hanna to carve out time from his schedule to write his story. I can’t tell you how thrilled I am now that he has. Indeed, I thought after all these years that I knew his story. But the truth is I have learned more about Hanna, more about Evelyn, and more about God’s love and mercy through this book than I could have imagined. I have been blessed. I know you will be, too.
When I think of Hanna, I often think of the words of Jesus in Matthew 23:37. “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing.” From time immemorial, God has loved the people of Jerusalem. Tragically, the people of Jerusalem have not always loved Him.
This is the story of one son of Jerusalem who was willing to accept Christ’s love and be gathered to His heart. May his tribe increase.
Joel C. Rosenberg
June 1, 2009
UPDATE ON THE SEPT. 11th “NATIONAL TOWN HALL MEETING ON THE THREAT OF RADICAL ISLAM AND THE CHURCH’S RESPONSE”:
400 churches are now signed up to show a high-resolution webcast of the event
More than 700 Christian radio stations have signed up to either air the 9/11 event live or tape delayed later in the week
A number of Christian cable and satellite TV stations and networks are considering airing the 9/11 event as well.
Just before noon eastern today, we received the three millionth visit to this weblog since we launched the new WordPress version exactly one year ago in August 2008. At noon, we were at 3,000,268 visits. Thanks so much to all of you for your interest in what’s happening in Israel, Russia and throughout the epicenter.
The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob once said through the Hebrew Prophet Habakkuk: “Look among the nations! Observe! Be astonished! Wonder! Because I am doing something in your days — you would not believe if you were told.” (Habbakuk 1:5.)
Truly extraordinary events are underway in the Middle East. Perhaps, therefore, it should not be surprising that there are so many around the world who are looking, observing and being astonished. May the Lord bless you and your family beyond what you can hope for, dream of, or imagine — according to Ephesians 3:20 — as you continue to track events in Israel and the Muslim world and track how powerfully the Lord is moving in that region and beyond.
The Ayatollah is signalling that he personally is the Mahdi's agent on earth. This is a significant development.
Iran’s Supreme Leader, the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, called on Muslims in neighboring countries this week to intensify preparations for the coming of the Islamic Messiah known as the Mahdi or the “Twelfth Imam.” He specifically urged Muslims to mobilize forces to defeat the United States and Israel.
“Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s spokesman, Ali Saeedi, said countries like Turkey, Iraq, Lebanon, Pakistan and Afghanistan should gather together all their forces in order to make drastic changes to prepare for the coming of al-Mahdi al-Montazar, Arabic for ,the awaited guided one,'” reported al-Arabiya.
The story did not specify what “drastic changes” the Ayatollah had in mind.
“Saeedi also said that the supreme leader of Iran is the direct representative of the Mahdi and that obeying him is like obeying the ‘guided one,’ who is the prophesized savior of Islam,” explained the report. “‘Since the armed forces are commanded by the Supreme Leader, they are thus obeying the orders of the awaited Mahdi,’ Saeedi said, adding ‘the Revolutionary Guards and the armed forces in Iran hold religious authority to prepare for the appearance of the Mahdi.'”
The story, which first came to my attention this week through an article on the WorldNetDaily site, is striking for three reasons.
First, it is noteworthy because it is the Supreme Leader — not Ahmadinejad — who has suddenly taken the lead in talking to the Muslim world directly about the coming of the Mahdi. Until now, Khamenei has been very low-key about his eschatological views, though as I describe in Inside The Revolution, there has been sufficient evidence before now to believe that he and Ahmadinejad shared the same End Times theology. [UPDATE: On August 4, 2009, the Bright Future Institute — the leading Iranian think tank on Shia eschatology — concluded its 5th annual “International Conference on Mahdism Doctrine.” Ahmadinejad spoke at the 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008 conferences. This year, however, he did not show, though he was expected to give the opening address.]
Second, Khamenei is claiming to be the direct representative of the Twelfth Imam, and that his commands — particularly when it comes to military matters — must be obeyed as if they were coming directly from the Islamic “savior” himself.
Third, the message from Iran’s leader directly threatening the U.S. and Israel comes immediately after Khamenei and Ahmadinejad consolidated and held on to the reins of power in Iran after a tumultuous political summer in Iran, and on the eve of the September deadline that the Obama administration and the leaders of the G8 have given for Iran to accept full negotiations over halting its pursuit of nuclear weapons.
It strikes me as less likely than ever that the leaders of Iran intend to give up their feverish bid to build, buy or steal nuclear weapons. To the contrary, they are beginning to publicly mobilize their neighbors to join them in defeating the U.S. and Israel and ushering in the “second coming” of the Islamic messiah. This makes the prospect of a cataclysmic war in the epicenter even more likely.
We’ll discuss these latest developments and how followers of Jesus Christ can and should respond during the National Town Hall meeting we are preparing for Friday night, September 11th. More than 308 churches have signed on to show the webcast. More details about the event — and the release of the Inside The Revolution documentary film on 9/11 — can be found at www.insidetherevolution.org. Hope you can join us.
It’s just been announced that the massive natural gas discovery made earlier this year off the coast of Haifa is actually 16% larger than thought just a month ago. And last month’s assessment is 30% higher than the original estimate made in January. According to Nobel Energy, Inc. — a major partner in the exploration and drilling effort — it turns out there are an estimated 207 billion cubic meters of natural gas out there, not 178 billion.
Haaretzreports that geologist Joseph Langotsky, who initiated the project, agreed with other geologists’ estimates at the time which predicted dramatically higher quantities than those initially reported.
“The unbiased expert report confirms the unusual size and quality of the Tamar field,” said the chief executive of Delek Energy and Avner Oil Exploration, Gideon Tadmor, another key player in the project. “The recent discoveries of natural gas at the Tamar and Dalit sites are a strategic asset for the state of Israel and its energy market, and relieve Israel of its dependence on foreign entities.”
In that context, Israeli President Shimon Peres met with his Russian counterpart, President Dmitry Medvedev, in the Black Sea resort town of Sochi Monday. During the meeting, Peres expressed Israel’s serious and growing concern about the state of the Russian-Iranian alliance, Russia’s continued assistance to Iran’s nuclear program, the extreme views of the Iranian regime, and the gravity of Iran acquiring nuclear weapons.
“The problem in Iran is not just the desire to develop nuclear weapons but the character of the regime,” said Peres, in a report by the Israeli paper Haaretz. “Mr. President, I am a Jew, and a large part of my family [from Belarus] was murdered by the Nazis and I cannot sit with my hands folded while I hear the declarations of the president of Iran calling for the destruction of the state of Israel.”
“From my standpoint, a nuclear bomb in Iran’s hands means one thing — an airborne death camp,” Peres said.
Medvedev gave no indication that Russia intends to change it’s policy towards Iran, though he reiterated Moscow’s official policy that it does not want Iran to develop nuclear weapons.
It’s too soon, of course, to know whether Iran will eventually agree to negotiations (perhaps to buy more time to complete its nuclear weapons development), or will stiff the West entirely. The Obama administration has pinned a lot of hope on the President’s ability to persuade Tehran to “engage.” We will see if he is successful.
By Friday night, September 11th, we will a clearer sense of what is happening and whether the prospect for another war in the epicenter is rising or diminishing. I hope you are planning to join us for the “National Town Hall Meeting on the Threat of Radical Islam and the Church’s Response” we are planning for that night. Nearly 300 churches have signed up to show the two-hour webcast to their congregations that night, 7pm to 9pm eastern. We hope you can join us. More information is available at www.insidetherevolution.org, including a partial list of churches that are participating and details on how your congregation can sign up to show a high-resolution webcast in your sanctuary.
It was just a year ago in August that tensions between Russia and Georgia erupted into armed conflict. As noted last year, one of the interesting elements about this particular conflict from the perspective of Bible prophecy — notably Ezekiel 38-39 and the “War of Gog and Magog” — is that for Russia to send ground forces south to surround Israel, Russian commanders would need to move through Georgia and the Caucasus and eventually through Turkey, Syria and Lebanon to reach the northern borders of the Jewish State.
This is a situation worth keeping an eye on. Let’s be praying for peace for the people of Georgia, and the people of Israel and the epicenter over the course of the next month.
Huckabee added: “My question is how would the government of the United States feel if Prime Minister Netanyahu began to dictate which people could live in the Bronx, which ones could live in Manhattan, and which could live in Queens….The position that our government has taken recently is far more harsh [than the previous administration’s], even halting peace talks until there is compliance with these demands….I’m not sure where we would get the authority to demand of the Israelis what they should do in their own country.”
Mug shots of alleged terrorists arrested in North Carolina.
Sorry I haven’t posted more regularly in the last few weeks, as I was on vacation with my family. But I’m home now and working on a new novel, due to be released in the fall of 2010.
While I’ve been gone, I’ve been struck by at least three major intelligence and law enforcement operations to thwart terrorist plots inside the U.S. and against American and Israeli targets in the epicenter.
1.) An alleged terrorist sleeper cell in North Carolina — run by radical Islamic jihadists, some whom trained in Afghanistan — was recently busted by the FBI. Seven radical Muslims were arrested in the sting operation. An alleged eighth member of the cell appears to have fled to Pakistan. “The defendants prepared themselves to engage in violent jihad and were willing to die as martyrs,” said the Justice Department.
2.) Officials in Kuwait say they have just thwarted a terror plot by at least a half dozen al-Qaeda operatives to attack U.S. bases in the Gulf kingdom. Some 15,000 U.S. forces operate from bases in the oil-rich state.
3.) Egyptian intelligence reportedly thwarted a plot by Radicals in Cairo to assassinate the Israeli ambassador to Egypt, as well as bomb Muslim and Christian holy sites, and bomb the gas pipeline that links Egypt and Israel through the Sinai peninsula.
I thank God that nearly eight years after 9/11, Americans have once again been kept safe from terror attacks by the vigilant efforts of the FBI, local law enforcement and U.S. and allied forces around the world. I’m also grateful our Arab allies in Egypt and Kuwait are helping us thwart further attacks by Radicals. But such incidents serve to remind us all yet again of just how real the threat of Radical Islam is, even as the White House has just announced that the U.S. is no longer engaged in a “war on terrorism” or a war with “jihadists.” (see below)
In light of all this, I sense the “National Town Hall Meeting on the Threat of Radical Islam and the Church’s Response” we are planning for Friday night, September 11th, will be more timely than ever. More than 220 churches have signed up to show the two-hour webcast to their congregations that night. We hope you can join us. More information is available at www.insidetherevolution.org.