Jews immigrating to Israel in huge numbers

In line with Bible prophecy, aliyah (immigration) to Israel is on the increase. An expected 4,000 olim (immigrants) are expected from North America alone in 2015.

On Tuesday, 18 August 2015, a planeload of 232 new Israeli citizens from North America arrived at Ben Gurion Airport. The passengers included 29 families with 75 children, nine couples and 86 singles. This flight is the second of two charters, which, along with six group flights as well as immigrants arriving independently on a daily basis.

On Monday, 27 July 2015, 200 French Jews, half of them children, arrived in Israel, adding to the more than 20,000 who emigrated from France over the past five years.

While anti-Semitism and persecution of Jews are on the increase all over the world, it is expected that many more Jewish people will opt for immigration to Israel. A CRIF (Representative Council of French Jewish Institutions) report, citing figures compiled by the French Interior Ministry, reported last summer that a total of 529 anti-Semitic acts were registered throughout July 2014, as opposed to 276 during the same period the previous year.

Nathan Sharansky, chairman of the executive of the Jewish Agency for Israel, said that “we are seeing an unprecedented wave of Aliyah from European countries, which indicates not only how Europe is becoming an uncomfortable place for Jews, but even more importantly, the extent to which Israel is becoming a magnet for Jews interested in a meaningful Jewish life, in freedom, personal security and a sense of belonging to a country that is integral to the future of the Jewish people.”

Two scriptures come to mind:

“These bones are the people of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off. ‘… ‘My people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel. Then you, my people, will know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the Lord have spoken, and I have done it.” – Ezekiel 37:11-14.

“For I will take you out of the nations; gather you from all the countries and bring you into your own land. I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” – Ezekiel 36:24-26

The nations will be judged for what they done to Israel. Obadiah issues a clarion call to every generation:

The Lord’s vengeance will soon fall upon all Gentile nations. As you have done to Israel, so will it be done to you. Your acts will boomerang upon your heads – Obadiah verse 15 (TLB).

‘Price Tag’ Violence

Legitimate protest in Israel is normal, like in any democratic country. But, the recent spike in ‘Price Tag’ violence is of great concern for the Israeli government. How should we interpret this phenomenon?

To be able to understand the seemingly radicalization of the settler youth, we need to go back to the disengagement from Gush Katif (Gaza) in 2005. The coherent leadership, in Gush Katif prevented extreme violence during the withdrawal process in 2005.

Unfortunately, due to a lack of a well-planned post-disengagement strategy people became disillusioned. The people evacuated from Gush Katif had to stay in caravans for 6 years. Many people, and certainly the settlers in Judea and Samaria (West Bank) took note of these developments. Apart from the above, Hamas became the government in Gaza and created it in a launce-pad for the firing of rockets on Israel.

It seems that people in Judea and Samaria (West Bank) areas realized that a future disengagement would take place to establish a Palestinian state. International pressure in this regard will be immense.

As talks of a possible disengagement from areas in the West Bank increases, violent incidents like the arson attack last week will likely increase. It is a signal to the government that this time they will not leave without a fight. The sort of coherent leadership we saw in Gush Katif during the Gaza disengagement is lacking in the West Bank, due to various reasons.

In a comprehensive study, “Between Legitimate Protest and ‘Price Tag’ Violence, Drs Chanan Mozes, Moshe Hellinger and Jonathan Rynhold came to the following conclusion: “It is vitally important to establish a mechanism to find a solution for evacuees in advance. Failure to do so will lead some religious-Zionist settlers to despair and people with nothing to lose will be open to mobilization by the most radical elements.”

May the government of Israel seek Godly wisdom in handling this potentially dangerous situation.

The Second Exodus

We read in the Bible that there will be a second exodus. This time the Jewish people will return back to Israel from all corners of the world. We are privileged to live in this time to experience this major prophetic event.

…..the Lord shall set His hand again the second time to recover the remnant of His people who are left. . . . He will set up a banner for the nations, and will assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth (Isaiah 11:11-12)

Due to rising anti-Semitism worldwide, Jews no longer feel safe and in some areas fear for their lives. French Jewry is the largest new immigrant wave to Israel. The expected figure for Jewish emigrants from France alone is 10,000 in 2015. The onslaught of radical Islamic terror combined with growing anti-Semitism has finally persuaded the country’s most loyal immigrants that it’s time to leave.

In all 1,971 Jews came from Ukraine in the first three months of 2015, a 215% rise comparing to the same period last year. The number of Russian Jews rose by almost 50% to 1,515. There was also a 43% rise in immigration from Britain in the first quarter of this year.

The Israeli Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, called on European Jews to immigrate to Israel en masse, saying he would “welcome them with open arms”. About half a million Jewish people live in France, making it the second largest diaspora population after the US.

In his latest book: The war of a million cuts, Manfred Gerstenfeld sites a variety of studies which indicate that over 150 million European Union citizens embrace a satanic view of the Jewish state – where they believe the Israelis behave like Nazis or seek to exterminate the Palestinians.

Unfortunately, these skewed views are also prevalent in other parts of the world, which is the dominant reason for the rise in anti-Semitism. For prophecies regarding the Jewish people to be fulfilled it seems to be the only way to get their attention to go home where God wants them to be.

Israel Building Bridges

The mainstream media is in a constant mode of delegitimisation of Israel.

A case in point is the continual twisting of facts to paint Israel as the demon in the Middle East while positive and life-changing developments to humankind are flatly ignored. Let’s take note of the positive and what Israel offers to the world, and distribute the facts as wide as possible:

Israel Invests in Arab Hi-Tech 

Israel sent a delegation of Israeli Arab start-up entrepreneurs on a groundbreaking trip abroad to open doors and create business opportunities, and along the way to strengthen the image of a nation that seeks the welfare of its minorities.

Over the course of a week the representatives travelled across France, meeting with entrepreneurs, technology companies, potential investors, and even a group of French Muslim journalists and intellectuals.

“For the first time we received real international exposure enabling us to make connections with European investors and international companies,” said Fadi Swidan, director of the Nazareth Business Incubator Center. He explained that the trip provided the Israeli Arab start-ups with “an opportunity to directly introduce our technology to an international audience. Thanks to this exposure, we concluded deals with several technology incubators in France. We also learned about available funding from both Israel and France.”

The delegation praised the Israel government for financing the trip.

With these cross-culture initiatives and with the right tools, traditional innovation can coexist. Instead of concentrating on the negatives, and sometimes fabricating negative news, the media should rather play a positive role in building and strengthening relationships between people.

Re-starting the Peace Process

With the newly elected government of Israel not properly settled in, the pressure from world powers on Israel to start the Peace Process with the Palestinians began in all earnest. Diplomats and envoys queued-up to visit Israel in the coming months.

In his latest book, Sparks from Zion, David Rubin, former mayor of Shiloh made some interesting observations and offers practical suggestions. The author posits that after 30 years of Middle East peace summits and conferences – with tens of millions of dollars wasted, over 1,600 Israeli lives lost in terrorist attacks and tens of thousands of others injured in the past 20 years alone – one is justified in asking: Why not try something new?

“Why expose ourselves to dangerous negotiations, instead of proposing and attempting to implement our own peace plan, fair to everybody including Palestinians?

Rubin believes that the peace process has always failed, and will continue to disappoint us and the world at large, until we base our negotiations on biblical principles, historical justice and, above all, common sense. The “land for peace” formula has chipped away at Israel’s concrete peace assets, a part of the Arab strategy aimed at the weakening of the Jewish state, the eternal sovereign inheritance of the Jewish people – which at this time (after Jordan was cut of Mandatory Palestine) should consist of territory from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River.

David Rubin brought some interesting and fresh perspectives to the debate on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Certainly the most important is that Israel should apply biblical principles while conducting peace negotiations.

The new Israel government

On Wednesday, 6 May 2015 Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu managed to form the new coalition government with a one seat majority after signing a deal with the Bayit Yehudi party of Naftali Bennett. The last minute decision by Avigdor Liberman to resign as Minister of Foreign Affairs and leading his party to join the opposition dealt Netanyahu a devastating blow.

Liberman’s announcement forced Netanyahu to form a coalition with ultra-orthodox parties which will make it a very costly government. Many media analysts in Israel is of the opinion that such a coalition will not last very long. On Friday Benyamin Netanyahu indicated that he will work towards a broader based coalition before the swearing-in ceremony on Wednesday, 13 May 2015.

Dov Lipman, an MK (member of Israeli Parliament, the Knesset) for the Yesh Atid party in the last Knesset, described the new government as a sad week for Israel and elaborates: “Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu’s new ultra-orthodox-led government is on course to cause significant damage to the internal soul of Israel.”

With the raging conflicts in the neighbouring countries, Israel is in need of a strong government and we need to pray that wisdom will prevail in the days ahead. We know that Israel is in good hands when they put their trust in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

The social fibre in South Africa unravelling

The social fibre of our communities is in a dangerous stage of unravelling and I believe the media and some community organisations are partly to blame for this unacceptable situation. The conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is brought to our communities by biased and sometimes gravely propagandistic reporting and actions, pitting sections of the community against each other.

On Saturday night, 21 March 2015 at The Zone, Rosebank, three Jewish teenagers were physically assaulted and verbally abused by three South African men. The teenagers were clearly identified as Jewish, wearing Kippot (traditional Jewish head coverings).

As far as I know, this is the first time that Jewish teenagers have been physically and verbally abused in this way. It led me to the conclusion that the media, together with organisations in furthering their particular brand of ideology, plays a huge role in stigmatizing and demonizing people in our communities. This is a very dangerous development and the media in particular has to reconsider its responsibility of informing its readership with unbiased and substantiated facts.

Partly to blame for the tendency to propagandize events is the simple, and which I call, copy and paste method. That is simply to copy reports from AFP, Reuters and other news agencies and publish them in our local media without considering the possible negative effects on society. A better approach would be proper investigative journalism.

I do not propagate censorship of sensitive issues at all. Press freedom is a too precious commodity and I support it wholeheartedly. The thorn in the flesh is the deviation of the media from professional journalistic standards which have been particularly evident the past 3 years. The media should not play a role in dividing communities but rather educate by publishing issues responsibly and professionally.

The uninformed in our communities are also used as cannon fodder by dubious organisations to enhance their questionable agendas. One example is the “activists” who demonstrated in front of a conference centre in Sandton where a Jewish conference was held in the beginning of March 2015. When asked why they demonstrate, they said they don’t know and that they were bussed in to demonstrate.

The usual line is that Israel should be branded as an Apartheid state and therefore boycott actions should be instituted against Israel. Such a notion is clearly false and the latest election result, which was held on 17 March 2015, makes nonsense of the growing efforts to stigmatize Israel as an Apartheid state. An Arab Palestinian party is now the third largest party in the Knesset (Israeli Parliament). Even a person who has visited Israel only once will testify to the fact that Israel is not an Apartheid state. The only conclusion to these feverish hate-mongering is a sinister hidden agenda.

If these multiple actors on the hate stage are transparent and their goal is to seek justice for the disenfranchised, they should be applauded. But, that is not the case and some pertinent questions should be asked. Why do they choose to ignore the status of women and public executions in Saudi-Arabia? Why are they silent about the grave atrocities in Iraq, Syria, Nigeria, Somalia and other countries where innocent people are murdered just because they don’t practise the same religion as the murder gangs? That is hypocritical and false.

South Africa is a multi-cultural, multi-faceted country with various races, religions and creed. If we allow the current divisive actions to go unchecked, we will leave behind a shattered country in which none of us wants to see our children and grandchildren live.

Our rainbow nation is broken and only we can heal it. In this regard the media plays a crucial and underestimated role.

Israel and the Nations

The world is in turmoil, but it seems that a tiny nation in the sea of nations, albeit experiencing the same problems like any other nation, succeeds in leading the world on so many levels. So much so, that the world would have been poorer without this nation.

Israel is only 1/6 of 1% of the land mass of the Middle East, 20,770 sq km (154 on the world rankings) and the size of the Kruger National Park in South Africa. The population is 7,821,850 (99 on the world rankings) and is only 2% of the population in the Middle East. Israel’s population is half the size of Metropolitan New York City and yet, has the highest ratio of university degrees per capita in the world. Israel’s unemployment rate is 5.8%. Compare that with South Africa’s unemployment rate of close to 25%.

Due to external and internal threats, Israel spends more money per capita on its own protection than any country in the world. Without the hate-mongering against them, the money could have been used on the economy and would eventually benefit the Palestinian economy as well.

Israel is a country with many achievements. Tel Aviv has been named as one of the ten most technologically influential cities in the world. Since 2000, Israel has been a member of EUREKA, the pan-European research and development funding and coordination organisation.

Among the host of scientific advancements in Israel are:

Ø   Discovery of Quasicrystals by Dan Shechtman of the Technion. The discovery led him to receive the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

Ø  Discovery of the role of protein Ubiquitin by Avram Hershko and Aaron Ciechanover of the Technion Institute (together with the American biologist Irwin Rose). The discovery led them to receive the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

Ø  World’s smallest video camera – a camera with a 0.99 mm diameter, designed to fit in a tiny endoscope designed by Medigus.

Ø  Development of the “Pillcam” by Given Imaging, the first Capsule endoscopy solution to record images of the digestive tract. The capsule is the size and shape of a pill and contains a tiny camera.

Ø  Eshkol-Wachman Movement Notation – a notation system for recording movement on paper that has been used in many fields, including dance, physical therapy, animal behavior and early diagnosis of autism.

Ø  Development of the Copaxone immunomodulator drug for treating multiple sclerosis. It was developed in the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel by Michael Sela, Ruth Arnon and Deborah Teitelbaum.

Ø  Development of the Interferon proteins by Michel Revel from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel.

Ø  Development of taliglucerase alfa (Elelyso), a recombinant glucocerebrosidase enzyme produced from transgenic carrot cell cultures. Taliglucerase alfa won approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in May 2012 as an orphan drug for the treatment of Type 1 Gaucher’s disease.

Ø  Nanowire – a conductive wire made of a string of tiny particles of silver, a thousand times thinner than a human hair, developed by Uri Sivan, Erez Braun and Yoav Eichen from the Technion.

Ø  World’s smallest DNA computing machine system – “the smallest biological computing device” ever constructed, according to Guinness Book of Records, which is composed of enzymes and DNA molecules capable of performing simple mathematical calculations and which uses its input DNA molecule as its sole source of energy it was developed in 2003 in the Weizmann Institute of Science by professor Ehud Shapiro and his team.

Ø  Amir Pnueli introduced temporal logic into computing science.

Ø  A mechanical voice system run by the Intel Core i7 Processor developed by the Israeli division of Intel.

The above are only a few examples of impressive achievements in science which benefits the world. And yet, Israel is made out to be the problem while nations are struggeling with their own problems. It is hipocracy of the highest level.

The tragedy is that so many South Africans are ill informed about the modus operandi of anti-Israel organisations and groups and are negatively influenced by their propaganda. For example, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign branded Israel as an Apartheid state and ask the world to boycott Israel – a gross travesty of justice.

Why is it that majority Christian nations like the US, Europe and even South Africa are confronted with so many challenges. I believe the answer could be found in the fact that they departed from their Judeo-Christian values.

Rising Anti-Semitism in Europe

On 18 May 2014, I wrote in this space about rising anti-Semitism worldwide. Since then anti-Semitic incidents increased dramatically, mostly in Europe.

The latest attack on a synagogue in Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark, took place on Saturday 14 February 2014, the Jewish Shabbat.  A 37 year old community member, Dan Uzan was killed in cold blood while protecting the synagogue during a Shabbat service.

This incident moved the Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu to propose to his cabinet to create a fund of 49 million dollar to assist in a mass aliyah (emigration) from Europe. He also warned that the situation will get worse and that Israel will welcome all Jews to come home to Israel.

Many Jews in France are either in the process of making aliyah or seriously thinking of making aliyah. The situation in Europe is deteriorating so fast that Jewish communities are organising their own protective units and many fear to go outside their homes. It reminds us of the time just before the Holocaust.

While reading and seeing these developments in the media, we also realise how amazingly accurate our Bible is in terms of the prophetic Word regarding Israel and how fast the pieces in the puzzle are coming together. One of many scriptures comes to mind:

“Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will now bring Jacob back from captivity and will have compassion on all the people of Israel, and I will be zealous for My holy Name. They will forget their shame and all the unfaithfulness they showed toward Me when they lived in safety in their land with no one to make them afraid. When I have brought them back from the nations and have gathered them from the countries of their enemies, I will show Myself holy through them in the sight of many nations. Then they will know that I am the Lord their God, for though I sent them into exile among the nations, I will gather them to their own land, not leaving any behind. I will no longer hide My face from them, for I will pour out My Spirit on the house of Israel, declares the Sovereign Lord.” Ezekiel 39:25-29 (NIV).

I believe the events we are witnessing in Europe and other parts of the world, is a divine call upon Jews to go back to the land God promised to them. We need to pray that they heed to this call before the window of opportunity is closed.

The Deadly Consequences of Compromising

Israel experienced the deadliest month in two years. Sergeant Almog Shiloni, 20, from Modi’in, killed in Tel Aviv, and Dalia Lemkus, 26, who was stabbed to death at the entrance to Alon Shvut on Monday 10 November 2014, were the tenth and eleventh Israelis to be murdered in the past six months.

Dalia Lemkus escaped with her life from a stabbing attack in Gush Etzion in 2006, but fell prey to a different terrorist in the West Bank on Monday night. Dalia’s family made aliyah to Israel from South Africa over 20 years ago and has become a prominently active family in the community.

This is how she described the attack in 2006:

“I stood on February 28, 2006 at Gush Etzion Junction when a terrorist came and began to stab those standing at a hitchhiking station,” Lemkus said at the time of the incident. “I was one of two people stabbed. Luckily I was not badly wounded, and with the help of God, the other wounded victim will recover.”

In response to an article she had read, about restraining orders being issued to right-wing activists, Lemkus wrote:

“Instead of fighting the settlers, the IDF and the state have to fight the terrorists in Gaza. Instead of evacuating settlers defending the country and serving in the army, the state should evacuate terrorists who fire on the IDF and kidnap soldiers and civilians.”

“Expel and punish the people who endanger us,” Lemkus said, “no matter what the price, on their part, is. They must pay the price for their terror. It is the only way to stop terrorism.”

Unfortunately, 8 years later Dalia Lemkus and many others had to pay the heavy price by losing their lives because of a lack of a coherent strategy by politicians to fight terrorism. The question should also be asked if Operation Protective Edge was not stopped too soon. It seems that Hamas is using the calm in Gaza to attack Israeli citizens by other means. The IDF lost its deterrence and Hamas took the initiative. It is imperative that deterrence should be restored as soon as possible.

Israel’s leaders should understand that Western leaders do not understand the Islamic ideology. This is the reason for the poor suggestions and decisions made on Israel by leaders of Western countries. They only make matters worse. It is delusional to think that peace will come to the Middle East just by negotiating with the Palestinians. History shows that Palestinian leaders only use negotiations to extract more concessions.

Unfortunately, Moshe Dayan was a great military leader, but his compromise to allow the government of Jordan to administer the Temple Mount lead to the current situation in Jerusalem. The sovereignty of Jerusalem is under attack.

It is time for Israel as a nation to turn to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob for advice and leadership as the sages of Israel does. It is also time for Israel to honour their part of the covenant with God and to settle the land and not divide it to please the world. Today we all know that such a gesture motivates terrorists to expand their borders of evil even further.

Although we live in prophetic times and could expect these things to happen, we also need to boldly resist evil. The duty for us as gentiles is not to only pray for the peace of Jerusalem, but also to obtain knowledge and speak out against the false narrative created to attack Israel.

Dark days are coming, but God chose Israel to be the light to the world. I pray that the nation of Israel will realise in these trying times that God will never forsake them if they trust Him with their whole heart.

Zechariah 12:2-3 says, “I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that sends all the surrounding peoples reeling. Judah will be besieged as well as Jerusalem. On that day, when all the nations of the earth are gathered against her, I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock for all the nations. All who try to move it will injure themselves.”

Israel’s BIGGEST and true ally has the following promise:

“The Lord also will roar from Zion,

And utter His voice from Jerusalem;

The heavens and earth will shake;

But the Lord will be a shelter for His people,

And the strength of the children of Israel.” Joel 3:16