Author Archive

When it comes to Israel, why is the world silent? By Ron Prosor

February 7, 2012 Leave a comment

Silence. Just silence from the U.N. Silence from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. And silence from major media outlets throughout the world.

Imagine for just a moment if this were happening to cities in, say, Texas. Imagine that the citizens of El Paso, Laredo and San Antonio have to stay inside their homes. Schools are closed, businesses are shut and people have to suspend their lives. Not because of some natural disaster or a nuclear or chemical accident, because groups in Mexico have purchased and are firing thousands of deadly missiles at Texans across the border. Sometimes a school is hit, sometimes a grocery store, and every so often someone is killed.

Imagine a similar occurrence in Seattle, Detroit or Cleveland – with rockets raining in from Canada

Your reaction to this imagined scenario is, no doubt, incredulity. The very thought of terrorists in another country attacking Americans at random is ludicrous. You know the president would immediately order the U.S. military to respond, root out the terrorists and make sure that the Canadian or Mexican governments clearly understood that this behaviour would not be tolerated.
The United Nations Security Council would immediately condemn this infringement on a country’s sovereignty and the safety of its citizens. The U.N. charter makes a country’s self-defense as legal as it is logical. This is universally understood. So if it is natural to be outraged and support the defense against terrorists who attack Texas, or England or Russia or China, why is it not natural to support the same for Israel? In the last two months of 2011, more than 70 rockets and missiles have rained down on southern Israel from the Gaza Strip, which remains under the control of the Hamas terrorist organisation, while Israel’s densely populated northern towns were hit by rockets fired from Lebanon.

Hamas deliberately fires rockets into the heart of Israel’s major cities, which have exploded on playgrounds, near kindergarten classrooms and homes. A man was killed when a rocket struck his car on his evening commute home. Many more people have been injured. In November 2011 alone, more than a million Israelis had to stay home from work and more than 200,000 students were unable to attend school. You don’t read about this because if it’s covered at all, it’s buried in the back pages of newspapers.

Although these horrific attacks should appall good people everywhere, not one word of condemnation has come from the Security Council in the United Nations. Peace activists that regularly criticize my country are silent on this one as well.

Underlying the violence that continues to emanate from Gaza is a deeply rooted culture of incitement. Would-be Palestinian suicide bomber Wafa al-Biss was released from prison as part of an exchange for kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit. Al-Biss offered a breathtaking challenge to cheering school children at her Hamas welcome-home rally. She said, “I hope you will walk the same path that we took and, God willing, we will see some of you as martyrs.” Her crime? She tried to kill doctors, nurses and patients by blowing herself up in an Israeli hospital. Luckily, she failed to detonate.

These are the poisonous values that are being fed to the next generation of children in Gaza. When Israel looks at children, it sees the future. When Hamas looks at children, it sees suicide bombers and human shields. If only incitement were confined to Gaza. It also pervades the official institutions of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank – and many other corners of our region.

In schools, mosques and media, generation after generation of children across the Middle East have been taught to hate, vilify and dehumanize Israelis and Jews.

The intolerance all too common in the Middle East finds its way around the world, even entering the halls of the U.N.  Today the U.N. is home to a triple standard; one standard for democracies, a different standard for dictatorships and a special, unobtainable standard for Israel. So I pose this critical question, not from a philosophy course at a great university but based very much in the real world; If it it not OK to fire rockets at the citizens of any of the other 193 member states that make up the United Nations, why is the world silent when the victims are Israelis?

Ron Prosor is Israel’s permanent representative to the United Nations. 
Israel & Christians Today, February 2012 edition.

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Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein- Democracy = Freedom

January 20, 2012 Leave a comment

Rabbi’s Commentary

Our “Noisy Democracy”

Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein

January 19, 2012

Dear Friend of Israel,

In a memorable essay on Israel, British writer Charles Moore once praised the Jewish state as “robust in its legal and political institutions, free in its press and universities — a noisy democracy.” The rough-and-tumble nature of Israeli politics is legendary, so much so that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu even referred to it in his May 2011 address to U.S. elected officials, to whom he said, “You think you’re tough on one another here in Congress? Come spend a day in the Knesset. Be my guest.”

The designation “noisy democracy” could apply to the U.S. as well. We see that especially now, during the lead up to the November 2012 elections, as pollsters furiously document presidential candidates’ every rise or fall in popularity, heated debate on a host of issues goes on in view of the public, and candidates’ records and beliefs are scrutinized exhaustively. This is democracy in action: at times deeply compelling, at times routine – but, certainly, often “noisy.”

Of course, political argument can become overly partisan and bitter, so much so that it draws attention away from the real issues it’s meant to address. But the rambunctious, “noisy” nature of political dialogue in democracies like the U.S. and Israel is a sign of strength, not weakness. It speaks volumes about the kind of societies we live in and how greatly they differ from countries run by authoritarian governments. Indeed, where else can such political debate flourish except in a democracy?

I know that people in both the U.S. and Israel – and, in fact, in any democratically governed country can become disillusioned with their elected officials, and even with their entire system of government. Democracy is a work in progress, and government can always be changed to operate more efficiently and effectively. But we cannot forget how privileged we are to live under a system that is built upon the fundamental principles of liberty and equality for all. When we see what is happening today in totalitarian states, where people must struggle, fight, and even die in their quest for the very freedoms we take for granted, we should feel that privilege and give thanks for it in our hearts.

Our political system is as a testament to the ingenuity of our founding fathers, who structured it to ensure that government reinforced principles – such as the principle that all men are created equal – that are godly, eternal. It is a tremendous gift, and participation in it a tremendous privilege. But we cannot forget the words of the prophet Isaiah: “The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever” (Isaiah 40:8). Like the things of nature, all human constructs have their limits, and politics is no exception. It is only in relying first on God – trusting in Him, turning to Him in faith to guide our decision-making – that we will find true freedom. Let this be our watchword during the “noisy” political season that is to come.

With prayers for shalom, peace,

Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein

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Hackers escalate cyber war against Israel

January 20, 2012 Leave a comment

Hackers escalate cyber war against Israel

Israel continues to face cyber terrorism as a network of Saudi Arabian hackers, known by the name “nightmare group,” managed to shut down the websites of the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange and Israel’s national airline, El Al.

A group of Israeli hackers named “Israel Defenders” struck back by bringing down the websites of Saudi Arabia’s monetary agency and Abu Dhabi’s security exchange. Israeli and Saudi hackers have been going back and forth with cyber attacks for a number of weeks.

Saudi hacker 0xOmar (not to be confused with the Israeli hacker known as 0xOmer) has warned that he will continue the cyber-attacks against Israel until the Israeli government apologizes for the “genocide of the Palestinian people.” A pro-Israeli hacker named Hannibal shot back that if the Saudis continue their attacks, he could retaliate by publishing banking information of four million Arabs as well as credit information of ten million Arabs.

Cyber attack now joins violence, propaganda, and political warfare as another tool for Israel’s enemies to use against her. Like it or not, Israelis will have to adjust to this new reality. If the actions of Israel’s cyber warriors are any indication, they already are.

Author: Amichai Farkas | January 17, 2012
Posted in:  Saudi Arabia
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Are Your Glasses Actually Hurting Your Eyes?

January 20, 2012 Leave a comment

Almost half of the population in America wears some sort of artificial lens – glasses or contact lenses. These artificial lenses may help improve your vision, but it is only a temporary fix.       Glassesand contact lenses will never fix your eye problems. They can help you see things more  clearly, but they are mainly for the symptoms of eye problems and do not cure the actual ailment.

 The main problem with artificial lenses is that they teach you bad habits and allow your eyes to work incorrectly or be lazy. The real problem is that you can quickly become dependent on these artificial lenses and continued use will actually keep your eyes from healing themselves.

 However, if you can teach your eyes to be more relaxed, the need for artificial lenses can be greatly reduced.

 The main cause of most eye ailments is mental stress and strain on the eyes. The key is to learn how to avoid strain in the first place. Of course, this is not always possible, so learning new habits to deal with strain is the next step to improving your vision.

 One of the largest problems with artificial lenses is finding the perfect prescription. Your eyes are constantly changing and there are many things that play a part in how well you can see.

 Weather, health, mood, distractions, and other outside stress factors all play a part in gaining and maintaining good vision. When the weather is sunny and bright, our moods are usually better and, amazingly, so is our eyesight. For an optician to find the perfect prescription is almost impossible. You may go to see your doctor when you are in a bad mood and/or it’s dark and rainy out. Subsequently, your prescription may reflect these factors so, when you are happy and the weather is bright you may, conversely, find that you are not seeing as well.

 Something to try:

Go without your glasses for a few weeks and see what happens. You may be surprised at the results. Of course, at first, things may seem a bit blurry but, once your eyes start to adjust to a life without artificial lenses, you may be pleasantly surprised in that things should start to become clearer.

 The trick is to make sure you are free of too much mental strain so, try some relaxation techniques and rest your eyes when things start to get out of focus.

 Wearing artificial lenses can make our eyes lazy; they can also teach us many bad habits. So try concentrating on fixing the problem of mental strain in a natural way rather than covering up the problem. After all, what have you got to lose?
See more info at


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Your Eyes and Glaucoma

January 4, 2012 Leave a comment

Glaucoma is an eye disorder that can damage vision and even lead to  blindness.  The condition affects millions of people around the world and is a leading cause of blindness. However, with early treatment, it is possible to slow the progression of glaucoma.

Glaucoma Causes

There are several different glaucoma causes and these can vary from person to person. Much of the time, glaucoma is related to increased pressure within the eye. For instance, high blood pressure will have this effect on the eye so anyone suffering from hypertension should also see an eye doctor to have their eyes tested for glaucoma. Correct eye care is important but for those with an elevated risk of glaucoma it is critical that their eyes are tested annually.

Genetics also play an important role in who is at risk of glaucoma and, while it is not the only cause, it does lead to an increased risk if a sufferer’s parents have it. Therefore, it is important to know the overall ocular health of your biological parents if at all possible.  Other causes can include the prolonged use of steroids, and ocular trauma.

Glaucoma Symptoms

The primary glaucoma symptoms are a gradually progressive loss of the field of vision.  This typically means that over time the things which appear at the outer edges of your vision will begin to be cloudy and, in time, the cloudiness will get worse and shrink your field of vision until  blindness occurs. Many sufferers of glaucoma describe their sight as looking down a tunnel. This is because the outer edges are cloudy or dark while they can still see things which are in a straight line of sight.

Glaucoma sufferers may not even notice that they are having problems for years as the progression can often be quite slow. Because of this, regular eye check ups are important  so a doctor can diagnose in the earlier stages. Without these checkups it is often not until the condition progresses to the point where it is interfering with day to day life that it is noticed; and at this point it may be too late for a cure so it is then a matter of trying to slow down the progression.

No matter what the cause, if left untreated, the end result is almost always  blindness. There are drugs which can be taken to reduce the pressure – eye drops being one – and these can slow the progression of the glaucoma significantly, in some cases even stopping it altogether.

If caught early there may be no noticeable loss of vision and life can continue as normal, taking the medication regularly. Anyone who has been diagnosed with glaucoma should, of course, continue to get annual examinations by the eye doctor to make sure it is not progressing.

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Categories: Stress Remedy Relief

Be Warned this Process could lead to a terrorist group being a UN member

December 22, 2011 1 comment

‘If Abbas embraces Hamas, he is walking away from peace’ By KHALED ABU TOAMEH AND HERB KEINON 12/22/2011 21:50 Prime Minister’s Office slams deal paving way for Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other radical groups to join PLO – which includes 10 members – the largest being Fatah; Palestinians hail agreement as “historic event.” Talkbacks (1) Israel slammed the Palestinian deal paving the way for Hamas to join the PLO on Thursday, with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s spokesman Mark Regev saying that if Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas “embraces Hamas, if he walks toward Hamas, he is walking away from peace.”

Leaders of several Palestinian groups, including Hamas and Fatah, agreed Thursday to “activate and reconstruct” the PLO so as to allow other non-member parties to join the organization. RELATED: ‘Abbas is Fatah’s only presidential candidate’ Analysis: Palestinian rivals united by drift Palestinians hailed the agreement as an “historic event” that would mark the beginning of a new era for the Palestinian issue. The move will pave the way for Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other radical groups to join the PLO, which includes 10 members – the largest being Fatah. Regev said that anyone who had any illusions about Hamas’s true character should have listened to the speeches last week in Gaza from Hamas’s leaders at an event marking the 25th anniversary of the founding of the organization. “What we heard was a stream of hateful, extremist rhetoric,” he said. Hamas, Regev said, is totally opposed to peace and reconciliation, believes that the Jewish state should be obliterated, and that terrorism against civilians is justified.

“Hamas is not a political organization that uses terrorism, Hamas is to its very core a genocidal terrorist organization,” he said. Other members of the PLO include the Popular Front for the liberation of Palestine, the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the Palestinian People’s Party, the Palestine Liberation Front and the Arab Liberation Front, as well as six other tiny groups aligned with Syria and Iraq’s now defunct Ba’ath Party. Ever since it was founded 24 years ago, Hamas has refused to join or recognize the PLO as the “sole legitimate representative” of the Palestinians. Thursday’s agreement paves the way for the establishment of a provisional leadership of the PLO that would include, for the first time ever, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other groups. These groups will later become incorporated into various PLO institutions, especially the Palestine National Council (PNC), the organization’s parliament-in-exile. The PNC is the legislative body of the PLO and elects its Executive Committee, the main decision-making body of the organization.

At Thursday’s discussions in Cairo, the Palestinian leaders agreed to form a committee headed by PNC Speaker Salim Zanoun to discuss ways of “activating and reconstructing” the PLO so that Hamas and other groups would be incorporated into the organization, Fatah and Hamas officials said. They said that the committee would include, for the first time, representatives of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other groups that are not members of the PLO. The committee will hold its first meeting in the Jordanian capital of Amman on January 15, 2012. Following the meeting of the Palestinian factions, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas issued a “presidential decree” for the establishment of a new Palestinian Elections Commission that would prepare for presidential and parliamentary elections in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. No date has been set for the vote, although PA officials have talked about the possibility of holding the elections on May 4, 2012.

The Palestinian factions are also hoping to hold new elections for the PNC, which has 669 members. The Cairo discussions were also attended by Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal. A Hamas official said that Mashaal and Abbas reached agreement on the release of detainees being held in Hamas and PA prisons in the Gaza Strip and West Bank by the end of next month. The two also agreed to form a committee comprising representatives of several Palestinian factions to discuss ending restrictions imposed by the PA and Hamas governments against activists belonging to the two sides, including travel bans.

Abbas told the leaders of the Palestinian factions that he was keen on resuming the peace process with Israel after Israel freezes construction in the settlements and accepts the pre-1967 lines as the basis for a two-state solution. He also said that he was determined to pursue his efforts to gain full Palestinian membership in the UN.

Article from The Jerusalem Post

Categories: Israel

Josef – The Story of a Survivor

December 22, 2011 Leave a comment

Josef – The Story of a Survivor



Josef, a 75-year-old Ukrainian Jew, is a Holocaust survivor. During World War II he was imprisoned at the notorious Nazi death camp at Auschwitz. For many years, Josef kept his horrific stories of the events during the war to himself.

But recently, after encouragement from a worker at a local Hesed center funded by The Fellowship’s Isaiah 58 program, he began telling his story. The center is a place of hope for Josef, where this impoverished man receives food and medical assistance on a regular basis. And now, it has also given him a means of release and a sense that his history will not be forgotten.

Josef began by saying, “I was working in the coal mine when the frontline was approaching. We marched in lines wearing prison clothes. We had wooden soles on our boots. It was cold and people were weak. Those who couldn’t go further were killed and stayed where they lay. We were driven forward this way for three days, day and night. When we felt that the front was coming nearer to us, we were put into carriages where the coal was usually kept. We were piled one on top of another.

“As we rode in the carriages, somehow people from one of the villages we were passing through learned that prisoners were in the carriage, so they threw us bread and meat. We were weak and hungry. We tried to catch the pieces of food. People were so hungry that the crowd crushed each other trying to get the food. The Nazi guards shouted, ‘Halt!’ and they shot the prisoners. A lot of people were killed. The guards made us take the bodies and stack them inside the carriage like a bench. Then they made us sit on them. Three days more days we lived through that, imagining the day when we could escape.

“Finally they took us from the carriage. Then they put us in columns and we began marching again. Many days passed. We found ourselves in a small forest. Suddenly we stopped and looked around and there were no guards around. It was night, dark. We saw a big barn. Very carefully, we approached the barn, crawled in, and slept there all night. We didn’t hear a tank coming near. We woke up and saw light between the boards in the barn. We looked out and saw a five-angled star. We didn’t know that Englishmen and Americans had a five-angled star too.”

At first, Josef and the others thought they were seeing a Russian tank. He continued, “We started whispering, ‘It’s a Russian tank, it’s a Russian tank.’ Then we understood that they were Americans.

“When the Americans found us, they were struck dumb at what we looked like. We were kids and there were middle aged people there too. The soldiers handed us chocolates and vitamins and water. I felt the strength coming into my muscles again. The soldiers told us how to get to the road. The American soldiers in jeeps came near I will remember them all my life. There were about 80 of us at that time. They took us to a town in Germany and settled us there, in former Nazi housing. We took off our prison clothes and they showed us piles of clothes and told us to take what we wanted. We washed, they fed us, and there were doctors there.”

Josef humbly thanked us for listening to his story. And, before we left, he added a heartfelt note of thanks to The Fellowship’s Isaiah 58 donors who he also regards as heroes for funding the Hesed center where he receives so much support. “Thank you for the help you are providing. Give these good people my regards.” He continued, “I pray there will be peace for them.”

Without the love and compassion of the Fellowship staff, Josef’s story might never have been told and without the Fellowship-funded Hesed center, Josef might not be alive today. Shockingly, tens of thousands of Holocaust survivors like Josef are living in the former Soviet Union in abject poverty, unable to afford basic necessities such as food and medicine. You can help these struggling elderly Jews find a measure of peace and comfort in their old age through a gift to Isaiah 58

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