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Standing with Israel

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O Little Town of Bethlehem

O little town of Bethlehem


How still we see thee lie


Above thy deep and dreamless sleep


The silent stars go by


Yet in thy dark streets shineth


The everlasting Light


The hopes and fears of all the years


Are met in thee tonight

These words, written in 1868 by Rector Phillips Brooks of Philadelphia, have etched into our collective imagination a pastoral scene of harmony and tranquility. Angels proclaiming,…” peace, good will toward men,” shepherds watching over their flocks, the innocent babe in the manger… While that description might have fit the town of Bethlehem in the days of the birth of the Messiah, it is far from the case now. In fact, the village has morphed into an ugly concrete jungle, full of hatred and violence, especially toward Jews and Christians. The reason? Islam!

Once Christians made up more than 85 per cent of the population of Bethlehem. Yet under Jordanian rule (1948-1967) and under the Palestinians (1995-present) that figure decreased to just 12 per cent of the 60,000 inhabitants. Isn’t it interesting that when the hated Israeli “occupation” was in control of Bethlehem from 1967-1995, the Christian population remained stable and Christians predominated in local governance? What’s the difference? Under Muslim hegemony Christians and other minorities live in fear – for good reason! If they don’t behave as good dhimmis there is a heavy price to pay – maybe their heads.

An example of this phenomenon is Victor Batarseh, Christian mayor of Bethlehem. Forget making any mention of the plight of the Christians of his city in his annual Christmas address. Instead he towed the party line, calling for a boycott of Israel in order to bring them back to the negotiating table with the Palestinian Authority. Obviously there could be no allusion to the fact that Israel is the only place in the Middle East where the Christian population has grown over the last 60 years, from 40,000 in 1948 when Israel was founded to 155,000 today.

We can understand Mayor Batarseh’s unwillingness to confront the issue of Muslim persecution of Christians. He has a lot to lose. But mainstream media has knowingly been complicit in the cover-up. In the rare reports on Muslim-on-Christian violence, the accounts are framed as “ethnic clashes,” making it sound as if there is some kind of moral equivalency in the bloodletting. There is none! The fact is that whenever (throughout the history of Islam) and wherever Muslims become a majority, non-Muslims are severely persecuted.

Raymond Ibrahim, a  widely published author on Islam, and an Associate Fellow at the Middle East Forum, puts out a monthly report of Muslim Persecutions of Christians. This is definitely not light reading, but we ignore this information at our own risk. Leaders of western nations are, tragically, turning a blind eye to the danger: here and here.

So while multitudes around the world are celebrating the birth of the Prince of Peace, many of His followers languish in prison, are being tortured or are fleeing for their lives – if they can find a place to go, that is. The silence of the media, academia and even liberal “Christianity” is deafening. Let’s not be silent as the islamic jihad both by violent means and by stealth moves to overthrow the world.

Cheer Up – We’re Not Alone

I’d like to begin today with a story about one of my favorite biblical heroes – Elijah the prophet (the same guy for whom we set a place at the Passover seder and for whom we open the door while singing “Eliyahu HaNavi” – “Elijah the Prophet”). He may be considered a hero today but in his own time he wasn’t very popular. The political leaders hated him; the king called him THE trouble-maker of Israel. The queen wanted him dead. Religious leaders despised him because he dared to tell the truth and rebuke them for what they were doing wrong – like worshiping the gods of the surrounding pagan peoples and engaging in their lascivious behavior. In short, he refused to follow or condone the politically correct philosophy of the day.

On top of that, he looked like a wild man – hairy, dressed in what would be considered rags – like something just blown in off the desert. In today’s jargon Elijah was a right-wing nut job. Scripture records his miraculous victory over hundreds of pagan (false) prophets. You can read the entire account here.

But Elijah felt alone, threatened, discouraged and ran away into the desert. There he plopped himself under a bush, complained to God that even though he himself had been very zealous he was the only one left standing for the truth – so why bother living any more?  The world was going to hell quickly…why not just forget about it, die and let them go along on their merry way. God didn’t put up with his whining. First of all, he was wrong: he wasn’t alone. God had 7,000 people who were standing with him against the forces of evil. That’s not a lot in a whole nation, but it’s something. Secondly, Elijah wasn’t ready for retirement. God basically told him to get up off his tuchus (rear end) and continue the work he was supposed to do.

Sometimes we who stand with Israel and the Jewish people may feel isolated in an increasingly hostile world. It’s politically correct now to be pro-Palestinian and anti-Zionist (read “anti-Jew”); just ask the UN, EU, the Obama administration, Arab nations, leftist NGO’s, campus and church BDS groups (boycott, divestment, sanctions), Hollywood celebrities, mainstream media, etc., etc. Those who take the opposite view and dare to express it are often labeled right-wing nut jobs, ignorant, trouble-makers, even terrorists…sound familiar? Because of extreme media bias, these brave souls even have difficulty getting their message out without having it twisted. It’s up to you and me not to allow them to be “voices crying in the wilderness”.

Thanks to conservative talk radio, blogs and newsletters like mine (what a shameless plug!) we can unearth the truth – it frequently takes a lot of digging – and pass it around to others. Here are a couple of youtube videos I’ve included in the past: Michele Bachmann and Allen West sharing their views on Israel. If you haven’t already done so, please watch them. These people aren’t just speaking to woo Jewish voters or Jewish donations to their campaigns. They really mean what they say and have backed it up with action regardless of political cost.

Then there’s Glenn Beck. Yes, I know he’s a Mormon. Yes, I know that he may have some odd ideas about various and assorted topics. But the reason he’s been more vilified in the mainstream media than almost anyone else is his uncompromising stand for Israel.

On Tuesday, July 19, Glenn Beck gave the keynote address in Washington, DC at the Christians United For Israel (CUFI) convention. Here’s a video highlights of his speech (7:54) – inspiring and moving, a must-see! For the the full speech (42:32) click here. Despite theological differences I’m thankful for men like him, Pastor John Hagee and others associated with CUFI.

Then there’s you and me, average folks who aren’t making speeches or Youtube videos. How can we get up off our collective tuchus and do something positive? Here are three simple things:

1. Forward my blog – another shameless plug.

2. Do some research on your own and pass your findings on to others. Remember that your friends won’t find this info on the evening news and so they may be totally unaware of the truth unless you inform them. Of course, be sure to check out the veracity of your sources first so that even if people accuse you of being a wild-eyed nut case, you won’t be. In my blog, The Media’s Assault on Israel, I listed reliable resources that I myself use.

3. Be proactive! It is inexcusable to say I don’t have the time or my opinion doesn’t matter! Emails to newspapers, congressmen, senators, companies and local businesses can and do make a difference. When the city of Seattle, WA, agreed to allow public bus ads which read, “Israeli War Crimes: Your tax dollars at work”, accompanied by huge, pathetic-looking pictures of  “poor oppressed Palestinians”,  I and apparently thousands of others immediately fired off emails to Seattle city commissioners. Because of pressure applied from so many concerned citizens, the ad campaign was cancelled.

So let’s not waste time on hand-wringing and kvetching (complaining). Let’s dust ourselves off like Elijah did and let’s be encouraged – we’re not alone!

Yours for Israel and our Jewish people,

Yossi