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July 26, 2014 / 28 Tammuz, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Bethlehem’

Hunt for Kidnapped Teens, Night 7: IDF Nabs 30 Hamas Men, 2 ‘Shalitniks’

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

It’s the seventh night of desperate searching after an Israeli teen whispered to a police dispatcher, “We’re being kidnapped,” before his cell phone was cut off.

Dual Israeli-American citizen Naftali Frenkel, age 16, and his two friends, Gilad Sha’ar, 16 and Eyal Yifrach, 19, were kidnapped by terrorists last Thursday night as they hitchhiked home for the Sabbath from Gush Etzion.

Thousands of IDF soldiers were fanned out across Judea and Samaria, hunting for them and the terrorists who abducted them. There’s still been no news of their location or condition, and no clear idea of who took them. Constant prayer vigils by millions of Jews around the world continue at all hours of the day and night.

On Wednesday night, IDF troops ‘visited’ some 100 private homes and public institutions linked to the Hamas terrorist organization, mostly in the Hevron area, Israel public radio reported.

While looking for the missing boys, they were also out hunting for the terrorists who kidnapped them – and the rest of the Hamas members who may have assisted in some way.

And while they’re at it, they’re also hauling in those who were released early from Israeli jails in exchange for the freedom of former IDF soldier Gilad Shalit. The former hostage was kidnapped in a cross-border raid near the Gaza border by a consortium of Hamas and other allied terrorists in 2006. Shalit was held captive by Hamas for five years — until Israel agreed to swap more than a thousand terrorist prisoners for his freedom.

Those who were released signed pledges agreeing to certain conditions before they were freed. Under the circumstances, however, Israel is now determined to re-incarcerate the many who intelligence services know have violated their agreements.

Within the past seven days, 53 of the ‘Shalit terrorists’ have been picked up so far. They will appear before a military judge, unless their sentence was handed down by a civilian court. If the violation is found to be valid, the terrorist will return to jail to serve the remainder of the original sentence. In many cases, that is life in prison.

These cases are included in some 300 Palestinian Authority unity government terrorists that were rounded up by IDF troops, nearly all of whom are members of Hamas. A few were Islamic Jihad terrorists as well.

Accomplishing “Operation Brother’s Keeper” is not easy; Israeli soldiers encounter “resistance” at each location. Rocks, bottles… and last night even two firebombs (Molotov cocktails) were hurled straight at them in Jenin when they entered the area to search and make arrests. There were similar clashes in Bethlehem and Birzeit. In one case Arabs attempted to run over IDF soldiers with a car; other troops returned fire and hit the vehicle before it fled the scene.

But the soldiers are clear about their mission and they are firm in their resolve, as are the Israeli Air Force pilots who fly their missions in retaliation for the rocket attacks fired at Israeli civilian populations.

Last night (Wednesday) pilots carried out air strikes against five Hamas terror targets in Gaza, including a concealed rocket launcher and two terrorist bases. Direct hits were confirmed and all personnel returned safely to base.

The strikes came in response to a missile attack on Ashkelon by Gaza terrorists earlier in the evening. One of the rockets hit a house (no one was home at the time) and damaged it. The second exploded in an open area, causing no damage. No injuries were reported in either attack.

2 Days After Pope’s Visit, Bethlehem Church Fire Not Arson?

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

Just two days after Pope Francis visited the Church of the Nativity in Palestinian Authority-controlled Bethlehem, there was a fire. Coincidence?

The church — important to Roman Catholics around the world — is built over the grotto believed to be the birthplace of the founder of Christianity, Jesus. It is considered one of the holiest sites in the faith.

A cleric at the church, Father Ibrahim Faltas, denied the fire had been set intentionally and claimed a candle tipped over near a curtain, setting it aflame.

The once-mostly Christian town of Bethlehem — controlled today by the Palestinian Authority — is now populated by a Muslim majority. Christian residents have been systematically attacked by local Muslims and quietly have fled, until now only a small fraction remain. The Pope, however, made no reference to the vicious campaign of harassment carried out against his people during his visit to the region, focusing instead of Arab-Israeli relations.

Pope Prays for Protection from Suicide Bombers

Sunday, May 25th, 2014

Pope Francis included a stop at the Suicide Bomber Protection Wall during today’s whirlwind tour of Bethlehem, presumably to pray for protection from Palestinian suicide terrorists. The Vatican did not release a statement about the stop, but sources close to the Holy See said the Pontiff was likely checking the last line of defense against Palestinian terrorists before entering Israeli-controlled Jerusalem.

Until this wall was put up, more than 1000 Israelis were murdered and countless more maimed and injured by citizens of the Palestinian Authority.

Under Palestinian Authority control, the number of Christians living in Bethlehem dwindled to under 15% of the population, from approximately 50% when it was under Israeli rule. Most Arab Christians fled to safer areas due to Muslim and Palestinian Authority threats, harassment and terror.

PA Hoping to Use Pope As Political Pipebomb

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

The Palestinian Authority is hoping to use the upcoming visit by Pope Francis as a political pipebomb with which to further attack an already-dead peace process.

The itinerary of the Holy See is set to begin in Amman, where the Pope will meet with King Abdullah II. From there the leader of the worldwide Roman Catholic Church will fly to the Holy Land on Sunday for a two-day visit that starts in Bethlehem — a logical choice given its proximity to Jordan and its importance in Christianity.

He will hold a mass there, meet there with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, and later visit a “refugee camp,” allegedly to “underscore his support for the Palestinians,” according to PA Christian Affairs adviser Ziyad Bandak, who was quoted by Arutz Sheva.

Bandak said through that visit, the Pope will ‘see firsthand the “suffering of the Palestinian Arabs under the Israeli occupation…’

“This visit will help us in supporting our struggle to end the longest occupation in history,” he reportedly said. “I know that Israeli officials are not happy with this decision. We welcome this visit and consider it as support for the Palestinian people and confirmation from the Vatican of the need to end the occupation.”

Foreign Ministry spokesman Paul Hirschson told CBN News, however, the Pope is “coming here to spend time with everybody,” noting the convenience of the scheduled itinerary.

The Pope and his entourage are also expected to meet with Israeli leaders and to discuss the status of Jerusalem. The agenda is likely to include the extremely controversial issue of who will have authority over the area that houses King David’s tomb.

“He’s coming here to see us. He’s coming on a Christian pilgrimage… With all due respect to everybody’s inflated egos with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, this is not the focus of his visit. It’s a wonderful thing that he’s coming to visit. Hundreds of foreign journalists and thousands of Christian pilgrims are looking forward to his visit. We don’t always have to exploit every single thing.”

The fact is, fully 60 percent of all incoming visitors to Israel at present are Christian.

And most of the Christian Arabs in Bethlehem have been viciously harassed by that city’s Muslims. Many have fled as a result. So if anything, the Pope is beginning his visit there as a gesture of solidarity to his people in that city, who desperately need his support.

Moreover, if we’re talking about the “longest occupation in history,” we may as well go back 2,000-plus years. Let’s discuss the expulsion of most of the Jews from this Land by the Romans and the subsequent occupations by our Gentile enemies, one after the other, including the rivers of Jewish blood that ran in our streets.

That history is all written down for anyone to see – and there remain at least several descendants of Jewish families in the Galilee village of Peki’in who can trace their lineage all the way back to those times. Not to mention the Yemenite Kohanim and Levi’im (members of the priestly sect), many of whom can also trace their lineage back to the time their ancestors were forced to leave, during the period when the Holy Temple in Jerusalem still stood.

But just as the Jews lost that ancient war, so too were we promised by the Creator that eventually we would return to our Land. Every monotheistic faith knows of that promise, and has read it in what the Christians refer to as the “Old Testament:”

Deuteronomy 30:1 –And it shall come to pass, when all these things are come upon you, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before you, and you shall call them to mind among all the nations, to which the L-rd your G-d has driven you, :2 –And shall return unto the L-rd your G-d, and shall obey His voice according to all that I command you this day, you and you children, with all your heart, and with all your soul; :3 –That then the L-rd your G-d will turn your captivity, and have compassion upon you, and will return and gather you from all the nations, from where the L-rd your God has scattered you. :4 –If any of yours are driven out upon the outmost parts of heaven, from there will the L-rd your G-d gather you, and from then will He fetch you: :5And the L-rd your G-d will bring you into the Land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it; and He will do you good, and multiply you above your fathers.

IDF Bars Gaza Runner from Bethlehem Marathon

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

Israel’s Supreme Court upheld a decision by the Israel Defense Forces to bar a Palestinian runner from Gaza from participating in a marathon in Bethlehem but nevertheless recommended that he be allowed to participate in the race.

Olympian Nader Masri, 34, had asked Israel’s military for permission to travel to the second Bethlehem marathon that is to be held Friday.

Following a rejection from the military, Masri, with the help of the Legal Center for Freedom of Movement, known as Gisha, appealed to the Supreme Court, which ruled on Tuesday that it could not overrule a military decision. However, as Israeli courts often do, it injected its own quasi-legal opinion and recommended that Israel consider allowing the runner to leave to participate in the race.

“It is hoped, of course, that in the future the security situation will improve that will allow an easing of such restrictions.” Judge Daphne Barak-Erez wrote in her decision.

Masri has represented the Palestinian Authority in several international competitions, including in Ireland, Portugal, Belgium and Doha. He represented “Palestine” in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Explosive Thrown at Rachel’s Tomb

Thursday, March 6th, 2014

Arabs threw a bomb into the area of Rachel’s Tomb on Thursday night. No injuries or damage was reported.

Rachel’s Tomb is located at the edge of Bethlehem, and is the burial site of the Matriarch Rachel.

While Bethlehem is under control of the Palestinian Authority, the tomb itself is under Israeli control.

US State Dept. Continues Stiff Travel Warings in Israel

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

U.S. government employees are forbidden from traveling anywhere on personal business in Judea and Samaria except for Bethlehem and Jericho, according to the government’s latest travel advisory.

In language softer than previous warnings that scared the dickens out of anyone even thinking of visiting Israel, the advisory pointed out, “Over three million foreign citizens, including hundreds of thousands of U.S. citizens, safely visit Israel and the West Bank each year for study, tourism, and business. The Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority make considerable efforts to protect U.S. citizens and other visitors to major tourist destinations. Nonetheless, U.S. citizens should also take into consideration the rules governing travel by U.S. government employees.”

For example, “U.S. government personnel are not permitted to use public buses anywhere in Israel or the West Bank due to past attacks on public transportation.”

That limitation was reinforced after a bombing of a bus in Tel Aviv late last year in which passengers were miraculously saved by quick thinking of a passenger and the bus driver, who evacuated everyone moments before the bomb left on the bus by a terrorist exploded.

According to that logic, Americans should stay off Interstate 81 in Maryland and Pennsylvania because of last month’s murder of a 28-year-old man who was gunned down on the highway near the border between the two states.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/us-state-dept-continues-stiff-travel-warings-in-israel/2014/02/04/

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