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July 30, 2016 / 24 Tammuz, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘ministers’

African-American Christian Ministers Visit Israel In Blooming Of ‘Natural’ Partnership

Wednesday, June 1st, 2016

“My faith, as we interpret the scriptures, we identify with the people of Israel as God’s chosen people, and therefore we understand that those who bless Israel receive blessings and those who curse Israel are really fighting against our culture and faith,” said A.W. Mays, an African-American Christian leader from Austin, Texas.

Mays was one of 26 African-American members of the National Baptist Convention of America (NBCA) who were hand-picked to travel from the United States on a six-day educational mission to Israel from May 23-29. The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (The Fellowship) sponsored the trip to help deepen Christian-Jewish ties and black leaders’ bonds with Israel.

Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, The Fellowship’s founder and president, has been working to build bridges between Christians and Jews – as well as Christians and Israel – for more than 35 years. Last year, The Fellowship raised $138 million in humanitarian aid for Jews in Israel and around the world, almost entirely from Christian donors.

The trip just concluded marked The Fellowship’s third such mission; it brought 21 ministers to Israel in the summer of 2015 and 22 more in January of this year.

“African-Americans are the Jewish people’s natural partners,” said Yael Eckstein, Rabbi Eckstein’s daughter and senior vice president of The Fellowship.

“They know what it means to be suffering and reach freedom, to be slaves and come to enjoy the full benefits of American peoplehood.… We have not had positive ties throughout the years because no one ever put an effort into creating those ties.”

“What most people don’t understand,” said Rev. Deedee Coleman, the head of a 1,500-member Oak Park, Michigan congregation who has been to Israel more than a dozen times, “is that in Baptist culture we preach about Israel every Sunday, about the Jewish people and the trials of Moses and the Red Sea – everything that is not only in our Bible, but what starts in the first five books.”

Beyond the mission’s spiritual impact on attendees, the trip also enhanced the black leaders’ understanding of the challenges Israel faces. Many participants said they now have deeper knowledge of the political situation in Israel, and that the trip debunked the often-biased American media coverage of events on the ground in the Jewish state.

“I learned to not believe the American media 100 percent, and their slant on what this nation is,” said Rev. Samuel C. Tolbert, Jr., NBCA’s president, who helped organize the mission to Israel.

“It is best for people to come and see it firsthand, and they will see a totally different view of Israel.”

Kristina King, director of African-American outreach for The Fellowship, worked in a similar role with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) for eight years. She says that both organizations do dynamic work in helping leaders understand some of the geopolitical complexities and everyday realities in Israel.

But while AIPAC seeks to influence political policy, The Fellowship’s work is faith-based and focuses on common spiritual values. Those values don’t change, said King, regardless of who holds elected office in Israel or America.

“When African-Americans are exposed to Israel, they see our common values,” King said.

At the same time, the black Christian leaders who visited Israel can become powerful political partners and pro-Israel activists because of their faith, said Yael Eckstein.

“I think the Jewish community should stop sitting back and complaining that we don’t have friends,” said Yael Eckstein. “Be proactive and reach out to find things in common with the people who can stand with us long-term and be strategic partners for our future.”

“These are the ones who will bring back the message of Israel to the larger body,” said Rev. Coleman. “They have been on Facebook, tweeting, and they will bring it back [to America] and educate their people about what is real.”

Maayan Jaffe-Hoffman

The Defense Minister’s Pen

Wednesday, June 1st, 2016

It has been stated many times that “the pen is mightier than the sword”. To be perfectly honest, in a war situation I prefer the sword (or machine gun, tank, F-16 or nuclear bomb!) but in many situations, the pen is indeed extremely mighty. I am not exaggerating when I write that with a few strokes of a pen, Israel’s history can be changed forever. Allow me to explain.

The whole country is ecstatic over the recent appointment of Avigdor Lieberman as Israel’s new Defense Minister. Some people are ecstatically excited while others are ecstatically depressed but everyone is ecstatic! The people who I usually hang around with are all telling me how – finally – we have a Defense Minister who will do what must be done. They are convinced he will destroy Hamas and every one of their tunnels coming from Gaza, annihilate Hezbollah and the 150,000 rockets pointed at Israel from Lebanon and will strengthen the IDF to its glory days of the Six-Day War and Entebbe. Sounds too good to be true? It is.

Lieberman will do none of those things. The toughest part of his body is his mouth and he will use that in many ways but at the end of the day, he will accomplish very little, and I can prove it. I will be the first to admit that defeating Hamas and Hezbollah are complex issues that will not be solved overnight so let’s give him time with those issues. Let’s focus instead on a different and far easier task: What will he do with his pen?

For various ridiculous reasons, the State of Israel has never annexed the land Hashem gave the Jewish nation back in 1967. All of Judea and Samaria – with its population of 450,000 Jews – is still not officially part of the State of Israel. This has many legal ramifications but let me focus on just one: Every building project in those areas, every road, house, Yeshiva, factory and mikva can only be built with… the signature of the Defense Minister! Right now, as you read these words, there are 50,000 housing units (combination of private homes and apartments) in Judea/Samaria that have passed all approvals, except one. Their plans have been designed by professional architects, inspected and signed off by engineers, passed all safety checks, conform to all building codes and – in many cases – even have mortgage approvals! The problem is that none of these 50,000 housing units, plus over 200 new factories and 50 new shuls, yeshivas and mikvas can be built until one last thing is done… Israel’s Defense Minister signs his name on those plans.

Can you imagine what Immanuel will look like when 3,000 new Haredi families move in? How about Gush Shiloh with 1,500 new families and Gush Etzion with 1,200? This will change the map forever and will make the “facts on the ground” so powerful that it permanently changes all the dialogue around the negotiating table. And what do those families in Immanuel, Shiloh and Bat Ayin need? The “John Hancock” of Avigdor Lieberman. He can literally do it before you finish reading this article!

And now for the million dollar question: Why won’t he do it? What is stopping him… no ink in the pen??

The answer to this question is similar to the reason why Ariel Sharon threw 10,000 Jews out of their homes in Gush Katif. It is also the answer to why no Prime Minister ever annexed the liberated lands since ’67 and why every single government – even the right wing ones – never allowed Jews free access to build in Hebron, Shechem and the Old City of Jerusalem. It is the same answer to why Jewish prayer is forbidden on Har Ha’Bayit and to why Kever Rachel is protected today more than Fort Knox. It is because our leaders are dreaming incorrectly.

If the dream for Israel is to become a super-technological and modern country with great beaches, tourist attractions, hiking trails and Jewish history then we did it!! We are a fabulous success story! We are a Hebrew speaking Singapore… and more! We invented WAZE and the computer chip. We cured life threatening diseases and discovered ways to make the desert bloom. Obviously, in the middle of all these modern advances, we cannot let our Judaism get too much in the way. Yes, we will stop everything on Yom Kippur and allow things here and there but that cannot be our focus. We need to compete with the world, be accepted by the “family of nations” and be loved in the UN. We need to run to help poor people in Africa, even though there are hungry Jews in Netanya. We need to provide field hospitals in Sri Lanka even though thousands of Jews are waiting for operations in Afula and Jerusalem. We need to provide free electricity to people in Gaza as we disconnect the electricity in Bnei Brak.

If that is the dream, then the new minister; Avigdor Lieberman is perfect. He is the guy who supports importing pork into Israel so his non Jewish Russian buddies can have bacon with their eggs. He supports the creation of a Palestinian State (and said so on the FIRST DAY of his new job!) since that will prove that Israel is a true member of the international community and that is why he will never, never sign the paper that approves the building of 50,000 new homes in Judea and Samaria. Yes, he will throw a bone once in a while to quiet the masses but 50,000? Never! I would be surprised if he approves 2,000.

Please don’t make the same mistake over and over again. You need to learn this one golden rule: The key is the dream. Sit down and focus on what Israeli leaders are dreaming about. A modern, technological state with some Judaism or a Jewish state that is modern and technological? Where is the focus? Where are the priorities? If the focus is on being Jewish then we will build 50,000 homes and much more in every area of the country. We will still have great hi-tech and medical breakthroughs and save the world… but the focus will be on Israel being strong, proud and guided by authentic Jewish values and concepts. Sadly, Avigdor Lieberman, Bibi Netanyahu and even Naftali Bennet do not share that dream which is why they will all fail.

With Hashem’s help, new leadership will emerge with the dream of fulfilling what we pray for every day and only when that happens will the pen of the Defense Minister run out of ink from all the approvals he will be signing.

Shmuel Sackett

Vote to Expand Ministers Passes First Reading

Monday, May 11th, 2015

120 Knesset voted today on whether or not to allow the coalition to expand beyond its 18 minister limit.

In a tight vote of 61 to 59, the Knesset passed the proposal’s first reading.

The proposal will require two more votes to allow Netanyahu to add more ministers.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Israeli Ministers Told to Prepare for ‘Large-Scale Immigration’

Monday, February 9th, 2015

Israeli government ministers are being warned to prepare for “large-scale immigration” as anti-Semitism rises abroad.

“We are taking action and must continue to do so that those Jews will come here and not go to other countries. The manifestations of anti-Semitism in various European countries will not be forgotten and will even increase due – inter alia – to the rise of the forces of extremist Islam and additional changes that are taking place there.

“It must be assumed that the situation will worsen and that pressure on the communities will increase,” Netanyahu continued. “We are facing a major wave of immigration for which we must be prepared.”

Jewish Agency chairman Natan Sharansky, Aliyah and Immigration Absorption Minister Sofa Landver, and ministry officials also briefed ministers on the actions being taken to strengthen and assist Jewish communities around the world, according to a communique sent to media.

Possibly as a follow up to the necessity of conserving resources in order to prepare for mass immigration, the cabinet also discussed and approved draft legislation on reducing the use of cash in the economy.

Also discussed and approved was draft legislation on electronic check clearing, a move that will streamline financial processing in the country.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Report: Likud’s No. Two Considering Resigning Over Sexual Allegations

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

Gideon Sa’ar, the highest ranking Likud member after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and a contender to succeed Netanyahu as party chairman, is considering resigning over allegations regarding sexual misconduct, including statutory rape, according to a report by Lahav Harkov of the Jerusalem Post.

A letter allegedly signed by an Education Ministry (under the initials M.K. in Hebrew) employee was sent to the Prime Minister alleging that Sa’ar had an illegal affair with her asking that Sa’ar not be given a ministry in the government. The letter also raised previously known allegations that Sa’ar had sexual relations with an intoxicated minor at a night club.

The letter came as many top Likud members were, and still are, competing for ministries within the government, which will be scarce due to the Likud-Beitenu’s poor election showing.

Sa’ar was chairman of the Likud campaign’s operational branch and has taken heavy criticism for the Likud’s losses in the election.

Maya Katz, Sa’ar’s close aide, denied that she had written the letter or that the allegations made, apparently in her name, had any basis in reality.

Most Israeli publications have reported on the incident as if the letter is a forgery and a mere ploy in the contest for ministries and for which of the Likud’s ministers will succeed Netanyahu.

The report in the Post is the first indication that the allegations about the office affair might be serious.

The Attorney General’s office recently announced that it will be investigating the letter, including whether it is a forgery.

Jewish Press Staff

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/israel/report-likuds-no-two-considering-resigning-over-sexual-allegations/2013/02/20/

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