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August 23, 2014 / 27 Av, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Pope Francis’

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.

Historic Visit to Israel by Lebanon’s Courageous Maronite Patriarch

Tuesday, May 27th, 2014

In honor of Pope Francis, the head of Lebanon’s Maronite Catholic Church defied threats to his life this week and came to Israel.

Cardinal Beshara Ra’i is the first Lebanese cleric to arrive in the Jewish State since 1948. Having arrived on Saturday to begin a week-long visit, he joined the pontiff Sunday for the first leg of his two-day tour of the Holy Land in Bethlehem. Much of the weekend, however, he spent traveling around Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem’s Old City and surrounds.

But on Monday he took what critics saw as an irrevocable political step by crossing into “pre-1967″ Israel — arriving at a Maronite community in the ancient port city of Jaffa (Yafo), next to Tel Aviv. There are numerous Lebanese Christians living in Israel, many of whom emigrated in order to stay alive after the IDF withdrew from southern Lebanon in 2000.

Lebanese media called the cleric’s visit a “historic sin,” though he was greeted by Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas with a medal, the ‘Star of Jerusalem’ for his efforts.

“We came here for the goal of strengthening our belief,” he told journalists when asked why he had taken the risk.

Sources aligned to the Hezbollah terrorist organization warned last week the Cardinal’s visit “cannot not pass quietly,” the Times of Israel reported. Likewise the Lebanese As-Safir quoted unnamed sources who said, “The patriarch’s move puts the Christian existence in the east in danger at a time when their presence is being increasingly targeted in the entire region.”

Christians have long been tormented by various Islamist groups, not only in Lebanon but also in Egypt. They have also been harassed in Palestinian Authority-controlled Bethlehem, where the city’s former Christian majority has now dwindled to a bare ten percent of its current Muslim majority population.

The pro-Hezbollah daily Al-Akhbar ran a fiery op-ed against the visit one week ago, warning, “When Beshara Ra’i travels to ‘Israel’ with the knowledge and consent of the occupation authorities, he creates a dangerous precedent . . . he humanizes the enemy, breaking the taboo and opening the door to all the believers eager to visit the holy sites. When will organized tours begin, guarded by Tzahal (the Israeli army) and hosted by Israeli companies eager to smuggle their products into Lebanon for years?”

The Cardinal responded with an interview in the Lebanese daily An-Nahar, pointing out, “His Holiness the Pope will grace the patriarchate with his visit and it would be inappropriate for us not to welcome him in our lands Jordan and Palestine, which is Israel today. I know full well that Israel is an enemy state which occupies Lebanese land as well, and I respect Lebanese law [banning visits to Israel.] We have no meetings with Israeli officials and I am sorry that some Lebanese wish to create problems where there are none.”

Pope Francis, who began his visit to the region in Amman, pointed out before leaving Jordan that the freedom of worship is an essential human right, and expressed the hope of seeing that upheld throughout the Middle East.

It would appear that only in Israel are members of all three monotheistic faiths assured of their rights to worship.

Senior Maronite Archbishop Paul Sayah added the Cardinal’s visit was purely religious and not linked to the “regrettable situation that exists between Lebanon and Israel.”

Send the Pope Packing!

Monday, May 26th, 2014

I’m not surprised that the pope enthusiastically participated in the P.A.”chairman” (is it?)  Mahmoud Abbas’s media trick on Israel. I have been writing all along that the pope’s planned “even-handedness” was an affront against Israel by equating the State of Israel with that band of Arab terrorists. Video from the Catholic News Service.

He topped it off by insulting Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, a political/diplomatic faux pas that shouldn’t be ignored. The pope then invited Shimon Peres to meet with him and his buddy Abbas at the Vatican. Please remember that Abbas has been busy of late uniting his supposedly “moderate” Fatah organization with the unabashedly terrorist Hamas. And Shimon Peres’s position as “President of Israel” is supposed to be a totally ceremonial one with less political, diplomatic and policy power than the Queen (or if there is ever a King) of England has in Great Britain. 

The fact that Shimon Peres has always been involved in sneaky, actually illegal contacts and “diplomacy” without government authority is something that should have been stopped decades ago. Sarah Honig has written an excellent article about the illegal (and treasonous would you say?) diplomatic escapades of Peres and other extreme Leftists, which is worth reading yet again. I linked and quoted from it in Treason? Could Be, Couldn’t It?

• There is nothing Jewish in the principle of “turning the other cheek.” It’s a Christian thing which is used more to tell us Jews to shut up and take the insults and discrimination silently than anything a Christian would actually do.
• There is no such thing as a “joint Jewish-Christian heritage.” We worship G-d, and they worship a man.
• Their Bible denies the continued eternal legitimacy of the Jewish Bible.
It’s no surprise that the pope has been a very rude guest. The ultimate aim of his Catholic religion is the supplanting/replacement of Judaism aka identity theft. Actually Islam has the same aim. Now, here in Israel they are allied against us. In other parts of the world they are at loggerheads competing for power. The State of Israel should never have approved of the Vatican’s itinerary for the pope. It was a political, diplomatic and theological mistake!

Visit Shiloh Musings.  / Batya Medad

See the Pope? Go to Mikveh

Monday, May 26th, 2014

Rabbi Moshe Tzedakah, rosh yeshiva of Porat Yosef in the Old City of Jerusalem, said Monday that individuals who intentionally went to see Pope Francis during his visit to Israel had become “tamei,” or ritually impure.

According to the shteible.net website, the rabbi ruled that anyone who saw the pope’s face must bathe in a mikveh (ritual bath).

Pope Francis Lashes Out at Nazi Murderers During Yad Vashem Visit

Monday, May 26th, 2014

Pope Francis has had a busy day so far in the ancient Old City of Jerusalem.

He began his day on the Temple Mount, in the Al Aqsa Mosque, visiting with the Mufti of Jerusalem and the Waqf Islamic Authority. The pontiff was quoted as telling both, “May we work together for justice and peace.”

Given the violence that has emanated week after week from that quarter towards Christians and Jews alike, that would seem to be a tall order. There is no information about the response of the Arab officials to the Pope’s comments at the mosque. On the first leg of his journey to the Holy Land, yesterday, he made an unscheduled stop at the separation barrier that was built by Israel to prevent suicide bombers from infiltrating and murdering citizens in areas of the country that were under the government’s control prior to 1967.

The Pope was then led to Judaism’s holiest site for prayer by Western Wall Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch. The Kotel (Western Wall) had been cleared of visitors for security reasons earlier by police. The pontiff bowed his head in prayer with his hand on the ancient stones. He followed those silent moments of communion with the Creator by placing a note in the Wall — an ancient tradition observed by nearly everyone who comes to the Wall — and embraced close Jewish and Muslim friends with him.

Francis met with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres and made a quick visit to the Mt. Herzl cemetery where he laid a wreath at the tomb of the ‘father of Zionism,’ Theodore Herzl. He then visited the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Center in a moving ceremony where he laid a wreath in the Hall of Remembrance and greeted six Holocaust survivors. There the pontiff questioned the role of G-d in the slaughter of the millions of victims murdered by the Nazis.

“The Father knew the risk of freedom, he knew that His children could be lost, yet perhaps not even the Father could imagine so great a fall, so profound an abyss,” he reflected. Having lit the memorial light in the center just minutes before, he compared the Nazi Holocaust to idolatry, and standing before Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, President Shimon Peres and former Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, himself a survivor, lashed out against the murderers.

“Who convinced you that you were G-d? Not only did you torture and kill your brothers and sisters, but you sacrificed them to yourself, because you made yourself a god. Today, in this place, we hear once more the voice of G-d: ‘Adam, where are you?’ Hear “L-rd and have mercy,” Francis prayed. “We have sinned against You. You reign for ever.”

The Pope also received from Yad Vashem chairman Avner Shalev a reproduction of a painting of a Chossid engrossed in prayer created in the Lodz ghetto by a teenage victim of the Holocaust.

He is expected to celebrate Mass at the Cenacle, the upper room in the complex where some believe the tomb of the Biblical King David is located – and where Christians believe the Last Supper took place, sometime before leaving to return to the Vatican in the afternoon hours.

There have been protests against the Pope’s visit to various sites in the Old City of Jerusalem by both Muslim and Jewish groups, both saying the leader of the worldwide Roman Catholic Church is intent on defiling their respective holy places of worship.

The Palestinians, the Pope and Peace

Sunday, May 25th, 2014

Pope Francis’ upcoming trip to the Middle East is fraught with political and religious symbolism and events on his itinerary are raising the temperatures on both sides of the Middle East divide.

In Israel, some are upset about the way the Vatican is treating his stops in the West Bank as if it is a state visit to a sovereign “State of Palestine” that, in fact, does not exist.

Others are upset about the Israeli government’s decision to allow Francis to celebrate a mass on Mount Zion in Jerusalem, a site that Jews believe is the Tomb of King David and Christians think is the place where the Last Supper took place.

Meanwhile, the Palestinians are up in arms over the fact that the Pope will visit Mount Herzl, Israel’s national cemetery outside the capital and lay a wreath on the tomb of Theodor Herzl, the founder of modern Zionism. And therein hangs the tale not only of a pope caught in the middle of a bitter clash in which any seemingly innocuous gesture of good will can become a source of tension but the issue that lies at the very core of a century-long conflict.

The context of the papal visit is the desire of Francis, a man already renowned for his caring persona and a desire to create outreach with all peoples, to plant a flag of ecumenism in the midst of a steadily worsening environment for Christians in the Middle East.

The rise of Islamism has made the situation of all non-Muslim minorities in the region and none are in a more precarious situation than that of Palestinian Christians, who have left the administered territories in large numbers since the Oslo Accords that handed over effective control of these areas to the Palestinian Authority. But, instead, a bogus campaign of incitement has sought to convince the world that Israel, the one nation in the region where freedom of religion prevails is the problem for the Christians.

Nevertheless, tensions between Palestinian Arabs and Jews have at times bubbled over into religious tension. Far right extremist Jews appear to have been guilty of vandalism at some churches, a deplorable development that has generated international outrage that is notably missing when Jewish institutions are routinely given the same treatment by Arabs.

The dispute at Mount Zion is typical of the kind of disputes that develop at the holy places. The shrine there has been under Jewish control for decades. Indeed, prior to the unification of Jerusalem and the liberation of the Western Wall, it was considered by many to be the most sacred spot inside pre-1967 Israel. While the Israeli protests about the mass seem intolerant, they are generated by fears that the site will be handed over to the church which would compromise Jewish sovereignty over the capital as well as possibly infringe on Jewish worship there. The Israeli government is clearly opposed to such a transfer and if they allow Christians more access to the site for their worship, it is to be hoped that both sides will live and let live.

While Israelis would have preferred that the Vatican not jump the gun and recognize “Palestine” without the Arabs first being required to make peace. Such recognition lessens the pressure on the Palestinians to negotiate in good faith but there is little rancor over the pope’s desire to visit what is, for intents and purposes, a separate country in the West Bank. But the Herzl dispute is more serious than just another tit-for-tat argument.

In venting their anger about a wreath for Herzl, the Palestinians are once again demonstrating that their real problem with Israel isn’t West Bank settlements or where the border should be after a peace treaty. It is, instead, an argument about the legitimacy of a Jewish state no matter where its borders wind up being drawn. Herzl, who died in 1904, isn’t connected in any way to the grievances Palestinians and their foreign cheerleaders vent their spleen about. But he is, in no small measure, responsible for the birth of the movement responsible for the rebirth of Jewish sovereignty over the historic homeland of his people. If Palestinians have a problem with Herzl, it’s because they still can’t bring themselves to change a political culture that regards rejection of Zionism as integral to their identity as a people.

A Call to the Nations of the World and All Religious Leaders

Friday, May 23rd, 2014

On the occasion of the papal visit to Israel, Rabbi Ginsburgh re-released the following statement (first issued prior to Pope John Paul II’s visit to Israel in March of 2000).

We all believe that Divine Providence directs every detail of each and every one of our lives. (Here is not the place to discuss how this does not contradict the principle of free choice inherent to the human soul.) Even when a person chooses to follow a certain course of action for his own reasons, it is G-d that is directing his steps from on high for His own purposes. In most cases, this direction remains entirely hidden from man. In the words of King David, the Sweet Singer of Israel, “Man’s steps are established by G-d, and He desires his path” (Psalms 37:23).

True for every detail of every private person’s life, this becomes immensely more significant for those whose lives have proven to be of crucial influence on the overall history of mankind. Here, too, there is both the individual’s revealed, conscious intention and the hidden dimension, which is revealed only to G-d, as He wondrously directs the fate of the world that He created for His glory.

Maimonides (Mishneh Torah, Laws of Kings, chapter 11) writes that Jesus of Nazareth imagined that he was the messiah. He tried to actualize this, but failed. Instead of redeeming Israel and the entire world, he caused Israel to be slain by the sword, their remnant to be scattered and humiliated, the Torah to be altered, and the majority of the world to be deceived and serve a god other than G-d.

Maimonides continues:

Nevertheless, the intent of the Creator of the world is not within the power of man to comprehend, for [to paraphrase Isaiah 55:8] His ways are not our ways, nor are His thoughts our thoughts. [Ultimately,] all the deeds of Jesus of Nazareth and that Ishmaelite who arose after him [i.e. Mohammed] will only serve to pave the way for the coming of the Messiah and for the improvement of the entire world, [motivating the nations] to serve G-d together, as it is written [Zephaniah 3:9], “For I shall then make the peoples pure of speech so that they will all call upon the Name of G-d and serve Him with one purpose.”

How will this come about? [As a result of these religions,] the entire world has already become filled with talk of the Messiah, as well as of the Torah and the commandments. These matters have been spread among many [formerly] spiritually insensitive nations, who discuss these matters as well as the various commandments of the Torah. Some of them [i.e. the Christians] say: These commandments were true, but are not in force in the present age; they are not applicable for all time. Others [i.e. the Moslems] say: Implied in the commandments are hidden concepts that cannot be understood simply; the messiah has already come and revealed them.

[The stage is thus set so that] when the true Messianic king will arise and prove successful, his [position becoming] exalted and uplifted, they will all return and realize that their ancestors endowed them with a false heritage; their prophets and ancestors caused them to err. Let us look at the situation of the world today: Nearly two thousand years have passed since the establishment of the Christian religion. During these generations, the suffering and pain of millions of people have not abated despite the great strides made by civilization, especially in the fields of science and technology. Every passing day, the heartfelt cry for G-d’s salvation intensifies, the cry for the true and ultimate Redemption to be ushered in by the Messiah. In the words of the prophet Daniel (who according to the Sages of Israel was a clear messianic figure): “How long until the end of these awesome things!” (Daniel 12:6).

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/a-call-to-the-nations-of-the-world-and-all-religious-leaders/2014/05/23/

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