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World Jewish Congress praises international Christian lawmakers for supporting Israel

WJC, Christian lawmakers from 20 countries will be in Israel to express their support for the Jewish state. At an event hosted by the Israel Allies Foundation, the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem and the World Jewish Congress (WJC) 25 Christian parliamentarians and Congressmen will notably discuss measures to fight a campaign against Israel spearheaded in recent months by the European Union. On Sunday, WJC President Ronald S. Lauder will address an event in Jerusalem at which 3,000 Evangelical Christians from around the world will be present.

The lawmakers are also expected to endorse Israel’s efforts to defend itself against existential threats such as those posed by Iran regime and by the current unrest and chemical weapons in Syria. The Chairman’s Conference of the Israel Allies Foundation, presided by former Minister Benny Elon, will be held as part of the annual Feast of Tabernacles, the largest tourist event in Israel which every year draws more than 5,000 Christian pilgrims from over 100 countries. Lawmakers from Argentina, Bolivia, the Czech Republic, Brazil, Canada, Italy, Macedonia, the Netherlands, Peru, Poland, Portugal, South Africa, Uruguay, Guatemala, the United Kingdom and the United States will participate in the gathering.

In a draft declaration expected to be adopted, the legislators call the boycott of Israeli persons and goods from the disputed territories in the West Bank and Jerusalem an act of discrimination that is harming the peace efforts. In addition, the signatories are expected to lend their support “to the government of Israel as acting within its rights and obligations to its citizens when it stands resolutely in defence of its sovereign territory and acts preemptively, if necessary, to ensure the protection of its citizens and the survival of its national existence.” They are also to endorse Israel’s position that the Jerusalem should remain undivided.

WJC President Ronald Lauder hailed the upcoming event in the Israeli capital as an important sign that Israel does not stand alone in the world: “This conference is ample proof that Israel has strong Christian allies in parliaments and governments around the world on which it can rely. The World Jewish Congress will continue to work on widening this important coalition and increase cooperation with our Christian friends,” he said.

About the World Jewish Congress
The World Jewish Congress (WJC) is the international organization representing Jewish communities in 100 countries to governments, parliaments and international organizations.

About the Israel Allies Foundation
The Israel Allies Foundation (IAF) is dedicated to the purpose of promoting communication and information sharing between parliamentarians and legislators the world over who share a belief that the State of Israel has the right to exist in peace within secure borders. In 2006 in solidarity with the Knesset Christian allies Caucus, the US House of Representatives formed the Congressional Israel Allies Caucus as the basis for an international caucus network. Since then, additional caucuses have been formed in 22 governments worldwide.

About the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem
The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ) was founded in 1980 as an act of comfort and solidarity with Israel and the Jewish people in their claim to Jerusalem. Today, the ICEJ stands at the forefront of a growing mainstream movement of Christians worldwide who share a love and concern for Israel and an understanding of the biblical significance of the modern ingathering of the Jews to the land of their forefathers.

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Ancient Golden Treasure Found at Foot of Temple Mount “Ophel Treasure” includes gold medallion with Menorah, Torah and Shofar etchings

Jerusalem, In summer excavations at the foot of the Temple Mount, Hebrew University of Jerusalem archaeologist Dr. Eilat Mazar made a stunning discovery: two bundles of treasure containing thirty-six gold coins, gold and silver jewelry, and a gold medallion with the menorah (Temple candelabrum) symbol etched into it. Also etched into the 10-cm medallion are a shofar (ram’s horn) and a Torah scroll.
A third-generation archaeologist working at the Hebrew University’s Institute of Archaeology, Dr. Mazar directs excavations on the City of David’s summit and at the Temple Mount’s southern wall. Calling the find “a breathtaking, once-in-a-lifetime discovery,” Dr. Mazar said: “We have been making significant finds from the First Temple Period in this area, a much earlier time in Jerusalem’s history, so discovering a golden seven-branched Menorah from the seventh century CE at the foot of the Temple Mount was a complete surprise.”
The discovery was unearthed just five days into Mazar’s latest phase of the Ophel excavations, and can be dated to the late Byzantine period (early seventh century CE). The gold treasure was discovered in a ruined Byzantine public structure a mere 50 meters from the Temple Mount’s southern wall.
The menorah, a candelabrum with seven branches that was used in the Temple, is the national symbol of the state of Israel and reflects the historical presence of Jews in the area. The position of the items as they were discovered indicates that one bundle was carefully hidden underground while the second bundle was apparently abandoned in haste and scattered across the floor.
Given the date of the items and the manner in which they were found, Mazar estimates they were abandoned in the context of the Persian conquest of Jerusalem in 614 CE. After the Persians conquered Jerusalem, many Jews returned to the city and formed the majority of its population, hoping for political and religious freedom. But as Persian power waned, instead of forming an alliance with the Jews, the Persians sought the support of Christians and ultimately allowed them to expel the Jews from Jerusalem.
Hanging from a gold chain, the menorah medallion is most likely an ornament for a Torah scroll. In that case it is the earliest Torah scroll ornament found in archaeological excavations to date. It was buried in a small depression in the floor, along with a smaller gold medallion, two pendants, a gold coil and a silver clasp, all of which are believed to be Torah scroll ornamentations.
“It would appear that the most likely explanation is that the Ophel cache was earmarked as a contribution toward the building of a new synagogue, at a location that is near the Temple Mount,” said Dr. Mazar. “What is certain is that their mission, whatever it was, was unsuccessful. The treasure was abandoned, and its owners could never return to collect it.”
The Ophel cache is only the third collection of gold coins to be found in archaeological excavations in Jerusalem, said Lior Sandberg, numismatics specialist at the Institute of Archaeology. “The thirty-six gold coins can be dated to the reigns of different Byzantine emperors, ranging from the middle of the fourth century CE to the early seventh century CE,” said Sandberg.
Found with the coins were a pair of large gold earrings, a gold-plated silver hexagonal prism and a silver ingot. Remnants of fabric indicated that these items were once packaged in a cloth purse similar to the bundle that contained the menorah medallion.
Mazar’s Ophel excavation made headlines earlier this year when she announced the 2012 discovery of an ancient Canaanite inscription (recently identified as Hebrew), the earliest alphabetical written text ever uncovered in Jerusalem.
The 2013 excavation season at the Ophel ran from the middle of April to the end of July, on behalf of the Institute of Archaeology of the Hebrew University. The Israel Antiquities Authority is carrying out the preservation works, and is preparing the site for the public. The excavation site is situated within the Jerusalem National Park around the walls of Jerusalem of the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, and is administered by the East Jerusalem Development Company.
The Ophel project has been generously underwritten, since 2009, by Daniel Mintz and Meredith Berkman from New York. The entire project includes the archaeological excavations, the processing of the finds towards publication, as well as the preservation and the preparations of the site for its opening to the public.
Herbert W. Armstrong College in Edmond, Oklahoma supports Mazar’s project by sending students to participate in the excavations.

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Hamas Holiday Terror Attack Planned For Jerusalem Thwarted by IDF

Israel Security Agency has reported that a Hamas cell from Ramallah planned a terror attack that was to take place in Jerusalem over the Rosh Hashanah/Yom Kippur holidays in September. The attack was thwarted by a Givati Brigade soldiers. The Hamas cell had also been producing rockets.

A joint effort between the Israel Police, Border Police, IDF and the ISA resulted in the arrest last month of several members of Hamas’ military infrastructure. The terrorists were from the Jerusalem and Ramallah branches of Hamas’ military wing. They were apprehended during advanced stages of planning a bomb attack in Jerusalem, which they intended to carry out during the Rosh Hashanah/Yom Kippur Holidays.

The leader of the group was Hamdi Hasneen Hamdi Romana, born in 1991, whose father, Hasneen Romana, was one of the leaders of Hamas’ military wing in Ramallah.

During the investigation, the ISA uncovered a weapons laboratory at the home of Romana, with chemicals used to make explosives, and educational materials with instructions on explosives production. The ISA said that during their search they were in contact with a laboratory worker and two residents of Ramallah who provided him with chemicals in order to produce explosives. The three were detained for questioning and pleaded guilty to the charges.
The investigation also found that the terrorist cell had been planning other attacks, including: An attempt to harm IDF soldiers in Ramallah through a booby-trapped house; intention to produce rockets and launch them at Israeli communities near Ramallah; and an attempt to procure guns to fire at IDF soldiers at the Himza checkpoint in North-East Jerusalem.

The ISA emphasized that the newly-exposed terrorist cell demonstrates the high motivation of terrorists in the West Bank, lead by Hamas, to carry out attacks in Israel.

Increase in terrorism
Members of the terrorist cell were arrested by soldiers of the Givati ​​Brigade. “The infrastructure was very extensive and it took about two weeks to catch all of the members”, said the Tzabar battalion commander, Lt. Col. Liran Hajbi. “We carried out the raid of the house of the head of the cell in the heart of Ramallah and arrested two members, and through them we found the other members. The material we found there was advanced.”

During the raid, residents of the neighborhood rioted in order to prevent the arrest. “We faced resistance even within the house,” said Lt. Col. Hajbi. “But the soldiers came prepared, and ready. We arrived with a reserve force and an extraction force, and we entered under maximum security. We isolated the operating space, and prevented public disturbances. The extraction had to be done swiftly.”

The Tzabar Battalion began operating in the Ramallah area in recent months. According to Lt. Col. Hajbi, last month saw a significant increase in terrorism in the area. “Arrests and raids were carried out every night to reduce the chance of terrorist attacks,” he added. “About a week and a half ago we carried out a similar raid. The battalion’s spirits are high and we will continue to work hard during the upcoming nights.”
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DFM Elkin meets with Norwegian FM Eide

DFM Elkin: "The international community must insist that during current negotiations the PA will not take any additional unilateral steps."

Deputy Foreign Minister Ze'ev Elkin met in Jerusalem with Norwegian Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide.
Norway's interest in the political process stems from the fact that it is the leading donor state to the Palestinian Authority, a fact especially emphasized in light of the forthcoming meeting of the donor nations in September. The Norwegian FM agreed with DFM Elkin that the fact that a large percentage of the PA budget goes towards the funding of salaries of Palestinian terrorists in Israeli jails is problematical. DFM Elkin said that the the educational message is troublesome, especially in the eyes of the young generation that understands that the most worthwhile job in the Palestinian Authority is that of terrorist. In comparison, the salary of an employee in the security service is approximately one quarter of that of a terrorist residing in an Israeli prison.
Regarding the negotiations, DFM Elkin noted the fears of the Israeli public, which is skeptical about the PA's ability to uphold the agreements. "If in the Oslo agreement it was explicitly stated that the Palestinian Authority would take no unilateral actions to establish an independent state, and twenty years later they go to the UN asking for recognition of a Palestinian state, who will guarantee that they will abide by the conditions of a new agreement? After all, the international community, including Norway, guaranteed the terms of the Oslo Agreement, and today we see they are allowed to continue to take unilateral steps that only further us from a peace agreement. In this regard, the international community must insist that during current negotiations the PA will not take any additional unilateral steps."
The issue of the civil war in Syria was also discussed in the meeting. The Norwegian FM was briefed on this issue, and the fact that Israel must be prepared for every scenario was emphasized; Syria is aware that we will respond to every attack.
An additional issue discussed was the UN Human Rights Council. Israel suspended its activities in the UNHRC because of the Council's systematic discrimination against Israel. Israel is currently examining its position regarding cooperation with the UNHRC, subject to a drastic change in the Council's approach to Israel, and DFM Elkin thanked the Norwegian FM for his positive attitude regarding this issue.
The two leaders also discussed the bilateral relations between Israel and Norway, as well as the need to increase cooperation between the two countries in the many fields where Israel can contribute to Norway and vice versa, including increased Norwegian investment in Israel, cooperation in the energy field, strengthening of the political dialogue and the research and development agreement. A dialogue on these topics will be held by a special delegation by the end of the year.


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The Power Of The Kotel Stones

By David Wiseman, The Israel Forever Foundation 

My grandmother is a week shy of her 98th birthday. She is the last remaining of my four grandparents and unfortunately, she hasn’t been feeling well recently and is now in the hospital.

The moment I heard the news, I decided to visit the Kotel (The Western Wall), since I’m blessed to live only minutes away in Jerusalem. So, after work I headed down and was met by those massive stones.
So, after work I headed down and was met by those massive stones.
As I surveyed the scene, I saw people of all ages. There are no atheists in these foxholes and I must say that it is very hard to find one at the Kotel. Most feel the power of the stones and from there, emotions are let loose.
If tears could melt stone, the Kotel wouldn’t be standing.

If hopes and dreams could make them fly, there would be a wall floating around somewhere in space.
One paradox about the Kotel is the concept of time. It is governed by time – the time to pray three times a day. The thousands who visit it on Shabbat and even more during the Chagim.

On the other hand, it is timeless. For thousands of years it hasn’t just been a physical landmark, but an emotional one. My grandmother was born in 1915. Israel didn’t come into existence until she was 32 and she was only 51 when Jerusalem was reunified.

Thankfully, she has been to the Kotel, but there will come a time when her journey will come to an end, like all of us. I’ve realized though, that our connection to Israel, the Jewish people – this connection is timeless. We’ve been exiled and scattered and despite being stretched to the four corners of the world, our hearts, thoughts and prayers have always aimed towards Jerusalem.

I’ve been lucky enough to visit the Kotel many times and every time I am overwhelmed by a cocktail of emotions – excitement, joy and a sense of ease. Every time I leave it is with a sense of remorse.

Farewells are never easy – not to the Kotel and especially not to a grandparent. But with the upcoming Jewish New Year, my next prayer at the Kotel will be that my beloved grandmother will be granted a Sweet New Year and inscribed in the Book of Life.
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Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta Lands in Israel and Will Meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu

 

Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta, landed in Israel and was welcomed at Ben-Gurion International Airport by Minister Yuval Steinitz. Tomorrow he will meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Italian Prime Minister Letta has been in office since 28 April 2013; this is his first visit to Israel.

Prime Minister Netanyahu and his Italian counterpart will discuss strengthening bilateral relations including economic cooperation, the need to stop the Iranian nuclear program, the unstable situation in Syria and the need to advance the peace process with the Palestinians.

Italy is Israel's second most important research and development partner in Europe after Germany. Prime Minister Netanyahu and Italian Prime Minister Letta will also discuss ways to expand cooperation in research and development, initiatives, and innovation. A date is also expected to be fixed for the fourth meeting between the Israeli and Italian governments, which is due to take place in Italy at the end of the year.

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Kerry, Netanyahu Meet as Israel Stresses Security

 

Secretary Kerry is shuttling between Jerusalem and Jordan's capital, Amman, in hopes of jumpstarting Middle East peace talks


U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in a bid to revive Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.

The two men held talks over a working dinner late Thursday in Jerusalem. They made no public comments before the meeting.

Earlier Thursday, Netanyahu said Israel will not waiver on its security concerns.

"We want peace because we want to live in peace. It's true, we don't want a bi-national state, but don't let anyone be under the illusion that if we make an agreement with the Palestinians this agreement will end the violent slur against the state of the Jews," said Netanyahu.

Secretary Kerry is shuttling between Jerusalem and Jordan's capital, Amman, in hopes of jumpstarting Middle East peace talks, which have been at an impasse in recent years.

Earlier Thursday, Kerry met with Jordan's King Abdullah in Amman.

In Amman, Kerry said Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas share "a serious commitment of purpose." But the top U.S. diplomat warned that both leaders will be tested by those who do not want peace talks to succeed.

Kerry is scheduled to meet with Abbas in Amman on Friday.

On Wednesday, Israel announced plans to build dozens of new housing units in an East Jerusalem settlement, triggering anger from some Palestinian officials. Israeli settlement construction has been a stumbling block in Middle East peace talks.

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