The Palestinianisation of Jesus

very interesting article I saw recently:

http://fromthetopcom.blogspot.com/2011/12/palestinianisation-of-jesus.html

Unfortunately, this happens quite often, and Palestinians turn to promoting history revisionism to naive Christians visiting the holy land.   One example of this I have heard is Samson being the first suicide bomber!!

August in Israel, Missile attacks, Glen Beck visits and ELAV 2011

Its now close to the end of August, and thought I would briefly comment on some things happening here of late;

Glen Beck comes to Israel

I’ll be honest that I don’t know much about Glen Beck, all I know is he is some US TV celebrity, hes a Mormon and he supports Israel.

A lot of people around this land including people from many Christian organisations went out the Caesarea this week to see him speak, along with John Hagee and some senior Orthodox Rabbis.

There seems to be a frenzy amongst Christians to see Glen Beck, but I am not sure why as hes not a Christian.  Its nice that he is out here showing support.   My message to any believers here looking forward to seeing this event or watching it on Christian TV stations is discernment, discernment and discernment.   In the past theres been dubious things dressed up meant to be Christian, so it great to see this man show support, and mingle with Christian organisations, people just need to be careful.

Terrorism

You will of heard about the recent bus attacks in Eilat, the bottom corner of Israel which looks out onto the Red Sea, my Japanese housemate went to this place only 5 days earlier, I have traveled on this Egged bus service but not since November 2009.   This tragedy is significant for several reasons, again this was just ordinary civilian Israel folk on this bus that were shot, and another bus had an RPG launched at it resulting in 8 innocent people dead, there has been reports that Palestinian terrorists also were wearing Egyptian army uniforms and therefore risk dangerously damaging relations with Egypt.

Often the war between Israel and the Palestinian militants, is not just a war of deadly weapons, its also done with the media, something that manipulates the news, so Palestinians always look like the victim.

Lately one of the main BBC reporters Yolande Knell who does many of the recent stories about Israel and Gaza also works for the Muslim Brotherhood English web site!

Its rare I see any pro-Palestinian organisation or secular news source ever to look at Christian Arabs being persecuted or how the main political group Hamas acts as a mob over the people in Gaza.   I do know of wonderful Christians that work here who have a genuine love and compassion for Arab people here though.

At the moment, there is a sense of nervousness because of a high risk of terrorism alert, and last weekend I was advised by a friend who is in the IDF not to use the bus or go near any crowds.

This week the several years overdue light electric rail system finally went live in Jerusalem, although to me this seems like bad timing as it could well be a target.

I work with people who have family in places like Ashdod where missiles are being rained down upon, and its upsetting that around 1 million Israelis (from places like Ashdod, Ashkelon and Beer Sheva) are having to sit in bomb shelters lately, as well as two people killed and several seriously injured also.

I don’t like talking about politics but these are some important things to be praying about.

Christian events in Israel:

ELAV 2011 – www.elav2011.co.il 

Some friends from my church went to the ELAV youth event in Tel Aviv last week, this is a Christian worship event for Jewish and Arab believers, I didn’t go, but heard encouraging things from friends (Christian foriegners and local Jewish and Arab young believers)

Yad Ha’Shmona (Hebrew for ‘hand of eight’)  www.yad8.com

Also with my church I went to an outdoor worship event in this town just a few minutes outside of Jerusalem this week, this was also an youth event, with some really good Hebrew worship music.

In the craziness of things happening in this part of the world (as opposed to a different type of craziness of people stealing and burning things in several parts of the UK!!) its massively encouraging to see great relationships between Jews, Arabs and overseas Christians at these type of events, and friendships and reconciliation.

Still with the places I visit, my job looking after equipment and resources for a Christian organisation to bless the Jewish people, and my church here and my friends of all different backgrounds here and around the world, I wouldn’t change it for the world!!  😀

Peace monuments in Israel part 1

Back in the 60s and 70s, the word ‘peace’ was a greeting used by hippies, I wonder if they got the idea from Jews and Arabs who have used it as a regular hello in their respective languages for a few thousand years.

Just lately I have found it interesting with seeing examples of false peace here in Israel, not just what I see on the news.  Normally its from other nations who are asking the State of Israel to compromise with its security arrangements and borders, but there are some other things as well.

In southern England, around the countryside there are small buildings we called ‘follys’, they are buildings that where made with no specific purpose whatsoever, they were just made to provide a centrepoint on the hill above a village or mark a land boundary and to provide employment for local labourers.

In Nazareth, I saw a slightly odd aerial shaped monument next to the precipice.    Now the precipice is a hill which was meant to be where people tried to throw Jesus off that got upset by his teaching in the synagogues.

On top of here looking south you can see a spectacular view over Megiddo and Mount Tabor.   One is the place of previous wars and a future one planned for the end of the world, and one is a possible location of Jesus’s transfiguration.   On the other less steep side of the hill facing northwards is a TV aerial shaped thing at the front with a series of concrete steps to sit on which looks like a pleasant place to watch a concert or (small) sports event.   The paths that lead in between the step have rough gravel on them, certainly no good for people with baby carriages or wheelchairs.  It looks unfinished and rushed to be honest.   If I remember correctly this project was a gift for peace to the people of Nazareth from the Pope and the Vatican in circa 1997.   Having said that, the view up here is terrific, and it would be nice to see some live bands up there, but I didn’t see anything on any posters about any live music scene.  If you are interested in my travels to Nazareth, start here on part 1 of my trip the city of Jesus’s youth.

In Sderot, I went with my friend Daniel from work with one of his community projects to a small town that most of you will know gets used as target practice for terrorists in Gaza.   These poor people live with worry of being next hit by Katusha rockets.   Next to some fields and an army base on a hill I can see directly into Gaza less than 1.5km away.  Up here is a giant musical instrument, with some chime bars and a hammer thing on a piece of rope you can use to ring as a ‘peace’ gift for Israelis and Gazans.   I don’t remember who made this thing, but it a novelty chime instrument doesn’t help people having to rush into bomb shelters especially when they happen when their kids go to school.

Jerusalem is the same.   Near my house is the UN headquarters, and close to there is a monument with some inscriptions in English, Hebrew and Arabic, probably say people need to give each other a hug or something.

Closeby is the Haas promenade, there is a really nice place to walk along the side of the hill which attracts Arab and Jewish families having picnics and foreigners on rented electric Segway chariots. On the paths that go down, is a few peace monuments here, these actually look quite decent that are designed a viewpoints over the city.

That is until you go up the steps to view out of them, there is graffiti inside them, and smells of that they have used as a toilet.  One of the monuments that was a gift from Canada, has some wooden steps that go sideways onto the path.   Trouble is most of the wooden slats of the steps you can see below are missing, as someone stole them probably for firewood for their barbecue.

Ezekiel 13 : 10 “‘Because they lead my people astray, saying, “Peace,” when there is no peace, and because, when a flimsy wall is built, they cover it with whitewash.

Really, these buildings from foreign nations trying to help Israel, seem like nice gestures, but are not implemented well and are a bit shortsighted in their actual useful value.   Its a bit like getting a present of a picture of an ornament you don’t really like and having to put it on the wall when you friend comes round so not to hurt their feelings.

 

Other examples of false peace are so called authorities that provide prizes or bestow awards, such as PLO chairman Yasser Arafat who got a Nobel Peace award in 1994.   Also a well known ex-Palestinian terrorist who wrote a book about accepting Jesus, has be spoken about as being a fraud as still hating Israel, after some things spoken about recently in Arabic appears to be different from the story he originally gave in his book.

Architects seem to like create buildings for peace purposes that don’t quite yet have a proper purpose to them.

My thinking is if you want to do a tangible construction project for peace purposes maybe start with something that has a social benefit like hospitals and schools.  I really like the Magon David ambulance service which I think is entirely funded by foreign donations, but assists Jewish, Arab and foreigners to Israel if an accident or emergency happens.

I am really proud to part of Bridges for Peace, true, our two food banks won’t win any design awards, our headquarters looks lovely and has a wonderful garden but is tucked away from the public with an electric gate, and my role is in a backroom to look after resources and equipment, but the works we do impact the poor people in this nation, as well try as close as we can to follow the actions of Jesus in this land to the most needy.

Jeremiah 8 :  8-12 “‘How can you say, “We are wise, for we have the law of the LORD,”when actually the lying pen of the scribes has handled it falsely? 9 The wise will be put to shame; they will be dismayed and trapped.   Since they have rejected the word of the LORD, what kind of wisdom do they have?  10 Therefore I will give their wives to other men and their fields to new owners.  From the least to the greatest, all are greedy for gain; prophets and priests alike, all practice deceit.  11 They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious.  “Peace, peace,” they say, when there is no peace.

It smells nasty in this look out post, signs of arson and grafitti, not all of it bad though!

My point isn’t to poke fun too much at efforts to make peace between nations, but for me, true reconciliation will only happen between Israel and the Arab neighbours will happen with Jesus’s return.

Part 2 of this article is here:

Seperation barrier and threats to peace

One thing the critics of Israel like to point out is the concrete separation barrier in between the main part of Israel and the West Bank.

A tour leader I spoke to told us that the concrete wall only accounts for less than 5% of the fence in between.

Not so easy to see in this picture perhaps but there is just a chain link fence in between the Jewish orchards and Palestinian towns in the background, the silver things is some rows of fruit trees with plastic sheeting over them.

Here we are passing in a quite narrow strip of land in Israel parallel with Tel Aviv.

I have done some more experimenting with Google Maps.

Note – please press the [ – ] button to zoom out on each of these maps to get a better understanding of where you are looking at.

This line drawn across is only 8.8 miles this show how narrow this section of Israel would be in parallel to a possible Palestinian state, further down a bit is Tel Aviv Ben Gurion airport, this especially needs to be carefully guarded with the flights arriving and departing each day.

This map here shows the Israeli cities of Ashdod and Beer Sheva, both of these cities have been hit in recent months by GRAD missiles, these have a radius of 25 miles /40 kilometres. The diagrams show these cities are just in proximity of attacks from Gaza, now I don’t know where these are launched from in the Gaza strip exactly, so this is approximate but you should be able to get the idea, these cities are just about reachable by GRADs, and there is fear that other weapons could reach further in.

For those of you who think the middle east crisis can be fixed with a two state solution, I would advise you to check out this site, it shows how Israel’s borders are defended, and how a new Palestinian state is impractical as well as wrong I believe from a Christian biblical point of view.

http://shomroncentral.blogspot.com/

I personally want to see safety and security of all people here, but I think its important know exactly the threats and practicalities involved here.

Jerusalem bus station terrorist attack

Lunch time two days ago I learned with horror about a terrorist attack in Jerusalem, which has left one dead and 39 injured.

Here, in Jerusalem, a lot Christians and Messianic Jews I know here all know each other, partly down to Facebook I guess, but also as I know numerous different Christian organisations here, and today I hear stories from people who were nearby just a short time before it happened.

Jerusalem’s large central bus station has been targeted before by deadly attacks but not in a long time.  When I have visited it requires turning out your pockets of metal things before going through a metal detector, as well as having your bag put through an X-ray, but not only that, when I have waited to meet a friend outside there, if you are stood still directly outside, then a security guard will challenge you are ask you what you are doing loitering,  I attempted to lock my bike on some railings about 10 metres away from the bus station only to be shouted at that this wasn’t allowed.

Whilst working in IT before I came here I had the chance to see IT solutions, processes and other things that Israel has invented and sold to police, military and government agencies around the world to help other nations fight against terrorist threats.

For me and many of the people I work with, we still haven’t got over the huge tragedy in Japan especially as I have worked several Japanese people, their families were not harmed, but seeing their home countries under danger from a worryingly unstable nuclear power plant and images of massive destruction has to be heartbreaking.  I enjoying working with the Japanese staff, I suppose you don’t see that many Japanese people come to the UK to visit, but I admire that they are so hardworking, resilient, and pleasant to be with.

For me that day, I was at the other end of Jerusalem, in Talpiyot at Bridges for Peace’s Outreach centre, a warehouse building that supplies food to the needy, either directly to people or put on palettes that go out to third party organisations that distribute it, so I didn’t know anything about this until a colleague got a phone call.  Our main building is about 2 miles from where the bomb happened.

I have lived in Portsmouth’s Somerstown district which has a high crime rate, often walked past Guildhall walk, a strip of bars and clubs in the same city so popular for fights and trouble, and ambulance team hovers over this area most weekend nights ready.   I have also been to ghetto parts of Los Angeles (just after 9/11) and Las Vegas which really made me uncomfortable, especially LA’s bus station, especially when you feel like you are being followed.   These things are all relative.   My cousin lives in Christchurch, New Zealand and he has had to deal with the devastating earthquake there, that has happened twice now.

Some people that visit Israel are surprised at how much security is here when you go through the airport and how metal detector doorways are in shopping malls and restaurants, its not a big inconvenience when go out and about town.

I do feel normally very safe here.   I would urge anyone who is thinking of visiting the holyland not to be deterred by current events as long as you are sensible and stick to known areas.

The convenience store

If I look at out of my balcony to the right I see the Arab district as I live on the 1949 armistice line.

But aside what typical Middle East journalists say, what is it really like to live in between Jews and Arabs?

Back home in Portsmouth and probably most parts of the UK you have a corner shop, well not always but mostly on a corner, and often run by Asian people.  They are often usually from India, Pakistan or Bangladesh and could be Muslim, Sikh or Hindu.   As Britain’s last defenders of small businesses fight against the mighty retail continent of Tesco and their still aggressive marching in of Express stores, our Asian community serves us well so quick trips no more than a mile away shopping for newspapers, fags, phone credit, sweets and milk and food supplies forgotten from the last big supermarket run can be obtained easily.

Here in Israel there are also convenience stores by both non-Shabbat observing Jews and Arabs.  To be honest I have no idea if some Arab shops open on Islamic holidays or if this frowned upon by local Arab communities.

At the end of my road here in East Talpiyot, just outside of Jerusalem, is a local shop.  My house is on the 1949 Armistice line, therefore just over the threshold into a neighbouring Arab part of Jerusalem.  In most part I don’t see any trouble, I saw the police car blocking the middle of the road once for something. (exactly what I don’t know, it wasn’t in the news at all)    I would be very naive to say there is never any disturbances sometimes though, to be honest I have seen two car accidents in my street this month though.

Here is the shop, behind the tree ahead.  In front to the right is a car tyre place, rear right is a pizza takeaway, on the left of the shop entrance is some garden ornaments (!)   an interesting cluster of different businesses.   Oh, and the back is a scrap yard, I can see a tower of scrap metal behind.  Just next to this place is a field of olive trees, and in the distance are many minarets and mosques.   From my house I occasionally hear the sound of the air drills used for taking the wheelnuts of cars from the tyre business.

When I am in this junction, there is a feeling of uneasiness, that you are in a place you don’t belong, I mean that not in an unkind or bigoted way to Arab people, but from the uncomfortable spiritual atmosphere of a place as this area is heavily shrouded by Islam.

Of course some items are sold which are not available in a conventional Israel store.   A couple of weeks ago I decided to try some (probably not very unkosher of course, and big surprise – imported from Brazil) corned beef.  This meant my dinner was made using a screwdriver and some pliers, as the wretched key broke off the top and tin openers don’t work very well with square tins.  Oh well 🙂

There is a bakery in this shop at the back so I can get pita bread and cake here, there is only a few products I can see with just Arabic only labels on them.  Incidentally, the Palestinians seem to be very good at making candy, I see boxes of sweets (sold individually) favourites like Turkish delight, Havah (which I think its made of ground up almonds) and some nougat type stuff which is all made by a company in Nabulus.

I think only one of the staff speaks English at this shop, but I have picked up a knack of using gestures (which is a common thing anyway amongst all cultures in this corner of the world) when need to convey what I am buying once at the counter.

Today when I got some milk and bread, the Arab teenager who served me and his friend in the shop had some large scars on their faces that looked like that had been caused by a knife.   I think there is a lot of violence goes on between Arab people in parts of the world like this.   Domestic violence and partner abuse happens quite a lot in Muslim families in the UK but isn’t spoken about much.

The district of Arab Al Sawahira if you turn left at this junction.  The bus I get to work when it rained or if I have my bike fixed goes around this junction.  Beyond this shop, I think the separation wall is another 2kms from here which separates East Jerusalem.

Its sad that often when there is a terrorist attack like 9/11, 7/7, etc, the local Asian or Arab businesses in the UK may be the first people to get blamed with threatening behaviour or vandalism as if they are responsible.  As a Christian, in the UK I think we should pray for our Asian and Arab shopkeepers that their businesses continue to serve well our communities, and that one day they are touched by the true love of the Lord.   Here, there is always the worry from violence from these sorts of places but through my church or friends, or first hand, there are Arab people who have found Christ, and as a side effect of this, have genuine love and compassion for the Jews.

Kidnapped Gilad Shalit – 4 years on

Last Sunday I had a relaxing morning, went out to the old city, I wanted to visit the recently built big synagogue built on the site of a famous one destroyed in wars from long ago, but it was shut so this is for another day.  King of Kings Church was really good, great teaching as usual from Wayne Hilsden and some great worship music too.

After church, I went with my Arab believer friend as he said there was some special event happening at the Gilad Shalit tent.   There is a tent usually manned by two people with various pictures and news stories about the young soldier currently being held captive somewhere in the Gaza strip.   These days this street corner has got bigger as news last year confirmed that Gilad is still alive, verified by a videotape of him with a recent newspaper last year.

This sunday evening was extra special, there was a TV interview being held with Gilad’s parents and brother and a famous basketball player (I didn’t get his name) who came to show his support.   The tent is positioned close to some government buildings.

Anyway I am not sure exactly what is said as there was no English posters or spoken announcements.  But it is quite sobering to see something to see events shown on worldwide television and being actually there.

There are several very very long posters signed in a mixture of Hebrew and English there.

There were people opposed to event.  I am not sure what was said but someone stopped outside in a small Hyundai hatchback and yelled something probably abusive.   Across the road was another protest which someone told me was to stop the government making a deal to let out I think something like 1,000 Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails in exchange for this one solider.

Its crazy the rest of the world doesn’t have the courage to speak out why there is something seriously wrong with why one soldier should be a traded for a couple of hundred known terrorists responsible for the deaths of Israeli civilians in past tragedies

In the past, criminals have been traded for the bodies of dead Israelis who fell in foreign ground.   This is not a new thing, when you consider when King Saul, Jonathan and his two brothers Ishvi and Malki-Shua (funny these names aren’t as popular as Jonathan today 🙂 ) were killed by the Philistines, and much later their remains were found and brought home, check out 2 Samuel 21

If you are reading this, doesn’t matter if you are Jewish, Christian or whatever, please consider praying that this young soldier gets released without any negotiations to release terrorists. By not negotiating with these kind of deals this halts the incentive for future possible kidnappings.

In the past some people like Terry Waite, a British Christian author and humanitarian was free after over four years in jail in Lebanon, and a similar thing also happened John Macarthy so I think there is hope.

Methodist Christians in Portsmouth against Israel

Some articles like this make me sad.  Especially when its my home city by Christians.
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/methodists-launch-boycott-over-west-bank-2014827.html
I notice that this unpleasant Ben White character pops up out of the woodwork yet again.  If you are not familiar with him, he is also a Guardian column space filler, looking here and here, gives you an indication to steer clear of this newspaper.  If you have a genuine love for Palestinians buy more fruit and vegetables from Carmel and other Israeli companies in your supermarket as the produce are from sources from all over this country, and helps Arab people out of poverty.  Sadly quite a few churches can be blinkered from what the bible says about Israel and go with a bigoted boycott plan rather than pray and intercede for this nation as we closer to the stage setting for Jesus’s return.

Through East Jerusalem

Rode through a bit of East Jerusalem, from the back of my house northwards on sunday.

This part here with zigzag bends was good fun to ride around.

Was a mistake as realised this particular part of town was not safe, I often pass through smaller Arab sections, this was definitely the worse part of this country I have been outside of a car.

To start I went down a very very steep road, as I was hoping to go on the opposite side of the Peace Park, but I was quite some place from there.

Around the main centre bit of East Jerusalem there was a rubbish bin on fire.  I am always seeing bins on fire, seems like people have nothing better to do that burn stuff.  I asked some kids if they had called the fire service which they said they had.   I turned down another road and saw three different army jeeps patrolling around.

Suddenly noticed the kids (young Arab kids always say Hello to me)  were not so friendly, a large coke bottle landed  few metres away from me, not sure where it came from, but they teenagers were throwing rocks at me, so I walked the bike up the hill quick (its too steep to ride upwards)

I notice this part of town is a complete hole.  All the cars appeared to be vandalised and there is masses of rubbish absolutely everywhere.   The media says Israel needs to be kinder to the Arabs and Palestinians but how can you help people that more or less choose to live like this.  Once I reached safe-ish distance you can see this red VW Jetta had all the windows broken as well as at least 4 other cars further down.   By the way I am on the Israeli side of concrete barrier here, so these people have more freedom than East Jerusalem on the other side of the wall.


Anyway after another mile or so through the old city I arrived at the Zion Gate.  Glad to be in a nicer place.  Note the bullet holes in the wall date from 1948, the country’s modern formation.  Will bring my map with me next time.