JERUSALEM, Israel – Two days ago, a political earthquake shook Israel. Naftali Bennett and Yair Lapid formed the first coalition government in 12 years without Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The coalition agreement awaits a Knesset vote that would install Bennett as prime minister for the first two years followed by Lapid for the next two years. Many are wondering what this new coalition would mean for US-Israel relations.
Bennett – a religious conservative – holds strong views that differ from President Joe Biden, particularly on the Iranian nuclear deal. Biden helped draft the original 2015 Iran deal and his administration is currently negotiating another agreement. Bennett explained to CBN News earlier this year why he believes the original was a bad deal.
“It gives a false sense of confidence that you know, we’ve got Iran covered,” said Bennett. “But it doesn’t. In fact, the deal allows Iran to proceed to the very verge of acquiring not one nuclear weapon, but dozens and all they need to do is press a button and they’ll have within days dozens of nuclear bombs.”
Yet in Washington, Defense Minister Benny Gantz who would remain Defense Minister in a Bennett government said any disagreements would be expressed in private.
“We will continue this important strategic dialogue in private discussions,” Gantz said.
Netanyahu on the other hand challenged the Biden administration this week.
“If we have to choose, I hope it does not happen, between friction with our great friend the United States and the elimination of the existential threat – the elimination of the existential threat is increasing,” he said.
Netanyahu claims his possible successor – Naftali Bennett – won’t be able to stand up to pressure from the Biden administration the way he would on a number of issues like Iran, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the re-funding of UNRWA and the contentious issue of the Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah.
The head of UNRWA came to that neighborhood to condemn what he says is a violation of international law. The US State Department has also warned Israel about the situation.
To confront the US on this issue and others, Bennett would head a divided coalition with many internal ideological differences, including an Arab party that holds anti-Zionist views. The one main glue holding the coalition together is their desire to oust Netanyahu.
The fragile coalition still needs to be ratified by the full Knesset sometime next week. Until then, Netanyahu is doing what he can to convince one or two defectors not to support the new coalition. It’s perhaps his last opportunity to avoid being out of the office of prime minister for the first time in twelve years.
Dozens of Israelis, Palestinians Dead As Escalating Violence Shows No Signs of Stopping
05-12-2021 Emily Jones
JERUSALEM, Israel – Sirens blared, the ground shook, and many people in central and southern Israel spent the night in bomb shelters as rockets launched by terror groups in Gaza rained down nonstop overnight.
The Hamas terror group blitzed central Israel with what appeared to be the largest-ever rocket attack on Tel Aviv and surrounding areas. The barrages of rockets forced Israel to briefly suspend flights from its nearby Ben Gurion International Airport and divert flights to Cyprus. The Israeli military ordered all residents in central and southern Israel to stay in bomb shelters and authorities ordered schools south of Herzliya to close.
At least five Israelis, including three women and a child, were killed by rocket fire Tuesday and early Wednesday. Dozens more are injured across central and southern Israel. Gaza terrorists have fired more than 1,000 rockets at Israel since Monday night, according to the Israeli military.
An Israeli firefighter works at the site where a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip, hit the central Israeli town of Holon, near Tel Aviv, Tuesday, May 11, 2021. (AP Photo/Heidi Levine)
One rocket landed on an oil pipeline in the southern city of Ashkelon, sparking a massive blaze. As rockets shot into the sky, mosques across Gaza blared with chants of “Allah is great,” “victory to Islam” and “resistance.”
Israel has responded to the rocket attacks by pounding more than 500 terror targets in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. There, at least 35 Palestinians, including 10 children have been killed in the fighting, according to the Health Ministry. More than 200 people are wounded. Israel says most of the dead are Palestinian terrorists.
This is the heaviest fighting between Gaza terror groups and Israel since 2014, and it shows no signs of slowing.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to expand the offensive, dubbed by Israel as Operation “Guardian of the Walls.”
“This campaign will take time, but we will restore security to the people of Israel,” Netanyahu said.
Israel’s military said top terror leaders have been killed during air raids and a high-rise building housing Hamas offices was reduced to a pile of rubble.
“Towers will continue to crumble, There are a lot of targets in line. This is just the beginning,” Defense Minister Benny Gantz said. Gantz ordered the mobilization of 5,000 Israeli reserve troops to expand Israel’s operation.
IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi warned terror groups in Gaza that they “will pay an even heavier price than they have already paid.”
“We are ready for this battle,” he added.
Violence Across the Holy Land
The unrest spilled over to other areas, where demonstrations by Arab Israelis turned to riots overnight while rockets simultaneously rained down. Protesters set dozens of vehicles on fire in confrontations with police. The Israeli government declared a state of emergency in the mixed Jewish-Arab city of Lod, where rioters reportedly set synagogues and stores on fire. Israel’s Channel 12 News showed footage of Jewish residents of Lod hurling rocks at Arab cars.
Lod’s mayor, Yair Revivo, compared the event to the Nazis’ 1938 Kristallnacht pogrom and said “civil war” is breaking out in a city where people have spent decades trying to promote coexistence between Jews and Arabs.
National Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai called the situation unprecedented.
“We are seeing a situation in the mixed [Jewish-Arab] cities that we have never seen before,” he said. Just one day earlier, an Arab man was killed during the violence in Lod.
Arab Israeli leaders called on local Arabs to stop the rioting.
“I ask you all to assume responsibility, act with wisdom, abide by public order and the law, and preserve your life and the lives of all citizens without exception,” said Mansour Abbas, leader of Israel’s Islamist Ra’am party.
A Tinderbox of Tensions Explodes
This recent bloodshed follows weeks of rising tensions between Israelis and Palestinians. It has coincided with the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, a time of heightened religious sentiments and calls for jihad by extremist Muslims. Leading up to the attacks, there were nightly clashes between Israeli police and Arabs in Jerusalem’s Old City, where critics say heavy-handed Israeli police measures stoked unrest. Israel says the police were responding harshly to Palestinian agitators and rioters in the Holy City.
Another flashpoint of violence has been the neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah in eastern Jerusalem, where a looming court decision threatens to evict dozens of Palestinians who have lived there for decades. The Israelis at the center of the legal dispute argue the Palestinians should leave their homes in Sheikh Jarrah because the neighborhood was inhabited by Jews before Israel became a state. Both sides accuse each other of fueling the legal dispute with their own nationalist ideologies.
Even more violence broke out over the weekend and earlier this week at the Al-Aqsa mosque complex on the Temple Mount. For days, Palestinian worshippers hurled stones and chairs at Israeli forces as police fired tear gas and stun grenades to quell the riots.
On Monday evening, Hamas began firing rockets from Gaza. From there on, the conflict has only escalated.
In a televised address, Hamas’ exiled leader, Ismail Haniyeh, blamed Israel. “It’s the Israeli occupation that set Jerusalem on fire, and the flames reached Gaza,” he said.
The United States has expressed steadfast support for Israel and called for a swift end to the violence.
“Israel’s security, for its legitimate right to defend itself and its people, is fundamental and will never waver,” White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.
2021. 4. 22.
Israeli Military Expert Explains the True Danger of Iran’s Nuclear Program
JERUSALEM, Israel – For decades, the greatest security threat facing Israel has been nuclear weapons from its regional enemies.
Retired Israeli General Amos Yadlin has played a key role in destroying not one but two nuclear facilities that posed existential threats to the Jewish state.
In 1981, he flew an F-16 in the attack to destroy Saddam Hussein’s nuclear reactor at Osirak, Iraq. Then in 2007 as head of Military Intelligence, Yadlin helped plan and execute the Israeli strike that eliminated Bashar Assad’s secret nuclear facility in the Syrian desert.
Now Yadlin, as Executive Director of the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS), is using his years of experience to address the latest nuclear threat from the Islamic Republic of Iran. In this exclusive interview with CBN News, Yadlin explains the dangers posed by Iran’s nuclear program and the five steps he believes can be implemented to end this nuclear nightmare for not only Israel but for the Middle East and the world.
04-29-2021 Steve Warren
A UK Christian street preacher was arrested by police in northwest London on Friday and spent the night in jail because he proclaimed what the Bible says about marriage on a public street.
Breitbart reports Pastor John Sherwood and Pastor Peter Simpson of the Penn Free Methodist Church were preaching outside of the Uxbridge Underground Station located in Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s own constituency.
Simpson described what happened to Sherwood in an article for the Conservative Woman website on Tuesday. Sherwood, who’s in his early 70s, was preaching to people on the final verses found in Genesis 1 of the Bible’s Old Testament.
“God’s design in creating mankind was to set human beings in families, headed by a father and a mother, not by two fathers or by two mothers,” he said. “The distinction within mankind of just two genders, male and female, made in the image of God, constitutes the essence of God’s created order.”
Simpson said a number of police officers appeared and began telling Sherwood they had received three complaints about his preaching. An officer reportedly warned him not to make any “homophobic statements.”
After speaking to the police, Sherwood resumed his preaching, speaking on freedom of speech. However, a couple of bystanders in the crowd apparently shouted that his preaching was “homophobic” and “hate speech,” and the officers returned to the scene.
One of the bystanders captured Sherwood’s arrest on video and posted it to social media. The video shows Sherwood standing on a step stool as two police officers are talking to him. Much of their conversation is garbled. However, one police officer who can be heard, asks Sherwood to come down, and the preacher answered him. Then the officer tells Sherwood he is “under arrest” and he needs to “come down.” Then three police officers are seen pulling Sherwood off the stool.
As one police officer is holding Sherwood’s arm, the preacher tries to pull his arm up. This seems to anger the officer who appears to stop himself from kicking the elderly man.
This draws a response from the person who’s videotaping the incident, yelling at police, “You’re on camera. You’re on camera.”
Then two other officers step in to force Sherwood’s hands behind his back, roughly treating him as they put him in handcuffs.
“This dignified man of God, who is in his early 70s, was marched off to a nearby police car, as one of the helpers from my church cried out, ‘What has happened to us as a nation that a man can no longer preach from the Bible?'” Simpson recalled.
Christian Concern, a Christian rights watchdog in the UK, tweeted the video of Sherwood’s arrest, writing: “Arrested for preaching the Bible in North West London. Pastor Sherwood is 75, notice how the arresting officer kicks him?”
Arrested for preaching from the Bible in North West London. Pastor Sherwood is 75, notice how the arresting officer kicks him?
Arrested for preaching from the Bible in North West London. Pastor Sherwood is 75, notice how the arresting officer kicks him? pic.twitter.com/iwAojPMaNm— Christian Concern (@CConcern) April 27, 2021
In a statement given to Premier Christian News, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said: “At 13:35hrs on Friday, 23 April, officers on patrol were flagged down by a member of the public who made them aware of a man allegedly making homophobic comments close to Uxbridge Underground Station.”
“A number of other people also approached the officers with concerns about the man’s language. Officers spoke with the 71-year-old man and he was subsequently arrested on suspicion of an offense under Section 5 of the Public Order Act,” the spokesman said.
The outlet also reported Sherwood remains under investigation as his case has been forwarded to the Crown Prosecution Service for further review.
The elderly pastor spent the night in a detention center located near Heathrow Airport and was not released until noon the following day, according to Simpson.
Sherwood told Breitbart that during his stay in jail, he was questioned by officers about what he would do if he had a homosexual child.
“It is surely the task of police to ask questions about the specific alleged offense, not more general questions about why someone holds a personal view on an aspect of Biblical morality,” he said.
This is not the first time Christian street preachers have had a run-in with the London police. As CBN News reported in February of 2019, preacher Oluwole Ilesanmi was wrongfully arrested by police when he was falsely accused of ‘Islamophobia’. Video of Ilesanmi’s arrest went viral on social media.
The viral video of the incident showed police yanking a Bible from Ilesanmi’s hand, while he was pleading “don’t take my Bible away. All I wanted was for them to understand the Word of God.”
One month later, the Metropolitan police told CBN’s Faithwire that, after it became clear that Olu had done nothing wrong, he was subsequently “de-arrested” and no charges were filed.
Ilesanmi was later awarded around $3,100 by Scotland Yard in July of 2019 after an investigation into the incident.
A metropolitan police spokesman said: “The Met respects and upholds the rights of all individuals to practice freedom of speech, and this includes street preachers of all religions and backgrounds. However, if the language someone uses is perceived as being a potential hate crime, it is only right that we investigate. In this case, it was deemed appropriate to remove the man from the area,” according to Dailymail.com.