In 2014, Israel may start paying for abortions for women between the ages of 20 and 33 years old if the recommendations of a Health Ministry commission in that country are accepted into law.
These recommendations, according to Think Progress, are expected to update health benefits in a state-subsidized "health basket" and will officially be presented to Israel's Health Minister on Wednesday.
While abortion is technically illegal in Israel, with the permission of a government panel, women under the age of 20 or over the age of 40 are allowed subsidized abortion services for personal reasons. Women between these age groups, however, can only access abortion subsidies if they have a medical emergency or if their pregnancy resulted from rape or incest. more >>
An Israeli researcher announced this week that she has identified an ancient color, known as "biblical blue," on a nearly 2,000-year-old textile recovered in the 1950s from the Wadi Murabba'at caves, located south of Qumran in the West Bank.
Naama Sukenik of Israel's Antiquities Authority, who had been studying the ancient textile as part of her doctorate at Bar-Ilan University, revealed her findings at the "100 Years to Tekhelet Research" conference in Jerusalem on Tuesday. The conference is attended by more than 350 scientists and academics.
Sukenik said at the conference that the small piece of woolen fabric recovered from the caves was colored with dye from the Murex trunculus, a snail that researchers believe was used to make this rare blue color. The color, known as tekhelet in Hebrew, has been described multiple times in the Bible, including in Exodus Chapter 25 and Exodus Chapter 27. more >>
Despite just composing a tiny minority of the country's 1.7 million Arab population, Israel has begun to more intentionally recruit Christians to join the Israel Defense Forces (IDF.)
Arab Christians only make up 128,000, or less than 10 percent, of the entire country's population and traditionally have not served in the IDF, where service is mandatory for all Jewish Israeli men and women.
Arab Muslim and Christians are not required to serve (although Druze are) and according to an Associated Press report, the Israeli Christians, the vast majority of whom consider themselves Palestinian despite living in Israel, have long "considered service in the army as taboo." Only 1,500 non-Druze Arabs currently serve in the military, the majority of them from Israel's desperate, poverty-stricken Beduoin community. more >>
Rapper DMX recently turned the attention off of him and onto Jesus during a concert in Dubai while performing alongside rap artist Coolio, where he engaged his fans to listen in while he spoke about God.
"I could fight off the devil with the spoken word saying, 'devil, I rebuke you,'" said DMX, according to RumorFix.com "I saw that I was heard, because no matter what I've been through I was still filled with the armor that comes with the blood of Jesus."
The message that appeared much like a short sermon on spiritual authority prompted the crowd to cheer the rapper on as he spoke. This is the first time that DMX interrupts one his concerts to speak about God in such a manner. However, the rapper has been vocal about his faith recently after receiving encouragement from fellow rap artist Ja Rule to remain strong amid his personal battles. more >>
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani reached out to Christians over the Christmas holiday in three visible ways. But Christian leaders have denounced his "hollow words."
In a Christmas statement, Rouhani "wished a new year full of cooperation, peace, security and tranquility for the Christians," Fars News reported. He also reached out to Christians through his Twitter account, proclaiming, "May Jesus Christ, Prophet of love & peace, bless us all on this day. Wishing Merry #Christmas to those celebrating, esp Iranian Christians."
But some were wary of his seemingly friendly words especially as Christians, including Iranian American Christian pastor Saeed Abedini, continue to be persecuted. more >>
In order to illustrate how the story of Jesus Christ's birth and the journey that led Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem is still relevant today, Pastor Perry Noble of the South Carolina megachurch NewSpring traveled to Israel to demonstrate the nativity scene's modern-day significance, which he shared during a recent sermon.
His message was part of the church's three-part "The Journey" series, which featured a video of Noble in the cities of Nazareth and Bethlehem. The focus of his sermon was on the reminder that Jesus was born and came back for individuals who are "shook up, messed up and cleaned up."
"Everyone's going through a spiritual journey. Maybe yours has you shook up or messed up or is taking you to a place where you want to get cleaned up…we've all been there. I'm talking about the divorce papers…the phone call in the middle of the night…when we get in those situations, we all ask, 'God, where are you?'" said Noble. more >>