Last week in Ukraine, leaflets were being disseminated saying Jews were required to register with the government or face being thrown out of the country and their possessions seized. More and more, they have been debunked as a hoax. Jews in America, and worldwide, should nonetheless take this seriously, and recognize that - when the time comes - if they don't fight back, they will die.
US Ambassador to Ukraine, Geoff Pyatt, confirmed that the leaflets were real, according to Jake Tapper of CNN:
ID and passport are required to register your Jewish religion, religious documents of family members, as well as documents establishing the rights to all real estate property that belongs to you, including vehicles," the leaflet goes on to note. more >>
Palestinian Christians are complaining that Israeli authorities have intentionally excluded them from Holy Week celebrations in East Jerusalem by limiting entry permits to the week's festivities.
According to a report from Radio Bethlehem, the government requires special entry permits for Palestinians hoping to join Palm Sunday celebrations, but arbitrarily distributes them. Consequently "in many cases, when families apply to get permits through their churches, Israel deliberately grants some family members permits and denies permits to others, and therefore, the whole family won't be able to attend."
For Jews and Christians, the Passover season is a special time for reflection on the rich spiritual truths contained within this remarkable holiday. Indeed, we can all observe the command to "remember" the incredible Israelite deliverance from bondage in Egypt.
For Christians, the events of a momentous Passover some 15 centuries later have given added meaning to this holiday, so that the truths of the first are reinforced in the latter. Deliverance from Pharaoh's taskmasters became freedom from slavery to sin. The blood of a lamb on the doorposts became a typology of Christ's sacrifice on the cross.
Yet the parallels between Pesach and Easter were lost for centuries to most Christians when the early Church fathers deliberately severed our faith from its Jewish roots. In time, this hostility to Judaism produced vicious blood libels against Jews at Passover. more >>
There is no doubt that there is real suffering among the Palestinians living in Gaza and the West Bank (which is actually ancient Judea and Samaria). The question is who, precisely, is most responsible for their suffering?
Certainly, Israel is far from blameless in its treatment of the Palestinians, and it helps no one when we overlook or whitewash Israel's failings, as some Christian Zionists are prone to do.
But is Israel primarily responsible for the difficult living conditions faced by the Palestinians today? more >>
During the recent Christ at the Checkpoint (CATC) conference in Bethlehem, Rev. Stephen Sizer, one of the leaders of the movement to separate Evangelicals from Israel, referenced an old and false quote attributed to Pastor John Hagee. Several years ago, CUFI's spokesman wrote an op-ed exposing this quote as phony. A month later the author most responsible for advancing the quote admitted it was fake. CUFI's spokesman tweeted both relevant articles to Sizer, and Sizer even responded to one of the tweets, but that didn't stop Sizer from advancing the fake quote in a subsequent blog post.
That Sizer knowingly lies about Hagee is troubling, but truth-be-told Sizer's impact is minimal. Despite his best efforts, Christian Zionism is on the rise, and the organization Hagee founded, Christians United for Israel, continues to grow in both size and influence at an astounding rate.
None-the-less it is important to note that Sizer's dishonesty is consistent with the strategy employed by the larger movement to separate Evangelicals from Israel. Put bluntly, this movement is built on duplicity. Their stated goals, are not their real goals; their "facts" are not the real facts. more >>
When President Obama visits Saudi Arabia next week, he will have an opportunity to follow through on his inspiring words at the Feb. 6. National Prayer Breakfast. There, he told thousands of Christian leaders that "the right of every person to practice their faith how they choose" is central to "human dignity," and so "promoting religious freedom is a key objective of U.S. foreign policy."
The freedom so central to human dignity is denied by the Kingdom. The State Department has long ranked Saudi Arabia among the world's most religiously repressive governments, designating it a "Country of Particular Concern" under the International Religious Freedom Act. Yet the Obama administration, like its predecessors, has not pressed Riyadh to respect religious freedom.
Saudi Arabia is the only state in the world to ban all churches and any other non-Muslim houses of worship. While Saudi nationals are all "officially" Muslim, some two to three million foreign Christians live in the kingdom, many for decades. They have no rights to practice their faith. The Saudi government has ignored Vatican appeals for a church to serve this community, despite the fact that in 1973 Pope Paul VI approved a proposal for the Roman city council to donate city lands for a grand mosque in Rome. The mosque, opened in 1995, is among the largest in Europe. more >>