Moshe Yaalon, Israel's defense minister, apologized late Tuesday for a jab at U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in an interview with an Israeli newspaper. He said Kerry's efforts at negotiating a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians were "based upon an unfathomable obsession and a messianic feeling."
The U.S. State Department called the remark offensive.
"The remarks of the Defense Minister if accurate are offensive and inappropriate especially given all that the United States is doing to support Israel's security needs," spokesperson Jen Psaki said Tuesday. more >>
The U.S. has responded to stinging comments made by Israel's defense minister, who recently described Secretary of State John Kerry's approach to the Middle East peace initiative as "messianic" and said he hopes Kerry will ultimately leave the Middle Eastern country alone.
"The remarks of the Defense Minister if accurate are offensive and inappropriate especially given all that the United States is doing to support Israel's security needs," State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said in a statement released Tuesday.
Israel's defense minister, Moshe Yaalon, reportedly told the Yediot Aharonot , the biggest selling newspaper in the country, on Tuesday, "Secretary of State John Kerry came here very determined and operates based upon an unfathomable obsession and a messianic feeling." more >>
An Israeli legislator intends to introduce legislation that would legally distinguish between the country's Muslim and Christian Arab populations
Yariv Levin, who hails from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyu's Likud party and chairs its coalition government, said that he believes this demarcation would help the government ensure that the needs of the country's tiny Christian population are being met.
"Out of ignorance, the government has been lumping all of the minorities, Druse, Christians and others, under the category of Arab since the establishment of the state, even though there are big differences between them. Since there are many more Muslims than members of other groups, the result is that only Muslim concerns were met," Levin explained Thursday, according to The Jerusalem Post. 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 >>
LOS ANGELES – The consul general of Israel in Los Angeles believes that Christianity is experiencing a rapidly growing renaissance in Israel. With that, he emphasized the biblical mandate that evangelical Christians and Jews have – to be in a favorable relationship with one another.
"We really are a community of believers and we are both mandated with relationship with one another, with relationships to our great religions, and the Promised Land, [and] the Holy Land," Consul General David Siegel recently told The Christian Post. "It's mandated in the Old Testament, it's mandated even stronger in the New Testament. So we are biblically mandated to this relationship."
Pointing to the fact that both faiths have shared foundational values, Siegel noted that in many cases these values are "identical." more >>
A 2,000-year-old burial box believed by some to contain the remains of James, the brother of Jesus Christ, is set to go on public display in Israel, though it is stirring debate among Roman Catholics who reject that Christ had biological siblings.
Oded Golan, the Israeli antiquities collector who owns the limestone burial box, insists that "this is the oldest evidence that mentions the name of Jesus Christ," according to a report in The Guardian, written by journalist Matthew Kalman, who maintains the James Ossuary Trial Jerusalem blog.
"There is no doubt that it's ancient, and the probability is that it belonged to the brother of Jesus Christ," he added. more >>