Israel is the most contested piece of real estate in the world. And the most contested piece of real estate within Israel is the temple mount in the old city of Jerusalem. Nearly every Jew believes that the Muslim Dome of the Rock, which dominates that thirty-six acre site, sits on the spot of all previous Jewish Temples, including the last one destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D. Many Jews and Christians believe that the temple must be and will be rebuilt on that spot. Therein lies the problem. Can you think of a faster way to start World War III?
Thankfully, new evidence is just coming to light that might reveal a more peaceful solution. The Jewish Temple may not have been on the Temple Mount but just outside the current walls of the old city. I had the privilege of seeing this evidence several days ago along with a few others participating on our CrossExamined.org trip to Israel. Our guide was the man who uncovered the new evidence: Israeli archaeologist Eli Shukron.
Since 1995, Shukron has been digging up the twelve-acre area called the City of David that juts out from the southern wall of the old city of Jerusalem. He and his team have removed thousands of tones of dirt to discover, among other things, the Pool of Siloam where Jesus healed a blind person (John 9:7), and the once impenetrable fortress of the Jebusites that David and his men captured by sneaking up an underground water shaft (2 Sam 5:7-8). more >>
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed that Palestinian militant group Hamas "will pay" for the murder of three Israeli teens, one with dual-U.S. citizenship, whose bodies were discovered north of Hebron in the West Bank.
"[The teens] were kidnapped and murdered in cold blood by animals," Netanyahu said at a security cabinet meeting on Monday. "In the name of the whole of Israel, I ask to tell the dear families – to the mothers, the fathers, the grandmothers and the grandfathers, the brothers and sisters – our hearts are bleeding, the whole nation is crying with them."
Last week's 310 to 303 vote by the Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA) General Assembly to "selectively divest" from companies that it claims "further the Israeli occupation in Palestine" reveals an ugly side of a denomination of Christianity that by its own progressive values should be embracing the Jewish state - not condemning it.
But apparently shared values are not important for a religious organization that prides itself on its progressive ideals. On the same day that the church singled out Israel for divestment, it voted to support gay marriage. How ironic, since Israel is the only country in that part of the world that bans discrimination based on sexual orientation – a country which welcomed the U.S. ambassador to fly the gay pride flag under the American flag during last week's Israel Gay Pride festival.
The PCUSA vote effectively condones the brutal treatment of the GLBTQ community at the hands of Palestinians and Israel's Arab neighbors. Remaining silent in the face of such human rights violations, while singling out Israel for measures they take to simply protect Jews, Muslims and Christians in their country, is abhorrent. more >>
Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) spoke on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives Tuesday to express disappointment in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), a denomination to which he belongs, for its recent decisions to bless same-sex marriages in states where it is legal, and to divest from three American companies whose products are sold to Israel.
After noting that he is "a follower of Jesus and lifelong member" of the PCUSA denomination, he criticized the PCUSA General Assembly's recent decisions.
The decision to bless same-sex marriages "runs counter to the counsel of Scripture," he said. more >>
A group of Messianic Jewish leaders have signed an official statement denouncing Presbyterian Church (USA)'s consideration for divestment from companies doing business with Israel.
Released Thursday, the statement reaffirmed the leaders' commitment to supporting the modern state of Israel as the United States' largest Presbyterian denomination considers a divestment proposal at its upcoming General Assembly meeting.
"Amid continuing efforts to pressure and marginalize the state of Israel through boycotts and economic sanctions, the Presbyterian Church (USA) General Assembly, meeting in Detroit, June 14-21, will consider proposals to pressure Israel through financial divestment," read the statement in part. more >>
Israel's Education Ministry announced on Sunday that for the first time ever evolution will be taught in the middle school core curriculum, which up until now offered only the biblical account of the origins of humanity. Ultra-orthodox groups have responded with mixed feelings on the matter, however, with some calling it a "mistake."
"Until now, there has been no discussion on the topic and students were not taught that the multitude of species is the result of processes of development among plants and animals," Professional Committee Chairwoman Professor Nava Ben-Zvi told Israel Hayom.
"The entire evolutionary perspective had not been written down [for them], as with the topics of ecology and the behavior of animals. It is important to explain how so many species came to be." more >>