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 >>
Palestinian militant group Hamas has accused Israel of intentionally flooding the Gaza Strip during a massive storm last week. But Israel says that the dams it is accused of opening don't even exist.
"The allegation of [Israel] opening dams and flooding the Gaza Strip is baseless and false," Uri Schor, a spokesman for Israel's Water Authority, shared with The Times of Israel in response to the accusations, adding that no dams exist in the area.
"The opposite is true: due to the damage caused by the storm – which affected all neighboring countries and not only the Palestinian Authority – Israel responded to a special appeal conveyed through the UN, transferring four high-power pumps to the Gaza Strip intended to help residents remove water from flooded areas." more >>
I was shocked when I read that Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would not be attending the funeral of Nelson Mandela in South Africa because it was too expensive to travel there. Seriously?
To be perfectly clear, I write these words as someone who stands with Israel and who thinks well of Mr. Netanyahu. But truth is truth, and there's a good reason that the prime minister's excuse for not attending the funeral has caused quite an uproar.
As reported by Christa Case Bryant in the Christian Science Monitor, the simple fact that Mr. Netanyahu did not attend the funeral was serious in itself: "While the Israeli leader's absence may have gone relatively unnoticed in South Africa, it has caused consternation in Israel. Detractors argue that missing the memorial of a man who championed freedom and brought down apartheid gives fresh fodder to critics who say Israel, too, has constructed an apartheid system and is insincere about reconciling with Palestinians after decades of conflict." more >>