At first glance, Hindu-majority India, with approximately 1.2 billion people and an entire subcontinent, would seem to have little in common with Jewish-majority Israel, which has only about eight million people living on territory that's just roughly 15 times the size of India's capital city. While full diplomatic relations were established between Jerusalem and New Delhi as recently as 1992, the two countries actually have much in common.
Both countries are homelands for ancient peoples who gained their independence from the British in the 1940s. Both states have gone on to create vibrant, multicultural democracies that have experienced dynamic, technology-driven economic growth. India and Israel each also has a large Muslim minority population, and each faces an ongoing terrorism threat from foreign and domestic Islamic extremists; indeed, both Israelis and Indians were targeted and killed in the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks. Even more serious, India and Israel each faces ballistic missile threats from at least one close, hostile Muslim state. India already faces the nuclear threat posed by Pakistan, and Israel may soon confront the same threat from Iran, if Iranian nukes aren't stopped.
There is also a blossoming military and commercial relationship between India and Israel. Israel is India's second largest arms supplier after Russia, and Israeli-Indian military cooperation extends to technology upgrades, joint research, intelligence cooperation, and even space (in 2008, India launched a 300-kilogram Israeli satellite into orbit). Israel has upgraded India's Soviet-era armor and aircraft and provided India with sea-to-sea missiles, radar and other surveillance systems, border monitoring equipment, night vision devices, and other military support. Bilateral trade reached US $6 billion last year and negotiations began this year for a free trade agreement. more >>
Over 8,000 soldiers serving in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and Lone Soldiers will receive $70 "Fellowship Gift Cards" for Rosh Hashanah from The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews and Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF), who are providing $3.2 million in financial assistance this season.
"The growing cycle of poverty in Israel affects many soldiers. We appreciate the soldiers who decide to serve the State of Israel and keep us all safe despite the economic difficulties they are experiencing at home," Rabbi Eckstein, founder and president of The Fellowship, said in a press release.
"Our goal in sponsoring the 'Fellowship Gift Cards' is to enable them to fulfill their obligation to the state while knowing they are fulfilling their obligation to their families as well. Now they can serve with peace of mind while caring for their personal needs and the needs of their families." more >>
Israeli supermodel Bar Refaeli has asked Pink Floyd performer Roger Waters to stop using her image after the superstar posted a letter asking fans to boycott Israel and listing several "breaches of international law." Waters has not yet responded to Refaeli's request.
Waters is a member of the Palestinian activist group Electronic Intifada, according to New York Daily News. He has been an outspoken critic of Israel, but his letter set off a new round of debates, and Refaeli's public request has brought new attention to the Israeli-Palestinian debates.
"Roger Waters, you better take my picture off of the video art at your shows," Refaeli tweeted in Hebrew. "If you're boycotting – go all the way." more >>
In the Bible, on the Day of Atonement, the High Priest was instructed to sacrifice one goat for the forgiveness of sins (for a year). He laid his hands on another goat and confessed the sins of the people, and then banished it to the wilderness.
This second goat we have called the "scapegoat" in English, ever since the phrase was coined by the first major translator of the Bible into English (from the original Hebrew and Greek), William Tyndale (c. 1494-1536). (Wycliffe translated it from Latin.) Much of Tyndale's work was used in the King James Bible (1611) and thus popularized all over the world.
Christians view Jesus' death as fulfilling all the ceremonial sacrifices, including that sacrificial goat and the scapegoat---and the Passover lamb and everything else. more >>
As Egypt's Islamists blame Christians for the ouster of Mohammed Morsi, anti-Christian violence has reached epidemic levels, with an estimated 82 churches across Egypt attacked and heavily damaged by pro-Morsi supporters in a mere 48 hours.
Unfortunately, the persecution of Christians is nothing new in Egypt or other Muslim-majority countries. But thanks to the mainstream media, few Westerners understand the true scale or nature of the horrors involved.
As you read this, Christians around the world are being murdered, raped, plundered, abducted, forcibly converted to Islam, or otherwise oppressed by Muslims. Christians in Muslim-majority areas are some of the most vulnerable and horribly oppressed people on earth; they live at the mercy of the mob and receive little or no protection from the police or other government institutions. more >>
Some fifty-three percent of Americans told the Gallup Poll last spring they regarded the Iraq war as a mistake. The numbers were not evenly divided. The vast majority of Democrats (73 percent) say it was a mistake while only a minority (30 percent) of Republicans agree.
So, how should we think about this story in this week's Washington Post: "Securing Iraqi Jews' Past?" Staffers at our National Archives are restoring a "trove" of documents, photographs, books, and other records from the Iraqi Jewish community. Our troops uncovered this stash of Jewish memorabilia when we invaded Iraq in May 2003. Many of these precious items were found in the blasted headquarters of Saddam Hussein's Mukhabarat, the dreaded secret police of the Baathist regime in Baghdad.
This tranche of documents and artifacts is called the Iraqi Jewish Trove. It contains items hundreds of years old. They bear witness to an ancient Jewish community that survived until the 1960s. There had been pogroms and persecution, certainly, prior to that time. But with the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, the condition of Jews throughout the Middle East became more perilous. more >>