The board of the United Methodist Church's $20 billion Pension and Health Benefits Fund has essentially blacklisted Israel's five largest banks by declaring them off limits for investment amid claims of human rights violations.
Mark Tooley, president of The Institute of Religion and Democracy who is also a lifelong member of the United Methodist Church, however, says the pension board's decision is "unfortunate and embarrassing" and could likely harm relations between the United Methodist Church and the Jewish people.
The five banks — Bank Hapoalim, Bank Leumi, First International Bank of Israel, Israel Discount Bank and Bank Mizrahi-Tefahot — are on a list of 39 companies from a number of countries that have been declared off limits for not meeting the church's Human Rights Investment Policy guideline implemented in 2015. more >>
A Christian cemetery in Israel was vandalized by unknown individuals, leaving crosses and grave sites toppled.
Six tombstones in the Beit Jimal monastery's cemetery were defiled by unknown vandals. The Latin patriarchate of Jerusalem released a statement condemning the act and highlighted the fact that similar incidents have happened in the past few years, according to Church Militant.
On Saturday, the Latin Patriarchate in the city urged authorities to apprehend those responsible for the desecration of the holy site, the Times of Israel reports. However, Israeli police have chalked it down to mere local vandalism. Such "price tag attacks" are a form of protest against the Israeli army and are often directed at Christians, left-wing Arab-Israelis and Israeli Jews, and Palestinians, the report explains. more >>
A Michigan Arab activist who's also a former State Department representative is defending the stabbing of Jews and even posted a video online that criticizes Muslims who beleive stabbing Jews is forbidden under Islamic law.
In a video posted to YouTube last week, Lina Allan, who represented the State Department's U.S.-Middle East Partnership Initiative under the Obama administration in 2012, refuted moderate Muslims who suggest that it's a violation of Islamic law for a Palestinian to stab a Jew.
In the video titled "Is Stabbing Jews Haram [Forbidden]" that was translated by the Middle East Media Research Center, Allan argues that those who say the stabbing Jews is forbidden by Islamic law are misguided or are trying to twist Islamic law to further their own motives. more >>
Doug Bandow, a former special assistant to President Ronald Reagan, claims in a Forbes op-ed that the persecution of Christians in the Middle East can be attributed to the GOP's vocal support for Israel.
"Rubio's concern [about persecution of Christians in the Middle East] no doubt is genuine. However, the policies implemented by his party and advocated by him and his fellow GOP presidential contenders have hurt and will continue to hurt Christians around the world," writes Bandow, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute.
The author argues that Rubio's "slavish political commitment" to the Israeli government "hurts Christians there," adding that "Israel welcomes Western Christians for their political support, not religious convictions." more >>
Although the Islamic State has its eyes set on becoming a global caliphate that spreads into Europe, a journalist who spent 10 days with the terrorists says there's just one country the militants are afraid of — Israel.
German reporter Jürgen Todenhӧfer, a former member of the German parliament who spent 10 days last winter in IS-controlled Iraq and Syria interviewing a number of militants and made it out alive, told the British news site Jewish News that although IS militants are not afraid of the western military power of the United States or European countries, the group's fighters fear military capabilities of Israel.
"The only country ISIS fears is Israel," Todenhӧfer explained. "They told me they know the Israeli army is too strong for them." more >>
Islamic State has released a new audio message, claiming it's in the voice of its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, threatening Israel that the terror group hasn't forgotten about Jews and that "Palestine will be your graveyard."
"We are getting closer to you day by day," says the message, posted on social media used by Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, according to Jerusalem Post. "Do not think that we have forgotten about you."
The message adds: "God caused the Jews of the world to gather in Israel, and the war against them has become easy. It is the obligation of every Muslim to carry out Jihad." more >>