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Hope in Difficult Times


Shi’ism on the Rise

{image_1}Since September 11, 2001, interest in Islam has increased dramatically. People want to better understand this threat that is determined to dominate the world. In our January–February 2007 issue, our commentary The War on Terror: A Religious Mission” briefly highlighted the rivalry between the two major factions within Islam: the Sunnis and the Shi'ites. Most people do not realize the importance of understanding these two groups. We thought this article posted on The Media Line gave an excellent explanation.

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Preparing for War?

The atmosphere in Israel is drawn as tightly as a violin bow.

{image_1}Everyone from the man on the street to military analysts will tell you that a major conflict is imminent. Since last summer’s war, now called the Second Lebanon War, there has been a tense waiting for the next war to begin. There is a weariness of soul as so many are mourning over lost sons and daughters. The past year has been an intensely difficult year for Israel with 233 soldiers losing their lives in the ongoing battle; 119 of them in the 34-day-long Second Lebanon War. At the same time, there is recognition that Israel must be ready for any and all threats. Those threats are multi-pronged, ranging from Hizbullah in Lebanon, to Ahmadinejad in Iran, to Hamas, Fatah, and Islamic Jihad in Gaza and other Palestinian areas, and Syria to the north. War is in the wind. The question is which direction it will come from first. Lately, Syrian preparations have been escalating.

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With Friends Like Egypt

March 18, 2007

A lot of attention has been given in the press lately to Israel’s enemies, and rightly so. The growing Hizbullah–Syria–Iran alliance is a clear threat to Israel, as demonstrated by the conflict in southern Lebanon in the summer of 2006. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s Holocaust denials, threats to “wipe Israel off the map,” missile tests, and nuclear ambitions certainly all give Israel plenty to worry about. But what about Israel’s friends in the Muslim and Arab world?

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The War on Terror—A Religious Mission

January 3, 2007

In 2006, Nabil Ahmad Issa Al-Jaaoura, 38, was charged with the murder of Briton Christopher Stokes, 30, at a Roman amphitheater in Amman, Jordan. Five visitors from the Netherlands, Australia, and New Zealand were wounded in the shooting. Eyewitnesses said Al-Jaaoura shouted, “Allahu akhbar!” (Allah is great!) as he was overpowered. He obviously had no concern which part of the West his victims represented; all the West was his enemy.

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Axis of Evil

December 3, 2006

In January 2002, when President Bush first identified the Axis of Evil nations and the threat they pose to the world order, most of the world’s Western and democratic nations were united in their desire to stop them. Now, only a few years later, most of those same nations seem united in a spirit of complacency and inactivity against the Axis of Evil. This trend has and continues to allow these nations to build up and arm themselves with some of the most deadly weapons known to man. Growing Islamic fanaticism only fans the fire for these nations to use them against Allah’s enemies. A current investigation of some of these Axis of Evil nations shows that Israel and the world could be in for prophetic times ahead.

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Secular or Religious

Israel is a unique place, where the secular and the religious mix at all levels of society, often causing cultural clashes. There are rifts in Israeli society between the two groups, who don’t agree on a wide variety of issues affecting everyday life. Israel has a mainly secular government, but the chief rabbis and the rabbinical court control many aspects of life, including marriage, divorce, burial, and conversion to Judaism. There is not a clear separation of Church and State in Israel like in many western countries.

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The Hizbullah Threat-  Unresolved

September 5, 2006

The shooting war with the Hizbullah has come to a temporary end, but the parties have continued with the war of words. Both sides are claiming victory. An examination of the war, the cease-fire, and the future will shed light on the winners and the losers of this conflict.

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Houses Divided…

July 25, 2006

While many believe that the Israelis and the Palestinians might be worlds apart, Jerusalem and Ramallah are, in fact, separated by only a few kilometers, and both governments now share the displeasure of finding themselves threatened by infighting among their members. For Israel, that infighting takes the form that it does in most civilized democracies, with ministers fighting over budgets, political appointments, and the finer issues of national policy. In the Palestinian Authority (PA), however, the infighting is at its most primitive level––in the form of armed gangs battling it out in the streets.

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On the Road Ahead… Danger is Just Around the Bend

May 8, 2006

Although the elections in Israel have passed, the future of the state for this next term is still far from certain. Since 1980, only one Knesset has served its full four year term, with coalitions falling and early elections necessitated for issues far less monumental in comparison than what Israel faces today. With local news media reporting that Israeli society is growing increasingly more polarized, the sensitive and potentially explosive issues facing this Knesset, such as civil marriages, drafting of a constitution, and the Convergence Plan, weigh heavy on the minds of lawmakers as they assume their duties.

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Sharon – War Hero To Politician

March 1, 2006

As we write this, Ariel Sharon remains in Jerusalem’s Hadassah Hospital in a medically induced coma from a debilitating stroke he had on January 4. Regardless of how we view his latest political policies, the Bible admonishes us to pray for our leaders, so we encourage you to pray during this difficult time.

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