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Pursuing Peace—God’s Way

{image_1}Daily the front pages of our newspapers, Internet news home pages, and our television screens are plastered with the nations’ efforts to bring peace to the Middle East. It is not a new dilemma. The prophets Ezekiel and Jeremiah saw something similar in their time, accusing the leaders of their day—the prophets and priests—saying: “They have also healed the hurt of My people slightly, saying ‘Peace, peace!’ When there is no peace” (Jer. 6:14, NKJV). The world’s peace plans only heal people “slightly.”

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Understanding Settlements and “Illegal Outposts”

{image_1} Ma’ale Adumim, founded in 1975, is a medium-sized city not far fromJerusalem. It has a full-sized mall and around 35,000 inhabitants. It also is at the heart of a debate that threatens Israel’s relationship with the international community. The reason the city and a number of other communities are having such an acute political impact is because they are built on territory captured by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War.

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Shiloh

{image_1} Shiloh—where the tabernacle stood for 393 years—is all about God's presence among the people. God could have set up a throne on the highest mountain, but instead, He selected a hill surrounded by higher places. Worshipers could not see it if they were on the other side of the nearest range of hills, so they would have to make the effort to make the journey instead of having Him reveal Himself on every hilltop. This low hilltop rests between the Galilee, the Jordan River, the Dead Sea, and the Mediterranean. On its slope is a flat area that was an excellent place to put the tabernacle. Smoke from the sacrifices rose to heaven as a visible sign to visitors from far and wide that this was a place of active worship.

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Tel Aviv Turns 100

{image_1} While Jerusalem is considered the heart of the Jewish world, Tel Aviv is the heart of modern Israeli culture. In April, that heart beat into its 100th year. Founded on April 11, 1909 by a small group of Jews from the ancient port city of Jaffa (or Joppa), Tel Aviv has risen from bare sand to the second largest city in Israel with roughly 400,000 inhabitants and sets the standard for modern Jewish cities. It is home to the foreign nations’ embassies and the place to be for concerts and other cultural events, especially during its centennial year, with events planned all the way to December.

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Israel’s New Government

{image_1} Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu formed the largest cabinet in Israel’s history on March 31 as he managed to put together a unity government that included all the major parties except Kadima, which heads the opposition. Here’s a look at the key parties in the government and the number of seats they hold. The coalition holds 74 seats of the 120 in the Knesset (parliament).

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Drought Danger Not Over

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After
facing a terrifying drought
that threatened serious consequences
to the nation’s water supply and the Sea of Galilee, late
rains came down in what felt like miraculous fashion. The Israeli North
received almost normal rain levels by April. With the bulk of the rainy
season finished in early April, Israel Meteorological Society (IMS)
rain observation posts around the Galilee—a key location for
Israel’s water supply—were registering 79% to 95%
of normal rain levels for the rain year.

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El-Al – A Soaring Success!

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A surge of Jewish pride greeted the latest award bestowed on the national airline, El Al. For the second successive time, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) awarded El Al the highest rating on strict safety standards. “The IOSA [International Operation Safety Audit] standards are the most stringent airline safety criteria. El Al is proud to be the first Israeli airline to pass IATA’s stiff audit, for the second successive time,” said Capt. Lio Yavor, El Al’s vice president of Operations

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A Second Chance for Netanyahu

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On February 10, Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party won 27 seats in the election, one less than the Kadima Party headed by Tzipi Livni. However, because Israeli President Shimon Peres believed Netanyahu was more able to form a coalition government than Livni, Peres appointed him with this task on February 22, giving him six weeks to do so. As we went to press, Netanyahu had five weeks left to form his government.

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Alleviating the Aliyah–crisis

{image_1} In January, we received yet more bad news. In a statement to the media, the Bank of Israel projected that overall output would shrink this year for the first time since 2002, heralding the onset of recession after five years in which the average annual growth rate was nearly 5%. As a result, the economy now takes its place alongside Gaza, the water shortage, and the Iranian nuclear threat as another acute problem on the national agenda.

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Creating the Next Knesset

How Israel’s Elections Work

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Though Israel is a democracy, its election system is not representative, but party-focused. In other words, rather than electing representatives of a party, voters cast ballots for the parties themselves. The parties’ candidate lists—the ranking of party members running for office—are chosen ahead of time by the parties themselves, determining the likelihood of a particular candidate making office. The number of seats taken by a party, determined by the percentage of the vote the party receives, determines how many of their candidates make the 120-seat Knesset (Parliament), starting with the top ranking member. In other words, a candidate ranked 10th on the Labor list would only make the Knesset if the Labor party gains at least 10 seats.

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