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Signs of the Times

Soldier-free Checkpoint Control

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The Israel Defense Forces [IDF] has found a way to minimize friction between soldiers and the Palestinians. After years in which residents of the territories [e.g. the West Bank or Judea and Samaria] had to present entry permits and IDs on the way to work in Israel, the IDF has prepared a “soldier-free” entry procedure. Soldiers will soon be replaced by electronic terminals checking the Palestinians by handprints.

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Israel to Face Russian Missiles

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Israeli defense officials have little doubt that their armed forces will come up against the sophisticated Russian missiles Moscow has agreed to sell to Syria. In September, Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov announced that shipment of P-800 Yakhont supersonic cruise missiles pursuant to a deal signed in 2007 will go forward in defiance of American and Israeli requests to the contrary.

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Abbas Willing to Renounce Future Claims

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Palestinian Authority head Mahmoud Abbas told an Israeli television station on October 17 that he is willing to renounce future claims on Israel after a Palestinian state has been established. The pronouncement relates significantly to Israeli concerns that the Palestinians want refugees who left what became Israel in 1948 to reclaim properties vacated at that time as part of a “right of return.” The Israelis argue that the proper address for such returnees is the new Palestinian state. The statement by Abbas is being seen by some as an indication that what has been a red-line issue in negotiations is “solvable.”

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Spike in Anti-Jewish Facebook Sites

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Simon Wiesenthal Center researchers have uncovered over two dozen Facebook sites with titles like “Kill a Jew Year” and “Kill a Jew Day” during one week alone. “Some have been posted from the United States, others from the United Kingdom,” said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center who directs the Jewish Human Rights NGO’s Digital Terrorism and Hate project.

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Israel Tells Their Story Online

December 1, 2010

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In recent months, the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office joined Twitter and is using the social networking Web site, as well as the Prime Minister’s Office Facebook and Flickr accounts, to keep people updated. The Prime Minister’s Office Web site noted in a press release that they also are uploading Hebrew and English videos to a YouTube channel, including statements from Benjamin Netanyahu.

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New Iran Sanctions Praised

{image_1}In July, Israel welcomed the EU’s sanctions on Iran over their nuclear program, with the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs calling the action a “significant step.” The Americans also expressed their approval, but the Russians were upset with the unilateral measure. The UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office said the sanctions are stronger than previous United Nations’ measures and include restrictions on the Iranian oil and gas industries and new limitations on their finance, transport, and trade sectors.

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Obama “Endorses” Israel’s Nuclear Stance

{image_1}US President Barack Obama took the initiative to indirectly reaffirm the Israeli policy of nuclear ambiguity during his July press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, despite signing on to a statement at the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference in May that called for Israel to join the NPT, a step that could force them to give up any nuclear weapons.

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Hizbullah’s Deployment Revealed

{image_1}The Israeli Defense Forces [IDF] revealed in July aerial photographs of sites at the village of al-Khiam in southern Lebanon, where the IDF suspects Hizbullah is storing various weapons and even operating headquarters and control centers. Colonel Ronen Marley, commander of the western brigade at the northern border, commented, “An event can take place today, or a year from now; I am ready for it to happen by surprise.” [Less than a month later, sniper fire broke out across the border, killing an Israeli commander.]

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Preparing for the Worst

{image_1}The fourth annual, nationwide Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Home Front drill took place in May, lasting five days. The exercise replicated emergency scenarios in more than 30 locations, including the evacuation of wounded from within ruins and cleansing an area that suffered an attack from an unconventional rocket. Citizens were encouraged to participate upon hearing the siren, going to the nearest shelter or safe room and remaining there for 10 minutes.

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Russia to Build a Syrian Nuclear Reactor?

{image_1}Russia’s energy minister said his country is considering helping Syria build a nuclear reactor for producing energy. The minister made the statements as he accompanied Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on his landmark visit to Damascus. “Cooperation on atomic energy might gain new momentum,” Medvedev said in a joint press conference he held with Syrian President Bashar Assad. The curious move came as the Russian leader called for a nuclear-weapons free Middle East.

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RESOURCES

ISRAEL & THE CHURCH:
GOD’s ROAD MAP

REBECCA J. BRIMMER
& BRIDGES FOR PEACE LEADERS

Full color, revised edition introduces the Hebraic roots of Christianity and tells the story of God’s covenant relationship with Israel. Study questions, excellent for small group or personal study.

(288 pages)

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