News Update - Persecution, Obama Interview, Media
Compass Direct News, which monitors persecution of Christians around the world, reported this week that Muslim organizations in Bekasi, West Java, Indonesia, declared their intention to establish paramilitary units in local mosques and a “mission center” to oppose “ongoing attempts to convert people to Christianity."
Compass News also reported that Moroccan authorities expelled eight more foreign Christians last weekend in the continuing effort to purge the country of missionaries, bringing the total of deported Christians since March to 128.
A Muslim mob in Jhelum, Pakistan murdered the wife and four children of a Christian last month. Jamshed Masih, a police officer in Punjab Province, said a mob led by Muslim religious leader Mahfooz Khan killed his family on June 21 after Khan called him to the local mosque and told him to leave the predominantly Muslim colony. Jhelum is 85 kilometers (53 miles) south of Islamabad.
Most of the media, civil rights groups and the international Body of Christ have not come to the realization of the persecution of evangelical Christians in almost every nation where there is Muslim control. The three incidents mentioned above - in Indonesia, Morocco, and Pakistan – are just samples of systematic, world-wide, intentional, murderous attempts of Islamic Jihadists to rid Christians from their countries.
There is a deep ideological connection between the persecution of evangelical Christians internationally and the attacks against the nation of Israel. Part of the fundamental beliefs of Islamic Jihad is to destroy Israel and Christianity. May we awake before it is too late!
Obama Interview in Israel
On Thursday U.S. President Obama was interviewed on Israeli television by top Channel 2 anchor woman, Yonit Levy. In the interview Obama spoke directly to the people of Israel in order to improve relationships between Israel and the U.S., and to regain trust in him, which has slipped in Israel over the last year.
He said that he has lifelong commitment to Israel and the Jewish people, comparing the Zionist movement to the struggle of Afro-Americans for civil rights. He even mentioned that he appreciated the Jewish concept of "Tikkun," world restoration.
He expressed confidence that Netanyahu was a leader capable of bringing peace, and that since Netanyahu was not perceived as a "dove," there might be improved chances for serious negotiations. He said that reports of tensions between himself and Netanyahu were exaggerated, and that their meetings together had been excellent. He also stated that Iran's obtaining nuclear weapons was totally unacceptable, and that all means of stopping their nuclear armament would be considered.
The interview was a rare measure. Some Israeli news commentators felt that it was an attempt to improve his status with Jewish voters in the U.S. before the upcoming elections in November. In any case it represented a positive media exposure for U.S.-Israel relations.
Ruppert Murdoch Interview
Another rare interview this week was with news media tycoon Ruppert Murdoch, with the Hebrew paper "Maariv." Murdoch is the owner of BOTH the Wall Street Journal and Fox News television. He spoke much of the future of the news media, but also had a few words to say about the Middle East.
"I think the news coverage of the flotilla affair was horrible. Israel was totally justified. The coverage, particularly in Europe, was almost anti-Semitic – not in our coverage, but in others. All that Israel does, the news media is against her."
"Netanyahu is an old friend of mine. As prime minister he must take a firm stand with Obama. Netanyahu is ready for a two-state solution, but he will not recognize a Palestinian state all the while that Hamas is saying that it wants to destroy Israel. That's just common sense."
News media has a huge influence on people around the world, on their understanding of right and wrong, on their understanding of the facts, and even on their faith. It is worthwhile for us to pray that all those in the media would present the news in a truthful and objective fashion. Murdoch is one of the most influential.
Israel Soldiers Dancing
Here's a controversial 2 minute video of Israeli soldiers dancing while on a patrol in Hebron. The soldiers filmed the video as a joke. The Israeli army almost brought disciplinary charges against them. But the video turned out to get wide distribution and actually positive responses. In any case, it does show a secret truth about Israel soldiers: They're not monsters. While they are serious about their duty, they're still a bunch of kids recently out of high school that would rather be having fun than being stuck in the middle of world conflict. To see, click http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qren0MkX_aI
Book on Yeshua as Angel of YHVH
Pray for Asher as he takes a few days this week to try to write the first draft of a new book in English about the appearances of Yeshua in the Hebrew bible and its implications for reform in both Jewish and Christian thought.
Katsir Youth Conference
Pray for the Katsir youth conference in the Galilee this week, which is a cooperative effort of a number of local Israeli pastors, led by Eitan Shishkoff. Much of our staff and congregation will be involved in the conference as well. Asher is scheduled to teach next Sunday.
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