Category Archives: Jews

MEET MEA SHEARIM

BLOG  490

October 19,  2020

WISE ON THE MIDDLE EAST

Each week Robert L. Wise, Ph.D., explores the Middle Eastern situation, ranging from Egypt through Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and the surrounding area. Wise first traveled to Israel and the neighboring countries in 1968. Two of his sons taught in Jordan and Lebanon universities. Wise presents an objective view of the behind the scenes situation in these countries.

MEET MEA SHEARIM

During my first visit to Israel I walked down the streets of probably the oldest section of Jerusalem. Long before the state was proclaimed in 1948, Mea Shearim had few tourists and was the foremost Orthodox section in the city. Strolling down the street felt like entering a time warp where the most traditional Hassidic groups called home.

It appears that the quarrel over masks has now landed in Mea Shearim.

The very public and contemptuous refusal of a substantial minority of Israel’s 12 percent ultra-Orthodox community to honor the governing authorities’ rules and restrictions in the battle against COVID-19 defies explanation.  They are placing their own lives and others in danger. But still more inexplicably, if that’s even possible, they are contradicting the values they say they most revere and hold sacred. In so doing, they are committing hillul haShem, desecrating the Lord’s name.

Ultra-Orthodox Judaism builds higher fences to protect the would-be faithful from the challenges, temptations and pollutants of our flawed human nature. And yet this substantial minority is willfully costing lives, showing contempt for others, and reveling in it.

Judaism at its core is about the sanctity of life. Humanity was created by the Lord in His image. To save a life is to save the world. Acting morally is sanctifying the Lord’s name.

The grim, unavoidable conclusion is that this minority, amid its emphasis on full-time study of our holy texts, its unthinking fealty to its leaders, its focus on raising the fences ever higher, has lost sight of Judaism’s precious core; the very humanity and morality the ultra-Orthodox approach is intended to elevate.

The result is catastrophic for all of ultra-Orthodox Judaism, marked by its distinctive appearance. They are inevitably all lumped in together with its most extreme elements; and for all of Jewry.

Israel has long suffered intra-Jewish frictions, between the secular and Orthodox Jewish mainstream. This is a function of the deep entanglement of religion and state, with ultra-Orthodox politicians at the heart of most of the governing coalitions. Most ultra-Orthodox youths neither serve in the IDF nor perform alternative national service They live at least partly at the expense of the state and its taxpayers, while simultaneously denouncing them and in extreme cases even consorting with our enemies.

How does one explain not wearing masks to save others under these circumstances? Beats me.

My latest books:

I Marched with Patton: A Firsthand Account of World War II Alongside One of the U.S. Army’s Greatest Generals!

by Frank Sisson (Author), Robert L. Wise (Author)

You can find I MARCHED WITH PATTON on Amazon.

82 Days on Okinawa: One American’s Unforgettable Firsthand Account of the Pacific War’s Greatest Battle!

You can find 82 DAYS ON OKINAWA on Amazon.

by Art Shaw (Author), Robert L. Wise (Author)

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A SURPRISE FOR YOU!

BLOG 489

October 12,  2020

WISE ON THE MIDDLE EAST

Each week Robert L. Wise, Ph.D., explores the Middle Eastern situation, ranging from Egypt through Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and the surrounding area. Wise first traveled to Israel and the neighboring countries in 1968. Two of his sons taught in Jordan and Lebanon universities. Wise presents an objective view of the behind the scenes situation in these countries.

A SURPRISE FOR YOU!   

Hey, I want to deviate from the usual path because I have something new that I think will be important for you. My latest book has just been released by Harper/Collins and I believe it will fascinate you!

Released immediately, I MARCHED WITH PATTON is the World War II story of a dear friend, Frank Sisson. I had known Frank for decades and never heard him mention of being in World War II. However, a couple of years ago, I noticed a plaque on the wall commemorating participation in the Battle of the Bulge. When I asked him about his involvement, he mumbled, “I don’t talk about it.”

As I pried the story out of him, his remembrances took me inside the war in a way that I had never known. I knew the public needed to read this account. In addition to the struggles of combat, Frank helped liberate the Dachau Concentration Camp and following the war became a Military Policeman in Berlin. His encounters with the Russians remains a story unto itself.

We developed this book to help contemporary Americans understand the values and ideals of the 75-80 million souls that perished because of this war. As I wrote these pages, I found myself again and again moved by the valor of the American soldier. You will be moved.

Perhaps, you read my 82 DAYS ON OKINAMWA that was released last March. The pandemic had just started and that blunted the release. However, the book is the first-person memories of Col. Art Shaw, also a dear friend who has since passed away.  His memories recount an era now passed, but important to recover.

Both of these books are available through Barnes & Noble or Amazon. They will more than suffice for those nights when there’s nothing much on television. They will warm your heart and challenge your soul.

Check it out!

You can find 82 DAYS ON OKINAWA on Amazon.

You can find I MARCHED WITH PATTON on Amazon.

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THE SUMMER OF DISCONTENT IN ISRAEL

BLOG 482
August 310 2020

protests

WISE ON THE MIDDLE EAST

Each week Robert L. Wise, Ph.D., explores the Middle Eastern situation, ranging from Egypt through Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and the surrounding area. Wise first traveled to Israel and the neighboring countries in 1968. Two of his sons taught in Jordan and Lebanon universities. Wise presents an objective view of the behind the scenes situation in these countries.

THE SUMMER OF DISCONTENT IN ISRAEL

Everywhere one looks struggle, confusion, and despondency prevail. With American elections coming up, the TV viewer is berouged by negative and often lying political commercials. Are Americans alone in this quagmire? Afraid not. Look at public opinion in Israel.

The danger to democracy looms larger than security threat, poll says; majority see Netanyahu’s handling of the coronavirus as ‘poor’ and most oppose new elections. Israelis perceive the threat to the nation’s democracy as looming larger than the external security threat, according to an Israeli survey published Wednesday.

The Israel Democracy Institute survey found that only 38 percent of the respondents felt optimistic about the future of democratic governance in Israel, with 54% pessimistic. This compared to 59% who are optimistic about national security, with 35% pessimistic. Just over half (51%) give Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a “poor” or “not good” grade for his personal and ethical behavior. Netanyahu is on trial for fraud, breach of trust and for accepting bribes. A slightly lower number of respondents, 45%, said his performance handling the coronavirus crisis and running the government was “not good” or “poor.”

During the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic, a majority of interviewees expressed high trust in Netanyahu’s handling of the crisis. Today, with a second wave of the outbreak shaking the nation, only a minority gave him a grade of “good” or “excellent” in that domain: 27% for Jews and 18% for Arabs, the report on the survey said. Netanyahu’s handling of the nation’s security policy is, however, still approved by most, with 56% of respondents giving him a grade of “good” or “excellent.

Amid recent chatter about the possibility of the coalition breaking apart, the data shows that the majority of voters from all parties oppose new elections, with right-wing voters wanting it the least, the report said.. The data showed that only 25% of Jewish Israelis and 43% Arab Israelis support dismantling the current government and going to new elections at the end of 2020.

You can’t make everybody happy, but Israel is certainly filled with plenty who aren’t positive or content. Where will it all go? Stay tuned.

YOU MIGHT ENJOY MY NEWEST BOOK HOT OFF THE PRESS
82 DAYS ON OKINAWA
Harper-Collins Publishers
JUST OUT – IT’S A THRILLER!
Col. Art Shaw & Robert L. Wise

You can find 82 DAYS ON OKINAWA at your local book store or on Amazon.

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Filed under Arabs, COVID-19, Elections, Israel, Jews, The Middle East

NEW TENSIONS BETWEEN JEWS AND EVANGELICALS

BLOG 473
May 25, 2020

God-TV-Logo

WISE ON THE MIDDLE EAST

Each week Robert L. Wise, Ph.D., explores the Middle Eastern situation, ranging from Egypt through Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and the surrounding area. Wise first traveled to Israel and the neighboring countries in 1968. Two of his sons taught in Jordan and Lebanon universities. Wise presents an objective view of the behind the scenes situation in these countries.

NEW TENSIONS BETWEEN JEWS AND EVANGELICALS

An evangelical broadcaster, who boasted of miraculously securing a TV license in Israel, now risks being taken off the air over suspicions of trying to convert Jews to Christianity. The controversy over “GOD TV” has put both Israel and its evangelical Christian supporters in an awkward position, exposing tensions the two sides have long papered over. Evangelical Christians, particularly in the United States, are among the strongest supporters of Israel, viewing it as the fulfillment of biblical prophecy, with some seeing it as the harbinger of a second coming of Jesus Christ and the end of days.

Israel has long welcomed evangelicals’ political and financial support, especially as their influence over the White House has risen during the Trump era, and it has largely shrugged off concerns about any hidden religious agenda. But most Jews view any effort to convert them to Christianity as deeply offensive, a legacy of centuries of persecution and forced conversion at the hands of Christian rulers. In part because of those sensitivities, evangelical Christians, who generally believe salvation can only come through Jesus and preach the Gospel worldwide, rarely target Jews.

When GOD TV, an international Christian broadcaster, reached a seven-year contract earlier this year with HOT, Israel’s main cable provider, it presented itself as producing content for Christians. But in a video message that has since been taken down, GOD TV CEO Ward Simpson suggested its real aim was to convince Jews to accept Jesus as their messiah. The channel, known as “Shelanu,” broadcast in Hebrew even though most Christians in the Holy Land speak Arabic. “God has supernaturally opened the door for us to take the Gospel of Jesus into the homes and lives and hearts of his Jewish people,” Simpson said in the video. “They’ll watch secretly, they’ll watch quietly,” he added. “God is restoring his people, God is removing the blindness from their eyes.”

In a subsequent video, Simpson acknowledged that the channel was under investigation by Israeli authorities, saying that preaching about Jesus in Israel is a “very touchy subject.” He apologized for any offensive remarks and said GOD TV would comply with all regulations. Freedom of religion is enshrined in Israeli law, and proselytizing is allowed as long as missionary activities are not directed at minors and do not involve economic coercion.

“In recent decades, millions of Christians have felt the call to stand with the State of Israel and the Jewish people with no hidden agenda,” said Laurie Cardoza-Moore, a Tennessee-based evangelical who hosts a program called “Focus on Israel” that previously aired on GOD TV. “Any attempts to convert Jews or downgrade their religion will only [sow] undue hatred at a time when we should unite in the face of darkness,” Cardoza-Moore said.

The issue remains one of the major “hot-button” issues of our time in Israel. It will be interesting to see what comes next.

YOU MIGHT ENJOY MY NEWEST BOOK HOT OFF THE PRESS
82 DAYS ON OKINAWA
Harper-Collins Publishers
JUST OUT – IT’S A THRILLER!
Col. Art Shaw & Robert L. Wise

You can find 82 DAYS ON OKINAWA at your local book store or on Amazon.

Leave a comment

Filed under America, Faith, Israel, Jews

PLAYING WITH MATCHES!

BLOG 472
May 18, 2020

playing wmatches

WISE ON THE MIDDLE EAST

Each week Robert L. Wise, Ph.D., explores the Middle Eastern situation, ranging from Egypt through Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and the surrounding area. Wise first traveled to Israel and the neighboring countries in 1968. Two of his sons taught in Jordan and Lebanon universities. Wise presents an objective view of the behind the scenes situation in these countries.

PLAYING WITH MATCHES!

My mother use to say that playing with fire was a good way to get burned. This past week Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was warned that he’s fiddlin’ with fire. Standing in the shadows is President Donald Trump who is carrying a can of gasoline, waiting to serve his own purposes. Here’s the situation.

Jordan’s king warned of ‘massive conflict’ if Israel annexed land in West Bank.
Abdullah did not rule out suspending any peace deal with the Jewish state and insisted the two-state solution was ‘the only way forward.’ King Abdullah has warned that should Israel move forward with plans to annex parts of the West Bank, it would lead to a “massive conflict” with his country, and did not rule out pulling out of Amman’s peace deal with the Jewish state. In an interview published Friday by the German daily Der Spiegel, Abdullah insisted that a two-state solution was “the only way forward” in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Because of the on-going conflict with the Palestinians, many Israelis considered a two-state solution dead. Netanyahu is in that camp. The question becomes whether the Israeli public would support a move that could wreck their country and profoundly unsettle their lives.

The question that follows is what would happen if the Palestinian National Authority collapsed. The Times of Israel reports Abdullah’s answer is, “There would be more chaos and extremism in the region. If Israel really annexed the West Bank in July, it would lead to a massive conflict with the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. When asked by his interviewer about Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s intention to take advantage of the opportunity that US President Donald Trump has created to seize large parts of Palestine, he said, “I don’t want to make threats and create an atmosphere of loggerheads, but we are considering all options. We agree with many countries in Europe and the international community that the law of strength should not apply in the Middle East.

Dangerous indeed!

During the Arafat era, huge numbers of Palestinians fled to Jordan. Today a large portion of Jordan’s population comes from that migration. Abdullah knows that leaders who advocate a one state solution have no idea what that would mean for the entire Middle East.

Several European nations led by France, and including Ireland, Sweden, Belgium, Spain and Luxembourg, have reportedly expressed support for threats of punitive action in a bid to deter the new Israeli government (set to be sworn in on Sunday) from carrying out the move with a green light from Washington.

Alone among most governments, the Trump administration has said it will support the annexation of West Bank territory as long as Israel agrees to enter peace talks. US Ambassador David Friedman said last week that Washington is ready to recognize Israeli sovereignty over parts of the West Bank should it be declared in the coming weeks.

YOU MIGHT ENJOY MY NEWEST BOOK HOT OFF THE PRESS
82 DAYS ON OKINAWA
Harper-Collins Publishers
JUST OUT – IT’S A THRILLER!
Col. Art Shaw & Robert L. Wise

You can find 82 DAYS ON OKINAWA at your local book store or on Amazon.

Leave a comment

Filed under America, Gaza, Israel, Jews, Palestinians, The Middle East, Trump

ON THE EVE OF THE BIG ELECTION

BLOG 462
March 2, 2020

archaeological

WISE ON THE MIDDLE EAST

Each week Robert L. Wise, Ph.D., explores the Middle Eastern situation, ranging from Egypt through Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and the surrounding area. Wise first traveled to Israel and the neighboring countries in 1968. Two of his sons taught in Jordan and Lebanon universities. Wise presents an objective view of the behind the scenes situation in these countries.

ON THE EVE OF THE BIG ELECTION

Just around the corner is the third election for the next Prime Minister of Israel. The rhetoric from the first two elections is still floating around Israel and most of the voters are sick of the mess. Under indictment for corruption, Netanyahu keeps saying he’s got America in his hip pocket. President Trump threw in the recent peace plan to support Netanyahu’s claims. Interestingly enough, this maneuver has to some extent been discrediting to Trump. The American President is now seen in large segments of the Israeli population as a manipulator whose trust is questionable.

Consequently, the sparks keep flying. Who will win? I see my task as only to attempt to present an objective view of what is happening in the Middle East. In other words, I’m not into gambling so I’ll pass on calling how the election will turn out.

For a breath of fresh air, this week let me take you in a different direction. For you who are interested in archaeological excavations, you will find a recent dig near the town of Neve Daniel to be fascinating. Archaeologists David Amit and Yuval Peleg turned up mikveh baths that date back to the Second Temple period. A mikveh was a ritual bath for purification during Passover, Shvuot, and Sukkot times in Jerusalem as well as many other times. The two baths found by Amit and Peleg are located at the place where pilgrims catch their first glimpse of the Holy City.

Out in the middle of nowhere, these two baths are located close to the main road leading into Jerusalem. Chiseled out of solid rock, the two sets of stairs lead downward and through entrances cut out of the same rock. In the middle remain two pool areas. During the coming month of March, the Jewish festival of Purim would have been another one of the times when people might come for purification.

Many in the Christian world believe that baptism grew out of the custom of mikveh baths because both are cleansing baths and personal purification. Since 1968 during the many years I have been involved in Israel, I watched these discoveries reveal the ancient face of this country that extends back for thousands of years.

Hey, maybe this week would be a good time for all the politicians in Israel to take a nice cleansing mikveh bath. They all need one.

You might find my collection of Holy Land experiences to be helpful.
BIBLE LANDS: An illustrated Guide to Scriptural Places
Barbpir books Publishers

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Filed under America, archaeology, Israel, Jews, Prayer, The Middle East

A SURPRISE VISIT IN THE HOLY LAND

BLOG 457
January 27, 2020

princess-alice-of-battenberg-

WISE ON THE MIDDLE EAST

Each week Robert L. Wise, Ph.D., explores the Middle Eastern situation, ranging from Egypt through Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and the surrounding area. Wise first traveled to Israel and the neighboring countries in 1968. Two of his sons taught in Jordan and Lebanon universities. Wise presents an objective view of the behind the scenes situation in these countries.

A SURPRISE VISIT IN THE HOLY LAND

I don’t recall American media reporting on the visit of England’s Prince Charles to the Holy Land in late January. This story is remarkable and worth remembering not because one of the English royalty made a visit to Jerusalem, but why he had come. Prince Charles had come to made a solemn visit to the tomb of his grandmother Princess Alice.

Possibly you’ve never heard of Princess Alice. She hid Jews in her home during World War II. A person to remember indeed!

Princess Alice sheltered Jews during the Holocaust and her tumultuous life was marked by exile, mental illness and a religious devotion to serving the needy. Princess Alice is interred at the Russian Orthodox Church of St. Mary Magdalene, whose gold onion domes rise up from the Mount of Olives, just outside Jerusalem’s Old City. Charles was shown around the 19th-century church by Archimandrite Roman Krassovsky, the local head of the Russian Orthodox Church, who offered prayers as nuns dressed in black sang hymns.

The mother of Prince Philip, Charles’s father, she was born Princess Alice of Battenberg in 1885. Deaf from birth, she managed to devote much of her life to aiding the poor, the sick and refugees. The great granddaughter of Queen Victoria married Prince Andrew of Greece in 1903 and had five children, including Prince Philip, the future Duke of Edinburgh and consort to Queen Elizabeth II. The family was driven into exile on two occasions, and the princess had spent time in a sanitarium after suffering a nervous breakdown.

Charles said, “I have long drawn inspiration from the selfless actions of my dear grandmother, Princess Alice of Greece, who in 1943, in Nazi-occupied Athens, saved a Jewish family by taking them into her home and hiding them.”

When the Nazis entered Athens in 1943, she sheltered three members of the Cohen family. The father of the family, former parliamentarian Haim Cohen, had been close to the royal family until he passed away that year. Princess Alice did not know Cohen’s wife, Rachel, or his daughter, Tilde, but hid them away in her mansion anyway, and later sheltered Rachel’s son, Michael, as well.

Yad Vashem (the Jewish memorial to the Holocaust in Jerusalem) says the princess regularly visited with the family and wanted to learn more about their Jewish faith. At one point, when suspicious Gestapo officers came to the home to interview her, the princess used her deafness to avoid answering their questions.

Alice died in Buckingham Palace in 1969 and was later interred in the church in Jerusalem. She had requested to be buried next to her aunt Elizabeth, the Grand Duchess of Russia, who had also devoted her life to charity and was canonized as a Russian Orthodox saint. Elizabeth’s tomb is in the church itself, while Alice was laid to rest in a small, attached chapel.

Bless her name.

You might find my collection of Holy Land experiences to be helpful.
BIBLE LANDS: An illustrated Guide to Scriptural Places
Barbpir books Publishers

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Filed under Bible Lands, Jews, Russia, The Middle East

PROBLEMS IN ISRAEL

BLOG 447
October 14, 2019

election

 

WISE ON THE MIDDLE EAST

Each week Robert L. Wise, Ph.D., explores the Middle Eastern situation, ranging from Egypt through Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and the surrounding area. Wise first traveled to Israel and the neighboring countries in 1968. Two of his sons taught in Jordan and Lebanon universities. Wise presents an objective view of the behind the scenes situation in these countries.

PROBLEMS IN ISRAEL

The political crisis in Israel continues.

Talks have surfaced of a possible coup against Netanyahu within the Likud party, his own political base. If such a challenge evolves, it would be the most serious affront in a decade. The bombshell announcement prompted a statement from Likud leader Gideon Sa’ar announcing that he was prepared to serve in a leadership position. It would appear that Sa’ar is prepared to confront Netanyahu over party leadership. In the past, Sa’ar has been a critic of Netanyahu’s attempts to secure immunity from prosecution for charges of bribery and similar crimes. If you like spy novels and intrigue, this story may be one to follow. We’ll see.

Tied in a dead heat in the last election, Benny Gantz and Benjamin Netanyahu continue to exchange barbs with no progress to settling the leadership crisis. President Reuven Rivlin had earlier proposed a unity government with the two each serving in equally divided time periods.
So far no success.

Just before the Rosh Hashanah holidays, Gantz and Netanyahu had a coalition meeting set. Claiming that the minimum conditions for a meeting had not been met, Gantz saw no purpose in meeting and cancelled the discussion. The accusations flew back and forth for what went wrong, but it all sounded like typical political double-talk.

Fundamentally, a stalemate continues to exist. Probably a couple more weeks will be required before enough of the dust clears to really know what is going.

Meanwhile back at the ranch…

Benjamin Netanyahu’s wife Sara failed to show in a lawsuit hearing filed by a housecleaner who claims Sara Netanyahu abused her. The judge was furious and condemned both Sara and her attorney. The ultra-Orthodox mother of three is suing for $64,000 dollars of damages. The judge made it clear that Sara would be charged with court costs for this lack of an appearance. Needless to say, this is another headache, Bibi doesn’t need.

On the upbeat side, the children of Holocaust survivors saved by the actions of German Industrialist Oscar Schindler gathered at his grave in Jerusalem to mark 45 years since his death on October 7, 1974. As is customary for Jews, his grave is marked with many small stones placed on the tombstone. Schindler was a controversial individual because he worked for the Nazi party as well as spying in Czechoslovakia in 1940. He was known as greedy, a gambler, a drinker, and womanizer. And yet from the 1,200 Jewish people Schindler saved have come a multitude. Though a man of contradictions, thousands of Jews are today grateful for his life.

You might find my collection of Holy Land experiences to be helpful.
BIBLE LANDS: An illustrated Guide to Scriptural Places
Barbpir books Publishers

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Filed under Israel, Jews, middle east

ANCIENT TREASURES

BLOG 442
August 26, 2019

m desert

WISE ON THE MIDDLE EAST

Each week Robert L. Wise, Ph.D., explores the Middle Eastern situation, ranging from Egypt through Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and the surrounding area. Wise first traveled to Israel and the neighboring countries in 1968. Two of his sons taught in Jordan and Lebanon universities. Wise presents an objective view of the behind the scenes situation in these countries.

ANCIENT TREASURES

One of the fascinating dimensions in the Middle East is the near ending archaeological discoveries that continue to pop up. Of course, the well-known ancient history of the entire region provides a fertile bed for new discoveries. Nearly every major American university annually sends teams of students and professors over to dig.

In addition, Israel knows that these finds collaborate the Old Testament support for their claims to the land. The Palestinians scream when the area around the Temple Mount continues to confirm Jewish claims to the past. However, apart from the political struggles, these recent discoveries enlarge our understanding of ancient history.

Recently, a rare and unusual find was unearthed north of the City of David in Jerusalem. A half-shekel weight was found that dates back to the First Temple period. The weight was found during the shifting of soil in the Emek Tzurim National Park that had been removed from the base of Robinson’s Arch on the Western Wall.

The word “beka” on the weight written in ancient Hebrew indicates this was the required donation for the maintenance of the Holy Temple from every person age 20 and older. (Exodus 38:26)

Another extraordinary find turned up at the Byzantine site of Shivta in the Negev Desert. A previously unknown painting of Jesus was found in part of a depiction of his baptism. This picture presents a youthful Jesus. The picture is in a badly preserved state with traces of red paint that present the outline of the face. Early Christian imagery is also rare in the Holy Land. Another painting was also found in the southern church of the same Shiva town. This painting depicted the Transfiguration of Jesus.

Using high resolution and special lighting, a picture revealed short curly hair, an elongated nose, large eyes, and a long face. To the left of Jesus is a picture of John the Baptist. This is the only in-situ scene of Jesus’s baptism recorded in the pre-iconoclastic Byzantine Palestine period.

The town of Shivta had a total of three churches which probably served pilgrims on their way to St. Catherine’s Monastery in the Sinai Desert.

Fascinating!

 

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UPHEAVAL BETWEEN ISRAEL AND THE PALESTINIANS

BLOG 403 September 24, 2018 

WISE ON THE MIDDLE EAST Each week Robert L. Wise, PhD, explores the Middle Eastern situation,  ranging from Egypt through Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and the surrounding area. Wise first traveled to Israel and the neighboring countries in 1968. Two his sons taught in Jordan and Lebanon universities. Wise presents an objective view of the behind the scenes situation in these countries.

On August 24, American President Donald Trump ordered the State Department to redirect the funding for programs in the West Bank and Gaza Strip to unspecified projects elsewhere. The Palestinians screamed!

PLO Secretary-General Saeb Erekat denounced the loss of funds as “disgraceful” and accused the USA of meddling in the internal affairs of the West Bank and attempting to impact their national options. The Secretary-General claimed the funds were not a gift to the Palestinians, but a duty of the international community because of the continuation of occupation that blocks the development and growth of the Palestinians.

Senior PLO official Hanan Ashrawi accused America of “cheap blackmail as a political tool.” He said further, “there is no glory in constantly bullying and punishing a people under occupation.”

The constant surfacing of the word “occupation” represents a new strategy the Palestinians have been using to present themselves as a conquered people. Of course, this is not true, but makes good propaganda. People with short memories or no information on the past are bound to take pity on their plight.

The truth is that immediately after the United Nations gave Israel the right to become an established nation on May 16, 1948, the Arab states attacked Israel. Many Arabs fled Jerusalem and other cities at the direction of Muslim Mufi Husseini (often pictured talking with Hitler). Al-Husseini opposed King Abdullah of Jordan’s plan to annex the Palestinians into Jordan (which would have solved the problem). The Arabs started a fight they could not finish. Eventually Israel erected a wall around their country because of Arab Muslim suicide terrorism inside Israel. Ever since, the PLO has been a struggling organization that will not negotiate for a settlement of boundaries because their ultimate objective is the obliteration of Israel.

That’s hardly occupation!

American Jews opposed moving the American Embassy to Jerusalem because they saw this ending any neutrality the US might have had and halting their role in bringing a peaceful settlement to the Palestinian-Israel chaos. They have been proven right to this point as America no longer has any role in negotiating peace between these two fractions. Trump’s arbitrary actions have greatly pleased Prime Minister Netanyahu at the cost of destroying any relationship the US had with the Palestinians.

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