This is an open letter from Simon Ben David
Dear Mr. Galloway,
Free Church of Scotland reports:
Former Free Church of Scotland Moderator: Church of Scotland “turning blind eye to Hamas”
August 7, 2014
A senior Highland minister and Middle East expert has accused the Church of Scotland of “turning a blind eye to Hamas” following its “one-sided and populist anti-Israel statement” on the current crisis in Gaza.
Rev Dr John Ross, who was a frequent visitor to Israeli and Palestinian territories in the past in his previous role as chief executive of a Christian charity, described comments from Church of Scotland Moderator John Chalmers as “a showy bit of liberal muscle-flexing”.
Dr Ross, whose own doctorate is in the history of Scottish missions to the Jews, urged Christians to work and pray for peace in the Middle East. He also deplored the loss of Israeli and Palestinian civilian lives in Gaza and called for a just and lasting settlement between Israel and the Palestinian people.
Earlier this week Church of Scotland Moderator John Chalmers claimed that a settlement would only come with “an end to the Israeli military operation in Gaza”.
Speaking today, former Free Church Moderator Rev Dr John Ross said: “We see it as immoral to attribute all the blame for Gaza’s suffering to Israel’s policies, whilst turning a blind-eye to Hamas’ cynical attacks against the Israel Defence Force from its bases in UN facilities.
“It is unjust to blame Israel for the suffering of Palestinian people, whilst failing to condemn Hamas for recklessly using as a human shield those who brought it power.
“Furthermore, it is naive to call for an embargo on arms sales to Israel, whilst offering no criticism of Hamas purchasing its weapons from North Korea.”
The Free Church minister of Glenurquhart and Fort Augustus continued: “We consider it dangerous folly to imagine that the key to peace in the region is Israel’s ‘occupation’ of Gaza but not Hamas’ inveterate hatred of the state of Israel, its commitment to jihad and an anti-democratic caliphate, and its implacable rejection of a negotiated long-term compromise.
“I think it is unfair to berate Israel for sealing its border with Gaza, whilst remaining silent when Egypt refuses to open its border crossing into Gaza at Rafah.
“It is regrettable that John Chalmers’ one-sided and populist anti-Israel statement is entirely predictable.
“What is needed at this time from the national Church’s senior churchman is balanced and considered leadership, rather than a showy bit of liberal muscle-flexing.”
This article by Messianic Jewish scholarProfessor of History and Middle Eastern Studies at Biola University, is worth a careful read:
(Denver, Colorado) — On Day #28 of the Gaza war, “Messianic Jews around the country are mourning after one of their young soldiers was killed in action last week,” reports Israel Today. “First Sergeant Shai Kushnir, who grew up in a youth group at a Messianic congregation in the Haifa area, was killed during operations along the Gaza border.”
“Messianic Jews” believe that Jesus of Nazareth is the long-awaited Messiah in fulfillment of ancient Hebrew prophecy and follow Him for salvation. There are presently about 15,000 Messianic Jews in Israel — many of whom serve faithfully in the IDF — and upwards of 300,000 around the world.
“Over ten thousand came to pay their respects to Shai and the family, including two mayors from the Greater Haifa area, IDF generals and commanders from the Armored Brigade, as well as Messianic friends and congregational leaders,” the report noted. “Many wept openly as the 20-year-old fallen soldier was laid to rest in a full military ceremony at the IDF cemetery in Kiryat Ata, just outside Haifa.”
Please pray for the Kushnir family, for the Lord to comfort them in their grief. Please pray for their family and friends and for all the Messianic Jews in Israel as they mourn this loss. Please also pray for the families and friends of the other soldiers who have died in combat, as well for the family and friends of all the Palestinians who have been killed as well. Let’s keep praying that Hamas is defeated, and that Arabs and Jews are liberated from their reign of terror, and that this war will come to an end soon and calm will be restored. Thanks so much.
To read the full story, see below.
GAZA WAR, DAY #28 — AT-A-GLANCE:
- Since July 8th, more than 3,253 rockets have been fired at Israel from Gaza.
- On Sunday alone, 119 rockets were fired at Israel.
- Three civilians in Israel have died.
- 64 Israeli soldiers have died in combat, while hundreds more have been wounded.
- Palestinian officials say deaths on their side in Gaza top 1,800 — Israeli officials
By David Lazarus, Israel Today
Messianic Jews around the country are mourning after one of their young soldiers was killed in action last week.
First Sergeant Shai Kushnir, who grew up in a youth group at a Messianic congregation in the Haifa area, was killed during operations along the Gaza border.
Over ten thousand came to pay their respects to Shai and the family, including two mayors from the Greater Haifa area, IDF generals and commanders from the Armored Brigade, as well as Messianic friends and congregational leaders. Many wept openly as the 20-year-old fallen soldier was laid to rest in a full military ceremony at the IDF cemetery in Kiryat Ata, just outside Haifa.
Barely holding back his tears, the commanding officer of Shai’s unit addressed the mourners:
“Shai fought bravely in order to defend the citizens of Israel. Few are willing to put others before themselves, but Shai was motivated by a higher principle of love, generosity and sacrifice for others. Living by these principles did not just happen on the spur of the moment, rather they are the result of the upbringing that Shai received from parents and family.
“Shai, your spirit and willingness to fight has left a profound impression on us. Your desire to help and to do whatever you could to save a life gave us courage during the fighting over the past few weeks. Just moments before we went into battle you said, ‘You can depend on me. I will protect you.’
“You were more than a friend, Shai, you were like a brother to us. Your memory will be with us always and will continue to give us the strength to carry on. We are paying the ultimate price in order to defend our people, the price of our dearest sons and daughters.”
According to IDF regulations, as an only son, Shai was not permitted to serve in a combat unit. “But Shai was absolutely adamant,” said his father, Michael. “He just kept on insisting that he wanted to serve in a combat unit.”
When it became clear that Shai would have it no other way, he was eventually allowed to serve in the Barak (Lightning) Division of an Armored Brigade, the same unit in which his father served.
Shai was a medic in a reconnaissance platoon that suffered a direct hit by Hamas mortars. Four other soldiers died in the attack along with Shai.
The day before he was killed, Shai’s father sent a message to his son:
“Sheiky, I miss you very very much. Not a minute goes by that I do not think of you, day and night. I try to imagine how you and your friends are facing this difficult situation. How are you responding to all this dangerous? You and all the other youth have an extremely difficult task to shield our tiny country. With your very lives you are our Protective Edge. I believe that you and your friends are strong, determined and full of motivation to complete the difficult task that you have. You are the best this country has to offer. We trust you. Daddy loves and misses you.”
The funeral was concluded with a prayer by the IDF Rabbi:
“To First Sergeant Shai, family and friends who have gathered here to honor you, I ask you for forgiveness. We called upon you to serve our country and you have given your life for us. May you go in peace and may you have eternal rest. May you now stand before the Judge all of flesh and have Shalom. And may there be Shalom on Israel, now and forever.”
A leading Evangelical organisation, The Gospel Coalition has released this:
9 THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT HAMAS
Since July 8, 2014, there has been an escalation of violence around the Gaza Strip. To fully understand the conflict, it is helpful to know the political and military organization that sparked the hostilities and remains the primary obstacle to peace in the area. Here are nine things you should know about Hamas.
1. Hamas is a militant nationalist-Islamist movementfounded in 1987 as a spinoff of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood. Along with Fatah, it is one of the two major political parties in the occupied territories. Hamas candidates won Palestinian elections in 2006, but their government was dismissed in 2007, resulting in the political bifurcation of the West Bank and Gaza. While Fatah reasserted its authority in the West Bank, Hamas has continued to rule over the Gaza Strip, a coastal enclave of 1.7 million Palestinians.
2. Hamas has been officially designated as a terrorist organization by the United States, Israel, the United Kingdom, Canada, the European Union, Jordan, Egypt, and Japan. However, several other countries — including Iran, Russia, China, and many Arab nations — have refused to designate the group as terrorists.
3. The slogan of Hamas is “Allah is its goal, the Prophet its model, the Qur’an its Constitution, Jihad its path and death for the case of Allah its most sublime belief.”
4. The Hamas Charter (or Hamas Covenant) “reveals its identity, outlines its stand, explains its aims, speaks about its hopes.” Hamas considers nationalism part of its religious belief and the most noble goal is “waging Jihad against the enemy and confronting him when he sets foot on the land of the Muslims.” The charter claims that “so-called peaceful solutions” are contrary to the movement’s beliefs. For Hamas, “There is no solution to the Palestinian problem except by Jihad. The initiatives, proposals and International Conferences are but a waste of time, an exercise in futility.”
5. According to the Hamas Charter, the “wealth” of the Jews allowed them to “take over control of the world media such as news agencies, the press, publication houses, broadcasting and the like.” Additionally, the document claims Jews were behind the French Revolution, the Communist Revolution, “most of the revolutions we hear about here and there”, all wars throughout history, and the establishment of the United Nations. The Jews are also credited with founding “destructive spying organizations” such as the Freemasons, Rotary Clubs, and Lions Clubs.
6. Hamas has been open about their denial of the Holocaust. They claim that teaching the Holocaust in UN schools in Gaza is a “war crime.” The Hamas charter also refers to the “Nazism of the Jews.”
7. A 2007 study of Palestinian suicide bombings found that 39.9 percent of the suicide attackswere carried out by Hamas. Currently, 46 percent of people in Gaza support the use of suicide bombing, a drop from 70 percent in 2007.
8. Since Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip in 2005, Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist organizations has fired more than 11,000 rockets into Israel. To curb retaliation, Israel claims that Hamas uses civilians as “human shields” since Israeli policy is to limit civilian casualties whenever possible. As the New York Times notes, Hamas has “encouraged residents not to flee their homes when alerted by Israel to a pending strike and, having prepared extensively for war, did not build civilian bomb shelters.”
9. The ultimate military goal of Hamas is genocide of the Jewish people. As stated in their charter: “Hamas has been looking forward to implement Allah’s promise whatever time it might take. The prophet, prayer and peace be upon him, said: The time will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews (and kill them); until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: O Muslim! there is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him!”
NYC Mayor Bloomberg takes down the argument that Israel’s current reaction to the rain of rockets being fired on Israeli cities since 2005, is not proportional.