Jordan, Israel, may finally begin project to save Dead Sea from drying up. Israel and Jordan have long pursued a common goal to stop the Dead Sea from shrinking while slaking their shared thirst for drinking water with a pipeline from the Red Sea some 200 kilometers away...
The degradation of the Dead Sea, on the border of Israel, Jordan and Judea and Samaria, began in the 1960s when water began to be heavily diverted from the Jordan River. "Before 1967, the water was just a 10-minute walk from my house," said Musa Salim al-Athem, a farmer who grows tomatoes on the banks on the Jordan side. Now it takes an hour," he said, standing amid the resulting lunar landscape of spectacular salt sculptures, gaping sinkholes and craters. Only the (Red) sea can fill up the sea."
"Since 1950, the amount flowing in the Jordan has dropped from 1.2 billion cubic meters per year (42 billion cubic feet) to less than 200 million," said Frederic Maurel, an engineering expert at the French development agency AFD.
Heavy production of potash, used for making fertilizer, has also accelerated evaporation that has seen the sea's surface area shrink by a third since 1960. Experts say water levels are falling one meter (over three feet) a year, and warn it could dry out completely within 30 years.
One hundred years ago, Theodor Herzl, the father of modern Zionism, had envisaged filling the Dead Sea via a canal dug to the Mediterranean. The sea's natural beauty and mineral-rich black mud have also provided a source of tourism revenue.
"The Dead Sea has historical, biblical, natural, touristic, medical and industrial values that make it an invaluable cultural, environmental and economic treasure," said Avner Adin, a specialist in water science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. After years of studies, the $1.1 billion Red Sea "Peace Conduit" deal was signed by Israeli, Jordanian, and Palestinian Authority in 2013.
The project, located entirely on Jordanian territory, includes a desalination plant near Aqaba. After producing drinking water, the remaining highly saline liquid will be sent by pipeline to fill the Dead Sea, powering two hydroelectric plants along the way.
A subsequent 2015 deal would see Israel get 35 billion cubic meters of potable water from the desalination plant for its parched southern regions. The mostly desert Jordan, for its part, would get up to 50 billion cubic meters of freshwater from the Sea of Galilee. Israel also agreed to sell 32 billion cubic meters to the Palestinian Authority.
Jordan announced in November 2016 that it had chosen 5 international consortiums to build the first phase of the canal. But talks on how to finance the deal, which calls for $400 million of public funding, and geopolitical flare-ups have kept the pro-ject from moving forward.
Some $120 million has al-ready been pledged by donors including the US and Japan, while France's AFD agency has secured the backing of the EU and some member states for $140 million in preferential loans to Jordan. For Adin at the Hebrew University, "It seems to be that the situation is improving. The main obstacle in my mind could be financial."
Billy Graham And Israel
More than half a century ago, as a friend and counselor to president Dwight Eisenhower, Billy Graham went on his first visit to Israel.
Graham’s description of his 1960 trip is significant: “When I first took a preaching tour of Israel, I stayed with Mrs. Golda Meir, who was then foreign secretary, and promised her that I was not there to proselytize. Rather, I was there to thank the Jewish people for proselytizing me.” Graham was one of the first Christian leaders to publicly acknowledge the debt of gratitude owed toward Judaism and to move Evangelicals away from evangelizing Jews. It was his close relationship with president Richard Nixon, however, that was most pivotal with regard to Graham’s polarizing legacy within the Jewish community.
In 1973, when a coalition of Arab armies launched a surprise attack on Yom Kippur, Israel found itself in a state of shock and in desperate need of weapons. Graham picked up the phone and convinced his friend Nixon to assist his other friend prime minister Golda Meir. Graham’s call helped persuade the United States to provide an emergency airlift of essential arms that rescued the Jewish state from the overwhelming Arab onslaught.
Over the course of Billy Graham’s long life, he topped lists of admired men and became America’s most influential religious leader. Despite growing up in a deeply anti-Semitic environment, Graham used his tremendous influence as pastor to presidents and preacher to millions to assist Israel and the Jewish people. Graham shifted Evangelical Christianity to become more philo-Semitic and influenced US policy toward greater support for Israel and we are seeing the positive results of his efforts today.
Rabbi Asher (a friend and colleague in Scotland) had an amazing opportunity at the local Friends of Israel meeting, to hear three Arab Israelis speak about their experiences. These three young people are so at odds with the usual presentation of the Arab experience in Israel that I thought it was worth asking him to write about what they had to say.
The young lady is Lorena Khteeb. She is 21, a graduate of Haifa University, in Tourism. She is Druze. She completed her National Service and now tours with Reservists on Duty, as part of their Israeli Minorities program. She said that the rights enjoyed by Druze in Israel are superior to those of Druze in any other part of the middle east.
Then we have Mohammad Kabiya, a Bedouin from the Galil area. His great grandfather was the first Bedouin sheikh to sign an agreement with the Palmach before the state, to fight against the Arabs. When he was in school the teachers in the Christian state school in Nazereth tried to tell him that he was not an Israeli, but a Palestinian. He was confused by this and had to decide who he was and which side he was on. All his brothers were in the Israel Defense Force. His whole family has a history as IDF soldiers, and he chose Israel. When asked what he wanted to be when he graduated, he would reply "I want to be a soldier and serve my country."
When someone spoke out against "the current government" moving Bedouin from their camps into towns, he shot it down by replying that "We are in the 21st century. All the younger generation see that traditions are good, but it is time to leave the tents and live in houses!" When he spoke of the Fatah and Hamas, it was with such vehemence and hostility that he sounded like Naftali Bennet and I told him so.
We also have Jonathan Elkhoury. He is a Lebanese refugee. His father fought for the South Lebanese Army, and when Israel withdrew, his father came with them, but his mother thought that the Lebanese and Israel would sign an agreement and they would be safe. He said that when Hezbollah came the day after the withdrawal, they destroyed everything that Israel had built: hospitals, schools, even sewage systems, but did not replace anything. They began to "disappear" men and persecute the population. So one day his mother told the family to pack a suitcase and to take something important with them. She said that they were going to Beirut to visit family, but instead they went to the airport. Their relatives were there to see them off and were weeping, so he wondered at age 9 why if it was just a holiday, as his mother now said; to visit her brother in the USA... That is how he came to Israel. His parents moved to Hafia, to be in the Arab Christian community, only to find that they were labeled traitors for fighting on the side of Israel! So he attended a Jewish state school, where the teachers took turns to spend extra time with him, teaching him Hebrew and in 3 months he was fluent.
He took Israeli citizenship and joined the IDF. He is now one of the leaders of Reservists on Duty, which was set up to counter the leis of Breaking the Silence. Their Disraeli minorities program tours Europe and the USA challenging the anti-Israel movements.
Crypto-Jews Return To Roots After 500 Years: Crypto-Judaism is secret adherence to Judaism while publicly professing to be of another faith; practitioners are referred to as "crypto-Jews." Today, individuals and communities in Spain and Portugal, and the places where Jews fled from there, have been discovering evidence of their Jewish ancestry and started openly practicing the faith that their ancestors were barred from keeping for centuries. Jews who converted in Spain in the 15th century were officially known as Cristianos Nuevos (New Christians), but were commonly called conversos. Spain and Portugal passed legislation restricting their rights in the mother countries and colonies; only Christians were allowed to go to the New World. The "Belmonte Jews" of Portugal dating from the 12th century maintained strong secret traditions for centuries. An entire community survived in secrecy by maintaining a tradition of endogamous marriage and hiding all external signs of their faith. They and their practices were rediscovered only in the 20th century. Some say they are retracing their Jewish roots from the days of the Spanish Inquisition; others have adopted a new way of life, to Judaism. "Dozens of families that once belonged to a church, became Jews, unusual in one of the most Catholic of nations." (I24)
Israel is 11th Happiest Country in the World: Israel is the 11th happiest country in the world, according to a report published days ago by the United Nations. The report ranks happiness based on six categories: levels of income, freedom, trust, healthy life expectancy, social support, and generosity. The ten countries which placed higher than Israel are, in order, Finland, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand, Sweden, and Australia. The United States ranked 18th in the report. The United Arab Emirates was the second happiest nation in the Middle East behind Israel, placing 20th in the world listings. (Arutz-7)
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§ The French government and the French justice system claim to treat all religions equally, but they treat Islam as if it were "more equal than others" -- able to enjoy special privileges. Those who criticize Islam -- or who just show the results of Islamic terrorism -- are victims of fierce prosecution, while hate-filled, racist organizations are never touched.
§ "Who has the right to say that in 30 to 40 years, France will not be a Muslim country? No one in this country has the right to extinguish our right to hope for a society that is globally faithful to Islam." — Marwan Muhammad, spokesman of the "Collective against Islamophobia in France."
§ President Macron recently said he wants a law against "fake news." If the law is adopted, all online magazines in France that do not broadcast what the government defines as "true news" could be subject to immediate government suspension. If they are located outside France, access to them would be blocked. Islamic online magazines and websites are not on the list of "fake news" providers. What online magazines and websites top the list? Answer: Those that question Islam.
After the murders of much of the staff at the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris on January 7, 2015, the hostage-taking and slaughter at a kosher supermarket two days later confirmed what was already obvious: France was a target of Islamic terrorism. A huge demonstration, organized in Paris on January 11, brought together a million and a half people, with politicians from around the world in attendance.
For a brief moment, France seemed to be the country where the multitudes were ready to stand up for freedom of speech, and the government was ready to fight for Western values. Unfortunately, that impression did not last long.
For years, freedom of speech in France has been in the process of being crushed, particularly regarding Islam and Islamic terrorism. Journalists who said that Islam often did not look much like a religion of peace but more like a religion of war were systematically and harshly prosecuted.
Charlie Hebdo's new director and editor-in-chief were also not spared: they were sued as early as 2006, the year the magazine republished the Danish Mohammed cartoons. They were sued again in 2007, 2012 and 2013. The writer Michel Houellebecq was summoned to court in 2010 for saying that Islam is a "stupid" religion... The website Riposte Laïque was established in 2007 to fight censorship, defend secularism, and preserve the right to criticize Islam. Lawsuits against its founder, Pierre Cassen, were overwhelming.
Judicial harassment against those who still dared to speak "incorrectly" about Islam did not stop after the murders at Charlie Hebdo: rather, they intensified. The terrorist attacks that took place in France in Nov 2015 and July 2016 did not lead to any demonstrations; merely to displays of sadness, fear, and resignation. French politicians used empty words, spoke of the dangers of "fanaticism" and said that France was "at war" -- but they never named an enemy. Journalists and writers who said that terrorists attacking France were Muslim were convicted in court and fined thousands of euros.
Israel Confirms It Destroyed Syrian Nuclear Reactor, Warns Iran It’s Next: Israel on 21 March 2018 formally acknowledged what everyone already knew - that its air force destroyed Syria's nuclear reactor on Sept 6, 2007. For over 10 years, Israeli officials have merely "winked" when asked about the operation. Now that it's official, the IDF is calling the covert bombing operation deep inside Syrian territory a warning shot for other enemies. "The message of the attack on the reactor in 2007 is that Israel will not accept the construction of a capability that threatens the existence of the State of Israel. That was the message in ’81. That was the message in 2007. And that is the message to our enemies for the future," said IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot.
Both Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman and Intelligence Minister Israel Katz more directly suggested that if Iran continues to seek nuclear weapons, it's next. "Our enemies’ motivation has increased in recent years, but so has the might of the IDF. This equation should be understood by anyone in the Middle East," said Liberman. Katz tweeted that "the courageous decision of the Israeli government almost 11 years ago to destroy the nuclear reactor in Syria and the successful operation following it sends a clear message: Israel will never allow countries like Iran who threaten its existence to have nuclear weapons." (Israel Today) “Their hearts are secure, they will have no fear; in the end they will look in triumph on their foes.” Psalm 112:8
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Stats Show Israel has Highest Fertility Rate in the West - 16 March 2018 | The average number of children per mother in Israel is the highest in the West, and was found to be 3.11 children in 2016, according to Central Bureau of Statistics data on birth and fertility published on March 13. In most Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries, it was noted, total fertility rates in recent years were less than 2.1 children per mother, lower than the rate necessary to keep the population from shrinking.
 Technically, the Druze are a non-Arab minority. Their religion is also separate from Islam.