May 22, 2017

Parsing Words

A new flap has erupted ahead of President Trump’s visit to Israel. While Trump will visit the Western Wall, he will do so without any Israeli officials. Further, last week it was reported that a member of the Trump team told Israelis the White House does not consider the Western Wall to be part of Israel.

It appears that the White House team has been slowly infiltrated staffed by folks who do not understand the specialness of the Jews and Israel. Certainly they do not lend much credence to Israel’s biblical history. We do know that as soon as son-in-law Jared Kushner was named as a special advisor, and Mike Flynn was replaced as national security advisor by H.R. McMaster, there was a slight cooling of initial hot talks between Israel and the Americans.

McMaster, born in Philadelphia in 1962, is an army general who appears to be out of the old Establishment mold of American interests first and last. That’s obviously a good thing, except when we are too concerned about what the Arabs will think regarding our relationship to Israel.

It is profoundly disappointing that Trump evidently will be the latest American president to try and hammer out a peace deal between Israel and the treacherous Palestinian Authority.

As reported by the Jerusalem Post:

“A US official told The Jerusalem Post that the president does not consider the Temple Mount complex a part of the West Bank. However, the official did not specifically say whether or not he considers it a part of Israel, either.”

Notice the nuance and parsing of phrases. Trump doesn’t believe the Temple Mount is part of the West Bank (the area designated as a future Palestinian state). But he also apparently doesn’t believe it’s part of Israel, either. The Temple Mount is literally the dividing line between the theoretical two states.

McMaster—who also demurs when someone refers to radical Islamic terrorism—is a major player within the Administration. He factors-in greatly in the President’s upcoming visit:

“The Trump administration declined to take a position on the status of east Jerusalem and Israel’s control over its holiest sites during a White House briefing on Tuesday.

“Asked twice to comment on whether the Western Wall is within sovereign Israeli territory, US President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, demurred, dismissing the matter as a ‘policy decision.’

“At the White House briefing, McMaster stated that Trump’s planned visit to the Western Wall is not religious, nor is it political.

“’He is going to the Western Wall to connect with three of the world’s great religions and to pay homage at each of these sites,’ McMaster said.”

Notice again that McMaster gives a nod to “connect” with Christianity, Judaism, and…Islam. This is a disturbing attempt at pacifying the killers in the PA.

It appeared in the early days/weeks of the Trump administration, he and his team finally “got it” with regard to the Arab-Israeli conflict. Decades of propping up terrorists like Yasser Arafat was both immoral and, in the end, practically speaking, a failure.

Reports also surfaced this week that American officials have still not slammed the door shut on moving the embassy to Jerusalem. We’ll see. It’s troubling though that on issues like the Western Wall, the new team sounds a whole lot like the old teams.


May 15, 2017

“Little” Sheba

One of the most remarkable hospitals in the world is located in the Tel Aviv neighborhood of Ramat Gan. A 1,700-bed facility, Sheba Medical Center was originally the first hospital to treat Israel’s war wounded, during the War of Independence in 1948.

The scope of activities at Sheba is staggering. The 150-acre campus is home to 1,400 doctors and 2,600 nurses. The 120 departments and clinics provide highly specialized treatment to patients from all over the world.

I’m almost finished with the raw data, but yes, I’m impressed. Each year, 1.5 million people are treated there, and two million tests are conducted annually.

Whew. Especially for evangelical Christians and supporters of Israel, this is a story that is unique, and points to the amazing technology and resourcefulness of the Israelis.

I’m going over to see it soon, and I can’t wait.

For a writer and researcher, Sheba provides a most remarkable subject.

Later, I’ll give a full report, but one of the features that makes Sheba outstanding is the commitment to providing relief for people all over the world. From Cambodia to Ukraine, Israel is at the front lines of setting up both emergency field hospitals (in times of natural disasters) and permanent facilities. Their work in Haiti is nothing short of astonishing.

From the hospital’s website:

“Sheba’s commitment to compassionate care extends beyond Israel’s borders.  We have provided support and supplies in distant areas of need throughout the world, including Kosovo, Armenia, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Chernobyl and Rwanda.  Patients come to Sheba from across the Middle East, including from Arab countries that have no diplomatic relations with Israel and from the Palestinian Authority. Sheba is extending its medical services to many eastern European and Mediterranean countries, and maintains a special agreement with the Republic of Cyprus. These commitments stem from our hospital’s concern for the needy, and from the State of Israel’s long-time tradition of contributing to humanitarian relief efforts abroad.”

Prof. Yitshak Kreiss is the director general of Sheba Medical Center and the retired Brigadier General in the IDF brings the far-reaching Israeli spirit to his work.

From medical research to life-saving care (including people from the Palestinian territories), Sheba is very much part of the miracle of modern Israel. I’ll have much more to report in the coming weeks, but for now, just know that you will be fascinated by the story unfolding from Ramat Gan.