18 Oct 2021

Israelis on Mars

Israeli ingenuity always amazes us. Their drive to achieve, to solve problems, is second to none.

Really out of this world.

A journey to Mars has long captivated people the world over. But the distance? Only 244 million miles. Keep in mind, the Moon is 240,000 miles from Earth. Visiting Mars, if it can be done at all, is still a ways off.

Yet Israel is preparing for such a day. With participants from Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain, the Israeli Space Agency is trying to simulate the terrain of Mars, at a giant crater in the Negev.

An astounding 25 miles in diameter, the crater is serving as a staging ground for future space exploration. The six participants will live in isolation there for an entire month.

According to a report from The Times of Israel:

“During their mission, they will conduct tests including on a drone prototype that functions without GPS, and on automated wind- and solar-powered mapping vehicles.

“The mission will also aim to study human behavior and the effect of isolation on the astronauts.”

Here’s where I’ll sound a little nutty, but I’ve never believed that mankind was meant to explore other worlds. At least not in this life. The drive to visit distant planets is fraught with danger.

In this scenario, it’s interesting that one of the participants, German astronaut Anika Mehlis, is a microbiologist sent to “a scenario where bacteria from Earth infect potential life forms that may be found on Mars.”

It’s interesting that the article notes NASA officials believe the first human mission to Mars will take place in 2030. How can that be? I know we’ve sent cameras there, but sending humans such an astonishingly great distance is almost unfathomable.

And besides the danger, there are theological issues with the exploration of other planets. Did God intend this? Did He not? Is this yet another Tower of Babel moment?

Mars, known as the “Red Planet,” is the fourth planet from the Sun! The name comes from the Roman god of war. Americans and various other countries have been exploring Mars’ spaces; in 1976, Viking 1 landed on the surface of the planet.

Of course, one of the main goals of exploration is to see if the planet can be inhabited by humans. The thin atmosphere and extreme heat make this seem unlikely, but again I wonder why the drive to do so?

“What we are doing here is preparing a large mission, the largest voyage our society has ever taken, as Mars and Earth are 380 million kilometers apart at their extreme point,” said [Austrian participant Gernot] Groemer.

“I believe the very first human to walk on Mars is already born and we are the ship-builders to enable this journey.”

Maybe. I’m disturbed but not surprised that Israel is participating. No one said the country is run by Bible believers that would give pause to such attempts at this kind of exploration.

I do believe God will not let man go farther than he should with technology, etc. So, where this Mars study ends up is anyone’s guess.

The center of the universe is Jerusalem, not a distant planet.





11 Oct 2021

Empty Threats?

While it might not seem that the Palestinians are serious threats to Israel at this time, we need to always remember that the Palestinian leadership has been a continual threat for the last 50-odd years.

If his terrorist goons aren’t stabbing, shooting, and bombing Israelis (including children), then corrupt leaders like Mahmoud Abbas is inciting the people. There has always been an argument over just how much the Arab Street hates Jews. The situation is even more tragic because there are numbers of Palestinian people that do not hate, but are simply prisoners of their own quasi-government. It must be a miserable existence. Consider this report from the Meir Amit Intelligence Center:

“On September 24, 2021, Mahmoud Abbas gave a prerecorded speech to the UN General Assembly. He claimed they had reached a crossroads and delivered Israel an ultimatum to withdraw from the Palestinians territories within a year, including east Jerusalem. He said during the year the PA would be willing to discuss all the unresolved issues regarding a permanent solution. He threated that if Israel did not withdraw, all options were on the table for the Palestinians, including an appeal to the International Court of Justice (ICJ). Hamas was critical of the speech, which it claimed did not meet the challenges facing the Palestinian cause.

“On September 21, 2021, Khalil Shaqaqi’s Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PCPSR), issued the main findings of its third quarter public opinion poll. The results were influenced by the atmosphere created by the escape of Palestinian terrorist operative prisoners from the Gilboa prison and the search conducted for them. According to the poll, if elections were held today for the position of PA chairman, Mahmoud Abbas would get 34% of the vote and Isma’il Haniyeh 56%. Regarding the best way to end the [so-called] ‘Israeli occupation,’ 48% were in favor of ‘armed activity’ [i.e., terrorism], 28% were in favor of negotiations and 19% were in favor of ‘peaceful popular protest.’”

Remember, Haniyeh is himself a bloodthirsty terrorist, so it isn’t like the Palestinians have a lot of modern options. These are 7th century people.

Now, here’s how Abbas’s incitement plays out in the real world:

“On the afternoon of September 13, 2021, there was a stabbing attack near the Central Bus Station in Jerusalem. A Palestinian went to Jaffa Road, near the bus station, walked into a store, took out a knife and stabbed two civilians, wounding them. A Border Policewoman who witnessed the incident shot and wounded the terrorist. He was Bassel Shwarmra, 17, from a village near Hebron. Investigation revealed he and a relative had taken a taxi from Hebron to Jerusalem; he did not have a permit to enter Israeli territory. The two parted company near the Damascus Gate, and the terrorist took the light railway to the Central Bus Station, where he carried out the attack.”

I’ve been to the Central Bus Station many times, and Damascus Gate more often than that. In fact, Damascus Gate is entering Palestinian territory in the sense that Hamas and other terror groups have influence there. It is on the north side of the Jerusalem’s Old City, also not far from the Garden Tomb, to give you some perspective. A spot rich in tourists and civilians. To think that a terrorist teenager would be lurking in an alley is chilling. Yet this is what Abbas and his henchmen are responsible for, the destruction of many lives, including their own people.

And the Abbas claim that they will take over east Jerusalem within a year is bizarre, but troubling. We shall see how good Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is in dealing with the duplicity of Abbas and Hamas. Netanyahu of course was tremendously experienced.

(As an aside, I must state my view that Bennett was part of a coup against Netanyahu, somewhat like Joe Biden in this country. Ousting a popular leader, in critical times, is unconscionable. Bennett helped manipulate Israel’s wacky political system for his own ambitions.)

On any given day in the Old City, you can see the folly of man’s diplomatic efforts. Strolling down a street you’ll pass several white UN vehicles parked, then a few steps later you’ll see Israeli soldiers or police arresting a group of Palestinian men suspected of terror activity.

It’s a reminder that we will not see true peace in the world, particularly in Jerusalem, until Jesus returns.

In the meantime, let us continue to pray for people on both sides. They desperately need it.