In this issue:
Iran:As Israel sees it  |  Iran's Present Weapon Capability  |  Reading God's Word
Israel is Called to be a Light to the Nations  |  "Books, Gentlemen, Books"


                U.S. Says Teheran is Not Making a Bomb                                     
                       Iran: As Israel Sees It



Monthly Report: January 2008
Tevet - Shvat  5768

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Uranium conversion facility at Isfahan where uranium is being processed, producing “metal” used in the cores of nuclear bombs. 



By Shira Sorko-Ram

In one of the most bizarre twists of U.S. foreign policy since the American army found no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, the U.S. intelligence community delivered a stunning about-face in their assessment of Iranian nuclear ambitions.

All 16 U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that Iran stopped pursuing a nuclear weapons development program in the fall of 2003, due to, they say, international pressure.

Actually, the truth is that before Mahmoud Ahmadinejad came on the Iranian scene (August 2005), the world community really didn’t put a lot of pressure on Iran to stop their nuclear weapons program because their focus was elsewhere - in Iraq and Afghanistan. But the U.S. National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) last month gives no other clue as to why Iran’s plans to make nuclear bombs came to a dead
stop in 2003.








Two years ago in May 2005 the 16 U.S. intelligence agencies reported in their NIE “with high confidence that Iran currently is determined to develop nuclear weapons.”

Last month the same 16 agencies reported, “We judge with high confidence that in fall 2003, Teheran halted its nuclear weapons program.”

What is striking about this latest NIE assessment is that it basically repeats what it publicized in 2005 - but with very different conclusions. The recent analysis continues:

1. Fissile material (enriched uranium) could be diverted to hidden nuclear sites to create nuclear weapons.

2. Iran has the technical and industrial capacity to build a bomb.

3. Iran could produce a nuclear weapon anytime from 2010-2015. 


Natanz: the nuclear facility at the heart of Iran's dispute with the
United Nations Security Council. In September 2007, Iranian
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced they had installed
3,000 centrifuges, the machines that do the uranium enrichment.

Not much different at all from what they said two years ago! So why the sudden change in conclusions by the American intelligence community?

In an article called “Bushwhacked” by the Jerusalem Post’s Editor-in-Chief David Horowitz, he writes that after a close reading of the material released from the National Intelligence Estimate, he has come to the conclusion that the May 2005 report and the December 2007 report are basically the same.

What is clear, Horowitz says, is that Iran “has made huge strides towards a nuclear capability. Indisputably it is constantly improving its uranium enrichment capabilities.” At best it is only a couple of years from a bomb, if not sooner.


Besides, Horowitz reminds us, Teheran holds the world’s second largest oil and natural gas reserves. He points out that “investing colossal sums of money in uranium enrichment and  related activities for the sole purpose of developing alternate energy sources is precisely zero.”

He states that the further he got into the official report the scarier it became: “Iranian entities are continuing to develop a range of technical capabilities that could be applied to producing nuclear
weapons,” reads the report. Really?

Here is what the U.S. agencies are really saying, concludes Horowitz. “The Iranians are bent on achieving a nuclear weapons capability, have the skills to do so and have established covert programs for doing so, are determinedly expanding the uranium enrichment activities crucial to such a goal, and can be expected to again switch to covert strategies when they make their
final push for a nuclear device.” (Jerusalem Post, 7Dec07)


One of the most astute observers in Israel, Yuval Steinitz, member of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee and head of its subcommittee on intelligence, says both the U.S. and Israel agree that Iran’s “civilian” uranium enrichment program is continuing and could one day, fairly quickly, turn into a military program easily capable of producing a bomb.

Steinitz explains the results of what he calls the “pendulum syndrome” that affects many intelligence agencies. The U.S. “is influenced,” he says, “by a political agenda and is still  traumatized by the blatant intelligence failure vis-àvis Iraq’s alleged WMD, and therefore does not want to be caught crying wolf again. Israel, on the other hand, must maintain a worst case scenario point of view. One single miscalculation in assessment could mean the end of Israel.

“As a result of these traumas,” explains Steinitz “each country interprets the situation a little differently. Israel takes the more stringent track, since it is better to be safe than sorry. America takes the more lax approach, so as not to find itself in the midst of an unjustifiable war.” (J.P. 7Dec07)

When it is all said and done, Israel and the U.S., and even some European countries agree on the dangers. The unanswered question is what is the time line? Is it 2009 as Israel fears? Or is it 2010-2015 as the NIE estimates?


The Bushehr nuclear power station which Russia is on the verge of completing for Iran. In mid December, 2007, Russia began delivering enriched uranium to the site to fuel the station, much to the consternation of the U.S. and Europe. The spent fuel can then be used to make nuclear bombs, but Russia says Iran has promised to return the spent fuel to them.


Former Chief of Staff Shaul Mofaz, who is in charge of strategic dialogue with the U.S. on Iran, simply says that the U.S., Europe and Israel do not know enough about Iran’s attempts to develop nuclear weapons. The intelligence estimate can simply be interpreted in many ways.


But what were the U.S. intelligence officials thinking when they released such a report? Did they not know that they would take the wind out of all President George Bush’s attempts to pull together the United Nations Security Council to impose stronger sanctions against Iran? Wouldn’t they be aware that their assessment would embolden Iran and its radical leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, to actually speed up their nuclear programs, both overt and covert?

Israeli officials across the board believe that sanctions could make the difference. Heavy sanctions could so hurt the Iranian economy that the ayatollahs could be forced to stop their nuclear pursuits. Sanctions are the only hope for avoiding a war - now or later - according to Israeli thinking.

But Conservative columnist Daniel Pipes fears that the NIE has greatly damaged the chances that the U.N. Security Council will now impose tougher sanctions. He fears that the U.N. resolution will be so watered down that it will have little impact on Mr. Ahmadinejad and company. He lashed out at the American intelligence agencies, calling them “short-sighted, smallminded, blatantly partisan intelligence bureaucrats, trying to hide unpleasant realities,” which he believes will engineer their own nightmare. (http://www.daniel/


Almost certainly, the NIE conclusions have put the kabash on a U.S. military strike on Iran’s massive nuclear facilities during the remainder of George Bush’s term. Yet one thing is for sure. Israel cannot entertain the slightest possibility of a first-strike against her, as one nuclear bomb would obliterate the Jewish state.

That possibility may bring Israel to face the need for a pre-emptive strike. But the chances of success are not very great. There are hundreds of known nuclear sites in Iran and Israel’s air
force assets are small compared to U.S. missile capabilities.

“There are multiple targets, all wellprotected, [plus] full Iranian awareness that Israel has them within range,” reflects editor Horowitz. Besides that, Iran has the expertise and the raw materials
to rebuild after any attack, “and a terrifying Iranian capacity to retaliate.”

Yet it may fall to Israel to choose between accepting a nuclear Iran or going it alone to knock them out. Indeed, if the ayatollahs do get the bomb, “they wouldn’t even have to use it in order to
totally destroy our Israeli economy and shatter our national psyche,” observes Horowitz.


Another incredible danger would be if Iran supplied Hizbullah or some other terrorist group with a nuclear weapon. “Iran seems to be gaining the upper hand,” writes Horowitz. “For when all the nuances of the latest American intelligence estimate are digested, the fundamental message is that Iran, as things stand, is serenely enriching the material it needs for a bomb and will be able to weaponize as soon as it wants to.” (JP 7Dec07)

Without ever detonating a nuclear weapon Iran could wreak havoc both in terms of international security and the world economy.

Analyst Yaakov Katz reminds at the same time, however, Israel is aware that even if it might be left alone to deal with Iran militarily it will need American assistance. Without the codes to
American fighter jets in the region - particularly those operating over Iraq and Afghanistan - an attack by Israel’s air force would go from extremely difficult to almost impossible. When Israel
requested these codes in 1991 during the First Gulf War to respond to Saddam Hussein’s Scud attacks on Israel, the U.S. said no and the Israeli planes stayed at their bases.

Anti-U.S. mural in downtown Teheran


Katz emphasizes that Israel should be investing great effort in making sure that if the time comes, the U.S., its Number One ally, will deliver the needed assistance. (Ibid.)


Israeli Journalist Menashe Amir puts it this way. The ayatollahs have three ambitions they plan to accomplish in three phases.

1. They want to destroy Israel. They see it as a religious imperative. We are on “occupied Muslim territory.” We must be removed.

2. They want to assert leadership over the Muslim world. And they are using Israel and the Palestinian issue as the focal point to draw the Muslim world behind them.

3. Furthermore, they want to confront Christianity and Western culture - to defeat the infidels. (ibid.,15Dec06)

Conservative opinion makers such as Daniel Pipes believe that the NIE report could bring war closer than ever. “The NIE has sent a signal,” says Pipes, “to the apocalyptic-minded leadership
in Teheran that the danger of external sanctions has ended, that it can go undisturbed about its bomb-building business.” If the NIE weakens the already shaky U.N. resolve to invoke sanctions then the only solution to stop Iran would be an attack - either by the U.S. or Israel. (

This morning, the day I am finishing this article, I woke up to the headlines: Dichter: U.S. report on Iran may lead to a ‘Yom Kippur’ war. Avi Dicter is Israel’s Public Security Minister and former head of Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) and probably knows as many of Iran’s secrets as any westerner alive. He warns that Israel could suffer a surprise attack from Iran just as she did on
Yom Kippur of 1973 when the combined armies of Egypt and Syria attacked Israel. (Ibid., 18Dec07) For the first few days of that war, it appeared that Israel might be thrown into the sea. Once again, the God of Israel did not let that happen, but Israel lost more than six thousand soldiers within three weeks. 


Former Iranian president Hashemi Rafsanjani declared the
day "the world of Islam comes to possess [nuclear] weapons"
will be "the day... global arrogance will come to a dead end."
He added that a bomb used against Israel
"would leave nothing on the ground."


It might be the tendency of born again believers, Jews or Christians, to be somewhat unperturbed, even with this information. The reason being that we all know what the Bible promises: Israel will never cease being a nation before God (Jeremiah 31:36), one day all Israel will be saved, (Romans 11:26) and God Himself will fight for Israel (Zechariah 14:3). Israel will not be thrown into the sea.

However - and this is a very big “however” - the Bible does not say how many wars Israel will have to go through before the end comes, before Israel is saved - both physically and spiritually. The prince of Persia, of whom the angel Gabriel spoke to Daniel, is obviously on the war path again. Gabriel explained to the prophet that he, Gabriel, had no one fighting with him except Michael, Israel’s prince. (Daniel 10:20)


If you will bear with me, I don’t believe the success of Israel’s military in this existential struggle is dependent on how many Russian Jews immigrate to Israel, although this phenomenon is clearly prophesied in the Old Testament. Nor is it dependent on bringing Jews from Ethiopia or any other country to the land, although the Word of God promises this will happen. It isn’t even how many hospitals or orphans Christians give to in Israel, or how many trees they plant - although these are good and righteous things to do, and should be done.

Before you wonder where I am going, let me simply put the emphasis where I think it should be. Israel’s future is dependent on Jewish men, women and children turning back to the God of Israel, repenting of their sins and receiving the atonement of God’s sacrificial Lamb, Yeshua.

Help will come from the Lord as more and more Israelis turn their faces towards heaven, pleading for mercy and help from above. The angel Michael will bring in His troops at the Lord’s directives when the Jewish people call on Him to do so.

The Gospel must be preached to the Israeli people.

It’s that simple.

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Iran's Present Weapon Capability

Iran now has missiles available with a range of 1,300 kilometers, placing Israel within its reach. Last year these Shahab 3 missiles were paraded in the streets of Teheran with the words “Death to Israel” painted on them. (Haaretz 14Dec07) They are working furiously on a Shahab 4 missile, with a range of 2000 kilometers which could reach India and can carry a nuclear weapon. It’s Shahab 5, also in the works, will cover 5,500 kilometers, bringing most of Western Europe within its reach. Iran is also deploying submarines, including a long-range type which can reach targets in the Mediterranean, “such as the U.S. Sixth Fleet and Israel coastal towns, primarily Tel Aviv.“ (

Below: Iran's Shahab 3 which can reach Israel

Above: A nuclear reactor made in Russia and being prepared for shipment to Bushehr in Iran

Bomb-making for Dummies

To make a bomb, Teheran must obtain uranium. One place we know that Iran has attempted
to purchase (and may already have received) uranium is from mines in the Congo. A hidden
shipment of uranium from there was discovered on a routine check as it went through Tanzania in October 2005 on its way to Iran. (The Sunday Times, 6Aug06)

Uranium in its natural state usually has 0.7% uranium-235, a name for a type of atom with a certain number of neutrons (called isotopes).

Nuclear reactors for civilian use run on low-enriched uranium (LEU) which usually needs 3% - 5% of uranium-235. That means the uranium must be enriched which is what Iran claims she is doing for “peaceful purposes.” The uranium is enriched by changing its molecular makeup
and extracting the desired uranium-235 isotope. The enriched uranium is placed in a nuclear reactor which initiates and controls a steady nuclear chain reaction producing energy and electricity.

However, the danger to the Free World is that Iran can take their growing stock of LEU and can rather quickly reconfigure the uranium into HEU, highly enriched uranium or 90% uranium-235 which can be used in nuclear weapons, if they have perfected the techniques. HEU is also the ingredient used to produce plutonium, the ultimate isotope-of-choice for making nuclear bombs.

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... at Congregation Tiferet Yeshua, Tel Aviv. The Torah portion of the week relates the story of Joseph - how he became ruler of Egypt but went unrecognized by his brothers when they came seeking help in their destitute situation. Joseph is one of the most moving Old Testament types foreshadowing the Messiah Yeshua, who also went unrecognized by His own brethren, but Who will one day be received by His own when they say, "Blessed is He Who comes in the Name of the Lord!"


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Israel is Called to be a Light to the Nations



In the month of February, one of our members, Amitai Schiff, who attends the Israel College of the Bible in Jerusalem, will be joining 11 other students - pictured here (below) among part of the student body - for a mission trip to Goa, on the western coast of India. Every year in the winter months, 100,000 Israeli young people tour Goa (above), most of them looking for fun, but others are actually searching for a “spiritual” encounter and think maybe they’ll find it among the Hindu gurus. The Messianic group will be playing and singing in Hebrew on the beaches, passing out literature, witnessing and exchanging addresses with those Israelis who are interested in meeting Messianic Jews when they get back home. Congregation Tiferet Yeshua took up an offering to help pay Amitai’s airfare to Goa. We believe it is very important to teach our congregation the privilege of giving our tithes and offerings to the Lord, no matter how small they might be! Every shekel counts in the Lord’s sight!



Our group (above) is going the opposite direction to Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. This trip is a cooperative effort of two congregations Hama’ayan in Kfar Saba, and Tiferet Yeshua in Tel Aviv. From left clockwise: Itsik Issan of Maoz; Tony Sperandao, pastor of Hama’ayan; Omer Leon and Motti Cohen of Tiferet Yeshua, Juventus Petrulis and Rafi Shimon of Hama’ayan; and Shira Sorko-Ram. Tony speaks French so he will be able to preach in Ouagadougou without a translator! In the bush country, he will only need one or two interpreters (depending on which local languages are spoken) instead of two or three for those of us who will preach in English! We will be ministering throughout the country and also working on the organizational aspects of the Agriculture Training Center with local minister Ram Zango who is heading up the program. Our two congregations will be bringing with us an offering of a little over $5,000 which will give 70
Burkinabe children the opportunity to go to one of Ram Zango’s schools for one year. Incidently, in the last two months, Maoz contributors have donated $26,180 to the Agriculture Training Center in Burkina Faso. To God be the glory!



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"Sfareem, Rabotai, Sfareem!"
"Books, Gentlemen, Books!"

By Rachel Rachewsky - Publishing Coordinator

In Israel, every advertisement, article or review on book fairs or special “book” events, opens with this statement.

For Israelis, who consider themselves as “The People of The Book”, reading is very important and an essential part of life. For us, books are not a luxury - they are as vital as water and food.

There are more than 150 book publishers between Netanya and Rishon Lezion, in the central area of Israel alone, and approximately 75 in Jerusalem and surrounding cities and settlements! The Israeli Messianic Jewish movement is blessed by having four major book publishers, each specializing in different areas.

One focuses on publishing books on evangelistic materials for the seeker, besides other categories. Another specializes on Bible teachings and discipleship, giving a solid foundation of the basics of our faith, together with books on how to educate children, as well as evangelistic

The third is geared towards the children and youth. And we at Maoz focus on the Spirit-filled life, dealing with character, emotional healing, family and marriage, leadership, prayer, worship, walking in faith, growing in our faith, and making an impact on our world, no matter who we are or what we do. We also publish books for evangelism. In short, each of us work in a different area, but we are united in one purpose: bringing the Good News of the Messiah of Israel to Israelis, and encouraging the spiritual maturity of the Body of believers in the Land.

On a personal note, I can say that when I became a follower of Yeshua in November of 1989, I was hardly able to read in English, but it didn’t stop my thirst for good reading. Back then, there were only a few books in Hebrew that caught my interest. And so I forced myself to read in English (and understand it!) How glad I was when I first heard that Maoz was publishing Spirit-filled books in Hebrew! Some were already part of my library in English, and it gave me hope to wait for other good materials I had “spotted” earlier.


Our brand new 50-page Hebrew catalogue of Gospel books published by Maoz Publishing. Forty-nine books and thirty-seven booklets are displayed in the catalogue.

I am totally aware of the immense costs of publishing a first edition of translated books. It involves many people, and if we wish to have high quality material, we need highly professional translators, editors, designers and proof-readers. In our quest for building the Kingdom of God through the written word, we are always searching also for the best books that were ever published!


And here is where you, our partner, come into the picture. Because many of you have already grasped Maoz’ vision about the books in Hebrew, we were able to publish the books we have today. And because many of you who are just beginning to know Maoz and the work we do, are grasping the vision now; thanks to YOUR HELP, we are able to publish books that will edify the Body of Messiah in Israel, and bring the Good News of Salvation through Yeshua to those who still do not know Him.



Every pastor can testify that his greatest challenge - and goal - is to raise up anointed, talented and faithful leaders.

John Maxwell, considered one of the alltime greatest teachers on leadership, has written two basic books on how to develop into a leader and how to develop others.

We are gratified to finally have these two books in Hebrew, and we believe they will influence a whole new generation of Israeli spiritual leaders who are already starting new congregations and discipling their own flocks.

A generation of disciplined, balanced and wise leaders with the ability and skills to guide their disciples into mature spiritual leadership will contribute immensely to impacting our nation and the growth of the Messianic Jewish movement in Israel.

Thank you, Maoz sponsors, for these books that you have given to the Israeli Body of Messiah!


January 2008

Dear Maoz Partner,

We wish you a New Year which will count for all eternity!

In the article about Iran in this issue, we concluded by saying that help will come from the Lord as more and more Israelis turn back to God and plead for mercy for our nation.

What situation would America be in if she did not have a large population of praying people? Where would England and Canada, Germany and Brazil, and other nations be without their watchmen on the wall?

But Israel only has a total of somewhere around 15,000 believers. This number must grow and grow and grow.

The Bible itself describes the problem of reaching the people of Israel...

But how can they hear without a preacher?

How can preachers preach unless they are sent?

The Israeli people must have the chance to hear the Gospel in a way they understand.

They must know Yeshua is the King of the Jews who has come to save them as Jews - certainly not to take away their Jewish roots!

They must know that God is real, that Yeshua is alive and His Holy Spirit is ready to help everyone who calls on the Name of the Lord.

When Christians who love Israel really understand this, we believe the financial help will pour into the Messianic ministries throughout Israel.

What's more, God LOVES the Arab people. The light of God has been stolen from them through a tyrannical false god, Allah, and his false prophet, Mohammed. In Israel, versus all the Arab nations, Arab citizens can freely hear the Gospel.

The precious Arab people also deserve the chance to turn to the One True God. And when they do, most Israeli Arabs - and many in other countries - find that God has poured into their hearts a great love for Israel.

The Messianic Jews and the Arab Christians have wonderful fellowship in Israel. We love each other!

Yeshua is the answer! Salvation is the answer! We who are working in Israel, simply need your help to get the GOOD news to our people.

You make the difference!

We are here in our land. But whether we do little or much depends to a considerable degree on your partnership.

The Lord Himself said through His prophets that the Gentiles would bring the Jews in their arms and then, the Scripture says, "you (the Jewish people) will know that I am the Lord." Isaiah 49:23. 

So that's it! That's the way the Lord decided to do it and that's the way it will be!

You and we together will bring our Jewish people back to God - the One Who calls Himself the God of Israel!

What a privelege! What an opportunity that will have impact for all eternity.

So now we hope you understand why we are so deeply thankful for every single partner that we have - whatever your ability - to bless and minister to the Lost Sheep of Israel.

   Working together for our God,

   Ari & Shira Sorko-Ram

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