It was on an autumn day in 2005 when the El Al flight touched down at London’s Heathrow airport. A former senior Israeli officer, retired General Doron Almog, was about to disembark to give a speech at a Jewish fund-raising event.
Racing toward the airport down Highway M4 was Israel’s military attaché. Caught in traffic, he was able to get a direct call into the pilots of the plane. “Tell Almog to stay on the plane.”
A few moments later, the attaché raced up the steps and broke the news, “Britain has issued a warrant for your arrest for war crimes. You’ve got to stay on the plane and go back to Tel Aviv.”
Indeed, a warrant had been secretly issued 24 hours earlier by Judge Timothy Workman after Palestinians filed a complaint that Almog had ordered - get this - not the deaths of anyone, but the destruction of 59 homes of terrorists in 2002.
Israel’s practice of demolishing terrorists’ homes has been found to be a restraint to some terrorists. A potential suicide bomber might think twice about his own family’s welfare if he knows that blowing himself up and killing Israelis might result in his family’s home being destroyed. That makes him or her somewhat less of the perfect hero.
Meanwhile, the Scotland Yard detectives on the ground impatiently waited for the general to disembark, but he was nowhere to be seen. They phoned headquarters to see if they should board the El Al plane, but couldn’t get confirmation that they had a legal right to do so.
Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, former Defense Minister in 2002, now Industry, Trade and Labor Minister
Moshe Ya'alon, former Chief of General Staff, now Strategic Affairs Minister
Their main concern was fear of a gun battle as it was known that Israeli air marshals were aboard, and possibly body guards for the general. There was, they conceded, a real threat of an armed confrontation if British agents boarded the El Al plane to arrest the general.
Before Scotland Yard could figure out what to do, El Al took off for Israel. Back home, Almog said, “As a soldier and a general, I have never committed a crime. Many times I have saved Palestinian lives by risking my life and the lives of my soldiers.”
The attempted arrest, the first of its kind in Britain against an Israeli national, kicked up a fire storm. Silvan Shalom, the then Israeli Foreign Minister, said: “The fact that Israeli soldiers and high-ranking officials are prevented from entering European countries is an outrage.
“We take a grave view of this. Don’t forget that Britain has troops in Iraq. What will it do if other countries decide that British soldiers and officers committed war crimes in Iraq? Will it consent to having them arrested in other countries?” (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/, 17Sept05 and http://www.guardian.co.uk/, 19Feb08)
SHARON DECLINES BLAIR’S INVITATION
Just a few months later Prime Minister Tony Blair invited the Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to a visit in London. Sharon, still heated over the Almog affair, declined the visit. He told Blair that he too had been a general for many years. He was especially known as the general who blasted through the Egyptian armies and surrounded them, taking thousands as prisoners during the Yom Kippur War when Egypt, Syria and Jordan invaded Israel in a surprise joint attack.
Clearly, Blair was embarrassed. But since then, the Brits have kept that law on their books. And actually, Sharon wasn’t just joking because he had already been charged with war crimes and taken to court by a Palestinian group suing him in Belgium.
Doron Almog, former Head of Southern Command
Giora Eiland, former National Security Adviser
This happened after a number of European countries passed laws that they could try anybody from any country who had been accused of crimes against humanity or war crimes.
Belgium dismissed the charges and both Germany and Belgium ammended the law, giving the government power to reject such a lawsuit before the court has a chance to consider it. But the failure to convict Sharon and Almog has not stopped Islamic groups from using the courts elsewhere in the world as another distressing weapon against Israel.
Countries like Spain, France and even New Zealand have appointed themselves judges of humanity and are ready to take on claims brought against Israel by Palestinians.
Indeed, a continuing and growing legal threat to Israeli officers in England forced Chief of the Army Staff, Moshe Ya’alon, to cancel a fund-raising visit to London because of fears that he might be arrested on war crimes charges concerning Palestinian civilians and property.
BRITAIN STRIKES AGAIN
Now in the last few days a brand new case has been filed by a Palestinian human rights organization in Spain against seven Israeli military leaders. This case is particularly brazen.
A fellow by the name of Salah Shehadeh, born in Gaza, became one of the founders of Hamas terrorist organization. His theology proclaimed all of “historic Palestine” as holy Islamic territory, which had a religious obligation to be freed completely and immediately from Jews.
Shehadeh was opposed to all negotiations with Israel, even those that would lead to a Palestinian state on only part of “historic Palestine.” His Jihad was for one purpose - the conquering of Palestine. In this framework, he saw that suicide attacks were the highest expression of Jihad, with all Israelis as legitimate targets.
He established a “youth wing” within Hamas that provided military education and training for youths preparing for suicide missions. He was thus directly responsible for hundreds of attacks committed against Israeli citizens from 2000 to 2002. As one example among multitudes, he organized the slaughter of five high school students.
Dan Halutz, former Air Force Commander
Avi Dichter, former Director of the Shin Bet (Internal Security), now Knesset Member
On July 23, 2002 the Israel intelligence located him at his home and dropped a one-ton bomb on the house, killing him and 14 family members and friends.
Using one of these “world courts,” the Palestinian Center for Human Rights has filed a suit against seven Israeli military leaders for war crimes.
An Israeli foreign minister spokesman said it is just one more cynical attempt at promoting a political move against Israel. Of course, there is no mention of the hundreds of Israelis Shehadeh was responsible for murdering during the Intifada.
Knesset member Avi Dichter, one of the officials named in the case, said the Spanish people have failed to differentiate between terror and the counter-terror measures.
“What’s surprising is that [in this case] in Spain, which was hit by Muslim terrorism in 2004, that a judge finds it hard to tell the difference between fighting terror and what he calls ‘crimes against humanity.’
“Every child knew that Shehadeh was an archmurderer, that he has the blood of hundreds on his hands. Unfortunately, taking him out resulted in innocent casualties, but we are fighting terrorists who use civilians as human shields.” (Ynetnews.com 4May09)
Thinking about this turn of events, I wonder if the United States should ever be so fortunate as to locate and take out Osama Bin Laden, even if he is hiding among civilians, would these self-appointed judges of the world attempt to try American generals and officers for war crimes? Just wondering.
An Israeli organization has conceived a unique plan to defend Israel. The Terror Victims Association by the name of Almagor is preparing a lawsuit against NATO personnel who approved bombings in Yugoslavia in the 1990s that killed some 2,500 civilians.
Top Spanish nationals are named in Almagor’s case, as are officials from all European NATO member countries.
Salah Shehadeh, one of the founders of the Hamas Terrorist Organization
Almagor admitted that the Yugoslavian case was meant to “embarrass or open a Pandora’s box” that would make third parties think twice before accepting court cases filed against Israel by the Palestinians.
The Israeli organization stated that the lawsuit would be pressed in every country that decided to sue Israeli officials for war crimes allegedly committed in Gaza. (Jerusalem Post, 5May09)
However, don’t think that Israel is out of the woods from myriad attacks yet coming its way. In the next few days the U.N. will be interrogating Israel when she appears before the U.N. Committee Against Torture in Geneva as to her treatment of Palestinian detainees, the closure of the Gaza crossings, the West Bank security barrier, etc., etc.
Israel recently met with the World Bank people, gave them a report showing that Israel has fulfilled all its obligations under the water agreement with the Palestinians and has even extensively surpassed the obligatory quantity. The World Bank report came out very negative against Israel. Of course. (Ibid., 1May09)
And there are all kinds of U.N. committees preparing to investigate Israel’s “alarming” actions in the Gaza war against terrorists and rocket launching.
Have you noticed? Not a single one of these judges of the universe have taken on any of the terrorist organizations. Not one.
Last month we received contributions to cover two books (for a total of 4 booklets), for which we are very thankful! We have another 33 to go!
Before his death in 1973, Gordon Lindsay, founder of Christ for the Nations, authored a Bible course called “Through the Bible” series. Lindsay teaches the personality of God and the way He deals with human beings by analyzing the lives of the men and women of the Old Testament.
Although Rabbinical authorities of course teach from the Bible, they do not usually deal with the deep spiritual relationship between God and man.
For the Israeli reader, this will be a fresh new way of looking at the Bible characters and learning from them what God wants and expects from us today.
This Bible course of 37 booklets was created to give readers a love of the Scriptures.
We wish to translate the series into Hebrew.
Each book will cost $1,750 to translate, edit, proofread, typeset, print and distribute (£1270; €1370)
Your gift will help Israelis mature in their faith - which means they will be strengthened to multiply themselves by reaching new Israelis who are searching for the truth!
Worship Conference Hosted at Congregation Tiferet Yeshua
Click to watch short video about the Conference:
Believers in the Western World have so many spiritual riches. I wonder if they really know how fortunate, how blessed they are!
Conferences on prayer, on worship, on character, on growing spiritually from every direction... Bible studies from the finest of teachers... Television programs of choice men and women of God... Books, worship tapes... sermon CDs... seminar DVDs...
Israel on the other hand, is still a pioneer spiritual harvest field. Therefore, when preachers, teachers, men and women of God who have gifts of healing, prophecy, deliverance and administration come to Israel, they may be preaching to only a couple of hundred people - not the hundreds and thousands in the rest of the free world.
But oh! The results are eternal! And Israelis get a taste of the richness of the Lord Yeshua’s world-wide body - Jew and Gentile!
Last month, Pastors Sion Alford and Zach Neese, who have oversight of the 150-strong worship teams at Gateway Church in Southlake, Texas, taught our congregation on “Why Worship?” “Why praise?” “How to worship.” “What is a true worshipper?”
Our congregation... sorry... we don’t have words! We received! We grew! We know more about what it is to worship in SPIRIT and in TRUTH!
THANK YOU SION AND ZACH!
OUR WORSHIP TEAM DRINKS IT IN!
After the praise and worship seminar, our worship team sat for three hours with Sion, his wife Shannon and Zach, asking questions without end about the spiritual and operational aspects of leading worship, and of course practical tips that can help build a healthy, growing family of worshipers.
The Israeli ministry we are a part of has persevered 33 years with prayer and work - by ourselves, our co-laborers in Israel and our partners from around the world - mainly from the U.S., Canada and Great Britain. And now with the scope of the internet, we hear from partners from all four corners of the world!
Step by step, our Maoz Israel Ministries organization which we founded in 1976 has grown year by year. We have almost never received large sums from very wealthy people, but consistent offerings from partners like you who are a vital part of this ministry and who faithfully give month after month.
As we began new outreaches, we knew we would have to find believing Israeli employees. Because of the very tiny pool of believers in all Israel, nearly everyone we hired we had to send for job training - from computer courses to college education.
Now, Maoz has a team of sixteen workers in Tel Aviv - everyone handpicked and trained. Maoz serves the Israeli Body at large through our publishing company, our humanitarian aid to believers, through our monthly help to different Israeli ministries and congregations and through partnering with other Israeli ministries for special projects.
When we started the congregation, Tiferet Yeshua, in 1995, we knew we would have to have much help from our Maoz partners. It was simply a matter of logistics - including the high cost area of Tel Aviv, and the relatively small number of believers in the land. Rent, utilities, taxes, staff were all essential in order for the congregation to grow.
Through the grace of God, our congregation now has two strong mature elders and five fine deacons and many volunteers. Maoz supports a youth pastor, a children’s director, and an anointed and talented worship team. Our meeting hall which seats about two hundred people, is often filled to capacity and then some. (Our second floor is filled with kids.) We host a city-wide teen service weekly in cooperation with other local congregations.
Because of Maoz partners, we are able to record our worship services and our messages and put them on our Hebrew website and on itunes. Our media department is creating video clips which serve a variety of outreaches, both in English and Hebrew. (Why leave this powerful tool to the world??)
We are further developing our websites. Our Hebrew website is for outreach to Israelis, both in Israel and wherever Hebrew speakers are found in the world. The internet can reach Israelis in the farthest parts of the earth.
We here at Maoz’ ministries are dependent on God’s mercy and power, and your faithfulness and passion to pray and give!
We say all this to just remind you that you are an integral part of this triangle. What you invest in your prayers and contributions is what we will use to minister to the Israeli people, and what the Holy Spirit will anoint to bring forth a harvest.
Without any doubt in our minds, we are rushing towards the last days. Corruption, blatant sin, injustice and violence have covered the earth.
What we do now for the Kingdom of God is the only thing that will not be burned up on the Day that we meet our Master.
Therefore, know that we are ever reminded of your care and love and the importance of your sacrifice. Often, we look in wonder at the reports and notes we receive showing how our faithful partners give and give and pray and pray.
May the God who owes no man, richly repay you - as we know He will!
Ari & Shira Sorko-Ram
P.S. As you give, please remember to pray with us that God’s hand will bless all of our Maoz family of partners, that they in turn can continue to bless this ministry - in spite of the financial woes throughout the world.
Partner with Maoz today by supporting our projects: