Thursday, March 24, 2011

Egypt Air Removes Israel from Map

Egypt Air removes Israel from map.

Jordan stretches to sea in online map by Egypt's largest airline, though it continues to fly to Israel. Egypt Air, the largest airline in Egypt, has removed Israel from the map – literally. On its website, Ynet has learned, Jordan's land reaches the Mediterranean Sea.

The airline's subsidiary, Air Sinai, flies to Israel regularly, but customers seeking flights to Ben Gurion National Airport will have a hard time finding them. On the map are the names of the Mideast capitals – Amman, Beirut, and Damascus – but Israel is nowhere to be found.

For full article click here:

Yoav Zitun
Published: 03.23.11, 09:20 / Israel News

Saturday, February 19, 2011

I Am So Grateful to the Jews

 It's been a month since I went on my brief pilgrimage to Israel. I wish, in one sense, I could choose a different word to describe it. Sojourn, maybe: a lengthy and leisurely stay. There is so much to drink in, one could easily be satiated for a lifetime, even in the barrenest parts. Perhaps I'll go there one day and open up a hotel chain for myself: Extended Stay Israel. In the meantime, I can't wait until March of next year when, God willing, a LakeView group will experience the Holy Land together.

As a Christian, I am so grateful to Judaism and to Jews for the incredible heritage they have passed on to me, even though that would strike them as a strange turn of phrase. After all, I am a "Goy" (Gentile) and they are Jews with a history and identity and self-awareness I can't come close to understanding or entering into.

One of the things this trip did was to powerfully impress upon me this unequaled otherness of Jews and of Israel. Since Abraham fathered the nation, they have been God's chosen people with the utterly unique blessing and burden which that relationship entails.

Jews produced the Tanakh (the Old Testament), the only God-inspired Scriptures (other than the later New Testament). Their reverence for God and His Word, along with a dogged tenacity, guaranteed a scrupulously copied Scripture in the form of such priceless manuscripts as the Aleppo Codex. Transcribed by Massoretic scribes in the beautiful city of Tiberias, where I stayed on western side of the Sea of Galilee, it is now housed in The Shrine of the Book in Jerusalem.

Our knowledge of God the Creator, the Holy One of Israel, comes primarily from these rich Scriptures-- from Genesis through to Malachi (though the order differs in the Hebrew Bible). The Decalogue (Ten Commandments), which has so shaped Western civilization, comes from Moses, a Jew. The great heroes and examples of the Faith, from Joseph to David to Elijah, are all Jews. The nation, whose tempestuous relationship with her God becomes a parable of every human's sinfulness and need for redemption, is the Israelite nation, now constituted as the Israeli nation. Jews.

What other nation has enjoyed the intimacy with God they have? What other nation has endured the privation and persecution they have: exiled time and again, scattered to the four corners of the earth in a two thousand year Diaspora, exterminated by the millions, and regathered to the land promised to them thousands of years before?

Kind of patronizing for a Gentile to so blithely thank the Jews for their legacy.

Yet it was from Jewish stock that my Messiah came. His coming and birthplace and life and death, and even resurrection, was prophesied in the Jewish Scriptures--though, of course, they would "dispute such an interpretation of those particular texts." Jesus was Jewish on both sides, his lineage tracing back to King David. Some recognized him as the Promised One and cried, "Hosanna to the Son of David" as he entered Jerusalem. Others, more loudly and powerfully, screamed, "We have no king but Caesar. Crucify him!" And so he was murdered. No sanitized way to describe it.

And yet, "the Jews killed Jesus" is one of the most twisted and perverse phrases to ever adorn lips, given how it has been used. Is the statement true? Of course it is. But it is made to be the whole truth when it is only a small part of the truth. And so it becomes, ultimately, an untruth. It becomes a club. It becomes a crucifix, the new cross to which all Jews other than Jesus are nailed.

Of course it is true that Jews killed Jesus. But so did the Romans. In fact, the Jews could not have succeeded without Roman (read "Gentile") blessing. Stoning was the "preferred" method of Jewish execution; crucifixion is entirely Roman. In actuality it was Roman soldiers who flogged him to within an inch of death, nailed his hands and feet, and pierced his side. Ascribing sole, or even primary, responsibility to the Jews for Jesus' death is as foolish as Pontius Pilate thinking he could claim innocence because the order for Jesus' execution was accompanied by a the order for a bowl of water with which he tried to wash his hands of the matter.

The fact is we are all complicit: Jew and Gentile. You could even argue that Gentiles are doubly complicit. Just as we are somehow complicit in the sin in the Garden by Adam and Eve, the representative heads of the human race, the nation of Israel is not just about one ethnic group, but at some level about us all. Their specific rejection of Christ as King in the space and time of first century Palestine was enacted immediately by Roman/Gentile law, and is repeated time and again today by Gentiles and Jews who continue to reject the kingship of Jesus.

The issue is not that the Jews killed Jesus. But that we all killed him. Right after we all rejected him. And that we continue to reject him and, in essence, "are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace" with each additional rejection (Hebrews 6:6).

As a Gentile, I am so grateful to God and to the Jews, for Jesus. I put that comma in there on purpose, lest you read 'Jews for Jesus.' I am so grateful I can be a 'Gentile for Jesus' and that the Jewish Messiah is my Christ, also. My King. My Savior. That is an unparalleled gift. But my heart is heavy that there are so few Jews for Jesus.

There is a bitter sweetness to this. The great Jewish rabbi, Paul of Tarsus, who studied under Gamaliel wrote: "Brothers, my heart's desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved" (Romans 10:1). "Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious" (Romans 11:11). "Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of Gentiles has come in." (Romans 11:25).

I am one of those Gentiles, saved now and for eternity by the Jewish Messiah.

Like one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised and we esteemed him not.

Surely he took our infirmities
and carried our sorrows,
yet we considered him stricken by God,
smitten by him, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was punished for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
- Isaiah 53:3-6

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Kosher Kiwi Found Dead in Blizzard: Blog Moving

In what appears to be the latest tragedy of the two-thousand mile long snow storm that has impacted one-third of Americans, a small kiwi was found frozen solid by authorities on the side of a street this afternoon in Stoughton, Wisconsin.

"It's just tragic," said Olaf Pflaum, of the Wisconsin Bird Association. "Kiwi are seldom seen this far north. They are an indiginous bird to some country in the South Pacific. New Zealand, I think. And they are flightless, which makes this one's trek all the more remarkable."

Pflaum speculates that the bird probably walked all the way to Wisconsin from its port of entry, most likely Los Angeles. "Poor little thing. Walked all this way just to get stuck in a snowstorm. I'll never forget its little lifeless eyes staring up at me from the snow as long as I live," he said, and promptly blew his nose.

The bird had no identification on it, other than a small label taped to its left leg. We reproduce the contents of the label here in full:

"I am the Kosher Kiwi. In the event of my death, my journey has come to an end. Please go to:"

Authorities have fanned out in the immediate area and are listening for birdcalls in an attempt to notify next of kin.