Archive for May, 2008

Unusual Weather Patterns

May 28, 2008

Lately everyone is talking about the weather. We see unusual weather patterns all around the world. Hurricanes, earthquakes and tornadoes seem to happen more frequently and in places where they never happened before. Cyclones and Tsunamis have been claiming the lives of many people.

In geology books I read that in the beginning all continents were one big piece of earth or super-continent named Pangaea (meaning “all earth”).  A coating of sedimentary rocks with fossil inclusions almost completely covers all continents. That led many geologists to believe that the land had been covered by water at one time. The Bible tells us about such a flood.

An abundance of geologic evidence reveals that after that flood, the climate changed. The temperatures dropped and it began to snow in certain areas. As glaciers formed, the ocean level dropped. In school I remember learning about the ice age. It was a time when glaciers covered 1/3 of the earth’s land surface, and probably much more.

The crust of the earth can be compared to the shell of an egg.  It is thin and rigid. The weight of the ice mass started to fracture the earth crust, and as land masses separated the continents drifted apart.  The entire crust of the earth broke into sections, that is into plates. Powerful earthquakes undoubtedly developed when the earth’s plates subducted.

An almost perfect match exists between the eastern boundary of South America and Africa. The Canary Islands south of Spain have the same sand  as the Sahara in northern Africa. Greece has the same Mediterranean climate and food as we find in Turkey.

I also learned in school that the earth’s crust folded and mountains were formed.  Geologists affirm that the mountains were built during the glacial epoch.

We live on an unstable earth.  The sequence today is exactly the reverse of the glacial build-up of the ice-age.  The glaciers are melting and the sea-level is rising. The rise in sea-levels from melting Greenland and Antarctica‘s glaciers causes coastal damage and is a long-time concern.  The melting of the ice and the distribution of the mass (weight) are slowing down the rotation of the earth.

We will see many more unusual weather patterns and an increase in earthquakes.  But we need not to be afraid:

“G-d is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we are unafraid, even if the earth gives way, even if the mountains tumble into the depths of the sea, even if its waters rage and foam, and mountains shake at its turbulence.” (Ps.46:1-3)

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One-State Solution?

May 27, 2008

In the photo Middle East Quartet envoy and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair is reflected in a mirror displayed with other traditional Arab items at an exhibit at the Palestinian business conference in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, Thursday, May 22, 2008…. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)

 

The map hanging next to the mirror doesn’t look like a two-state solution to me.
It looks like a one-state solution.

 

Am I surprised? – In November of 2005 the UN displayed a map of Palestine without the country of Israel. – In April 2006 the newly-installed Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Mahmoud Zahar reiterated Hamas’s desire to eliminate Israel and replace it with an Islamic state: “I dream of hanging a huge map of the world on the wall at my Gaza home which does not show Israel on it,” Zahar said in the interview. “I hope that our dream to have our independent state on all historic Palestine (will materialize).”

This dream, he added, “will become real one day. I’m certain of this because there is no place for the state of Israel on this land.”

Just one day after the Annapolis conference at which the PA recognized the State of Israel’s right to exist in peace and security, the PA’s official television station screened a map that shows a Palestinian state in place of Israel.

G-D proclaimed his plan for Israel a long time ago. It is also a one-state solution, except that the name of the state will be Israel and not Palestine. (Genesis 32:29)

We are living in a special time in history! It is a time when G-D is fulfilling His Word to Israel in the sight of the whole earth. He is bringing the Jewish people back to Israel—over one million in the past 15 years. We are seeing Bible prophecy being fulfilled with our own eyes.

From the ashes of the Holocaust, G-D breathed life into the dry bones (Ezekiel 37) and began to revive and restore the Jewish people—to life and to their ancient homeland, Israel. On May 14, 1948, the modern State of Israel was born. Today the Almighty is showing the world that He is G-D, – and the establishment of the State of Israel and the return of the Jewish people is one of the primary ways He is proving Himself to the world.

He has a glorious plan for His people Israel: “For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all the countries, and bring you into your own land. Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them. Then you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; you shall be My people and I will be your God” (Ezekiel 36:24–28).

Remember, what we are witnessing is all about G-D showing the world that He is faithful and keeps His Word. It is His plan for the nations to recognize the Almighty as they see Him fulfill His promises to Israel.

This is not an easy time for Israel. Scripture calls upon us to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. – You see, there is a G-D in Heaven and He has not abandoned Israel. He will see to it that His Word will come to pass. Nothing will stop His purpose – absolutely nothing. We can rejoice knowing that He is in control!

One day soon the Moshiach will bring peace. Israel’s neighbors will live in harmony and prosperity with Israel, as G-D will rule and reign from Jerusalem.

Shalom – Lilo

How Many States Are In The USA?

May 13, 2008

Us States

Last weekend we stayed at a hotel in Portland where we were watching the morning news. They showed Obama speaking in Beaverton at the start of a two-day swing through Oregon.

“It is wonderful to be back in Oregon,” Obama said. “Over the last 15 months, we’ve traveled to every corner of the United States. I’ve now been in 57 states? I think one left to go. Alaska and Hawaii, I was not allowed to go to even though I really wanted to visit, but my staff would not justify it.” – I guess Alaska and Hawaii are not important enough to visit…..

This was on real life TV news and not on a comedy show. If you don’t believe me, you can watch it on youTube : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EpGH02DtIws

When I applied for US citizenship, the US State Department for Immigration asked me how many states there were in the USA? If I would have answered 57, I would have flunked the test. After all, the 50 white stars in the blue field of our flag represent the 50 U.S. states.

Oh my, and this guy wants to become president of the USA?

When The Well Is Dry, We Learn The Worth Of Water

May 7, 2008

I keep hearing that the recent heat wave and scanty rainfall this past winter created a dangerously low water level in Lake Kinneret (Sea of Galilee).

This winter’s rains raised the level by a total of only 60 centimeters (24 inches) – and 25 percent of that gain has already been lost because of the intense heat.  During Pesach, for example, it reached 109F in the area of the Galilee.

This is the fourth straight year that there has been a less than average rainfall in the country, leaving the underground aquifers throughout the country in worse shape than they have been for more than a decade.  Officials say the Kinneret is at its lowest in 46 years – since 1962.  Israelis may well face water rationing this summer.

Israel has had an ongoing water deficit for a number of years. That’s because the amount of water consumed is greater than the amount of water collected from rainfall. In a drought year, the situation worsens, because the amount of water in reservoirs and the amount of water flowing in rivers and streams is significantly decreased.

There are a number of long-term solutions, such as building water desalination facilities. Short-term solutions include conserving water or building sewage water reclamation plants. Treatment of sewage water accomplishes two purposes: first, it supplies purified water to the major water consumers, agriculture and industry; and second, it preserves the environment and the quality of the aquifers.

There is a therefore a growing awareness of the importance of conserving and purifying water In Israel. In public gardens and parks, the municipalities are requested to give preference to plants that do not require much water, and to reduce grassy areas. Car-wash facilities receive an operating license on condition that they purify and recycle the water. Local authorities are required to build facilities for treating sewage water, and Israeli farmers were asked to stop raising crops with high water consumption, and to go over to sophisticated cultivation methods that conserve water (such as hothouses and improved irrigation systems).

Because of the drought this year, the government decided to cut the amount of water allocated to agriculture. Forty percent of the water allocation for vegetables, and 20 percent for aquaculture will be cut. During the summer months, possibilities for further cuts in the municipal, industrial and private sectors will be examined.

For more than 50 years, Israel has been trying to solve the country’s water shortage problem and has resorted to technological ingenuity to make it happen. As a result, Israel has emerged as a leader in developing water purification, irrigation and desalination technologies. It doesn’t therefore come as a surprise that Israeli water companies take on world market. After decades of developing water technologies aiming to “make the desert bloom”, Israel has now shifted focus to selling its products abroad with a goal of doubling exports in the sector to $2 billion by 2010.

World markets noticed Israel’s water purifying, recycling technology, as companies introduce new water purification and conservation techniques. From ultra-violet light technology to purify water to a recycling system using millions of small, plastic rings to breed bacteria and break down organic waste, Israeli innovations are finding buyers abroad. Daniel Wild, senior analyst at Zurich-based Sustainable Asset Management (SAM), an independent asset management group managing some $8.3 billion in assets, said Israeli technology is leading in two main segments – irrigation and desalination – because it was one of the first countries to develop efficient technologies. “When it comes to water scarcity, Israel had to have a closer look very early,” Wild said.

The Tides of Change attracted foreign companies, investors and governments who were keen to hear and see how Israel, a tiny, arid country has become one of the world’s most important suppliers of water technology.

From the largest desalination plant in the world to the famous Israeli drip irrigation system of Plastro Irrigation, Israel “is the Silicon Valley of water technologies.” In the business world, water is a hot new commodity and that heat is generating more than steam: it is a $400 billion industry growing at about 6 percent per year. But, besides the financial opportunities, water technology is clearly an attractive market for other more important reasons. New technology promises to quench the world’s thirst and to provide environmentally sound solutions to reducing water shortage and water contamination.

That is remarkable. To maintain a supply of clean water, Israelis have for many years had to optimize their liquid assets, because water is such a scarce commodity in Israel. Benjamin Franklin said: “When the well is dry, we learn the worth of water.”

Exodus – The Ship That Launched a Nation

May 3, 2008

booktitle

Last week Ynet News reported that Yossi Harel died in Tel Aviv at the age of 90.

He was the commander of Exodus 1947, the immigrant ship that tried to make it through the British blockade to Israel after the Second World War, with 4,553 Jewish refugees on board.
Under Harel’s command the Exodus sailed for Israel on July 12 1947 and, after it had left French territorial waters, the British cruiser Ajax and several destroyers escorted it to Haifa with the aim of arresting it and preventing the immigrants from entering Palestine.

Harel planned with the skipper, Yitzhak Aaronowitz, to “get rid” of the British escort when they neared the coast of Israel. The plan, Harel later recalled, was “to turn off all the ship’s lights at a given moment, stop suddenly so that the unwary destroyer would pass us by, and then change our course by 90 degrees and steam away at full speed ahead – 18-19 knots – with all the lights out”. On board, Harel also prepared the stiffest possible resistance against any potential British attempt to board the ship.

On Friday July 18, when Exodus was 22 miles off the coast of Israel, Harel was informed by the British that his ship had entered the territorial waters of Palestine and that he had to shut down the engines and surrender. With five British destroyers closing in, Harel felt he could not implement his plan of evasion and instead ordered his captain to ignore the British warning and head straight for Haifa harbor.

When Harel failed to obey the British command, Exodus’s bow was hit and a detachment of troops attempted to board the ship. But under Harel’s leadership the British troops were driven back by a volley of canned goods, bolts and potatoes.

British commandos soon managed to take the ship’s wheel, however, by which point several holes had been made in the ship’s wooden structure. Harel – after a strenuous argument with his skipper, who was keen to continue fighting – ordered the immigrants to cease their resistance and allow the ship to be towed into Haifa. Three Jews and a British soldier died during the operation.

 

Ruth was there. She watched the story unfold. Over 50 years ago, American journalist Ruth Gruber watched, recorded, and told the story of the 4,500 Jewish refugees aboard Exodus 1947 who tried to reach Eretz Israel. When the ship was pulled into Haifa, Gruber was a witness. In her book, she describes Exodus as “The Ship that Launched a Nation”. Gruber documents in text and photographs the journey of the refugees from their arrival in Haifa to their forced return to Hamburg, Germany.

“The ship looked like a matchbox that had been splintered by a nutcracker. In the torn, square hole, as big as an open, blitzed barn, we could see a muddle of bedding, possessions, plumbing, broken pipes, overflowing toilets, half-naked men, women looking for children. Cabins were bashed in; railings were ripped off; the lifesaving rafts were dangling at crazy angles.    The 4,500 Jewish refugees were unloaded from the tattered ship. They were separated from their few belongings and then placed on three ships (one hospital ship; two prison ships).”

Gruber describes the scene in abounding detail – from facial expressions of the refugees to the depth charges exploding around the ship.

In 2007, 60 years later, a cruise liner carrying some 300 Jewish passengers docked in the Israeli port of Haifa in a symbolic re-enactment of an attempt by European Jews to settle in British mandate Palestine 60 years ago.

The story of the ship Exodus, intercepted by the British navy in 1947, helped draw world attention to the efforts of Jews to flee Europe after the World War II Nazi Holocaust and became an important episode in the founding of the state of Israel.

    

The incident reached a wider audience still with Leon Uris’s novel: Exodus.

 

The book title Exodus is the actual name of a ship that was full of Holocaust survivors when it arrived in the port city of Haifa in 1947. Exodus was immediately translated into some 50 languages, among others into Finnish. Uris is known for his panoramic, action-filled novels which often depict determined individuals during the dramatic upheavals of modern history.

 

I remember reading the book and crying over the many tragedies that happened before the world’s only Jewish state was established – and over how they fueled today’s violent conflict.

The written style of the book is easy to understand and to the point. It gives a good description of how the British colonial system double-crossed both the Jews and the Arabs, to the detriment of both. It gives a vivid description of the main characters and their determination to establish a Jewish state. One scene points that out. As Barak Ben Canaan says at one point, “If we’re to be a nation, we must speak like a nation.” His bride Sarah replies “But of course we do. Yiddish is our language.” An angry Barak replies, “Yiddish is the language of exiles. Yiddish is the language of the ghetto. Hebrew is the language of all the Jews.”

Exodus is really THE Story of Israel’s Birth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Rice Problem

May 1, 2008

Rice Last week the world’s largest retailer, Wal-Mart, announced that it is restricting sales of rice – the latest sign of a global food shortage. Shoppers at Sam’s Club and Wal-Mart’s cash-and-carry division discount wholesale clubs are limited to four bags of rice per customer. It’s not as bad as it sounds; the bags are still 500 lbs each.

The limit applies to jasmine, basmati and long grain white rice.

Traditionally dependent upon rice as their main staple food, Asian nations such as India, China, Japan, Bangladesh, Philippines and Thailand were the first to “feel the pinch” of rising prices.

In the first quarter of this year alone, the international price of rice has risen by 68%. Rice-producing countries like Vietnam and India have curbed exports to keep domestic prices under control. There are fears that Thailand – the world’s largest rice exporter – could follow suit.  Rice shortages have sparked protests in several countries including the Philippines, Haiti and Egypt.

Deadly riots over the rising price of food erupted in Haiti on April 4, 2008, due primarily to a jump in the price of rice, “the main ingredient of the Haitian diet”. Six people were killed in the unrest, including a U.N. peacekeeping soldier on April 12, and the unrest only subsided on when the nation’s Prime Minister resigned and the government lowered the price for a bushel of rice.

Last week I heard in the news that the food shortage has even hit Israel with some supermarkets there rationing rice. In fact, some Israeli analysts said that rice prices will increase by 70% along with the costs of other major food items as the prices of oil increase.  

It seems that Israel has more than one” rice problem”!  It is called Condoleezza Rice, who works for the Bush Administration, and is trying to force Israel to give up its land for a terrorist democracy next to Israel, in the form of a Palestinian state. Condoleezza Rice has been the Bush Administration’s spearhead in pressuring Israel to make nice with the terrorists from within–who are supported by nearly every Arab and Islamic nation on earth.

The escalating advance of Islam throughout Europe and the United States is the real issue at the epicenter of the entire war on terror. Believing that the only way to peace in the Middle East is to allow the Palestinians a state of their own next to Israel has given the entire area a “Rice” problem.

Islam intends to conquer the world. Arab oil producers have embraced a policy of keeping the market constantly on edge… Jerusalem is the centerpiece of Islam’s strategy and America will be brought to her knees if she doesn’t recognize Islam’s war strategy and moves to defeat it.

Israel could use much more rice in its supermarkets and a lot less Rice in its national strategy. However you look at it, rice is today’s problem.