Christian Coalition

Speaker Boehner: Another Court Rules Against President Obama's Unilateral Actions

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) released the following statement after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit announced its decision in Halbig v. Burwell, which centered on the legality of subsidies offered under the Affordable Care Act:

“For the second time in a month, the courts have ruled against the president’s unilateral actions regarding ObamaCare.  The president has demonstrated he believes he has the power to make his own laws.  That’s not the way our system of government was designed to work.  That’s why the House will act next week to authorize a lawsuit to uphold the rule of law and protect our Constitution.  This isn't about Republicans versus Democrats; it’s about the Constitution versus unconstitutional and unilateral actions by the Executive Branch, and protecting our democracy... (READ MORE)

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Israelis are Givers; Palestinians are Takers

Whoever wins the war of public opinion will smell victorious.  Hamas knows this and they expertly play to the media who buy into all their twisted fairytales.  Hamas plays the victim role beautifully and flawlessly, calling the media to come see what Israel did.   Hamas lacks conscience, lacks compassion and Hamas lacks any desire to live as a member of the civilized world.  But the media never seems to report truth.  The Palestinians are takers.  The Israelis are the givers.  It’s time to turn the tide of public opinion.

With Palestinian people cheering, Hamas indiscriminately fires rockets at Israeli civilians.  But Israeli soldiers aim only for military targets, and they are exceedingly accurate.  It is sad and frightening that Hamas locates rocket launchers and weapons in civilian neighborhoods. How can Israel not hurt civilians when Hamas weaponry is deliberately placed in hospitals, schools, mosques and apartment complexes?   Why does the media continue to call attention to dead Palestinian civilians, complete with pictures of bloodied, gauze-covered women and children, and then point the finger at Israel when the blame should be placed squarely on Hamas?

The public never hears of the devastation and the trauma being simultaneously suffered by the Israeli people... (READ MORE)

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McConnell Speaks in Defense of the First Amendment

U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell delivered the following remarks on Wednesday before the Senate Rules Committee regarding the DISCLOSE Act:

“Thank you for the opportunity to be here and to share my views on the DISCLOSE Act.

“I’ll get right to it.

“This proposal is not new. This is the third time we’ve seen it. But it is precisely because of the doggedness of the proponents of this bill that I have come here before you today.

“For more than two centuries, we’ve had a regularly scheduled election in this country.

“Every two years, the major parties present a vision for the future with confidence in the people, with confidence that in the marketplace of ideas, the best arguments will win out. And yet every two years now, with near metronomic regularity, our friends on the other side can now be expected to propose some new attempt to silence their critics... (READ MORE)

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Finding Hope in the Faithfulness of God

There are times in the lives of all believers when they may face doubts and discouragement. No matter what the reason for one’s disappointment, the Bible offers guidance as well as examples of others who have experienced the same. But today, we can find considerable encouragement not just in the biblical stories of the Israelites of old, but in the story of God’s faithfulness to His people throughout history, even up until today.

The Faith of Our Fathers

The Puritans were so encouraged by the story of the ancient Israelites that they took from it direction for themselves. They yearned for freedom from their “bondage” of persecution at the hands of the corrupt state church, just as the ancient Israelites had been freed from slavery in Egypt. So, the Puritans crossed their “Red Sea,” which was the Atlantic Ocean, and arrived on the shores of their “Promised Land,” upon which they founded a nation built on religious freedom... (READ MORE)

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Top 10 Bipartisan Jobs Bills Blocked by Senate Democrats

Under the control of Senate Democrats, “The Senate went three months this spring without voting on a single legislative amendment, the nitty-gritty kind of work usually at the heart of congressional lawmaking,” The Washington Post reports. “So few bills have been approved this year, and so little else has gotten done, that many senators say they are spending most of their time on insignificant and unrewarding work.”

Check out the stats. Even Democrats have complained about the Senate’s obstruction, and one actually said he was “furious.” When President Obama tried to blame Republicans, his rhetoric didn’t match reality and fact-checkers called him out for it, noting the dozens of jobs bills listed on speaker.gov/jobs that Senate  Democrats are currently blocking.

Here are just 10 of them, ranked in order of bipartisan support... (READ MORE)

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Holocaust survivors from Sderot visit the capital on a trip organized by Earl G. Cox, yesterday.

‘These people have gone through the Holocaust, and now they have to go through this – it is inexcusable,’ says Israel Always founder.

Holocaust survivors from Sderot visit the capital on a trip organized by Earl G. Cox, yesterday. 

Since the beginning of Operation Protective Edge over two weeks ago, Earl G. Cox, the founder and chairman of Israel Always, a US-based Christian NGO, has supplied more than 1,000 soldiers with basic necessities.

“When a conflict is taking place and there’s a need for humanitarian aid, I come immediately to bring my resources for those in need,” said Cox of his organization, which has raised millions of dollars in direct and indirect aid for Israelis for the last 16 years.

He is now caring for a group of 20 Holocaust survivors who have been bombarded by rockets in their Sderot community by chartering a bus on Tuesday morning to take them to the relative quiet of Jerusalem, where he is providing hotel accommodations, meals and activities at no cost.

“There are 300 Holocaust survivors in Sderot, but most are not ambulatory, so once we identified those who could walk, we put them on a big bus today and brought them to Jerusalem, where they can relax at a hotel for three nights and four days,” he said.

Cox said his goal is to provide a much-needed respite during the tumult to the elderly survivors who have been traumatized by incessant rocket fire from Hamas terrorists on their community.

“The rockets rain down constantly there,” he said from the Jerusalem Gold Hotel, which has provided discounted rooms for the survivors.

“These people have gone through the Holocaust and now they have to go through this – it is inexcusable.”

Noting that they have been relegated to bomb shelters for much of the last two weeks, Cox said it was important to him to provide the Holocaust survivors a safe and quiet environment, if only temporarily.

“They’ve been going through so much and are so nervous – they’re skittish about everything,” he said.

“Since they arrived here many have said that they have been waiting for the [rocket] siren because it is so quiet here.”

Apart from providing rooms and meals, Cox has planned several low-intensity activities, including a trip to the Old City and other local sights.

“We’re going to play it by ear, depending on how well they feel,” he said. “Right now they’re just happy to sit in quiet in the hotel. We’re not pushing them, but I hope to take them to enjoyable locations that will make them happy.”

He added that Israel Always intends to bring another group of 20 survivors from Sderot to Jerusalem next week, but may not have the funding to accommodate a second trip.

“We’re not sure if we will have enough money to provide for the soldiers and pay for another trip, but we are hopeful,” he said.

Cox said that he saw his efforts had paid off following a brief sojourn to the Old City on Tuesday evening.

“They were crying, saying ‘You don’t know what you’ve done for us,’” he said.

There are times in the lives of all believers when they may face doubts and discouragement. No matter what the reason for one’s disappointment, the Bible offers guidance as well as examples of others who have experienced the same. But today, we can find considerable encouragement not just in the biblical stories of the Israelites of old, but in the story of God’s faithfulness to His people throughout history, even up until today.

The Faith of Our Fathers

The Puritans were so encouraged by the story of the ancient Israelites that they took from it direction for themselves. They yearned for freedom from their “bondage” of persecution at the hands of the corrupt state church, just as the ancient Israelites had been freed from slavery in Egypt. So, the Puritans crossed their “Red Sea,” which was the Atlantic Ocean, and arrived on the shores of their “Promised Land,” upon which they founded a nation built on religious freedom.

Later, the African slaves in America also found great comfort in the Bible stories as they saw parallels to their own experiences. They felt their enslavement was much like that of the Hebrews in Egypt, and their exile and captivity like that of the Jews in Babylon. Therefore, the stories of Daniel and Moses gave them great hope of deliverance so they sang songs like “Didn’t my Lord deliver Daniel” and “Go Down Moses.” Their hope of freedom was expressed in the black spiritual “Pharaoh’s Army Got Drowned.”

God’s Faithfulness to Abraham

The 11th chapter of Hebrews highlights various biblical characters who believed God and acted accordingly, and it has brought encouragement to believers for generations. The Apostle Paul urged the discouraged believers of the early church to learn from their fathers who, with faith and patience, inherited the promises (Hebrews 6:11-12). He then specifically pointed to Abraham as an example of one who patiently endured until he obtained the promise.

Paul’s message is clear - God is a faithful God. Just as He fulfilled His promises to Abraham, we can trust Him to fulfill His promises to us. We receive strength and courage from the stories of those who went before us and who patiently endured in faith before they saw the promises fulfilled.

But let’s take a closer look at Abraham. While Abraham did live to see the fulfillment of God’s promise of offspring, other promises had not yet been fulfilled when he died. For one thing, Abraham lived as a foreigner on the land God promised him. It did not become the “possession” of His descendants until some five hundred years after his death.

God had also promised Abraham that through him all the families of the earth would be blessed. That fulfillment only took place some 1,500 years later when the atoning death of Jesus purchased salvation for every person who would receive it.

God is Still Fulfilling Promises

God is still fulfilling His promises to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; and that realization should bring great encouragement to all of us. For, just as God promised Abraham that his descendants’ possession of the Promised Land was forever (Genesis 17:8), He later explained that their right to live on the land was based on their relationship with Him (Deuteronomy 29:24-28). It is truly a holy land for a holy people.

If they sinned, their sin would be punished with exile; they would be removed from the land God had given them. But God always promised a return to their land, and the spiritual restoration of His people. Psalm 89 confirms that although He would punish their sin, His lovingkindness would never be withheld, nor would His faithfulness ever fail. “My covenant I will not break, Nor alter the word that has gone out of My lips” (vs. 34). Israel’s promised inheritance and restored relationship with God was a sure thing.

Christians should find great comfort in knowing that although God allows His children to suffer the consequences of sin, using that time to teach us and correct our ways, that we can have an expectant hope of return to His presence and His goodness in our lives!

So, in times of discouragement and doubt, remember the return of the Jewish people to the land God promised to Abraham, exactly as foretold by the Hebrew prophets thousands of years ago. We can find hope in this amazing demonstration of the faithfulness of God.

Susan Michael is the US Director of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem, creator of IsraelAnswers.com.

 

Demography is destiny: The retirement of 77 million baby boomers is not a theoretical projection. 

This year's budget deficit of "only" $500 billion has brought some complacency on federal spending and deficits. It shouldn't. The Congressional Budget Office's long-term budget outlook released on July 15 shows a $40 trillion increase in debt over the next two decades.

While a $500 billion deficit is welcome compared with the $1.4 trillion peak in 2009, the decline is temporary. The CBO's other, more realistic "alternative baseline," which assumes Congress continues current policies, projects new debt of $10 trillion over the next decade, followed by $100 trillion over the subsequent two decades. Consequently, the CBO simply stops calculating the national debt after 36 years. Apparently its models cannot conceive of a functioning economy.

And that's the rosy scenario: It assumes no more recessions, wars, terrorist attacks or natural catastrophes, and that interest costs on the national debt will be permanently held down by near-record low interest rates; also that certain ObamaCare price controls widely derided as unrealistic will continue forever.

What drives this long-term debt? It's not falling tax revenues. After averaging 17.3% of the economy over the past 50 years, revenues, the CBO assumes, will level off at 18% of the economy within a decade—with a separate, more detailed estimate showing revenues climbing an additional 1% of the economy each subsequent decade. That estimate shows a typical middle-class family's income-tax burden nearly doubling over the next 25 years. Unfortunately, even these soaring tax receipts cannot keep up with surging spending.

After averaging 20% of the economy over the past 50 years, spending is projected by the CBO to jump to 23%, 29%, and then 34% of the economy over the next three decades—at which point the CBO simply stops counting. All of the rising deficit will come from spending increases (rather than revenue declines), and nearly all of that spending will come from Social Security, health entitlements and the resulting interest costs on the swelling national debt.

Each day, 10,000 baby boomers retire and begin receiving Medicare and Social Security benefits. And while five workers supported the benefits of each retiree in 1960, there will be only two workers funding each retiree by 2030.

Those who dismiss long-term budget projections should re-read the last paragraph. The retirement of 77 million baby boomers into Social Security and Medicare is not a theoretical projection. Demography is destiny.

While Social Security's Old Age program faces bankruptcy in 20 years, Medicare is in even worse shape because (in addition to demographics) it must also deal with rising health-care costs. Thus, the typical couple retiring next year will have paid approximately $140,000 in lifetime Medicare taxes and premiums, yet will receive nearly $430,000 in Medicare benefits. Multiply that by 77 million retiring baby boomers, and it's clear that Medicare is unsustainable.

ObamaCare is also driving spending upward. According to the CBO, over the next decade, ObamaCare will be the single largest driver of rising health-care spending. To avoid fiscal and economic calamity, Washington must do the following:

First, get the economy moving. During this weakest economic recovery since the 1940s, three people have abandoned the workforce for every net job created. As long as the economy continues to perform $700 billion below its optimal level, with falling incomes and millions more jobless, there will be less income to tax. Economic growth not only creates jobs and raises incomes, it also adds tax revenue.

To get the economy moving, we will have to enact comprehensive tax reform to simplify the tax code, encourage more domestic energy exploration, replace ObamaCare with patient-centered health care, expand exports through new free trade agreements, and limit Washington red tape.

Second, the government must avoid large tax increases. Drowning our children in taxes is no better than drowning them in debt to pay our retirement benefits.

Third, reform Social Security and health entitlements. The CBO estimates that a deal saving $4 trillion over the decade would put the budget on a path to sustainability. Adjusting Social Security and Medicare's retirement ages, means-testing benefits for upper-income retirees, and supporting broad-based, patient-centered health care can not only help close the debt, it can also create a stronger economy.

Today's declining deficit is temporary, and the longer we wait to enact reforms, the more abrupt and painful they will be. It is time for everyone to come together and start to erase the red ink.

Mr. Portman, a Republican, is a U.S. senator from Ohio.

Christian Coalition of America Vice President for Legislative Affairs Jim Backlin with Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) at the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC on Wednesday.

 

Senator Marco Rubio didn’t hold back on Wednesday at Catholic University when talking about traditional American values. Instead of shying away from the now controversial topic of marriage (ridiculous), Rubio had the following stern rebuke for homosexuals who seem to think anyone who is against gay marriage is a bigot.
 
Senator Marco Rubio: “This intolerance in the name of tolerance is hypocrisy. Supporting the definition of marriage as one man and one woman is not anti-gay. It is pro-traditional marriage. And if support for traditional marriage is bigotry then Barack Obama was a bigot until just before the 2012 election.” He just summarized what millions of evangelicals think on a daily basis. That’s called a homerun with the base.

 



The Brody File says well done. Marco Rubio was bold enough to speak up on traditional marriage in a day and age when doing so can be hazardous to your political health.  His speech today at Catholic University, where he talked about traditional values being the fabric of American society was eloquent and strong. It had the right mix of compassion, individual liberty, patriotism and limited government assistance. It put on display why he’s one of the best communicators in the Republican Party and why he would be formidable in a 2016 presidential election race.

Meriam Ibrahim, the Sudanese Christian woman who faced a death sentence for refusing to renounce her faith, has been flown to Italy on an Italian government jet, accompanied by that country's vice-minister for foreign affairs. 

Reuters reported that Italian television broadcast images of Ibrahim, 27, arriving at Rome's Ciampino airport accompanied by her family and Italian politician Lapo Pistelli. Earlier, Pistelli had posted a picture on his Facebook page depicting himself with Ibrahim and her two children. The caption, translated from Italian, read "With Meriam, Maya, Martin and [Ibrahim's husband] Daniel, a few minutes from Rome. Mission accomplished."

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi was among those who greeted the plane, calling it "a day of celebration."

Pistelli told The Daily Telegraph that Ibrahim and her family were due to fly to the United States in a few days. 

The Vatican said Pope Francis had "a very affectionate" meeting with Ibrahim, her husband and their two small children. Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi said the pope "thanked her for her faith and courage, and she thanked him for his prayer and solidarity" during the half-hour meeting Thursday.

Ibrahim had spent more than a month at the American Embassy in Khartoum after a previous attempt to leave Sudan was halted by that country's authorities. They said she had attempted to use false travel documents, a claim Ibrahim denied. 

Last month, Sudan's Supreme Court threw out the death sentence Ibrahim had received for refusing to renounce her Christian faith. Ibrahim's father, a Muslim, claimed she had abandoned Islam and committed adultery with her husband Daniel Wani, a U.S. citizen who lives in New Hampshire. However, Ibrahim insisted that she had been raised Christian by her Ehiopian Orthodox mother after her father left the family when she was still young. 

Pistelli told the Associated Press that Italy had leveraged its historic ties within the Horn of Africa region to help win her release, though the specifics were not immediately clear. Ibrahim's lawyer, Mohaned Mostafa, told Reuters that he had not been aware of her departure. 

"I don't know anything about such news but so far the complaint that was filed against Mariam and which prevents her from travelling from Sudan has not been cancelled," he said.

Congressman Frank Wolf, R-Va., told Congress Tuesday Iraqi Christians are facing a "genocide" and horrific crimes against humanity.

Wolf said the so-called Islamic State "is systematically targeting Christians and other religious minorities in Iraq for extinction."

Hundreds of Christians have been fleeing from Mosul, Iraq's second biggest city. Last week the Islamist group gave Christians three choices: convert to Islam, pay the jizyah tax required of non-Muslims or face execution.

Meanwhile, IS insurgents stole nearly everything from the Christians they threatened to kill.

Those who fled had to to leave most of their belongings behind. Then gunmen at checkpoints set up by the IS stole most of what they managed to take along.

"Where is the Obama administration?" Wolf asked, citing a letter sent to the president by Congress in June.

"The Obama administration has to make protecting this ancient community a priority. It needs to encourage the Kurds to do what they can protect those fleeing ISIS and provide safe refuge. It needs to ensure that of the resources going to the region, a portion be guaranteed to help the Christian community," the letter stated.

"The time to act is now," Wolf said, noting this past Sunday was the first one in 1,600 years without a Christian Mass in Mosul.

On Sunday, jihadists seized the 1,800-year old Mar Behnam Monastery, about 15 miles south of Mosul. The resident clergymen fled to the nearby city of Qaraqoush.

"Even here in Qaraqoush, we do not feel safe because IS militants are only few kilometers away," said Father Sherbil Issou, a priest who fled Mosul.

Noel Ibrahim, who fled the city with his family last week, said IS gunmen stopped cars and stole cash and gold jewelry from the women.

"One of the gunmen told us, 'You can leave now, but do not ever dream of returning to Mosul again,'" Ibrahim said.

A powerful federal appeals court dealt a major blow to ObamaCare on Tuesday, ruling against the legality of some subsidies issued to people through the Affordable Care Act exchanges.

A three-judge panel ruled 2-1 on Tuesday that the IRS went too far in reinterpreting the language in ObamaCare to extend subsidies to those who buy insurance through the federally run exchanges, known as HealthCare.gov.

The case, Halbig v Sebelius, is one of the first major legal challenges that cuts to the heart of the Affordable Care Act by going after the legality of massive federal subsidies and those who benefit from them.

In the case, the plaintiff claimed the Obama administration – in particular, the Internal Revenue Service -- is breaking the law by offering tax subsidies in all 50 states to offset the cost of health insurance. The suit maintains that the language in ObamaCare actually restricts subsidies to state-run exchanges -- of which there are only 14 -- and does not authorize them to be given in the 36 states that use the federally run system, commonly known as HealthCare.gov. 

The ruling, though likely to be appealed, could threaten the entire foundation of the newly devised health care system. Nearly 90 percent of the federal exchange’s insurance enrollees were eligible for subsidies because of low or moderate incomes that the outcome of the case could potentially leave millions without affordable health insurance.

“We reach this conclusion, frankly, with reluctance. At least until states that wish to can set up Exchanges, our ruling will likely have significant consequences both for the millions  of individuals receiving tax credits through federal Exchanges and for health insurance markets more broadly,” the ruling stated.  

A total of $1 trillion in subsidies is projected to be doled out over the next decade. 

A U.S. District Court previously sided with the Obama administration on Jan. 15.

President Barack Obama's choice to lead the beleaguered Veterans Affairs Department is going before the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee for a confirmation hearing as Congress considers a bill to help the next VA leader do his job.

Based on comments by lawmakers from both parties, VA nominee Robert McDonald appears headed to easy confirmation. The path for the veterans' bill is decidedly rockier.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid assailed his Republican colleagues Monday, saying they appeared unwilling to spend the money needed to address a VA crisis involving prolonged treatment delays and falsified appointment records to cover up long wait times. The Senate approved a bill last month authorizing $35 billion through 2016 to build new clinics, hire doctors and make it easier for veterans who can't get prompt appointments with VA doctors to get outside care.

The measure closely tracks a bill passed a day earlier by the House. Since then, however, lawmakers have balked at the Senate measure's price tag. Congressional budget analysts project it could end up costing the government about $38 billion a year -- almost as much as the $44 billion the government now spends annually on medical care for veterans.

Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., the bill's chief sponsor, "has been working for well more than a month to try to get (Republicans) to agree to something," Reid said Monday on the Senate floor. "Looks to me they're going to come back to nothing." Work by a joint House-Senate conference committee "is not being completed," Reid said.

Hours later, Sanders said the situation was not so dire.

He and House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller, R-Fla., "are working very hard to reach an agreement," Sanders said in a statement. "Given the ideological differences between the House and the Senate, these are very tough negotiations, but I still hope and believe that we can come to an agreement" before Congress adjourns for the summer early next month.

Miller has said a temporary infusion of cash is needed to fix the VA's problems over the next two years, but a long-term solution requires a fundamental change in the way the department operates.

He said late Monday he was confident a deal is within reach if the two sides "remain focused on the issues that are within the scope" of the House and Senate-passed VA reform measures.

"Had Sen. Reid bothered to talk with anyone involved in the negotiations he would have known that, but he is obviously more concerned with playing politics than constructively contributing to this process," Miller said.

As negotiations continue, McDonald is likely to receive a warm welcome Tuesday from the Senate veterans panel.

Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., the first senator to call for former VA Secretary Eric Shinseki to step down, said he plans to support McDonald, a onetime Procter & Gamble CEO and an Army veteran.

Moran, who met with McDonald last week, said he was "impressed by his candor, sincerity and commitment to serving our nation's veterans."

"The VA bureaucracy must be dismantled," Moran said, "and Mr. McDonald is focused and ready to take on the many challenges that lie ahead."

Sanders, for his part, also said he was impressed with McDonald.

"I believe that his years of military service will make him a very strong advocate for veterans, and that his corporate leadership gives him the experience to bring about the management changes -- in terms of accountability and transparency -- that the VA needs," Sanders said.

Underscoring the coming congressional fight over resources for the VA, Sanders added, "I also believe that he understands that if the VA is going to provide quality and timely health care for all eligible veterans, the department needs to have enough doctors, nurses and other medical professionals to meet our veterans' needs."

Whoever wins the war of public opinion will smell victorious.  Hamas knows this and they expertly play to the media who buy into all their twisted fairytales.  Hamas plays the victim role beautifully and flawlessly, calling the media to come see what Israel did.   Hamas lacks conscience, lacks compassion and Hamas lacks any desire to live as a member of the civilized world.  But the media never seems to report truth.  The Palestinians are takers.  The Israelis are the givers.  It’s time to turn the tide of public opinion.

With Palestinian people cheering, Hamas indiscriminately fires rockets at Israeli civilians.  But Israeli soldiers aim only for military targets, and they are exceedingly accurate.  It is sad and frightening that Hamas locates rocket launchers and weapons in civilian neighborhoods. How can Israel not hurt civilians when Hamas weaponry is deliberately placed in hospitals, schools, mosques and apartment complexes?   Why does the media continue to call attention to dead Palestinian civilians, complete with pictures of bloodied, gauze-covered women and children, and then point the finger at Israel when the blame should be placed squarely on Hamas?

The public never hears of the devastation and the trauma being simultaneously suffered by the Israeli people.  Israelis don’t play the media “game.”  In stark contrast, Israelis don’t want to be portrayed as victims, but rather as a strong, resilient people, which is exactly what they are.  We know the media loves victims.  Victims generate a stronger reaction from the public and thus higher ratings and readership.

The long-term suffering of the Israelis has been very great but this never makes the news. Each day and night, Israelis must be prepared to run to the safety of a bomb shelter.  They are being terrorized twenty-four, seven.  They never know when Palestinian rockets will rain down.  Will they be in the shower?  Will they be in the hospital delivering a baby? Will they be in the middle of a wedding ceremony or cooking dinner or helping a handicapped person get dressed?   Will they be at the store or at the dentist?  Will they be walking to school or to the bus stop?  Every outing requires calculating the distance to the nearest bomb shelter.  Now that’s terror! An entire generation of Israeli children in the south is growing up thinking it is normal to hear a siren and run.  They know their neighbor’s highest life’s goal is to kill all Jews.  This isn’t discussed, and no one says anything about this psychological torment. In the short time it has taken me to pen these few words, more than fifteen rockets have landed in southern Israel and each and every one of them was launched from Israel’s neighbor, Gaza.  Palestinians do not suffer this same fear and torment.  They live completely free from the threat of indiscriminate Israeli rocket attacks. Israel does not initiate. Israel only responds.

No, Palestinian suffering is not at the hands of Israel but rather at the hands of their own leaders.  When media reports include such phrases as the “Israeli offensive,” they are trying to sway public opinion in favor of the Palestinians but this term is a serious misnomer.  There is simply no such thing. Israel retaliates against Palestinian aggression.  Israel’s posture is entirely defensive.  Israel does not target Palestinian civilians. While the Palestinians strive to take the lives of Israelis, Israelis strive to save the lives of the Palestinians.  There is a serious disconnect of values here which must be brought to light. 

Prime Minister Netanyahu and the Israeli military surgically target Hamas and they warn the Palestinians prior to a retaliatory strike.  This means each counter-attack must be carefully planned to minimize civilian casualties.  Unfortunately, this outcome is virtually impossible because Hamas (with full knowledge that Israel will not willfully target civilians) intentionally puts their bases of operation in the heart of Palestinian neighborhoods and then prevents their people from fleeing when Israel sends notice of an eminent counter-attack.

To illustrate how much Israel values life, shortly after Operation Protective Edge began, doctors at Israel’s Wolfson Medical Center, where Israeli doctors have been working to save the lives of Palestinian children, accepted seven more Palestinian children for treatment for heart defects.   “It does not matter what side of the political map you are on,” said Dr. Akiva Tamir, the head of pediatric cardiology.  In addition, an Israeli, Yuval Roth, as his life’s mission, provides transportation for Palestinian children who need medical treatment to get to Israel.  Roth said this is why he does it, “If we won’t help them, they won’t get to the hospital.” In contrast, imagine an ambulance in Gaza is being targeted for attack because it is known to be carrying a heavy load of terrorists’ military weaponry that will be used against Israel.  What the soldiers don’t know is that Hamas terrorists have stuffed mothers and children in with the weaponry, because they know it will be targeted and, when it happens, they’ll call the media.  In the end, because Hamas cried foul play against Israel, the media will try to crucify Israel by creating and reporting a completely false and distorted picture for the world.

Which is the evil act?  Is it the intentional act of putting women and children in harms way where they will surely be blown to pieces, or is it the act of defending one’s people and one’s land by destroying a military target?  Yes, there is a stark contrast of values between Hamas, the Palestinians and the Israelis.  The Palestinians are the takers; Israelis are the givers.  An the Bible says, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”