News for December 17, 2005

| Bookmark at Delicious | Print This Page | |

Search Watchman Bible Study

PA Farmers in Gaza: How Do Those Israelis Do It? (December 13, 2005) - After years of producing bug-free lettuce and other vegetables for Jewish farmers, the sands of Gaza have reverted to their old ways. PA farmers report failure in keeping the bugs away. The Gaza Arabs who have taken over the hothouses of what used to be Gush Katif reported to the Israel-PA Coordination Office that they have failed in raising bug-free vegetables. In addition, the PA workers complain that their wages from their compatriots and brethren are significantly lower now than what they received from the Israelis.

The Jews of Gush Katif operated 3,600 dunams (890 acres) of hothouses as of last year, of which the PA - with international help - has managed to activate three-fourths. The Arabs had hoped to build on the Jews’ success, selling to the market the Israelis had built up over the years. The bug-free vegetables were particularly attractive to the religious and hareidi-religious publics, for reasons of kashrut. The Jews who first arrived in Gaza some 30 years ago were repeatedly told by the Arabs who welcomed them that the land was “cursed” and that they would never succeed agriculturally. Benny Ginzberg, standing last May in the large Katif-Atzmona dairy he managed, pointed at the houses of the Arab city of Khan Yunis, several hundred meters away, and said, “Those houses have been here since before the Six Day War. If they wanted this land, what stopped them from spreading out to here before? ... When we first came, they told us that we were crazy for even trying to build something here. ‘The land is cursed,’ they told us. Well, we built something, something very great...”

Ma’yan Yadai, a 27-year-old mother of two who was thrown out of Gush Katif - she was originally a Croatian Catholic who converted to Judaism, fled Yugoslavia, and moved to Netzer Hazani - spoke about Gush Katif before a gathering of the National Council of Young Israel in New York recently. She said, “It is difficult for me to believe that this obviously blessed area is the very same area that our Moslem neighbors called the ‘cursed land’ of El G’erara. They have told me that nobody lived in this area from the time that the last Jews left because there was not enough rain, and nothing could grow properly. They were happy when the Jews returned because the rain started again, and the land began to produce.”

Farmers in Gush Katif were considered among Israel’s most successful; their total annual exports totaled $100 million, or 15% of Israel’s agricultural exports. Of Israel's exports abroad, Gush Katif exported to Europe 95% of the bug-free lettuce and greens, 70% of the organic vegetables, 60% of the cherry tomatoes, and 60% of the geraniums. Israel's largest plant nursery was in the Gush Katif community of Atzmonah. Other Katif produce included spices, green, red and yellow peppers, celery and more. Israel’s Defense Ministry sources report that the Palestinian Authority farmers were unable to develop the techniques necessary for bug-free produce. Some of the original Israeli greenhouses were damaged or destroyed by Arabs immediately after Israel withdrew, but the PA was able to rebuild them. As of now, the only crop the Arabs are raising successfully is strawberry.

NANO-ARMOR: PROTECTING THE SOLDIERS OF TOMORROW (December 17, 2005) - A year ago IsraCast reported on the development of the first commercial nano-based lubricant which was developed by the Israeli company ApNano materials. A year later we find ApNano working also on a wholly different application of their technology - shielding and protection. In recent research lead by Prof. Yan Qiu Zhu of the School of Mechanical, Materials and Manufacturing Engineering at the University of Nottingham, England, a sample of the ApNano material was subjected to severe shocks generated by a steel projectile traveling at velocities of up to 1.5 km/second. The material withstood the shock pressures generated by the impacts of up to 250 tons per square centimeter. This is approximately equivalent to dropping four diesel locomotives onto an area the size of one’s fingernail. During the test the material proved to be so strong that after the impact the samples remained essentially identical compared to the original material. Additionally, a recent study by Prof. J. M. Martin from Ecole Centrale de Lyon in France tested the new material under isostatic pressure and found it to be stable up to at least 350 tons/cm2. more...

US House votes to wall up Mexico border (December 17, 2005) - The 260-159 voice vote on an amendment to a bill on illegal immigration “mandates the construction of specific security fencing, including lights and cameras, along the Southwest border for the purposes of gaining operational control of the border.

“Fencing has been designated in sectors that have the highest number of immigrant deaths, instances of drug smuggling and illegal border crossings,” because of the large number of would-be immigrants who die in the desert attempting to cross the US border. The US border with Canada was not forgotten. The bill “includes a requirement for the Secretary of Homeland Security to conduct a study on the use of physical barriers along the Northern border.” The US-Mexico border is 3,200 kilometers (2,000 miles) long.

Iran Could Be Sanctioned for Riling Israel (December 17, 2005) - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad aggravated tensions with the West this week by calling the Holocaust a “myth,” a statement that came two months after he called for Israel to be “wiped off the map.” European leaders said Ahmadinejad’s remarks were the latest “provocative political moves” from Tehran since May. “These comments are wholly unacceptable and have no place in civilized political debate,” the leaders said in a summit statement Saturday. EU leaders warned Tehran they would review diplomatic options for possible sanctions against Iran. The condemnation came as Iran prepares to resume talks Wednesday with European envoys over its nuclear program, which the EU and United States fear is intended to build atomic weapons. Envoys from Britain, Germany and France are trying to get Tehran to halt uranium enrichment. “I haven’t seen any evidence that Iran is interested in a deal that is going to be acceptable to an international community that is extremely skeptical of what the Iranians are up to,” Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told The Associated Press in Washington. Rice predicted the United States would have enough votes at the U.N. Security Council to impose international sanctions against Iran but hinted she was waiting for other nations to join such an effort. “We also recognize that it is important for others to also come to the conclusion that we’ve exhausted the diplomatic possibilities,” she said. EU leaders warned that the bloc was losing patience in mediating the standoff. “The window of opportunity will not remain open indefinitely.” more...

U.S.: PA May Lose Aid if Hamas Runs in Elections (December 17, 2005) - According to the resolution, any Hamas participation in the government of the PA “will potentially undermine the ability of the United States to have a constructive relationship with or provide further assistance to the Palestinian Authority.” In the resolution, passed on a 397-17 vote, the House also urged PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to declare before the election that he intends to dismantle terrorist organizations. The House resolution, which has more than 150 sponsors, says the participation of Hamas in the PA government “will inevitably raise serious questions for the United States about the commitment of the Palestinian Authority and its leadership to making peace with Israel. The State Department lists Hamas as a terror organization. Hamas’ prospects to win more seats may have improved after a sweeping victory in the local elections in the West Bank on Thursday. In another blow to Abbas, young activists in the ruling Fatah party broke away Wednesday to form their own faction. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said Thursday U.S. policy on Hamas was unchanged. “It’s a terrorist organization; we don’t deal with it.” more...

Palestinians: Jews come from pigs, monkeys (December 14, 2005) - Jews plan to take over the world by killing their opponents, Israelis are the descendents of pigs and monkeys, and Allah will soon dish out “the harshest punishments” to the followers of the “corrupt and racist Torah,” according to radio broadcasts and audiocassettes recently distributed in the Palestinian territories. “The dissemination of anti-Israeli, anti-Semitic hate propaganda continues throughout the Palestinian Authority-administered territories” in spite of multiple pledges to reform the Palestinian media, according to the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center at Israel’ Center for Special Studies, which released a study that includes translations of radio broadcasts from last month. On Nov. 17, Al-Huriyyah, a Palestinian radio station in Hebron run by the Fatah-Tzanim militia, broadcast a program called “The Struggle” in which the announcer repeatedly claimed Jews intend to take over the world by gaining control of global economic resources and financial institutions of various countries by “killing their opponents.” That same day, the Information Center’s study stated, Al-Huriyyah played songs calling for jihad against Israel with lyrics that included, “Do not fall asleep, jihad warrior, because justice never sleeps. Take your bullets with you and bring death.” The Center also released the translation of a lecture by a Hamas operative entitled, “The end of the Israelites,” that was reportedly distributed by a Palestinian charity en-mass on audiocassette in Gaza, Judea and Samaria. “Because of their corruption, the Jews will receive Allah’s harshest punishment,” says Hamas leader Dr. Bassam Nihad Ibrahim Jarrar in the taped lecture. Jarrar claims a Jew is “not someone whose mother was Jewish, but someone who has accepted the racist and corrupt principles which appear in the Talmud and the version of the Torah distorted by the Jews.” more...

Intelligent Design Grounded in Strong Science (December 15, 2005) - The Dover, Pennsylvania school board is on trial in the state capitol. Their crime? They wanted to tell high school students once a year that evolution is only a theory. They also wanted to mention an alternate theory: Intelligent Design, or ID. That was too much for some parents. They sued, claiming ID is religious and therefore illegal in school. The judge will decide the case in the next few weeks. So is ID really just religion in disguise? Do both biology and astronomy support ID? And who are these people promoting ID? To answer those questions, we went to the Discovery Institute in Seattle, the major proponents of ID. Dr. Stephen Meyer is the head of Discovery’s Center for Science and Culture. He says to ban design theory as mere religion is wrong. “And in fact,” Meyer said, “it’s a science-based argument that may have implications that are favorable to a theistic worldview, but the argument is based on scientific evidence.” But perhaps these ID experts are not really reputable? Mayer stated, “These are people with serious academic training. They are Ph.D.s from very, not just reputable -- but elite -- institutions. And they are people doing research on the key pressure points in biology and physics, and so their arguments are based on cutting-edge knowledge of developments in science.” more...

Plasma Engine Passes Initial Test (December 15, 2005) - The European Space Agency (Esa) says initial testing of a new plasma drive for spacecraft has been a success. The “double layer thruster” is a new kind of ion drive which could give much more power than existing versions. It works by accelerating charged particles between two layers of argon plasma, gas where the atoms have been stripped of electrons. Esa says it has “proven the principle”, and will proceed with simulations and perhaps bigger prototypes. Esa already uses an ion drive on its Smart 1 Moon probe, and the US space agency Nasa deployed one on Deep Space 1, which flew out to Comet Borrelly in 2001. more...

Genesis Chapter Six... Again!? (December 13, 2005) - Raiders News Update

“When men began to increase on earth and daughters were born to them, the divine beings saw how beautiful the daughters of men were and they took wives from among those that pleased them....It was then, and later too, that the Nephilim appeared on earth - when the divine beings cohabited with the daughters of men, who bore them offspring. They were the heroes of old, the men of renown.” (Genesis, Chapter 6, from the Jewish translation of the Torah.)

Cheshire Online pointed out this week that tales of alien contact are nothing new, from HG Wells’ The War Of The Worlds to modern stories from The X-Files, people love a good UFO yarn. But many believe there is more to Alien activity than Hollywood has created.

“Indeed,” Chris brown, writing for the Daily Post says, “one successful Chester businesswoman claims that not only was she repeatedly visited by a space creature but she became the mother of a half-alien-halfearthling child...”

“Originally the visits, which began when she was just 12, were relaxed and even “loving”, but by the time they ended she says she was terrified...”

The fateful night came when, taking her to their spaceship, the aliens “used mind control to engineer a close encounter of a different kind involving the hapless Ms Brown...”

“Her horror increased after the discovery a month later that she was pregnant.”

The Post feature discusses the birth of the infant entity, gray skinned and frail, which was immediately scooped up and taken on board the extraterrestrial ship.

Nonsense you say? Writing for the conservative news service Raiders News Update, best selling author and researcher Thomas Horn reminds us that “A growing number of Bible scholars believe something unusual is transpiring during so-called alien abduction. They point to Genesis 6 where extraterrestrial visitations and genetic manipulation by supernatural beings may have occurred.”

One group, known as “the ancient astronaut school,” hold that “divine beings” (B’nai Elohim in Hebrew) were super-intelligent geneticists from outer space that created Homo sapiens by tinkering with primate DNA.

Another more conservative club points to a darker interpretation...Satan (as opposed to aliens) was trying to produce a race of mutant warriors by breeding fallen angels with women. more...

Freeman criticizes black history month (December 16, 2005) - Morgan Freeman says the concept of a month dedicated to black history is “ridiculous.” “You’re going to relegate my history to a month?” the 68-year-old actor says in an interview on CBS’ “60 Minutes” to air Sunday (7 p.m. EST). “I don’t want a black history month. Black history is American history.” Black History Month has roots in historian Carter G. Woodson’s Negro History Week, which he designated in 1926 as the second week in February to mark the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. Woodson said he hoped the week could one day be eliminated - when black history would become fundamental to American history. Freeman notes there is no “white history month,” and says the only way to get rid of racism is to “stop talking about it.” The actor says he believes the labels “black” and “white” are an obstacle to beating racism. “I am going to stop calling you a white man and I’m going to ask you to stop calling me a black man,” Freeman says. Freeman received Oscar nominations for his roles in 1987’s “Street Smart,” 1989’s “Driving Miss Daisy” and 1994’s “The Shawshank Redemption.” He finally won earlier this year for “Million Dollar Baby.”

Healing Rooms Movement Gains Momentum - More Opening All Around the World (December 16, 2005) - The International Association of Healing Rooms offers a worldwide list of healing rooms that are currently running, with others to open soon. Though, in some ways the subject of “healing” through prayer or the laying-on-of-hands remains controversial inside some fellowships, the huge increase in “healing rooms” all around the world is something that cannot be denied. Perhaps the most well-known of all the healing rooms in existence today are those in Spokane, Washington, USA. These were founded and operated by Canadian evangelist John G. Lake more than 80 years ago and were re-opened by California real estate developer and church elder; Cal Pierce in 1999. The Spokane Healing Rooms operate four days a week with no appointment necessary, offer healing prayer to anyone, and it’s free. Once the Spokane rooms opened and testimonies of healing began pouring in, many ministries followed suit opening healing rooms in their own cities and regions. The movement quickly spread across Canada, the U.S., and now all over the world. more...