July 1997: Volume 19, Number 7


Mohammed vs. Arafat


The following Letter to the Editor appeared in the June 7, 1997 edition of the Jerusalem Post International Edition. It makes a most remarkable point: the Koran, the very basis of Islam, states that Israel belongs to the Jews. All of the Islamic religious fervor fomented by Arafat is revealed as a smoke screen, a sham. This is hardly the first time in history that a dictator has covered his true motives with religious robes. But the following letter gives the most unimpeachable Moslem sources. For your convenience, we have quoted the relevant Koran verses following the letter.

Whose Islam?

          Sir, — Hamas member Abdel-Aziz Rantisi says, "Islam does not permit giving up one inch of Palestine, and states that Palestine belongs to the Moslems, belongs to the Palestinian people, not to the Jews."

          This may be true according to the Islam of Abdel-Aziz Rantisi, but not according to the Islam of Mohammed. The Koran says God gave Israel to the Jews, and will restore them to it in the End of Days: "Then We [Allah] said to the Israelites: Dwell in the land. When the promise of the hereafter comes to be fulfilled, We shall assemble you all together." (Koran, sura 17, "Night Journey," verse 104).

          Immediately preceding this verse, the Koran describes what happened to Pharaoh for oppressing the Jews and preventing their return to the Land of Israel (Koran, sura 17, "Night Journey," verses 100-103).

          Abdel-Aziz Rantisi and his Hamas associates would do well to consider what Allah did to Pharaoh, "together with all who were with him."

Aryeh Gallin, President
Root & Branch Association Ltd., Jerusalem

17:101 And verily We gave unto Moses nine tokens, clear proofs (of Allah's Sovereignty). Do but ask the Children of Israel how he came unto them, then Pharaoh said unto him: Lo! I deem thee one bewitched, O Moses.

17:102 He said: In truth thou knowest that none sent down these (portents) save the Lord of the heavens and the earth as proofs, and lo! (for my part) I deem thee lost, O Pharaoh.

17:103 And he wished to scare them from the land, but We drowned him and those with him, all together.

17:104 And We said unto the Children of Israel after him: Dwell in the land; but when the promise of the Hereafter cometh to pass We shall bring you as a crowd gathered out of various nations.

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Questions from West 47th Street

by A. M. Rosenthal

This column is for the stranger who asked me two questions on West 47th Street in New York City, and for anybody else who wants to know.

          First, some news. A mission of inquiry to China headed by a leading expert on persecution of Christians reported the following yesterday: Beijing's campaign against the Christian underground is increasing. Persecution is generally worse than any time since the dreadful early 1980's.

          The Government has targeted leaders of the clandestine "house churches" of Catholics and Protestants brave enough to insist on freedom of religion and of worship. Sentences of years at hard labor are commonplace; some leaders have not been heard from since their arrests months ago.

Now, the question from the stranger, who wore the hat and frock coat of many Orthodox Jews and stopped me in the street.

"Why are you writing so much about Christians?" he asked.

"Well, in various countries they are being persecuted, so I . . ."

He held up a hand. "I know why. You think if you write about that it will be good for the Jews, right?"

"Yes, but that's not . . ."

"All right, enough, so keep writing," he said pleasantly, and walked off.

          Of course it will be good for Jews if persecution of Christians or Buddhists or people of any faith is known and fought. And yes, I hope if awareness of persecution of Christians spreads it will create at last a national human rights movement in America against religious and political persecution, both.

          Maybe then business executives will voluntarily stop enriching the persecuting government and so . . . that's fantasy. China's religious persecution is not news to them; they could have acted years ago.

          Most of all, persecution of Christians must be written about with consistency because it is taking place with consistency — more, not less. And because of this: Although more Americans are aware and demanding action, they are not getting it from Washington. Western democracies are all pious believers — in increasing trade, not increasing religious freedom.

          And this: If public anger against China's persecution continues to grow, Congress might push President Clinton into some economic reprisal. Washington bears a direct responsibility. It uses the U.S. economy to bolster the persecuting government, its army, police and Communist Party, by investments, imports and floating of Chinese bonds.

          So back to the report. The carefully small mission was headed by Dr. Paul Marshall, author of Their Blood Cries Out, an important book on persecution of Christians (Word Publishing, 800-933-9673) and sponsored by the Puebla Program on Religious Freedom, of Freedom House. While some provinces are particularly repressive, the mission found that persecution has been stepped up in all areas from which it could get reports, about half of China. The pattern is not local but national.

          Despite or because of the years of repression, China's Catholic and Protestant churches are showing "explosive growth." The official "patriotic churches" where Christians can go without fear of arrest naturally have had the largest growth. The underground churches reject the Government's control — registration, licensing of clergymen and what they can preach, authority over appointments, including of bishops.

          Evangelical clergymen say that about 40 percent of prisoners in the hard-labor camps of Henan Province were sentenced for belonging to the Christian underground.

          But the underground church also increases dramatically. The report (copies from indispensable little Puebla: 202-296-5101) adds: "Underground leaders say the commitment required in China to practice one's faith leads to a strong, disciplined and growing church."

Footnotes for the stranger on 47th Street:

  1. President Clinton abandoned his promise to link trade to human rights in 1994. He said that in return the Chinese would ease oppression. Later that year, the new wave of Christian persecution began. The screws were further tightened in mid-1996, and since, consistently.

  2. The report says that in the past year police have beaten and tortured underground Christians with electric cattle prods and drills, sometimes in front of relatives forced to watch.

That's why.

© The New York Times.
Originally published June 10, 1997.

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Would You Give Your Wallet to This Man?


It's hard to believe there are still many government officials who see Yasser Arafat as a viable, trustworthy leader. The following excerpts are from an editorial in the June 5th Wall Street Journal. You can judge for yourself whether the U.S. is making a wise investment.

          For chutzpah it would be hard to beat yesterday's begging bowl ritual as performed by the Palestinian Authority in Washington, D.C.

          Let us review the most recent history of the PA and its Chairman Yasser Arafat. In early April, Israel, in accordance with Oslo requirements, transferred roughly $150 million in tariff payments to the PA that ended up in secret bank accounts controlled by Mr. Arafat. . . . Then, a report by the PA's own auditor revealed that $326 million, nearly half of the 1997 PA budget, had been wasted or taken by PA officials. Mr. Arafat's response was to jail a journalist for televising sessions of the Palestinian legislature without submitting to censorship.

          Now the PA has the nerve to ask donor countries — primarily European nations, Japan and the U.S. — for more money. In addition to about $2 billion the PA claims it is still owed from post-Oslo peace accord pledges, it wants $52 million to cover the 1997 budget deficit. And by the sound of it, they won't be laughed out the door. In the incredible words of State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns: "[U.S. aid] is good for the United States, it's good for the Palestinians and it's good for Israel. . . . It supports the peace negotiations. " What he should have said is, "Why don't you gents just withdraw some money from the Chairman's account?" . . .

          While conceding that allegations of corruption were serious, Mr. Burns went on to claim that "every dollar and every cent " of U.S. aid could be accounted for — as if those funds, however well spent, didn't free up money for less noble causes. Indeed, international aid is the reason Mr. Arafat has been able to channel his allotted Israeli tax revenues into his secret account, which funds projects not approved by donor countries. That is how he pays for a security force that exceeds by at least 12,000 men the number allowed by the Oslo agreement.

. . .

          To suggest that any cut in aid would send "a very negative signal" to the Palestinians is fatuous. For starters, it establishes a dangerous double standard since the U.S. has never hesitated to threaten Israeli aid to extract concessions in the past. But more importantly, some Palestinians clearly must be sent a "negative signal." As long as Mr. Arafat remains a recipient of international largess, he will be free to persecute his own people and threaten Israel. But confronted with the pressures that face normal states, Mr. Arafat will have to opt for peace, an open economy, and accountable government — or risk losing control.

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A Note from Zola

Dear Friends,

          I want to share an amusing incident that happened during the taping for our newest series, Champions of Faith. We opted to film in the Wadi Kelt, an area of the Judean desert just outside of Jerusalem on the east. This land, mentioned in connection with Jeremiah and traversed by Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, is most assuredly Jewish land. But when we made a program at nearby Bethel in a previous series, I felt obliged to carry a pistol for the first time in my life in order to visit an area in which God said to Jacob, "And the land which I gave Abraham and Isaac, to thee I will give it, and to thy seed after thee will I give the land" (Genesis 35:12)

          This time we hired an English-speaking security guard with an appropriate weapon to keep an eye on the open desert, but I felt relieved when I saw the location. It was flat all around, and I was certain that no one could approach us without being seen from a long distance away. As we settled down to make the program, however, I was amazed to see a married couple seemingly pop up from out of the sand and slowly walk by our location. Then a peddler, his arms filled with merchandise, also appeared out of nowhere. I had underestimated the Bedouin and their cleverness at moving through empty sand without being seen. So I made a purchase from the peddler in honor of his skill.

          We have received many letters asking about the reports of a red heifer in Israel. If the Christian community had as much concern about the Lord, salvation, prophecy, and correct doctrine in churches as it has about the red heifer, we would be fine Christians indeed. There was a period in my ministry when I had to bar questions about the red heifer in churches and on radio call-in programs because it seemed that no one in Christendom wanted to ask about anything else. I really will never understand why we become so sidetracked on issues of so little importance. True, if a red heifer has been born, it might suggest that the Temple rebuilding would not be far behind. On the other hand, Israel will rebuild its Temple the moment that is possible, red heifer or no. The use of a red heifer's ashes is obscure in Scripture and would not be a requirement to construct the Third Temple, nor to proceed with worship. We might consider that the Second Temple proceeded for half a millennium without even the Ark of the Covenant in the Holy of Holies.

          The fact is that a mostly red heifer has been born in Galilee, but rabbis with magnifying glasses are finding white hairs here and there on the body of this very popular young calf. With their almost pathological insistence on the letter of the law, I suspect they will reject the heifer. Or, more likely, the matter will simply end in controversy, with one group upholding the efficacy of the animal and the other denying it. Remember, as an old joke has it, where there are two Jews, there are at least three opinions.

          We've had quite a bit of response to our April 1997 article about the Episcopalian resolutions against Israel. We wrote that we had forwarded the article to a local Episcopalian bishop and that we would print the bishop's reply, should he send one.

          We thought that since the April newsletter was prepared during Easter's holy week, he may have been too busy to formulate a response before we had to go to press. But this is the third issue since then, and he has yet to even acknowledge our article.

          We have received several inquiries about The Bible Code. I haven't actually seen the book, but I learned that there is some controversy about it. Evidently, the Israeli experts wish to distance themselves from author Michael Drosnin, and they say they did not work so closely with him as he claims. On the other hand, the book's Rabin assassination revelation is certainly fascinating.

          I don't doubt that the Bible contains codes we have not figured out yet, as well as many that we have (the types and shadows of Christ, for example, or the Messianic prophecies). For the most part, I think we are safer sticking to the open, clearly revealed truths of God's Word rather than trying to discover hidden messages.

          I came across an interesting quote from singer Sinead O'Connor. She is an Israeli sympathizer (as opposed to Vanessa Redgrave, who is a Palestinian sympathizer). She sang recently, "God's Children [the Jews of Israel] should be able to sleep safe." Now why doesn't the rest of the world recognize that Israelis should have that right?

          I'll be addressing that question in a chapter I have written for a new book being prepared by Terry James. If you'll remember, I contributed the chapter "Israel: Earth's Lightning Rod" for his book Foreshocks of Antichrist. The next book, End-Time Thunder, will deal with similar prophetic themes. My subject will be "Israel: Island in the Violent Islamic Sea." I'll deal with the Moslems' false claims to Jerusalem, and their changing of the Bible to falsely support their views, and I'll also show how Islam is the ultimate "replacement theology." We will feature excerpts from this chapter in upcoming newsletters, beginning in the fall.

          Sixty-thousand people have been murdered by Islamic fundamentalists in Algeria since 1992. The world's oil markets are untroubled, so we haven't heard of these murders; but Israel, with its handful of casualties, somehow merits worldwide attention every day.

          Our Congress has again upheld the most-favored nation status of China, in spite of the overwhelming evidence of China's human rights abuses. (See A. M. Rosenthal's "Questions from West 47th Street".) This action is This is characteristic of a government that seeks to appease dictatorships in order to ultimately obtain cash profits. Doing business with China, supporting friends of the Saudi Arabians (such as the Palestinians), or manipulating governments in Central America or Africa, all show the same error: promoting evil for treasure on earth.

          How wonderful it is that we, as Christians, have been given a very different mission: promoting God's truth on earth to obtain treasure in heaven. This is what we seek to do for viewers in our new series, Champions of Faith, in which we explore the lives of the heroes of faith listed in Hebrews 11. We are doing post-production work on the programs, and we plan to begin airing them the first part of September. I always tell you when it is an appropriate time to give. The extraordinary expenses that are hitting us during the summer make this an excellent time to ask for your prayers and your financial support.

          Our Fall Festival Tour to Israel is shaping up to be an exceptional excursion. Our Basic Israel Tour is scheduled for October 7 -17 and will follow the footsteps of our Lord through the Galilee and Jerusalem, as well as visit the Dead Sea, Masada, and other significant sites. Our Grand Tour will be October 4 - 17. Passengers on this tour will see a unique view of Israel from Mount Nebo in Jordan, the site where Moses journeyed to catch a glimpse of the Promised Land. They will also explore the famous city of Petra, hidden to the Western world for centuries, and stay in the Israeli resort city of Eilat on the Red Sea.

Both tours will include the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) and the beginning of the Feast of Tabernacles — the high holy days of Israel. For those pilgrims who wish to remain in Israel during the entire eight-day Feast of Tabernacles, we are offering an extension through October 24. Please call our answering service at 1-800-WONDERS (966-3377), or Cynthia at 214-696-9760 for a free tour folder and registration form.

Your messenger,

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Gershon Salomon & The Temple Mount Faithful: An Interview

by Thomas S. McCall, Th.D.

Tom McCall

          "When is the Temple going to be rebuilt?" the man asked earnestly, although with something of a humorous glint in his eyes. We were sitting at the speaker's table at the farewell dinner in Jerusalem for Zola's December 1996 tour group. I responded in kind, "That's interesting, I was going to ask you the same question."

          "But you wrote the book," continued Gershon Salomon, leader of the now-famous group in Israel called the Temple Mount Faithful, as he referred to Satan in the Sanctuary, the first book that Zola and I wrote together (long ago, it seems) in 1973.

          "Yes, but you made the foundation stone," I replied, as if I needed to remind him of the most significant thing, from a prophetic point of view, that he had ever done. We laughed, but this exchange launched a discussion that lasted for over thirty minutes about the future Temple in Jerusalem.

          The atmosphere of the conversation was lighthearted as we discussed this important and very serious part of biblical prophecy. At the table were two of Gershon's trusted associates, along with some of Zola's tour staff. I was delighted to talk personally with this man, about whom I had read much in the news media but had never before met.

          For those readers who are not familiar with Gershon Salomon, he is the leader of the small but resolute group that is determined to lay the consecrated foundation stone for the Third Temple. The Temple Mount Faithful went to great lengths to produce a proper stone according to biblical requirements, and performed the very serious ceremony of anointing it with the specified water from the Pool of Siloam. It was their intention a few years ago to place this consecrated stone on the Temple Mount as the first step in the great task of rebuilding the Temple of God in Jerusalem. Their efforts were met with considerable resistance, however, both from Arab Moslems who feared that such an act would lead to the destruction of the Dome of the Rock, and also from Jewish leaders who disagreed with Gershon on religious and geo-political grounds.

          In Israel there are some changes underway. The Palestinians have built a casino called The Oasis outside of Jericho in order to raise a lot of cash. Israelis and visitors are cordially invited to gamble, but some of the Palestinians themselves disapprove. The Hamas, whose usual specialty is blowing people up, were religiously wounded. They said the place reminded them of Rahab, harlot of Jericho, who said to Joshua and his men, "I know that the Lord hath given you the land." Hamas thinks that the casino owners are playing into the hands of the Israelis.

          I'm afraid the casino is an example of what the Palestinians do with the land when they acquire it. They are not an advanced culture, and they have never founded an indigenous economy. As a matter of fact, they are dependent on Israel for their livelihood, as witnessed by the fact that they protest so strongly whenever Israel closes the borders in answer to some terrorist action. As we reported last month, the fact that monies are "wasted, looted, or misused...inspires foreign investment to stay far, far away from Gaza," the Palestinian headquarters. Will Palestine really be a viable new country if it is totally dependent on its next-door neighbor for its financial health?

          A large body of Jewish scholarship teaches that only the Messiah can rebuild the Temple, and that no one else should initiate such an activity. The Temple Mount Faithful, on the other hand, represents the much smaller element that believes that the Jews must rebuild the Temple in order to prepare for the coming of the Messiah. From a purely secular viewpoint, Israeli politicians are fearful of a Moslem uprising — indeed, a jihad (holy war) — if they allow the Temple Mount, currently dominated by Moslem shrines, to be disturbed.

          The Temple Mount Faithful tried to install the foundation stone on the Temple Mount, but was stopped by Israeli police. The matter was pursued legally all the way to Israel's Supreme Court, where it was decided that, in order to preserve religious peace, the stone could not be placed on the Temple Mount. But the stone had already been consecrated and could not be discarded. So it was placed in a prominent site, in a circular parkway facing the American Consulate and not far from the Damascus Gate. It is unmarked, however, and one would never know what it represents unless one were told. Such is the fate of the Temple Mount stone, somewhat in limbo, awaiting the right time and circumstances for installation on the authorized site of the Temple.

          The Temple Mount Faithful organization, though small and somewhat stymied by court decisions, is still promoting the rebuilding of the Temple. Gershon Salomon and his colleagues consider themselves to be on a divine mission. They believe that the burden of bringing in the Messianic Age rests on their commitment to rebuild the Temple of the Almighty.

          Gershon is not only well-versed in the Rabbinic views about the Temple, but he is also conversant with the evangelical biblical interpretations concerning the Tribulation, the Antichrist, the Tribulation Temple, and the Second Coming of the Messiah — Christ Jesus. Our conversation not only went into prophecy about the Temple, but also delved into the heart of the Gospel of Christ and the need that both Jews and Gentiles have for the atonement that He alone provides. The restoration of the nation of Israel is not the only great prophetic development of our time. The restoration of the Israeli church, represented by numerous Messianic congregations throughout modern Israel, is also a fulfillment of Scripture.

          Most Israelis, of course, do not believe in Yeshua, or, for that matter, even have a strong belief in God. Only 10% of Israelis would call themselves "religious." This means that some 90% of the Jewish population of Israel is not moored in faith, and is therefore open to the prophetic developments that will cause Israel, along with the rest of the world, to come under the sway of the Antichrist.

          An important part of the coming Tribulation has to do with the rebuilding of the Jerusalem Temple and its desecration by the Antichrist:

When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) then let them which be in Judea flee into the mountains. (Matthew 24:15-16)

          In this famous sermon, called the Olivet Discourse, Christ has already explained that the Temple He and His disciples were then viewing would be destroyed. In the portion of the sermon quoted above, He looks down the prophetic road to the time when another "Holy Place," or Temple, would be built in Jerusalem, and then desecrated by the Antichrist.

          The question arises as to when the Tribulation Temple will be rebuilt. All we know for sure is that it must be in place by the middle of the Tribulation. It is not clear how much before that time it will be built. It may be constructed during the first half of the Tribulation; however, there is no reason why it could not be built before the beginning of the Tribulation, or, indeed, before the Rapture of the Church! After all, the Second Temple stood for a generation after the beginning of the Church Age before it was destroyed; it may be that the Third Temple will exist during the final years of the Church Age. Our Lord may return to accomplish the Rapture at any time. We should not be surprised if efforts to build the Tribulation Temple intensify in the days ahead.

          According to the Scriptures, there are actually two future Jerusalem Temples: the Tribulation Temple and the Millennial Temple. The latter will be built by Christ Himself when He returns to Israel to reign over the earth for a thousand years.

          The members of the Temple Mount Faithful appear to be preparing the way for the construction of the Temple that will be used during the Tribulation. As we parted, I told Gershon, "Zola and I wrote about you over twenty years ago, but we didn't know your name." He seemed to genuinely appreciate our conversation, as did I and the tour staff. When Zola and I wrote Satan in the Sanctuary, we knew that in time, and in order for the Scriptures to be fulfilled, there would have to arise zealous Israelis who would be dedicated to rebuilding the Temple.

          Gershon and his Temple Mount Faithful have stepped into that role, along with other groups such as the Temple Institute in Jerusalem. The fulfillment of biblical prophecy marches onward, moving inexorably toward the Second Coming of the Messiah, both because of and in spite of the views and attitudes of the Israelis and the other peoples of the world.

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U.S. Christians Protest Bill Limiting Missionary Activity in Israel

by by Hillel Kuttler

The recent Knesset "anti-missionary" bill has caused a great deal of consternation in Christian circles. The following article appeared in a June edition of the Jerusalem Post, and demonstrates the Israeli government's awareness of the negative light cast by this proposed legislation. With the example of the dictatorships that encircle them, it would be astonishing indeed if the Israelis were to pass or enforce any law suppressing freedom of religion or speech. The letter that follows the article appeared in The Jerusalem Report on June 26 and eloquently presents the case against trying to limit the distribution of printed religious materials.

          WASHINGTON — American Christian fundamentalists are peppering Israeli's diplomatic corps here with protests over a proposed Knesset law to limit missionary activity.

          In the past two weeks, Israel has received a wave of letters and telegrams, and envoys have been engaged in damage control.

          The campaign began when Galtronics of Athens, Georgia, a fully owned subsidiary of Tiberias-based Galtronics, wrote to Georgia Sens. Max Cleland and Paul Coverdel and Congressman Jon Linder, urging them to help fight the Israeli legislation.

          The bill is sponsored by Knesset members Nissim Zvilli (Labor) and Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism).

          The bill is an amendment to an existing law, which bans missionary activity but does not specify the distribution of leaflets and fliers that encourage conversion. * In explaining the bill, Gafni and Zvilli wrote that Israel opposes missionary activity and tempting someone to convert, particularly minors.

          "Lately missionary sects have been trying to encourage conversion by distributing fliers, mail, and other material which arrives against the wishes of the recipient. The legislators did not consider this serious phenomenon and therefore there is a need for this amendment to the bill," they wrote.

          The bill proposes a one-year prison sentence for "unlawfully holding, printing, copying, spreading, distributing, or importing material which has an element of proselytizing."

          Embassy officials said they have clear instructions from Jerusalem to respond by stating that the bill is merely at a preliminary state, is a privately-sponsored initiative, and is not supported by the government.

* The original law prohibits giving any individual something of material value to induce him or her to change religions. The proposed amendment seeks to add the banning of printed materials. — Zola

Who's Next?

          In the item about the "missionary law" (The Reporter, May 29), Knesset Member Moshe Gafni is quoted as saying: "The Jewish nation suffered enough through its history as a result of attempts to convert it. What's freedom of speech compared with this?" Don't the sponsors of this proposed law realize that if they take away anyone's freedom of speech, they are also taking away their own, as soon as someone more powerful than they comes into power? Who's next — Chabad, the Karaites, Armenians, Arab Christians, Bahais, Scientologists? Why can't people just throw away the books if they don't want them, and reject the message if they don't want to hear it, whatever it is?

— Arthur D. Goldberg
Shoham, Israel

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Copyright © 1997 by Zola Levitt Ministries, Inc., a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. All rights reserved. Brief passages may be quoted in reviews or other article. For all other use, please get our written approval.