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Arab-Israeli parties just recommended Benny Gantz to be prime minister. Here’s why that’s historic. – JTA News

Posted By on March 19, 2020

(JTA) Amid all the justifiable focus on the coronavirus and its consequences, there was major political news in Israel this week: Benny Gantz, the Blue and White party leader, was tapped by the president to assemble a government coalition bringing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu closer to his ouster than hes been in 11 years.

Buried in the development is a history-making nugget: The Joint List of Arab-dominated parties was among those that recommended Gantz to President Reuven Rivlin as the man they wanted to form a coalition. Its 15 votes provided the necessary majority of 61.

It makes obvious sense: The Arab parties want to oust Netanyahu, whose ministers have reviled their lawmakers as traitors. But the referral heralded a breakthrough of integration that has vexed Jews and Arabs since before the state was established more than seven decades ago.

Heres what drove the Joint List to recommend Gantz for the prime ministership and what it could mean for Israel.

Why is this historic?

Gantz may not form a government in the next three or so weeks, and if he does, it may be a national unity sharing arrangement with Netanyahu necessitated by the coronavirus that would exclude the Joint List.

In any case, the Joint List would only support the government from outside a coalition meaning that sometimes it would vote with Gantz and others in the bloc but not officially join the group in name.

Theres no guarantee that will happen. Last week, a key party outside Gantzs bloc that had pledged support and two others already in his camp threatened to leave the coalition group over Gantzs negotiations with the Joint List.

But before all that theoretical stuff happens, just the Joint Lists referral, and Gantzs embrace of it, means an Arab-Israeli voice at the national table has taken a leap from unimaginable to inevitable.

It represents a historic change for the Arab public, Maisam Jaljuli, a senior official in Hadash, one of the four parties that makes up the Joint List, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency in an interview. It signifies a desire for integration.

So this has never happened?

Its actually not the first time that Arab-dominated parties have supported an Israeli government. However, it doesnt take anything away from this political moment because Israeli politics have undergone tectonic shifts over the past few decades.

Hadash and another Arab-dominated party, the Arab Democratic Party, backed the government led by Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and then, after his assassination, Shimon Peres, from 1992 to 1996.

Their five members were critical ino keeping Rabin from being ousted after he launched the Oslo Accords. The peace deal with the Palestinians spurred the haredi Orthodox Shas party to leave the government in 1993, reducing Rabins Knesset majority to the bare minimum of 61.

The two Arab parties reaped benefits for their support. Those four years included rollbacks of discriminatory laws and major investment in infrastructure in the Arab sector.

But Netanyahus election in 1996, his policy of marginalizing Arab-dominated parties and the second intifada of Arab violence launched in 2000 made those four years of influence for Arab legislators an anomalous blip.

How the Arab and Jewish parties grew apart

At the outset of the second intifada, Israeli police killed 13 Arab-Israeli protesters. Palestinian terrorist attacks on Israeli civilians skyrocketed, and some Arab-Israeli political figures voiced support for the violence. Jewish and Arab communities grew increasingly radicalized and there was a breakdown in trust. The integration of Arabs and Jews, an issue that had preoccupied early Zionists, seemed further away than ever.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at the 37th World Zionist Congress in Jerusalem, Oct. 20, 2015. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

That began to change during the 2015 elections, when there was talk of the Joint List supporting a Labor Party-led government. But Netanyahu, who on the morning of Election Day warned his supporters of Arabs in buses voting in droves, pulled out a surprise victory.

Talk of Arab-led party backing for a center-right government also resurfaced before and after the deadlocked elections of April and September.

The latest election, on March 2, was the third in less than a year and the first that offered any candidate a viable way of reaching a parliamentary majority of 61 Knesset seats. A centrist like Gantz cannot ignore 15 Knesset members in seeking to form a government, if he is truly serious about dethroning Netanyahu.

So the notion of an alliance, however tenuous, between Zionist and Arab-led parties is no longer an anomaly but a matter of fact for the center and the left.

We wont be relegated to the rear, where no one takes us into account, Jaljuli said.

How we got to now: Netanyahu, and also Trump

The Joint Lists move was not so much about its love for Gantz the former head of Israels army as it was about its desire to remove a long-hated rival from power.

Since 2015, Netanyahu and his Likud party have moved rightward both in policies and rhetoric. Netanyahus targeting that year of Arab voters, as opposed to Arab parties, worked to erode a longstanding principle among Zionist politicians that Arab Israelis are equal to Jewish ones.

Massive Likud billboard ads this campaign cycle featured a photo of Gantz sitting alongside Ahmad Tibi, a leader of the Taal Party one of the four on the Joint List who is reviled on the right wing for once having been an adviser to PLO leader Yasser Arafat.

Arab voters saw that as delegitimizing their elected leadership. The message, in their view, was that even sitting alongside an Arab made a Jew suspect.

The billboards delegitimize Arab leaders to prevent Gantz from forming a government with the backing of the minority parties, said Shibley Telhami, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution who has focused on intercommunal relations in Israel.

Netanyahu over the past three years has pushed through a nation-state law, which he said consolidated Israels character as a Jewish state. Arabs, however, saw the measure as codifying discrimination, and another law that penalized illegal building as effectively targeting Arabs more than Jews.

Furthermore, President Donald Trumps release of his long-awaited peace plan in January may have backfired. The plan, with its support of Israeli control over some of the West Bank, was seen as a bid to help Netanyahu consolidate his right-wing support.

But another provision suggested pushing areas of Israel populated mainly by Arab citizens into a future Palestinian state. That sparked cries of protest from the Arab-Israeli community, in turn prompting Israeli and U.S. figures to backpedal.

The result was high turnout among Arab-Israeli voters, which only increased with each election over the past year.

It was also about integration

Ayman Odeh, the Hadash leader, forged the four disparate parties into the Joint List in 2015 primarily to make sure Arab parties had representation in the Knesset after a new law increased the threshold for parties to make the cut. He succeeded beyond expectations, electing 13 Knesset members, the third-largest representation in the parliament.

He used his newfound fame to advance a message of integration, one that advanced Arab equality within the reality of a Jewish state. Odeh does not embrace Zionism, but he is careful not to reject it either.

Cooperation between people, Arab and Jewish, is the only principled political strategy that will lead to a better future for us all, he wrote last year in The New York Times.

Odehs outlook reflects the reality of an Arab minority that has developed a robust middle class packed with physicians, businesspeople and professionals. These people in their work spheres have become Hebrew speakers and formed friendships with Jewish Israelis.

Telhami said that the anti-Jewish Arab propaganda outside of Israel and the Palestinian areas no longer resonates for Arab Israelis, if it ever did.

A young generation wants to be more involved in politics, he said. They feel Arab, and they have an Arab identity and a Palestinian identity. But they are also Israeli in many ways, a vast majority are born after 1948, its the state they have grown up with, the media, the school system, the language, Hebrew, the workplace where they have close friends and colleagues.

The Jew is not the other, it is part of who they are.

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Arab-Israeli parties just recommended Benny Gantz to be prime minister. Here's why that's historic. - JTA News

The World’s Newest Virus Intersects With the World’s Oldest – Algemeiner

Posted By on March 19, 2020

People wear protective face masks, following the outbreak of coronavirus, as they sit in a metro in Tehran, Iran March 17, 2020. Photo: WANA (West Asia News Agency)/Ali Khara via REUTERS.

The coronavirus pandemic may be new, but Jews have a long and tragic history when it comes to viruses wrought by nature or conceived by man.

In 2020, the malevolence and hate-laced antisemitic conspiracies inspired by the medieval blood libel and Black Plague have infested some of the usual antisemitic suspects, and even some renowned human rights activists.

For starters, there are the always-reliable liars at Irans Press TV, the mouthpiece for Tehrans mullahocracy. By all accounts, the Iranian regime has botched its response to COVID-19. Its initial policy of denial led to its export of the virus to the Gulf states and beyond, sickened and killed political and religious elites, and left the average sick Iranian few options.

The depths of the Jew-hatred of the ruling elite was underscored by Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi, who declared on March 15 that Iranians must not use any vaccine or medicine developed by Zionists.

With no rational policy to stem the virus, here is a snippet from Press TVs analysis of the coronavirus:

So, the United States is run by lunatics, by psychopaths who are entirely capable of launching World War III by way of a biological warfare attack on China and Iran, with the Iran component presumably led by Israel. Thats the most likely explanation for what were seeing.

In a similar vein comes a whopper of a conspiracy theory from Iraqi political analyst Muhammad Sadeq Al-Hashemi, who told Al-Ayam TV that a 1981 novel by Dean Koontz proves that coronavirus is an American plot. The goal: to reduce the worlds population. He compared this American conspiracy to when the Jews supposedly used blankets infected with anthrax to wipe out 86% of the native population in what is today the United States in order to have a real Jewish homeland, luridly adding that the Zionist lobby similarly cleansed one-third of the population of Scotland and that the Rothschild family has a monopoly on laboratories that develop biological and nuclear weapons. To top it off, Al-Hashemi added that the Rothschilds were the ones who decided to nuke Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945!

A similar theme was echoed by a political mentor of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Necmettin Erbakan. As reported by MEMRI, Erbakan said, Though we do not have certain evidence, this virus serves Zionisms goals of decreasing the number of people and preventing it from increasing, and important research expresses this, adding, Zionism is a 5,000-year-old bacteria that has caused the suffering of people.

Not to be outdone, a South African BDSer on live TV falsely accused Israel of not sharing updates with its Arab citizens. The young Israeli on the panel, Joseph Haddad, debunked the liar to his face: I am an Israeli Arab and I receive the corona updates in Arabic.

And then there is social media, the most powerful marketing tool in history.

A few days back, the Simon Wiesenthal Center released its 2020 Digital Terrorism and Hate Report at a Capitol Hill briefing.

It was replete with antisemites and conspiratorial viral posting blaming the Jews and/or urging those infected to infect Jews in synagogues. Here are a few postings in their own words and images:

As for Israel/ Palestine, Jerusalem has sent 20 tons of disinfectant and other items to help West Bank residents and even transferred 200 detection kits to Hamas-controlled Gaza. But this new social media posting did not let its hatred be deterred by the facts:

None of those Israeli measures had any impact at all on former Human Rights Watch official Sarah Leah Whitson, who in this exchange couldnt stop her hate for the worlds largest Jewish community. She spread her viral hate after joining the Quincy Institute, a think tank that is already facing accusations of spreading antisemitism. I wonder if they or Human Rights Watch will denounce her blood lust.

But take heart, the coronavirus has not only exposed the minds infected with hate but also brought forth the light of hope and brotherhood.

On Sunday, March 15, the day the president designated as a National Day of Prayer, millions of Americans watched the livestreaming service conducted by a leading Christian clergyman. In seeking to calm a nation, the believers and the non-believers, Pastor Jentezen Franklin invoked King Davids Psalms:

God does not want us to live in chronic fear. Fear is usually the result of increased vulnerability. Thats what were feeling in our nation and around the world. We feel vulnerable. We dont feel we have a way to protect ourselves, but we have the protection of Psalm 91 even if you dont read the Bible by the way, I was notified today that many of the rabbis, in synagogues, are reading the protection psalms out of the Book of Psalms over their people. They are asking them to take those psalms and they believe that there is supernatural power in [reading those] psalms, like Psalm 91 that when you speak those words that Hell give his angels charge over you, that He will protect you, that He will keep you, and that you will abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

As we prepare for the long haul in our homes from Jerusalem to New Jersey, we should acknowledge that we have come a long way from the blood libel and Black Plague that we may be isolated, but we and our neighbors are not alone. We are empowered to love and do acts of loving-kindness to our neighbors and for the stranger. If we do, we will succeed in overcoming the newest and oldest viruses.

Rabbi Abraham Cooper is the associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a leading Jewish human rights organization with over 400,000 family members.

A version of this article was originally published by The Media Line.

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The World's Newest Virus Intersects With the World's Oldest - Algemeiner

Rashid Khalidi on the past and future of Palestine – Middle East Monitor

Posted By on March 19, 2020

The terms century and one hundred years, often interchangeable, shared a strange coincidence on 28 January, when the eminent Palestinian-American academic Professor Rashid Khalidi published his latest book, The Hundred Years War on Palestine: A History of Settler Colonialism and Resistance, 19172017. As it was hitting the bookshelves, US President Donald Trump unveiled his Middle East peace plan dubbed the deal of the century. Although each is aimed at the same Palestine-Israel issue, light years, rather than one hundred years, separate them.

Khalidi told me over the telephone that he chose the title to allude to the medieval Hundreds Years War between England and France (13371453) because he believed that it would resonate with Western audiences. Id read a lot about the Hundred Years War and was struck by the fact that in Palestine weve been at it for over 100 years now, he explained. The war between the crowns of England and France went on for 117 years, so we havent quite reached that, but nearly. I thought it would strike a chord with people.

By using the phrase on Palestine, Khalidi seeks to shift the framing of the predominant narrative from one of a tragic and intractable conflict between two peoples fighting over contested land to a much truer framing. I wanted to shock the reader. I knew it would turn some people off but I dont think you can sugar coat some of these things. It isnt just the way Palestinians see it, I think thats actually how it is: its a war on an indigenous population by an overwhelmingly powerful coalition, led by the greatest power of the age in support of the Zionist movement and, later, the state of Israel. It is like the war against the indigenous populations of North America or the war on the Algerians by French colonists and so on.

READ: The Palestinian artist jailed by Israel for the crime of inspiring his people

Prof. Khalidi sees his eighth book on modern Middle East history as the latest in a wide range of growing voices of academic, cultural, legal and political figures who are collectively, albeit incrementally, shaping an emerging Palestinian narrative that is gaining traction. One reason why this has been slow to emerge, he said, is that, The Zionist narrative was put out by people who were natives of the countries from which they originated. They were Austrian and German Zionists communicating in German, French Zionists in French, American and British Zionists in English, and so on. The narrative was put to people in their own language, in their own idiom and within the context of their own national culture by people who were their countrymen or women.

He added that Zionisms narrative was also helped by its Biblical narrative, which was intimately familiar to these Western audiences, plus Zionism succeeded in allying itself to the great colonial powers of the age. You had an innate advantage with the establishment in various countries in that they were sympathetic to Zionist aims and/or to supporting those aims, especially in the case of Britain and later the US.

Palestinians never had that advantage until very recently and so started with a huge disadvantage, Khalidi added. But there have been critical changes to that landscape which give him optimism.

Ive seen a change in that over the past two or three decades in academic writing, especially on the Middle East and Palestine. Theres been an enormous change on university campuses in terms of a willingness to listen to an alternative interpretation of things and to be somewhat critical of the received versions. In some other sectors of American and European societies I think that, in spite of the enormous pushback, there is a receptivity today that really wasnt there a decade or so ago in those wide sectors of the population.

READ: The PA is provoking the Palestinians with its Israel normalisation meetings

Khalidis book concludes with reflections on the present and the opportunities and challenges ahead to continue to reframe the narrative. He is scathing of the rival Palestinian factions, Fatah and Hamas, which he describes as two ideologically bankrupt political movements whose efforts have come to nothing. Reconciliation will help, he believes, but they lack the dynamic new strategy needed to dislodge the Palestinian cause from its current state of stagnation and retreat.

His concluding chapter doesnt mention what role Palestinian citizens of Israel might play in future efforts. Does he feel that they have something to contribute?

They have an enormous amount to teach other Palestinians about how to deal with Zionism, Israel, the Israel security state and their methods. They have by far the most sophisticated understanding of all of these things because they have the longest experience of it, they speak Hebrew and they are Israelis at the same time that theyre Palestinians. As time goes on some of the isolation that has arisen between Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip on the one hand and Palestinians inside Israel on the other will diminish, and we have a great deal to learn from the latter.

He also finds inspiration and leadership from elements of civil society initiatives. The rise of the global boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel which was initiated by Palestinian civil society and is now supported by international grassroots human rights groups, church groups and trade unions, among others, has done more to further the Palestinian cause than the two main political parties in the West Bank and Gaza, he told me.

Acutely aware of the impact that BDS could have and its role in reframing the Palestinian narrative, the Israeli government has poured tens of millions of dollars into combatting it globally, primarily via the recently created Ministry of Strategic Affairs. Charges of anti-Semitism are an increasingly common tactic levelled at BDS and its supporters.

Khalidi believes that these accusations are having an impact just look at the relentless accusations and witch hunt that Britains Labour Party has been enduring for several years now, or Bernie Sanders current Democrat leadership campaign in the US but, he insisted, it is destined to fail.

READ: Palestinian-American coalition backs Bernie Sanders for US president

Theyre meant to have a chilling effect. Are they going to be successful? One thing we have in the US which you dont have in Europe is the First Amendment. Ultimately any law that is passed in the direction of suppressing boycotts or the BDS movement is going to be ruled as an infringement of the First Amendment, citizens rights to free speech. They will fail. Boycotts are a respected form of resistance to oppression ever since Captain Boycott in Ireland was boycotted by the Irish peasants; then the Indians picked it up, the South Africans picked it up, the American Civil Rights movement picked it up, and now the Palestinians have picked it up. Its as American as apple pie. You cannot make it illegal.

Although they can argue that BDS is anti-Semitic we should turn the argument around. Is what the Irish peasants were to Captain Boycott in some way racial discrimination? Of course it wasnt; it was resistance against oppression. It shows that the hysterical brandishing of the term anti-Semitism to describe any critique of Israel or Zionism, or any defence of Palestinian rights, is so self-evidently ludicrous that I think people are going to be laughed out of court sooner or later.

Khalidi touches on the idea of a one- or two-state solution in the closing pages of his book but said that he is agnostic about what form it ultimately takes. That reality is a long way off, he insisted, and is a distraction to the more pressing message required right now.

We should be thinking: how do we transit from where we are, this kind of one-state status quo to an equitable one state situation, or to an equitable two- or multiple-state or whatever? Its not going to happen very soon and fretting about the details distracts us from the principles: it has to be [based on] absolute equality. You pound that home in a country that is based on the idea that all men are created equal, or a country that says that liberty, equality and fraternity are the basis of the republic, and you have an argument that is incontrovertible. [What exists] is unequal and discriminatory you dont have to use a term like apartheid although its worse in my view than apartheid and this is an ideal that involves equality. That should be the thing to stress.

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Rashid Khalidi on the past and future of Palestine - Middle East Monitor

Whats happening here is a transfer of citizenship – Haaretz

Posted By on March 19, 2020

The idea of population transfer has accompanied Zionism since its outset. Until the state was established, Jews were a minority in the Land of Israel. According to the November 1947 partition plan, 45 percent of the Jewish states population were to be Palestinian Arabs. Under these conditions, one possibility that was discussed by Zionist leaders was the transfer of Palestinians.

Yosef Weitz, who from the early 1930s was the director of the Jewish National Funds Land and Afforestation Department of the, promoted this idea starting in the late 1930s. He was talking about a voluntary, not a coerced transfer. After the partition resolution, Weitz concluded that the Jewish state could not exist with a large Arab minority. As is well known, 700,000 Palestinians lost their homes in the 1948 War of Independence. There is a debate regarding the numbers who were forcibly expelled versus the number who left voluntarily.

Will Israel's cyber spies let Bibi use coronavirus to kill democracy?Haaretz

One of the interpretations given to the mystic-Kabbalist thinking of Rabbi Abraham Isaac Hacohen Kook is that the Land of Israel is sacred, and that the Jewish people are holy. The land cannot be desecrated by allowing the settlement of non-Jews within it. Some people claim that certain circles on Israels right wing are waiting for an opportunity that will allow a population transfer. According to this claim, people supporting theannexation of Judea and Samaria realize that annexed Palestinians will not be given full civic rights, but that it will also not be possible to treat them as second-class citizens, which is why they hope a chance to transfer them will arise.

In the second half of the 1980s. former cabinet minister and general Rehavam Zeevi proposed a voluntary transfer plan, as well as a forced one, for West Bank Palestinians. He claimed that if transfer is immoral, all of Zionism is immoral since it grew and became a state through the massive use of transfer. In the early 21st century, Yisrael Beiteinu leader Avigdor Lieberman suggested a plan for territorial swaps, in which settlements would be annexed to Israel and residents of the so-called triangle of Arab towns in Israel would be transferred to the Palestinian state. Similar thinking can be found in President Trumps self-styled deal of the century.

Ever since the declaration of independence, Israels stance has been that Arab citizens are entitled to equal rights on an individual basis, but not to national rights. This position was reiterated in the nation-state law that the Knesset passed in 2018.

Earlier, when the Knesset ratified the Oslo Accords in September 1993, there were those who said the accords were illegitimate since there were Arab Knesset members among the 61 lawmakers supporting the accords, meaning that there was no Jewish majority ratifying the agreement. This position has resurfaced in recent days, when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as well as lawmakers Zvi Hauser and Yoaz Hendel of Kahol Lavan and Orli Levi-Abekasis (Gesher) denied the legitimacy of establishing a government based on the votes of Arab Knesset members. Decency requires noting that this was the position of all Kahol Lavan spokesmen up until the election.

The right to determine the composition of the government is a basic right of every citizen in a democratic state. One way of exercising this right is by participating in an election. Another way is by citizens voting for their representatives in the legislature. Hanna Arendt talked about citizenship as having the right to have rights, the right from which all other rights emanate. Arendt believed that universal human rights were important, but that these rights were meaningless without the ability to exercise these as part of being citizens in a state. The position taken by the prime minister and these Knesset members denies Arab citizens a significant part of their right to have rights. It is equivalent to a transfer of their citizenship.

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Physical transfer is a moral abomination, whereas transfer of citizenship is a democratic abomination. As noted, it flies in the face of Israels position since its establishment. This position was repeated by supporters of the nation-state law less than two years ago. The connection between the two types of transfer is tight: transfer of citizenship can ultimately pave the way in peoples minds for a physical transfer. Every human being must oppose both kinds of transfer.

Professor Menachem Mautnerteaches at Tel Aviv Universitys Faculty of Law. He recently published a book (in Hebrew) dealing with the possibility of a physical transfer taking place in Judea and Samaria.

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Whats happening here is a transfer of citizenship - Haaretz

The Palestinians Have Revealed Their Plan for Peace: More War – Algemeiner

Posted By on March 19, 2020

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas meets with Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit (not pictured) in Cairo, Egypt, Jan. 31, 2020. Photo: Reuters / Mohamed Abd El Ghany.

JNS.org Palestinian Arabs have expressed, in landslide numbers, that their preferred path forward is armed struggle against Israel. They overwhelmingly reject the Trump Peace to Prosperity plan, and have decided that their rejectionist stance of the past several decades is the course they should maintain.

This persistent Arab sensibility that Israel is the archenemy and illegally occupies sacred Muslim territory has persisted since the Arabs rejected Israels declaration of statehood more than 72 years ago. It underscores the futility of peace efforts supported by numerous American administrations, as well as any such overtures in the coming months and, probably, years.

The respected polling organization Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PCPSR) surveyed the Arab populations in Judea and Samaria and the Gaza Strip last month, shortly after Americas formal presentation of its latest peace proposal.

That proposal was heartily rejected by Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas, and his summary dismissal of the plan was supported by 94% of Palestinian Arabs. Their rejection was accompanied by increased support for armed struggle (64%), breaking all security ties with Israel (77%), annulling all Oslo commitments (69%), and increased support for severing all relations with the United States (76%).

March 19, 2020 6:55 am

Alarmingly, support for a future two-state solution dived to under 40%, the lowest level since the Oslo Accords were inked a quarter-century ago.

These facts alone should cast grave doubts on the credibility of diehard American advocates of a two-state solution.

To cap this dismal formula for peace, the PCPSR described its findings as indicating that an overwhelming majority of 82% believe the plan brings the conflict with Israel to where it originally was: an existential conflict.

Indeed, perceptive pro-Israel advocates have long defined the Israel-Palestine situation using that precise term existential conflict to indicate that the issue at stake is not real estate but of the very existence of Israel.

In short, all Palestinian organizations of power as well as men and women in the street are committed to uprooting the Zionist entity, and have been since before Israels creation. There has never been a Palestinian organization that has advocated a true sharing of the land, much less a mutually supportive pair of states working for the common good of their citizens.

Arab politicians who have seemingly advocated peaceful resolutions to the conflict have taken care to let their constituencies understand that their proposals are just steps in the ongoing process of eradicating Zionism from the Middle East.

On the other hand, Israel has put forward offer after offer that would satisfy any Palestinian state-builders of good faith. These offers are ignored, because thankfully they include ironclad terms that ensure the security of the State of Israel. And Palestinian leaders cannot accept a permanent solution that guarantees a Zionist state on their land.

Obviously, the issue of Israels existence is fundamentally non-negotiable for her adversaries. While Israel is seeking peace, Israels enemies are seeking its destruction.

This latest PCPSR poll should make clear that the current cold war between Israel and the Palestinians is hanging by a thread. The competing Palestinian leaderships in Gaza and Judea and Samaria have created two tinderboxes that could erupt at any time.

Ken Cohen is co-editor of the Hotline published by Facts and Logic About the Middle East (FLAME), which offers educational messages to correct lies and misperceptions about Israel and its relationship to the United States.

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The Palestinians Have Revealed Their Plan for Peace: More War - Algemeiner

15 Anti-Zionist Arab MKs Can’t Be Wrong: President Tasks Gantz with Forming Israel’s Government – The Jewish Press – JewishPress.com

Posted By on March 19, 2020

Photo Credit: Mark Neyman (GPO)

President Reuven Rivlin on Monday assigned the task of forming Israels 35th government to Blue&White chairman, MK Benny Gantz. Earlier on Monday, the president signed the letter of appointment, nominating MK Gantz, according to the provisions of Basic Law: The Government (2001), and spoke with the Blue&White negotiating team at Gantzs request.

Upon assigning him the formation of the next government, the president said, At the end of the consultations I held with the political parties, 61 Members of Knesset expressed their support for former chief of staff and Knesset member Benny Gantz to be assigned the task of forming the government. Accordingly, under Article 7 of Basic Law: The Government (2001), I hereby place in your hands the possibility of forming a government.

The law gives you, sir, 28 days beginning tomorrow, to form a government, said the president, noting, This is a short amount of time, but given the current circumstances of national and international crisis, even this is too long. The enormity of this moment and the dimensions of the challenges we face require forming a government in Israel. A government for the people of Israel. Nothing about todays ceremony reduces in any way the responsibility borne by all parties to create the conditions in which as broad a government as possible can be established in this hour of crisis.

At the end of his remarks, the president added, As I have already said, it is possible that forming a government quickly will require interim arrangements for the coming months, but I have no doubt that this is what the nation expects of its leaders at this time. A fourth round of elections is not possible and the keys to establishing a new Israeli government are now in your hands, sir, as well as in the hands of all the elected officials from all the parties. On behalf of this dear nation which resides in Zion, and for the good of all the citizens of Israel, I wish you luck.

In reality, despite the presidents statement, Gantz has only secured his own partys 32 seats and 6 out of the Labor-Gesher-Meretz 7 seats, for a grand total of 38 real seats. The remainder includes the anti-Zionist Joint Arab Lists 15 seats and Avigdor Libermans Israel Beiteinus 7 seats, neither one of which is expected to be a comfortable fit in or around the Blue&White coalition. Thats because Liberman wont sit in a government supported by the Arabs and the Arabs refuse to support a government with Liberman in it.

So, with that in mind, we, too, wish Benny Gantz all the luck in the world.

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15 Anti-Zionist Arab MKs Can't Be Wrong: President Tasks Gantz with Forming Israel's Government - The Jewish Press - JewishPress.com

Two opposing MK’s bridged political gap, inspiration for modern elections – The Jerusalem Post

Posted By on March 19, 2020

As Israel held its third election in a year, and the US has never been divided more virulently along partisan lines, it is inspiring to remember how two women, at opposite ends of the ideological divide in Israel, shared some elements of their history, respected each other, were good friends in spite of their differences and joined together for a higher cause. Now, too, the hope is that we overcome our divisions to unite, just as these women did.

Im referring to Geula Cohen, who passed away on December 18, 2019, at almost 94 years old, and Shulamit Aloni, who died three years earlier.

Interestingly, the one Knesset committee on which they sat together was the Committee for the Advancement of Women.

But even more significant is the Pollard story.

In the year 1988, I was present, as a journalist, at a meeting in a Knesset conference room, where they flanked Carol Pollard at the head of the table Cohen to Carols right, Aloni to her left (probably coincidentally). According to Judy Siegel of The Jerusalem Post, the meeting was initiated by Cohen. There were 20 MKs present at the meeting and it was decided to form a caucus to help Jonathan and Anne Pollard [who was severely ill] get more humane treatment in prison and, eventually, come on aliya.

Siegel noted that Carol Pollard also met with cabinet secretary Elyakim Rubinstein, the first time that any official representative of the government agreed to see a member of the Pollard family. He listened and was very warm as a person A year later, when she came again to meet with the caucus, she told Maariv that Rubinstein told her that he was certain that prime minister Yitzhak Shamir would do everything he could for the Pollards. The Knesset caucus also reportedly said in 1989 that they would work to obtain a meeting with US president George H.W. Bush to relay to him how necessary it was to lighten the Pollards sentences and to allow them to emigrate to Israel.

Yisrael Medad, past director of education and information resources of the Menachem Begin Heritage Center, says that the lobby was comprised of 70 MKs known as the Caucus on Behalf of Jonathan Pollard.

Cohen and Aloni Who were these two intense women?

According to the Knesset website, Cohen joined Etzel in 1942 and a year later joined Lehi (the Stern gang); she was also an announcer on the Lehi Radio station. In 1946, she was arrested by the British and imprisoned in Bethlehem prison. She escaped from prison in 1947. Greer Faye Cashman wrote in the Post, She was recaptured and sentenced to several years in prison for possession of a wireless transmitter and a small arsenal of ammunition While being sentenced, she and some 30 members of family sang Hatikva... [she] escaped again a year later and hid in the village of Abu Ghosh.

Cashman also wrote, Geula Cohen was born in Tel Aviv to a family of Yemenite background, and was aptly named, in that geula means redemption. She was among the most zealous fighters for Jewish redemption and the restoration of Israel in the ancestral biblical homeland

At her funeral on the Mount of Olives, President Reuven Rivlin paid tribute to her as the shofar the rams horn of the Messiah, the rams horn of the underground movement. He said she was Israels freedom fighter in the deepest sense of the concept.

In addition, one of her best friends was Shulamit Aloni, founder of the Ratz party and later leader of the left-wing Meretz party.

Cohen had graduated from a teachers college, and later received an M.A. from Hebrew University, where she studied Jewish Studies, Philosophy, Literature and Bible.

She served in the Knesset from 1972 to 1994. From June 1990 until October 1991, she was Deputy Minister of Science and Technology. She founded the Uri Zvi Greenberg Heritage House in Jerusalem and in 2003 received the Israel Prize for Lifetime Achievement and Special Contribution to Society and the State.

SHULAMIT ALONI, who received the Israel Prize in 2000 in the same category as Cohen, had served in the Palmah in the War for Independence. She graduated a teachers college and had a law degree from Hebrew University. According to the Knesset website, she had been an editor and conductor of radio programs, active in the fields of education and legal aid and in 1966 founded the Israeli Council for Consumerism. She served in the Knesset from 1965 to 1996 and held many ministerial roles.

Like Cohen, Aloni also knew Jewish sources and her public comments sometimes reflected this. I remember her once urging the Knesset or the government to hurry up and make a decision on an important issue, and she used the analogy, even if they have to sit for seven clean days... (A reference to the seven days a woman counts before she goes to the mikveh.) I wonder if the younger members of her party, or those in it today, would get the reference. I laughed, though, when she finished the statement with a mixed metaphor, till white smoke comes out a reference to how the Vatican announces it has decided on a new pope.

A New York Times article quoted Cohen after Alonis death; she said, It was impossible not to admire such a combative woman who fought for what she believed in and was prepared to pay the price.

Crossing the aisles for Pollard

Cohen and Aloni were not the only ones who crossed the aisles for Pollard, or for the meeting with Carol Pollard in 1988. Among those at the meeting was (Ret.) Brigadier-General Binyamin (Fouad) Ben-Eliezer, a member of the Alignment, which became the Labor Party, who in 1994 was sent by PM Yitzhak Rabin as the first minister to meet with PLO Chairman, Yasser Arafat. Also present was MK Rafael Eitan (Raful), founder of the Tzomet Party, former Commander of the Paratroopers Brigade and an emulated officer, who in 1968 had commanded the Israeli Commando Force that raided the Beirut Airport, MK Michael Eitan of the Likud, and MK Rabbi Eliezer Waldman, a member of Cohens Tehiya Party. He was one of the leaders of the reestablishment of the Jewish community in Hebron, headed a hesder yeshiva there (combining study and army service) and was one of founders of Gush Emunim and Tehiya. Waldman said, We express our feeling to Carol, sitting with us here today that all of us are with her. We will not leave the matter until we have Jonathan and Anne here.

Present also was Prof. Avner-Hai Shaki, of the National Religious Party, at the time a member of the Constitution, Law and Justice Committee and, in the next Knesset, the Minister of Religious Affairs. He lectured in law (including International law) at Tel Aviv University. Shaki said, We need to offer not just friendship, but compassion and understanding.

A column written by Julian Ungar-Sargon in 1988 commented that most of the secular Jewish American organizations did not want to get involved, but that there were rabbis who did, from diverse communities, such as Rabbi Aaron Soloveitchik, of the Brisk Yeshiva in Chicago and Yeshiva University in New York, and Rabbi Bernard Mandelbaum, president emeritus of the Conservative Jewish Theological Seminary in New York. Rabbi Soloveitchik reportedly wrote that he felt offended by and indignant at the exaggerated stringent justice inherent in the sentence.

There was also a statement issued by the American Section of the International Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists during the same time period, stating, [T]he punishments meted out to Jonathan and Anne Pollard for their respective crimes were unduly harsh to the point of being a denial of equal protection of the law

Carol said to the founding members of the caucus in 1988, I am here to consult with you and to plead with you for these two lives. And Cohen added, Kol yisrael arevim ze lze All of Israel are responsible, one for the other. Aloni appeared equally dedicated to working to get the Pollards released, and confirmed her commitment in a brief conversation I had with her following the meeting.

IN SPITE of their valiant efforts across the political divides, Anne Pollard was released only three and a half years after their March 4, 1987 sentencing, and Jonathan was released to parole nearly three decades later, in November 2015.

Now Jonathans second wife, Esther, has advanced metastatic cancer and is fighting for her life, while Jonathan cannot be with her much of the time.

According to various news reports, Israeli officials and, in America, the Orthodox Union, Agudath Israel and the Coalition for Jewish Values, have asked US President Donald Trump to lift his parole on humanitarian grounds. Based on his release date of November 20, 2015, Pollards parole conditions would end in November 2020.

Now is the time for American Jews and political figures, in both Israel and America, to cross the aisle again for the Pollards.

The writer is an award-winning theater director and the recipient of a Rockower Award for Excellence in Jewish Journalism from the American Jewish Press Association.

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Two opposing MK's bridged political gap, inspiration for modern elections - The Jerusalem Post

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly – The Media Line

Posted By on March 19, 2020

The worlds newest virus intersects with the worlds oldest

The coronavirus pandemic may be new but Jews have a long and tragic history when it comes to viruses wrought by nature or conceived by man.

In 2020, the malevolence and hate-laced anti-Semitic conspiracies inspired by medieval blood libel and black plague manifests have infested some of the usual anti-Semitic suspects and even some renowned human rights activists:

For starters, there are the always-reliable liars at Irans Press TV, the mouthpiece for Tehrans mullahocracy. By all accounts, the Iranian regime has botched its response to COVID-19. Its initial policy of denial led to its export to the Gulf states and beyond, sickened and killed political and religious elite and left the average sick Iranian few options but to die.

The depths of the Jew-hatred of the ruling elite was underscored by Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi, who overruled his own lapse into rationality and declared on March 15 that Iranians must not use any vaccine or medicine developed by Zionists.

With no rational policy to stem the virus, here is a snippet from Press TVs analysis of the coronavirus:

So, the United States is run by lunatics, by psychopaths who are entirely capable of launching World War III by way of a biological warfare attack on China and Iran, with the Iran component presumably led by Israel. Thats the most likely explanation for what were seeing.

In that context, this move by these Israel lobbies that are presumably behind this biological warfare attack, and this launching of what could become World War III, are pressuring United States to try to help this plague spread in Iran as much as possible by preventing Iran from getting any of the medicines and medical equipment that would need to fight this virus.

In a similar vein comes a whopper of a conspiracy virus from Iraqi political analyst Muhammad Sadeq Al-Hashemi, who told Al-Ayam TV that a 1981 novel by Dean Koontz proves that coronavirus is an American plot. The goal: to reduce the worlds population. He compared this American conspiracy to when the Jews used blankets infected with anthrax to wipe out 86% of the native population in what is today the United States in order to have a real Jewish homeland, luridly adding that the Zionist lobby similarly cleansed one-third of the population of Scotland and that the Rothschild family has a monopoly of laboratories that develop biological and nuclear weapons. To top it off, Al-Hashemi added that the Rothschilds had been the ones who decided to nuke Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945!

A similar theme was echoed by a political mentor of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoan, Necmettin Erbakan. As reported by MEMRI, Erbakan said, Though we do not have certain evidence, this virus serves Zionisms goals of decreasing the number of people and preventing it from increasing, and important research expresses this, adding: Zionism is a 5,000-year-old bacteria that has caused the suffering of people.

Not to be outdone, a South African BDSer on live TV falsely accused Israel of not sharing updates with its Arab citizens. The young Israeli on the panel, Joseph Haddad, debunked the liar to his face: I am an Israeli Arab and I receive the corona updates in Arabic.

And then there is social media, the most powerful marketing tool in history.

A few days back, the Simon Wiesenthal Center released its 2020 Digital Terrorism and Hate Report at a Capitol Hill briefing.

It was replete with anti-Semites and conspiratorial viral posting blaming the Jews and/or urging those infected to infect Jews in synagogues. (An Islamist similarly urged infected jihadis to share with staffs at Egyptian embassies and consulates.) Here are a few postings in their own words and images:

As for Israel/ Palestine, Jerusalem has sent 20 tons of disinfectant and other items to help West Bank residents and even transferred 200 detection kits to Hamas-controlled Gaza. This new social media posting did not let its hatred be deterred by the facts:

None of those measures had any impact at all on a former Human Rights Watch official Sarah Leah Whitson, who in this exchange couldnt stop her hate for the worlds largest Jewish community hoping that Israeli Jews will die. She spread her viral hate having joined the Quincy Institute, a think tank that is already facing accusations of spreading anti-Semitism. I wonder if they or Human Rights Watch will denounce her blood lust.

But take heart, the coronavirus has not only exposed the minds infected with hate but also brought forth the light of hope and brotherhood.

On Sunday, March 15, the day the president designated as a National Day of Prayer, the president and millions of other Americans watched the livestreaming service conducted by a leading Christian clergyman. In seeking to calm a nation, the believers and the non-believers, Pastor Jentezen Franklin invoked King Davids Psalms:

God does not want us to live in chronic fear. Fear is usually the result of increased vulnerability. Thats what were feeling in our nation and around the world. We feel vulnerable. We dont feel we have a way to protect ourselves but we have the protection of Psalm 91 even if you dont read the Bible by the way, I was notified today that many of the rabbis, in synagogues, are reading the protection psalms out of the Book of Psalms over their people. They are asking them to take those psalms and they believe that there is supernatural power in [reading those] psalms, like Psalm 91 that when you speak those words that Hell give his angels charge over you, that He will protect you, that He will keep you, and that you will abide under the shadow of the Almighty. Read Psalm 91 and when youre afraid, choose faith over fear, read the word of God. If you read the Bible then the Bible will read you, itll detect that fear and then itll feed your faith.

As we prepare for the long haul in our homes from Jerusalem to Jersey, we should acknowledge that we have come a long way from the blood libel and Black Plague; that we may be isolated but we and our neighbors are not alone. We are empowered to love and do acts of loving-kindness to our neighbors and for the stranger. If we do, we will succeed in overcoming the newest and oldest viruses.

The rest is here:
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly - The Media Line

Bibi, Benny and Ruvi: the future of Israel – Bangor Daily News

Posted By on March 19, 2020

Sebastian Scheiner | AP

Sebastian Scheiner | AP

In this Saturday, March 7, 2020, file photo, Blue and White party leader Benny Gantz delivers a statement in Tel Aviv, Israel. Israel's President Reuven Rivlin on Sunday, March 15 said he has decided to give Gantz the first opportunity to form a new government following an inconclusive national election this month. Rivlin's office announced his decision late Sunday after consulting with leaders of all of the parties elected to parliament.

Binyamin Netanyahu, or Bibi as everyone calls him, is the longest-serving prime minister in Israels history and is still in office although he has failed to win three elections in a row. In June, September and again early this month, Israeli voters split their votes in ways that made it almost impossible to put together a new government.

Bibi declared a victory, but he has already failed to form a coalition with a majority in the 120-member Knesset (parliament). He failed despite promising to annex all the Jewish settlements in the West Bank. Even the unstinting support of U.S. President Donald Trump, whose vision for a permanent peace settlement reads like a checklist of the territorial demands of the Israeli far right, didnt do the trick.

The major obstacle to forming a majority coalition is the fact that Bibi goes on trial later this month on charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust. Even if he is found guilty, he could technically stay in office until his last appeal is exhausted, a process that could take years.

This prospect is understandably unattractive to the leading opposition party, Benny Ganzs Blue and White Party. Ganz will only consider a power-sharing left-right coalition with Bibis Likud party (which would command a majority) if Ganz gets to be prime minister for the first two years. Then Netanyahu could take his turn if he is absolved by the courts; otherwise not.

This deal is equally unattractive to Bibi. The safest place for him to be at the moment is in the prime ministers office. Stalemate. A fourth election looms because Bibi can go on calling them, and meanwhile the Israeli state drifts aimlessly: no legislation, not even a proper budget. What is to be done?

So a few days ago Benny Ganz broke the rules of Israeli politics by asking for the support of the Joint List, the umbrella organisation of all of Israels Arab political parties.

The Joint List wouldnt actually be in the coalition government, but the votes of its fifteen Knesset members would put the Jewish opposition parties over the top and make Benny prime minister. Presumably they would expect some concessions in return, which alarms those Jewish Israelis who see their Arab fellow-citizens as traitors and potential terrorists, but talks between the parties started Wednesday.

This groundbreaking deal may never be consummated the odds are against it but it is nevertheless a turning point. For the first time, the real Israel of today is showing through the cracks in its hidebound politics.

Five years ago, President Reuven Rivlin Ruvi to his friends made a startling speech in which he pointed out that barely half the children now in Israeli primary schools will grow up to be Zionists. Right down to the end of the 20th century a large majority of the population was secular Zionists, mostly of Eastern European origin, and everybody else was minorities, but that time is gone.

Only 38 percent of the children in primary school today are secular Zionists. Another 15 percent are national-religious observant Jews who nevertheless share the Zionist vision. But a quarter of the children are Haredim: ultra-Orthodox Jews who do not recognize the legitimacy of the Jewish state, regarding it as a rebellion against God, and another quarter are Arab and mostly Muslim. Few people in the latter two groups will even serve in the army.

These four very different tribes, as Ruvi calls them, have to share Israel, like it or not. Moreover, the one-state Israel that implies, extending from the Jordan Valley to the Mediterranean, will have to include all the Arabs in the occupied territories as well. Learning to live together, given all the bitter history, may be well-nigh impossible, but there are no other options.

This certainly not a vision that Benny Ganz shares. His willingness to admit Israeli Arabs to the countrys coalition politics is grudging at best. This is not the government we wanted, he said.

And yet, it might be the government that Israel needs.

Gwynne Dyers new book is Growing Pains: The Future of Democracy (and Work).

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Bibi, Benny and Ruvi: the future of Israel - Bangor Daily News

Bible studies, sermon series and more at Sewickley area places of worship – TribLIVE

Posted By on March 19, 2020

Thursday, March 12, 2020 | 11:01 PM

A sign outside Sewickley United Methodist Church proclaims "All are welcome here."

Antioch Baptist Church

The church is at 332 Elizabeth St., Sewickley.

Sunday School is at 9:30 a.m. followed by worship and praise service at 10:45 a.m.

A Bible study and prayer service is at 7 p.m. Wednesdays. For more information, call 412-741-7688 or visit antiochfwbaptistsewickley.org.

Beth Samuel Jewish Center

The center is at 810 Kennedy Drive, Ambridge.

For information, visit beth samuel.org or contact bethsamueloffice@comcast.net or 724-266-5238.

10 a.m. March 15 Adult Education with Cantor Rena Shapiro, From Vilna to Violins of Hope: Music of the Holocaust

7:30 p.m. March 20 Social Action Shabbat with Repair the World: Pittsburgh

9 a.m. March 21 Torah Yoga and Meditation classBlackburn United Methodist

The church is at 910 Blackburn Road, Sewickley Heights.

Christ Church at Grove Farm

The church is at 244 Duff Road, Ohio Township. A blended/traditional service is held at 9 a.m. Sundays and a modern service are held at 11:15 a.m. Visit ccgf.org.

The CCGF Annual Daddy/Daughter Dance will be March 21 aboard the Gateway Clipper. This semi-formal event gives fathers the opportunity to dote on their daughters and spend quality time together. Dinner, dancing, a keepsake photo, plus the beautiful Pittsburgh skyline. And this year, Disney princesses will be cruising with us. Registration is open and space is limited, so sign up soon.

Information on weekly Bible studies, including a community study, moms in prayer, womens studies and mens studies, can be found at ccgf.org/bible-studies.

Dive deep into Gods Word and grow closer to Him during Lent through the Sunday Morning Sermon Series, Wednesdays in Wilson Lenten Series and with Prepared Study Guides for personal or small group study. More info at ccgf.org/lent.

GriefShare: For anyone experiencing a loss, GriefShare is a friendly, caring group of people who will walk alongside you through one of lifes most difficult experiences. Thursday evenings, 6:30-8:30 p.m. in the Farmhouse Great Room. Contact Ed Santavicca at 412-559-1168.

DivorceCare: Monday evenings at 7 p.m. in the Farmhouse for those suffering through a divorce or separation. Contact Susan Dwyer at 724-242-0939.

Fairmount Presbyterian Church

The church is at 2535 Fairmount Church Road, Sewickley.

Sunday school for children and adults begins at 9 a.m. and worship is held at 10 a.m. Wednesday prayer is held at 6:30 p.m. For more information, call 412-364-7880 or visit fairmountarpchurch.com.

First Church of Christ, Scientist

The church is at 222 Beaver St., Sewickley. For information, visit christiansciencepgh.org or call 412-741-4552.

Sunday services are held at 10:30 a.m., and Wednesday services are held at 7:30 p.m.

Grace Orthodox Presbyterian

The church is at 1419 Beaver Road, Glen Osborne. For more information, visit graceopcpgh.org or call 412-741-3430.

Weekly Lords Day morning instruction begins at 9:45 a.m. Morning worship is at 11 a.m. and evening worship begins at 6 p.m. Sundays.

North Way Sewickley Valley

North Way Christian Community offers six locations across the Pittsburgh area. Services for the Sewickley Valley location are at Osborne Elementary School, 1414 Beaver Road, Glen Osborne. For more information, visit northway.org or call 724-935-6800.

Sewickley Presbyterian

The church is at 414 Grant St., Sewickley. For more information, visit sewickleypresby.org or call 412-741-4550.

Mens Huddle meets at 6:30 p.m. Mondays in the Faith House. All are welcome. Call the church for more information.

Club 345 meets from 3:45 to 5:15 p.m. Wednesdays in the Faith House. This after-school program for kids in grades 3-5 includes games, craft projects and snacks. Parents are asked to register on the church website. For information, email shoagland@sewickleypresby.org.

Koinonia womens group meets at 9:15 a.m. Tuesdays and includes communion and a study. All women are invited to attend.

Knitting for Missions meets at 1 p.m. Thursdays in the Faith House. All levels of knitters are welcome to attend and knit items for mission organizations.

AA, Nar-Anon, Al-Anon, NA and Overeaters Anonymous meetings are hosted at various times. Check the church website for dates and times.

Sewickley United Methodist

The church is at 337 Broad St., Sewickley. For more information, call 412-741-9430 or visit sewickleyumc.org.

St. Andrews Presbyterian

The church is at 801 Beaver St., Sewickley. For more information, visit standrews801.com or call 412-741-8840.

St. Brendans Episcopal

The church is at 2365 McAleer Road, Franklin Park. Eucharist services are at 8 and 10 a.m. Sundays and 7 p.m. Wednesdays. Visit stbrendans.org or call 412-364-5974.

Weekly Eucharist services are held at 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. Sundays and 7 p.m. Wednesdays.

The church has resumed its Meager Meal series for Lent at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesdays through April 8. Come ready to read scripture, pray, discuss and share fellowship over a simple meal. It ends by 7 p.m., in time for the optional Eucharist service.

Brendans Boots, the parish hiking group, will meet at the church at 9 a.m. March 21, and take the Three Rivers Heritage Trail in Homestead in hopes of spotting the Hays bald eagles. Lunch will follow at Mitchells Fish Market.

The Justice Ministry is gathering donations of gently used goods for shipment to needy people in Haiti. Requested items are sewing machines, lightweight clothing, bicycles, toothbrushes, toothpaste, toiletries and school supplies. Donations may be dropped off at the church.

Conversation Friends helps immigrants learn English to help with everyday life. Sessions are held at 10 a.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays and 7 p.m. Wednesdays. Tutors and students welcome.

The Rev. Regis Smolko offers Bible Conversations on Tuesdays at 10:30 a.m.

Be a Modern Episcopalian is an informal discussion group that meets at 11 a.m. Mondays to tackle modern-day issues facing Christians.

St. James Catholic

The church is at 200 Walnut St., Sewickley. For information, visit saintjames-church.com or call 412-741-6650.

An 11-week video-based Bible study presented by Jeff Cavins on the Book of Revelation will take place 7-8:45 p.m. Mondays beginning March 16 or 10-11:45 a.m. Wednesdays beginning March 18. $30 fee covers the workbook and online video access. To register, call 412-801-2646.

Music Plus, the concert series at the St. James Church site of the newly formed Divine Redeemer Parish, will present the University of Pittsburgh Mens Glee Club at 3 p.m. March 22 in a 50-minute concert under the leadership of music director Richard Teaster. This free-will concert, titled Let the Men Sing! will feature a delightfully sonorous collection of a cappella selections, ranging from classical to barbershop. A 2:30 p.m. preconcert will be presented by the music students from Rhema Christian School and director Deborah Silverstein. After the main concert, there will be a dessert reception and time to meet the artists.

The luncheon program for Divine Redeemer Parish, St. Mary & St. James 55 Plus Club will be March 19. The entertainment will be provided by Cathi Rhodes, singing songs in tribute to country singer Pasty Kline. Prayer service begins at 11:30 a.m. followed by lunch and the entertainment beginning at noon. Reservations for lunch are due in the church office no later than 9 a.m. March 13. Reservations must include your name, the names of your guests, your address including city, your phone number plus your check made payable to Divine Redeemer Parish, 55 Plus Club for $9 for each member and/or $9.50 for each non-member. Place reservations in an envelope labeled 55 Plus Club, Attn: Lil Yankello and place in the offering basket, drop off at the Rectory or mail to 200 Walnut St., Sewickley, PA 15143 so it arrives before March 13. Call 412-977-8813 for more information.

St. Marys Church

The church is located at 444 Glenfield Road, Sewickley.

St. Matthews AME Zion

The church is at 345 Thorn St., Sewickley.

Sunday school is at 9:30 a.m., and service starts at 10:30.

St. Pauls Lutheran

The church is at 616 Washington St., Sewickley. For information, call 412-741-8484 or view stpaulssewickley.org.

Sunday worship is at 8:15 and 11 a.m., and Intergenerational Sunday School is at 9:30 a.m.

Bible Study is every other Monday at 7 p.m.

St. Stephens Anglican

The church is at 405 Frederick Ave., Sewickley. For information, call 412-741-1790 or visit ststephenschurch.net.

New Sermon Series: Discovering Your Call to Ministry More than Volunteers, 10:15 a.m. Sundays. Offered along with the sermon series is an adult-ed class, Discovering your Spiritual Gifts, taught by Clint and Kim Kerley. Each participant will be invited to take a spiritual gifts inventory. Then we will discuss the spiritual gifts noted in the Bible and how they can be put to use in the church today.

Memory Loss Support, 10:30 a.m.-noon second Monday of each month. Support group for those suffering from or caring for a loved one with memory loss. Please call the pastoral care office with any questions. 412-741-1790, ext. 136.

Link:

Bible studies, sermon series and more at Sewickley area places of worship - TribLIVE


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