Christian Aramean Shadi Khalluol (right) meets with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (Credit: Shadi Khalloul/The Daily Wire screen capture)
In a quest to maintain Aramean culture and language, a patriotic Christian Israeli is seeking to establish a city exclusively for Christian Arameans in northern Israel.
Captain (Res.) Shadi Khalloul is a 42-year-old Aramean Christian who is a fellow of the Philos Project, and the chairman of the Israeli Christian Aramaic Association. He also was a candidate for Knesset with the Jewish Zionist party in the 2015 elections.
Khalloul describes himself as an Aramean Christian and says that modern Arameans are indigenous to the land of Israel as well as descendants from the first Christians. While studying a class on Bible as English Literature at the University of Nevada, he decided to make it his life’s mission to preserve his people’s culture.
The reserve captain plans to call the town Aram Hiram – an amalgam of two Biblical sources. “Aram” is the name given to all Aramaic kingdoms in the bible and ‘Hiram” refers to King Hiram of Lebanon, who supplied King Solomon with wood from the cedar trees to build the First Temple.
He wishes to locate town in the barren hills where the village of Kafr Bir’im – only 4 kilometers south of the Lebanese border and 11.5 kilometers from Safed – was once located. He claims his forefathers lived there for approximately 400 years until the inhabitants were evacuated during the 1948 War of Independence. Prior to the evacuation, Kafr Bir’im reportedly had a total population of 1050 Christians who Khalloul says belonged to the Syriac Maronite Church of Antioch.
“We need to build bridges through a Christian positive attitude to ask for our rights in a way to lead towards coexistence with Jews and this can come by being positive citizens of the state, defending the state, integrating into the state, and asking for our rights at the same time,” he said in an interview with The Daily Wire.
Khalloul has had the opportunity to meet with government officials including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in 2013. As a result of that meeting, he said that Christians in Israel were able to register as “Arameans” on their identity card instead of Arabs. Last week, he met with the General Director of the Prime Minister’s Office, Yoav Horovitz, where he pitched his proposal for Aram Hiram and discussed other Christian needs in Israel.
Khalloul served in the Israeli Defense Forces as a paratrooper in 1993 and claims he was one of only five Christians to join the IDF that year. He also founded the Christian-Jewish Pre-Army Preparatory Program to prepare Christians and Jews for the IDF by giving them training and education on navigation, leadership, Christianity, Judaism, Aramaic, and the history of Israel. Of the Christian participants, he said, “I teach them about their common roots as Christians that developed from Judaism.”
There is a historic link between Christians and Jews, especially in the use of Aramaic – the language of the Talmud and the language that Jesus likely spoke. Khalloul argues that this commonality is something that can strengthen Israel as a Jewish state and be a further example of how Israelis are building and preserving the Aramean community and the only country in the Middle East protecting Christians.
“We as a minority want to live as indigenous Aramaic Christians and to be able to have one sole Aramaic town that can preserve our Christian faith, Aramaic language, ethnic identity, and our heritage and explain more about our common roots with the Jews,” he said.
He plans for the town to have a “culture center” to encourage the learning of the Aramaic language and a research center that will focus on building Jewish and Christian relations. Tourism will be the town’s main source of income, as it will likely be a magnet for people all over. He would like to build a hotel to host a biannual conference for Jewish-Christian relations. Khalloul would like all denominations of Western Christians to also visit the town.
Israel has many Druze, Bedouin, Arab and mixed towns, but not an Aramean one. “We deserve one town as Christians,” he says. “This town would be defined as a community town for preserving the Aramaic language and people.”
We all know that the midterm elections are different this time around. They are usually like “all politics,” namely local. But this time around they’re different. They are all presidential, all about Trump, as most everything is. And for the anti-Trump crowd — I’m talking about the political commentators and “analysts” — any and all things bad are held to be Trump’s fault. This is presumably because they believe that their condemnations of Trump will result in a Democrat takeover of the House of Representatives.
A new book explores how graffiti artists in Beirut skirt limitations on expression to share political criticism in the streets.
A photograph of the book “Drawing Lines” by Tamara Zantout, taken at the launch of the book at Beit Beirut cultural center, Beirut, Lebanon, Oct. 25, 2018.
BEIRUT — Beirut’s alleyways and streets are peppered in bright, detailed and provocative graffiti. Street artists use the medium, which exists in a legal grey area, to express their identity and give voice to political frustrations.
On Tuesday, San Francisco will become the largest city in the nation to allow noncitizens to vote, and the city has spent $310,000 on a “new registration system” specifically aimed at illegals. As the San Francisco Chronicle reports, the plan is the first in the state and follows Proposition N, a 2016 ballot measure allowing votes by noncitizens over the age of 18, reside in the city, and have children under age 19.
By the count of the Chronicle, only 49 noncitizens have signed up to vote on Tuesday, which works out to $6,326 for every illegal voter, but there’s more to the story. City officials are worried that voting could expose illegals to ICE, who might come looking and possibly deport somebody. So supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer, a backer of Proposition N, urged the city to spend $500,000 to warn the illegals.
At first Sabbath service after massacre, shooting survivors are blessed; rabbi says to those who condemned Trump’s visit: ‘No one tells me how to welcome a guest in my own home’
On November 3, 2018, a joint communal Shabbat prayer service at Pittsburgh’s Beth Shalom Conservative synagogue following the massacre a week prior which saw 11 Jewish community members killed. (Amanda Borschel-Dan/Times of Israel)
PITTSBURGH, Pennsylvania — A week after an anti-Semitic shooter massacred 11 worshipers at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue, the community embraced each other in prayer on Saturday.
IS EUROPE RETURNING to the horrors of the 1930s? In an assessment typical of the moment, Max Holleran writes in the New Republic that “in the past ten years, new right-wing political movements have brought together coalitions of Neo-Nazis with mainstream free-market conservatives, normalizing political ideologies that in the past rightly caused alarm.” He sees this trend creating a surge in “xenophobic populism.” Writing in Politico, Katy O’Donnell agrees: “Nationalist parties now have a toehold everywhere from Italy to Finland, raising fears the continent is backpedaling toward the kinds of policies that led to catastrophe in the first half of the 20th century.” Jewish leaders like Menachem Margolin, head of the European Jewish Association, sense “a very real threat from populist movements across Europe.”
IS EUROPE RETURNING to the horrors of the 1930s? In an assessment typical of the moment, Max Holleran writes in the New Republic that “in the past ten years, new right-wing political movements have brought together coalitions of Neo-Nazis with mainstream free-market conservatives, normalizing political ideologies that in the past rightly caused alarm.”
We’ve been told for a long time that the ceasefire is on the way. It had many names in the past, such as tahdiah, hudna, and most recently—”an arrangement.” On Friday, once again, reports started emerging that an agreement has been reached. Several hours later, southern Israel was hit with a barrage of rockets. What happened?
And He said, “You will not be able to see My face, for No Human Being shall see Me and live.” — Shemot 33:20
Faith is deeper than knowledge. While scientific data is absorbed only in the brain, faith permeates all parts of the human personality. Nothing is untouched, all spiritual limbs quiver, and everything is transformed. It is thus more difficult to acquire faith than knowledge, and faith has a more radical effect on the human being.
A Catholic archbishop recently touched on an unspoken but highly subversive phenomenon: How anti-Christian forces exploit Christian teachings to empower those who seek to dismantle Christian civilization, Muslims being chief among them.
In an interview published last summer by the Italian outlet IlGionarle.it, Catholic Archbishop Athanasius Schneider of Kazakhstan said:
The King of Jordan, not some lowly clerk, announced that Jordan will not extend the currently existing leases renting two parcels of land to Israel. One is the so-called Island of Peace in the northern Naharayim area and the other located in the southern Arava, near Tzofar, an agricultural cooperative village (moshav). Jordan was entirely within its rights to decide not to renew the leases