Twenty years after the Holocaust, a group of German Christians arrived in Israel seeking to live their lives alongside the Jews with the intention of helping to usher in the redemption. Fifty-two years later, Kibbutz Beth-El has become an integral part of the city of Zichron Yaakov, the lives and fate of its members intermingled with the nation of Israel.
There are approximately 800 people – adults and children – living on the kibbutz. Emma and Elsa Berger, the founders of the movement, led the first group of German Protestants to their new home in the Holy Land in 1963. Emma, who passed away in 1984, was quoted as saying, “We feel that we are all of the seed of Abraham, and an invisible hand has led us to Israel.”
For many years, the surrounding community of Israelis suspected the group of German Christians of being missionaries with a hidden agenda to convert the Jews. There were even incidents and legal attempts to stop the community from taking root. Time and familiarity brought down the walls of distrust as the kibbutz began to employ local residents. Today, Kibbutz Beth-El is the largest private employer in the city and are fully accepted by their Jewish neighbors, now that their intentions have passed the test of time.
Stefan Link, one of the original members who arrived from Germany, explained their connection to Israel to Breaking Israel News. “We went to Hebron and visited the grave of Ruth. She said, ‘Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.’ This very much spoke to our hearts. That is how we feel about Israel. It is an act of kindness that God gave us this, to be with Israel. And especially at times like this we must stand with Israel.”
Since 1963, Emma Berger emphasized to the members that the Messiah would be in Israel and that anyone wanting to have a part in it needed to be here. They are strong in their Christian faith and have no intention of converting Jews, but they also have no intention of leaving us.
Their belief is powerful in its simplicity, espousing a literal reading of the Old and New Testaments, without interpretations or commentary. There are no churches or Christian religious symbols, no crosses, and they observe Saturday as their day of worship and rest. Stefan described it simply, saying, “When two people with pure hearts meet, there is God, in the holy space that is between them.”
With almost prophetic vision, in 1977 the members of Bet El taught themselves engineering and began to build air-filtration systems for use in protection against poison gas attacks. Their initiative was at least partly due to a belief that the War of Gog and Magog that precedes the Messiah will involve chemical warfare. During the Gulf War in 1991, Iraqi despot Saddam Hussein threatened to use chemical weapons and nerve gas in the missiles he fired at Israel. Suddenly, their filtration systems were very much in demand and their new industry was born.
It is incredibly poignant that a German group is building systems to protect Israel from genocidal attacks. Those with a spiritual perspective will see the tikkun (fixing) in this. At first, their efforts in this area seemed foolish to others, a complex solution to a science fiction scenario. But now, their NBC (nuclear, biological and chemical) system is the only one made in Israel to protect the Jewish State against a very real threat from enemies who do not hesitate to arm their missiles with nerve gas.
Believing in a modest, almost austere, lifestyle, the kibbutz members do not own televisions and eschew nightclubs and other modern urban distractions. The kibbutz ideology of communal living and non-ownership has become a part of their theology, based on their understanding of the New Testament. There are sister communities in Binyamina, Magen-Shaul, the Golan Heights and Haifa and another 700 members in Germany, Hungary, Romania, Canada and Africa who are prohibited from coming to Israel due to restrictions by the Israeli Ministry of the Interior.
The members in Israel have permanent resident status and their children serve in the Israel Defense Forces in non-combat roles. A positive force in the Israeli economy, the community has established seven factories that employ more than 700 Israelis. Their many fields provide the raw material for a home-style bakery, and a factory that produces jams and jellies.
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The US Treasury added three top Hezbollah figures to its list of sanctioned individuals on Tuesday, including two members of the Lebanese Parliament and a security official responsible for coordinating between Hezbollah and Lebanon’s security agencies.
It was the first time the US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control had designated a member of Lebanon’s Parliament under a sanctions list that targets those accused by Washington of providing support to terrorist organizations. Washington has designated Hezbollah as a terrorist group.
South African fans in Cairo celebrating their team’s win over Egypt at the African Cup of Nations. Photo: Reuters / Sumaya Hisham.
Three days after South Africa stunned the world of international soccer by knocking hosts Egypt out of the 2019 African Cup of Nations, the sound of elation remains clearly detectable in the voice of the team’s Jewish midfielder, Dean Furman.
“It was a fantastic victory, just fantastic,” Furman told The Algemeiner during a break in training on Tuesday, as South Africa prepared for its crucial quarterfinal game against Nigeria, another of the continent’s toughest sides, tomorrow.
Pieter van Oordt, left, with his brother, Roger, at the Israel
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Last month, the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy made a request from the management of the Israel Products Center (IPC) to ensure they were in compliance with regulations adopted in 2015 by the European Commission requiring products made by Jewish owned companies in Judea, Samaria, the Golan Heights, and sections of Jerusalem to be labeled in a manner indicating their origins.
Studies have shown that dairy cows contribute large amounts of greenhouse gas emissions, caused by the organisms living in their microbiomes.
Genetically modifying cows may help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and feed world populations, a new study led by Prof. Itzhak Mizrahi of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev suggests.
“Our findings are both a major breakthrough for basic science and will have a positive impact on two major challenges facing the international community for the foreseeable future: climate change and food security,” Mizrahi said.
The decision by IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi to promote Brig. Gen. Ofer Winter reflects his future political aspirations.
Incoming Israeli Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi walks out at the end of a handover ceremony where he replaces Lt. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot, at the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv, Israel, Jan. 15, 2019.
Israel has its own version of Napoleon’s famous saying, “Every soldier carries a marshal’s baton in his pack.” In these parts, every general carries a prime minister’s baton — or at least that of a defense minister — in his pack
As Islamist Watch has pointed out many times before, Islam is enormously diverse – containing many competing schools of theology, schools of jurisprudence, sects, ethnicities, cultures and mysticisms. Islamism is also not a single force; it comprises dozens of (both) competing and collaborating radical ideologies.
One of the most intriguing divisions, then, within both American Islam and Islamism of late has been growing dissent over the question of liberalism.
Right after Trump’s inauguration, I ran an article about how incredibly fake the news coverage was about his inauguration. (Those reading my site know I’m not a big Trump fan, but credit where credit is due and calling fake where calling fake is due.) The media was nothing short of spectacularly fake in the news it contrived that week on CNN, the New York Times and the other major fake media, and they mostly got away with it.
It wasn’t condescension or contempt. Recent remarks by former Mossad head Shabtai Shavit reek of racism. That is the proper way to frame them, calling them anything else is letting him off easy. In its classic, formal sense, racism is when a certain social sector perceives itself as superior because of clear racial criteria. Shavit represents an updated version of racism that doesn’t require ethnicity or religion as proof of a defect – you can call it “essential racism.”
Little Napoleon Barak is going to save Israeli Democracy? What a bunch of claptrap Orwellian doublespeak.
Well let’s check out history. How well did the original Napoleon save France’s democratic revolution against the monarchy?
Hmm, if I recall he crowned himself emperor!
For years, the pundits have been telling us that Israeli democracy is in danger because of the Arab birthrate, or because of the Jewish nation-state law, or because of the debates over the powers of Israel’s High Court.
I wonder if they will recognize the danger posed by the 10 left-wing American Jewish organizations that have formed a new umbrella organization, the essential purpose of which is to undermine Israeli democracy.