February 25th, 2011 by Guest Writer

By Shira Sorko-Ram | www.maozisrael.org | Originally published May 2010

“America has embarked on the European path of economic stagnation and declining influence. Since 1945, Europe has depended on America to defend it, while spending ever smaller percentages of its Gross National Product on defense. The huge budget deficits resulting from Obamacare will push America in the same direction.”

So wrote Jonathan Rosenblum, director of Jewish Media Resources and columnist for the Jerusalem Post. (2Apr10)

Rosenblum reiterates what most other conservative journalists write: “Every major government entitlement program has ended up costing many times more than initially projected, and the proponent’s cost projections on Obamacare do not meet even minimal levels of credibility.”

He adds, “World War II cost Britain its empire, and the huge budget deficits racked up by Obamacare will likely force America to abandon its role as global policeman.” This will leave nations like Iran to take the lead and push the surrounding Islamic nations into making a head-long rush to develop their own nukes.

The “retreat of the Great Satan will only whet the appetite of radical Islam.” One thing is certain: The UN will never protect Israel against the Islamists. And now it appears that America is turning its back on its only democratic ally in the Middle East.

0510 - Obama, Netanyahu, Abbas

Body language seems to be very strong with President Obama. Here he is obviously in command, ordering Prime Minister Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority Head Mahmoud Abbas to pose for a nice photo op.

OBAMA’S PLAN

Just what is Obama’s agenda for the future? What else does he want to accomplish during his first term in office? Of course, he would love to pass his Cap and Trade bill, but Rosenblum believes he can only commit suicide once (with Obamacare) and he does not think the president has enough political capital left to get another massively controversial bill through congress.

Therefore, says Rosenblum, he will turn to foreign policy – which, for the most part, is out of reach of congress. He has publicly stated that he will deliver a Palestinian state within two years. (http://www.jewishworldreview.com/jonathan/rosenblum

Most Israelis have come to the conclusion that the Jewish state has no choice but to offer the several million Arabs in the West Bank their own state. Nevertheless, Israel is fearful of the way it appears Obama will make it happen.

From Israel’s perspective, Obama is not really interested in a peace treaty between Arabs and Israel. As Rosenblum notes, “No confidence-building measures are ever requested from the Palestinians. At every stage, new demands are placed on Israel to placate [the Palestinians] and convince them that the U.S. has the power to deliver a state on terms even they cannot refuse.” (Ibid.)

He has asked nothing of the Palestinians – such as recognizing Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish nation or renouncing terrorism. He has not countered the demands of the Palestinians who plan to send millions of Muslim “refugees” to live in Israel proper and to take Jerusalem away from Israel and make it their Muslim capital.

HUMILIATING NETANYAHU

When Netanyahu visited the White House in late March, Obama demanded that he sign an agreement to stop all building in East Jerusalem’s Jewish areas and consent to 12 other demands. When Netanyahu stalled, according to many press reports, Obama stood up and said, “I’m going to have dinner with Michelle and the girls.” He added, “I’m around. Let me know if there’s anything new.”

“It was awful,” a U.S. congressman who spoke to the Prime Minister said. One Israeli newspaper called the meeting “a hazing in stages,” poisoned by such mistrust that the Israeli delegation eventually left rather than risk being eavesdropped on a White House telephone line. He left with no official statement from either side, an unheard of treatment of a close ally. (www.timesonline.co.uk, 26Mar10)

0510 - Haaretz Story

0510 - Haaretz Story This headline expresses the mood in Israel – the awareness of the indifference of the world to threats against Israel’s existence.

Ironically, the Israeli people, after decades of “negotiations,” are convinced that the Palestinians do not really want a Palestinian state – that is, a state living in peace beside Israel. They do not want that. They want one state and one state only – which would extend from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River – in other words, they want the land of Israel as part of their state. They say it this way: One state for both Arabs and Jews with each citizen having a vote.

To gain such a state, they would be ready to submit (at least temporarily) to being the first democratic Arab Muslim state in history because then their Muslim voters would, within a very short time, vote in a Muslim Palestinian prime minister and dominate the Knesset. And that would be the end of the Jewish state.

But that is not all. Israel is falling behind in military capabilities. “According to the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, every Israeli request for upgraded weapons systems has been denied, while the Arab states, most notably Egypt, have been provided with numerous advanced systems on par with Israel’s.” Most recently, bunker busters necessary for any attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities were denied. (Ibid.)

We must remember that Obama sat comfortably under Jeremiah Wright’s anti-Israel and anti-Semitic invective – including honoring Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam – for nearly 20 years. He is comfortable with Islamic principles and ambitions.

Israel’s only hope is God. As the nations turn increasingly antagonistic toward Israel, Christians and Messianic Jews who know how God feels about the land He promised to the Jewish people must pray for Israel and for their own nation. The promise is still true today. I will bless those that bless you and curse those who curse you.

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June 24th, 2009 by M. French

Video from CBN on the rise of Christianity in Iran: [Link to Video]

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June 18th, 2009 by M. French

The following is an article from Joel Rosenberg called War is the Likely Outcome of the Iranian Elections reprinted in its entirety:

UPDATED MONDAY MORNING: The Supreme Leader of Iran has spoken. It’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad by a “landslide.” This means a major, cataclysmic war is the most likely outcome of the Iranian “elections.” And the battle lines are clear. It’s Netanyahu vs. Ahmadinejad — Bibi vs. Mahmoud — and the big question is: Who will strike first?

This weekend’s events in Iran tell us a lot.

First, the results prove that Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei firmly, completely and whole-heartedly supports Ahmadinejad’s End Times beliefs. Khamenei also fully supports Ahmadinejad’s commitment to build nuclear weapons and long-range, high-speed ballistic missiles. What’s more, the Supreme Leader supports Ahmadinejad’s public commitment to destroy Israel and the U.S. to hasten the coming of the Mahdi. There is no daylight between Khamenei and Ahmadinejad on this Radical “eschatology,” or End Times theology, as some analysts and commentators have suggested. These two men are who I have said all along they are – members of an apocalyptic, genocidal death cult. They are kindred spirits. They are two peas in a pod. They are absolutely committed to their cause. They believe the wind is at their backs, that Allah is on their side, and they believe they will soon see complete victory. That’s what makes them so dangerous.

Second, the results prove that the people of Iran never had a real choice. This wasn’t a real election. It was totally and completely rigged by a Radical Muslim mafia, a police state without justice or compassion for those enslaved. The aftermath became, as one Iranian noted over the weekend, a Tehran Tiananmen. Protesters and dissidents were beaten, arrested and tortured. Text messaging was turned off. Facebook was shut down. The internet was down or slowed for vast stretches. All this prevents ordinary citizens from mobilizing their opposition to the government. That said, however, the massive turnout at the polls – and the street demonstrations and violence in Iran over the weekend — showed that even though Iranians didn’t have real Reformer candidates to choose from, the vast Iranians are deeply disgusted with the current regime. They long for true freedom and true democracy. They desperately wanted the elections to be real. They are ABA — anybody but Ahmadinejad. They don’t buy into the regime’s End Times theology. They desperately want someone to liberate them. I feel for them. I want them to be free. Now more than ever. [MOST BIZARRE HEADLINE OF THE DAY: Iran’s supreme leader orders probe of vote fraud]

Third, the results prove that the Obama administration’s belief that you can sit down and have a rational discussion with such Radicals — or trust an agreement even if one could be negotiated with them – is absolutely nonsensical. How could we possibly trust the Iranian leadership to keep a promise to stop building nuclear weapons (if such a promise were made), when they steal elections and beat and torture dissidents in front of the whole world? The Obama administration should treat Khamenei and Ahmadinejad as pariahs now. The White House should praise the young people of Iran, the pro-democracy forces in Iran, the forces of freedom in Iran. And the President should condemn the Iranian government has totalitarian theocratic thugs, not offer to engage them. Not offer them concessions. Not reward such evil behavior. Why has the President been silent? Vice President Biden on Meet the Press yesterday at least challenged the legitimacy of the elections. That’s something. But why didn’t he say the weekend’s events in Iran just prove the leadership in Tehran are part of the axis of evil?

Fourth, as for Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech, he is right: Iran is the real threat to the region and the world, not Israel’s refusal to make more land for missiles concessions to the Palestinian leadership. Bibi’s assessment of the current Iranian regime is spot on, while the White House’s assessment has been exactly wrong. The real, existential threat to peace in the epicenter is Iran’s death cult leadership and their feverish pursuit of nuclear weapons and the missiles to deliver them, not the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Netanyahu was right to smoke out the real intentions of the Palestinian leadership and the Muslim leadership as a whole in the region. By agreeing that there could be a Palestinian state and then defining one that would truly be peaceful, Netanyahu shrewdly shifted the terms of the debate. He provoked a firestorm of criticism from the Arab and Muslim world, who are denouncing the speech in the harshest of terms. Which makes things crystal clear: Israel’s enemies don’t really want peace with Israel at this time. They don’t really want to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. Thus they don’t really believe in “two states for two peoples.” What’s more, they don’t believe the putative Palestinian state should be demilitarized. Thus, they believe in a Palestinian state that would threaten the very existence of Israel. Why should Israel say “yes” to that? Israel gave land for peace in 2000 — withdrawing from southern Lebanon. What did it get? More than 4,000 rockets and missiles from the Iran-backed Hezbollah. Israel gave land for peace in 2005 — withdrawing from all of Gaza. What did it get? More than 10,000 rockets, missiles and mortars from the Iran-backed Hamas. Israel even offered in 2000 to divide Jerusalem and give the Palestinians about 93% of the West Bank and all of Gaza. What did Israel get in exchange? Arafat’s utter rejection of the offer and a wave of suicide bombers and other terrorist attacks. Upon what basis, then, would Israel be able to trust another land for peace deal in the near future?

Fifth, we need to pray for peace, but prepare for war. Our Joshua Fund board met over the weekend for several days of strategic prayer and planning meetings. At this point, we see our mandate clearly: Do everything we can to educate, awaken and mobilize the followers of Jesus Christ to pray for peace, and do everything we can prepare for war in case the Lord allows a cataclysmic battle ensue between Israel and Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah. We are working on building the organizational and financial infrastructure to eventually provide $100 million worth of food, clothing, medical supplies and other relief aid to Israel, and another $20 million to Israel’s immediate neighbors. This will take time and much effort. It’s not clear how quickly we can achieve this goal, but I believe we are moving in the right direction. We’ve expanded our budget this year (In 2006, TJF’s budget was $160,000. This year, it is about $5.7 million.) We’ve increased the size of our staff (from 1 in 2006 to 4 full time employees today). We are actively recruiting several new staff positions. We’re working with our financial services provider to expand their capacity for receiving and processing donations. We’re working to improve our communications to our donors so we can do a still-better job at briefing them on the projects we’re doing and how we’re investing the resources they’ve entrusted to us. We’re recruiting more prayer partners. We’re building more government and civilian allies in Israel and the region. We’re working to build more allies  among evangelical pastors and ministry leaders in North America and beyond. We’re also taking up to 300 evangelical leaders and lay people to Israel in November for a “prayer & vision trip.” And, as the Lord gives us grace, strength and resources, we will do more to help followers of Christ “learn, pray, give and go.” This is a critical moment. The threat is real. The time is short. We would be grateful for your continued prayers and support in the weeks and months ahead. God bless you.

We are living in a critical time in Israel’s history.

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December 3rd, 2008 by Bethany French

Voice of Revolution posted an article several weeks ago about an Iranian law that has passed its first draft in parliament, which would mandate the death penalty for male converts from Islam, and a life prison sentence for female converts.  The law is currently before a committee and may undergo some changes before it comes before the parliament to be passed into actual law.  It passed in its original form with an overwhelming majority, 196 to 7, with two absent members, which makes it appear that it will almost certainly be passed, unless major international pressure is brought to bear on the situation.  If this law is passed, Iran will have taken another step toward nationally legislating the Sharia laws of Islam.  Up until now in Iran, the death penalty for converting from Islam has been left to judicial discretion, solely based upon the writings of Islamic law, but has not been nationalized.

This law has ramifications not only for non-Muslims and converts living in Iran, but also may affect converts to other religions internationally.  One clause of the law as it stands right now states that converts from Islam living outside the borders of Iran may be tried by the Iranian courts in their absence and condemned, if they are seen to jeopardize Iranian national security.  Men whose parents were Muslim and who convert to another religion as adults would be subject to immediate execution, whereas men whose parents were NOT Muslim, but who had converted initially to Islam before changing their minds would be given three days to “repent” and return to the Muslim faith.  Women are given the opportunity to convert back to Islam at any point during their life imprisonment.  Other sins punishable by death according to this law are witchcraft, heresy, fortune-telling, and swearing against/insulting Mohammad, Fatima, or the Shi’ite Imams.

According to an online British Newspaper called The Telegraph, very little attention has been given to the passing of this law from either media or international public figures. Here is an excerpt from the October 11th article discussing this:

David Miliband, Britain’s Foreign Secretary, stands out as one of the few politicians from any Western country who has put on record his opposition to making apostasy a crime punishable by death. The protest from the EU has been distinctly muted; meanwhile, Germany, Iran’s largest foreign trading partner, has just increased its business deals with Iran by more than half. Characteristically, the United Nations has said nothing.

It is a sign of how little interest there is in Iran’s intention to launch a campaign of religious persecution that its parliamentary vote has still not been reported in the mainstream media.

The vast majority of the information or discussions available on this law is found on Christian sites focusing on the persecuted church, or other types of religion-themed sites and blogs.  The fact that the passing of the Iranian Penal Law, which infringes on the international human rights agreements Iran has officially made in the past, fails to have made widespread international news is a solemn indication of the unofficial ‘blind eye’ to the persecution of the Christian Church and other people groups in many countries across the world.

Friends, we are the Church, and many of our Iranian brothers and sisters will come under harsher persecution now than they ever have in the past!  We must join with them now in prayer, that their faith would remain unshaken, and that the Kingdom of God will come in a great outpouring in Iran!  Pray that the Spirit would fill the saints in Iran with power and boldness, that they would be able to proclaim the name of Messiah Jesus until He comes!  Pray that God will bring swift justice for His people in Iran, work in the hearts of those in the parliament when this law comes back for a vote, and bring this issue to international public attention.

Father, let our hearts be consumed with the Spirit of prayer and love for all the saints!  Let us bear the weight with our brothers and sisters in Iran, and be filled with courage to stand up for truth and manifest the Kingdom of God on the earth, as we have been called to do!  Pour out Your love and strength on those who suffer for the sake of Your name, and let them abound richly in the power and the joy of the Holy Spirit!  Confound the work of the enemy and let your church abound still more and more in the knowledge of the love of Christ and support those who are faithful to Your name even unto death!  Praise Him!

Sources:  Telegraph.co.uk, Religious Intelligence, Global Exploits Ministries

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November 22nd, 2008 by M. French

Reprinted from Elam Ministries :

In response to a year of persecution and the imminent passing of a law making the death sentence mandatory for all Muslim men who turn to Christ and life imprisonment for Muslim women who turn to Christ, Iranian church leaders are calling for prayer and fasting November 21 – 23rd 2008.

They know they have no influence in the courts of men – but they want to take their case to the courts of heaven.

And like Esther of old, the queen of Iran who told Mordecai to ask all the people of God to pray and fast for three days, so Iranian Christian leaders are asking the world-wide church to also set aside these three days for prayer and fasting.

If you are a prayer leader in your church, please contact other intercessors to be involved in these three days, and please approach your pastor to see if special prayers for Iran can be made at your church service on Sunday November 23rd.

2008: YEAR OF INTIMIDATION FOR CHRISTIANS IN IRAN

The growing church in Iran is under attack. Since April there have been at least fifty three arrests of people whose only crime is their faith in Jesus Christ. The arrests are not localised, but have happened in all of Iran’s major cities…Tehran, Mashhad, Isfahan, Shiraz, Kerman, and elsewhere. Sometimes people have been released the same day, others spent months in prison, some still remain behind bars. Many of them have had to pay exorbitant fees for bail and face frightening court cases. Some have suffered physically while in detention and it is believed that one elderly couple died as a result of being beaten up. These are only the arrests that get reported: it is likely there have been many more.

All of this has been happening against the ominous background of legislation going through the Iranian parliament that will make the death sentence mandatory for any man who leaves Islam and chooses another faith. Women will face life imprisonment for the same ‘crime’. Click here to read more about this legislation.

Despite the persecution, the church in Iran continues to grow rapidly.  The Word of God is reaching many in the country and many believers are determined to courageously share Christ with their countrymen. Christian leaders in Iran believe that the church will continue to grow very rapidly in the next five to ten years, such is the openness of Iranians to the Gospel.

Elam Ministries urges Christians, world wide to pray and fast on behalf of the church in Iran.

  • Pray for all those who have been arrested and intimidated. Pray that the Lord will be their Rock, Deliverer and Shield. (Psalm 18:2)
  • Pray that despite the persecution, Christians will be “encouraged to speak the Word of God more courageously and fearlessly.” (Phil 1:14)
  • Pray against the law of apostasy. Pray that the severe mandatory punishments regarding apostasy in Iran’s new penal code will not enter the statute book. Pray that many millions of Muslims will see the evil of this law and will hunger for spiritual truth and salvation.

OVERVIEW OF INTIMIDATION*

April, Amol, Mazandaran: a Christian husband and his pregnant wife are arrested. The wife is released after three days, the husband not till the end of May and only when he had secured his bail with his home. He has to face charges in court.

May 11th, Shiraz: Homayon Gholamzadeh and his wife Fariba and Amir Hussein Anari, and his wife Fatemeh, were arrested at the airport and taken directly to jail. All were questioned about their faith and church involvement. The wives were released the same day, but Anari was not released till May 14th, and Gholamzadeh not till May 22nd. The same day Allaedin Hossein, his wife and three children were arrested, their home searched, and computers and books confiscated. All were released apart from the eldest son, Mujtaba Hussein, aged 21. He was kept in prison till June 3rd and then only released on $20,000 bail.

May 13th, Shiraz: Mahmood Matin and Arash Bandari, were arrested while walking in a park. Both were kept in solitary confinement till July 15th, when they were placed in a cell together.

May 31st, Tehran: Police arrest forty four year old Mohsen Namvar and confiscated his computer. Mohsen was in prison in 2007 when he was beaten so badly he could hardly walk. No reason was given for this second arrest. He was released on June 27th with high fever and shaking hands. He refuses to talk to his wife about his treatment. The family had to pay the security forces $43,000 for bail – and received no receipt. In early July they fled Iran as refugees.

June 3rd, Tehran: Christian couple, Tina Rad and Makan Arya were arrested and interrogated for holding Bible studies with Muslims. During their four day ordeal both were badly beaten up and the authorities threatened to put their four year old daughter into an institution. They had to raise a total of $50,000 to be released on bail.

July 12th, Tehran:. Mohsen Radfar arrested travelling to the city.

July 12th, Kerman: Twelve Christians are arrested at the airport on their way to a conference. While being questioned their homes are searched. They are released the same day.

July 17th, Isfahan: Sixteen Christians, including six women and two minors, arrested during a service. The elderly hosts of the meeting, Abbas Amiri and Sakineh Rahnama were so badly beaten that both later died: Abbas on July 30th, his wife on August 3rd.

Early August, Shiraz: Mahmood Matin Azad and Arash Basirat, imprisoned in Shiraz since May 13th, are formally charged with apostasy, which carries the death sentence.

August 8th, Kerman: A Christian couple, Dariush and Shireen, are arrested.

August 12th, Arak: Shahin Zanboori is arrested and suffered beatings while in prison as authorities attempted to find out the names of other believers. He was released on August 31st, but faces a court case.

Mid August, Mashad: A Christian, Iman Rashidi, is arrested.

August 21st, Mashad: Ramtin Soodmand, minister of the Evangelical Church, is imprisoned. Ramtin is the son of martyred Revd Hossein Soodmand who was hanged in 1990 for being an apostate from Islam. Ramtin’s mother is blind.

September 22nd, Urumieh: Assyrian Evangelical Minister, Revd. S. Yadegar and another Christian man are arrested and held in prison charged with evangelizing.

September 23rd, Shiraz: All the charges against Mahmood Matin Azad and Arash Basirat are dropped and they are released.

September 28th, Urumieh: A Christian man, Sobhan, is arrested.

October 20th, Mashad: Fereshteh Dibaj and her husband Amir Montazami, who were arrested and held last year, are threatened again by the court that they could be imprisoned. Fereshteh Dibaj is the daughter of Mehdi Dibaj who was imprisoned for nine years for his Christian faith. He was sentenced to death for apostasy in 1993, but was released after international pressure, only to be murdered in the summer of 1994.

October 22nd, Mashad: Ramtin Soodmand freed.

* Main sources: Compass Direct, FCNN

NEW PENAL CODE – MANDATORY DEATH FOR CONVERTS

This intimidation of Christians has been happening while parliament has been revising Iran’s penal code whereby death for male converts will be mandatory. Articles 225-8 of the new code bluntly states that punishment for a male apostate is ‘death’ and for a female it is life imprisonment – unless she re-cants. In a similar way that Nazis argued over the definition of a Jew, so this code has special clauses for ‘parental’ and ‘innate’ apostates. The former have three days to recant; the latter none. Such details do nothing to hide the fundamental injustice of a law that seeks to ferociously punish its citizens for choosing their own religion.

Up to now the death sentence has been available as a punishment for apostasy from Islam in Iran, but individual judges could use their discretion. However the word used in this new legislation is ‘hadd’ which means this is a fixed punishment that cannot be changed, reduced, or annulled.

This proposed bill also introduces a new crime into Iran’s statute book – ‘establishing weblogs and sites promoting corruption, prostitution and apostasy’ Those found guilty could be punished with death or the amputation of their arms and legs.

The new Penal Code was approved by the Iranian parliament by 196 – 7 votes on September 9th and is now being reviewed before it is sent back to parliament for another vote, and then to the Guardian Council for its final consent. It will then become law.

From the human perspective it is inevitable that this new penal code will become law, so threatening the lives not just of thousands of Christians from Muslim backgrounds, but any believer who wants to witness to the fact that Jesus Christ is the only Saviour, for this is ‘promoting apostasy’.

As in the days of the early church, when Peter was put in prison, there can still be a but…

So Peter was put in prison, but the church was earnestly praying…

Please start praying now, and put November 21st – 23rd in your diaries for praying and fasting.

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