Israel & Christians Today: Weekly Update (April 12)

editor - 12 April 2019

It has been a big week. Much to be thankful for. The Lord God of Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps.

We must never forget that the state of Israel is made up of Jews and non-Jews. Israel is constantly facing the challenge of retaining its distinctively Jewish character, while being a place where all people can have equal rights and dignity. There is no inherent contradiction between these, for it is, of course, the calling of Judaism for the Jews to be a blessing to all nations. And despite the constant criticism, the Jewish State of Israel is doing remarkably well in this respect. No other country in the Middle East even approaches Israel’s record in respecting human rights.

Yet Israel remains vulnerable, and there are many challenges. The election results show that less and less Israeli’s believe there will be a peace agreement with the Palestinians. Will there be a political solution? Or will there be more conflict in Gaza, and a popular violent uprising in the West Bank? Perhaps conflict is necessary in order for there to be true peace …

This is a matter for much prayer. Let us pray that Israeli leaders will continue to exercise restraint, and that the Palestinians will turn from violence and come to see that their future lies in cooperation with the Jewish people.

Especially we must pray that Jews and non-Jews in the land will turn from their idols and serve and worship the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Finally let us pray for PM Netanyahu and his colleagues as they seek to form a new coalition. May the cabinet be comprised of men and women of integrity, wisdom and faith.

Shabbat shalom,

Andrew Tucker
Chief Editor
Israel & Christians Today

Benjamin Netanyahu positioned to form new coalition and continue as Prime Minister 

Bibi has done it again. Against all odds, he has emerged as the clear winner from the elections held on 9th April. Despite the fact that possible criminal charges are hanging over his head, Bibi is set to enter his record-breaking 5th term as Israel’s Prime Minister – more terms even than Israel’s Founding Prime Minister David Ben Gurion.

Read this analysis by Ahron Shapiro of AIJAC published the day after the elections:
Click here..

In this article, Israeli correspondent Yochanan Visser describes why Bibi Netanyahu won, and why Benny Gantz lost:
Click here..

Ryan Jones at Israel Today explains that the ultra-Orthodox parties will now have a decisive role in the government, and why that is a concern:
Click here..


Airbnb reverses its boycott of Jewish settlements 

The BDS story continues. BDS was born out of the idea that “Zionism is Racism”, and is basically a movement committed to the destruction of the Jewish State. It is, at its core, deeply anti-Semitic.

Last November, Airbnb announced a change in policy and delisted all properties listed in Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria. As a result, many civilian bodies, together with the Israeli government, acted to induce Airbnb to cancel this decision. Several organizations placed pressure on the giant American company in recent months to cancel its decision to boycott the Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria.

The struggle against the company focused on the argument that the change in policy constitutes submission to the BDS movement, illegal discrimination against Israel and that it is based on an error in facts and legal reality.

On Tuesday, April 9, Airbnb officially retracted its decision.

The International Legal Forum (ILF), the Zionist Advocacy Center and The Lawfare Project played a significant role in the fight against the company’s policy. According to Yifa Segal, CEO of ILF:

“In order to understand the strategy that we used against Airbnb, it is important to note that, according to the terms of use of Airbnb, class actions are not accepted. If a subscriber has a legal complaint against the Company, he is required to bring the complaint to arbitration, and that no consolidation of files will be accepted.

While other organizations and lawyers who acted against Airbnb’s decision sought to circumvent this clause and filed proceedings directly with the courts, the International Legal Forum and the Zionist Advocacy Center took a different strategy with the intention of specifically exploiting this clause.

Together with the Zionist Advocacy Center, we collected 1,000 Airbnb subscribers who wished to complain about a change in Airbnb’s terms of use. At the same time, we also submitted a request to come before arbitration concerning the company’s discriminatory policy change, which we claimed violates the New York law that prohibits discrimination based on religion, sex and national origin.
In response to these moves, negotiations were held, in recent days, between the parties. These negotiations ended when Airbnb announced its intention to withdraw from its discriminatory policy.”

Segal: “The Airbnb case sets a very important precedent and is of strategic importance. It is undoubtedly a serious blow to the boycott movement. There is no doubt that other economic companies will seriously examine the development in this case.” “In addition”, Segal added, “We should all be very proud of ourselves. This case proves that there is great importance to the cooperative and concerted work of various bodies around the world, and that therein lies the power to expose the truth and correct injustices.” We applaud every lawyer, organization and activist that were involved in this battle!

David Abrams, CEO of the Zionist Advocacy Center, said: “I applaud Airbnb for their prompt handling of this affair. The issue of Judea and Samaria is complex and delicate. Therefore, both for economic considerations and for the advancement of peace, companies should avoid taking sides in the conflict.” Abrams added that he would be happy to use Airbnb’s services on his next trip abroad.

Read: Airbnb decision on Jewish settlement homes praised as blow to BDS

Read: Airbnb Warned Over Potential Legal Ramifications of Delisting Israeli Settlements

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Andrew Tucker is International Editor of our bi-monthly newspaper Israel & Christians Today. The goal of Israel & Christians Today is to help Christians to take God’s Word seriously, and study current events in the world in the context of the Bible. Click here to subscribe.

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