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eNews For The Week Of October 19, 2015

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In The News

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Articles and Commentary


In The News

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Christians Ordered to “Convert or Die” by ISIS Jihadis as they Declare a European Caliphate

October 16, 2015

The Assyrian community in Gothenburg, Sweden are being tormented by the threats and police have now launched a probe. Markus Samuelsson was shocked after radicals covered his restaurant in the city with graffiti this week. They daubed the terror group’s logo alongside the disturbing phrases “convert and die” and “the caliphate is here” over the walls on Tuesday. The Arabic letter for ’N’ – which has been used to identify Christians and drive them out of their homes by ISIS fighters – was also painted on the restaurant.

The Guardian

Hamas: “1948 and 1967 are Temporary Borders”

October 16, 2015

Hamas continues to make clear that its ultimate goal is to drive all Jews out of what it perceives to be “Palestinian land”. Senior Hamas member Mahmoud al-Zahar on Wednesday said he sees the latest terror wave as a springboard for “the liberation of all of Palestine”. “The struggle against the occupation is strong and deep, and the Palestinian people cannot give it up,” Zahar said in a speech in Gaza, adding that an armed struggle is no shame for any organization or movement, but a plan which all the Palestinian people embrace.

Most Likely, Most Dangerous

Abortion at the Supreme Court’s Door

October 15, 2015

Despite a near-universal assumption that the Supreme Court will take up an abortion case in its new term, the general chatter hasn’t included much detail about the specific issue, the stakes or the prospects. This column is an effort to address those questions. The stakes couldn’t be higher, either for women who live in the growing number of states governed by anti-abortion politicians or for the court itself.

The New York Times

Scientists Claim They Can Change Your Belief on Immigrants and God – With Magnets

October 15, 2015

A bizarre experiment claims to be able to make Christians no longer believe in God and make Britons open their arms to migrants in experiments some may find a threat to their values. Scientists looked at how the brain resolves abstract ideological problems. Using a technique called transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), researchers safely shut down certain groups of neurones in the brains of volunteers.

Sunday Express

Chinese Media: Military Must be Ready to Counter US in South China Sea

October 15, 2015

Chinese media criticized the U.S. Thursday for “ceaseless provocations” in the South China Sea, with Washington expected to soon send warships close to artificial islands Beijing has built in disputed waters. An editorial in the Global Times, which is close to China’s ruling Communist party, condemned US “coercion,” adding: “China mustn’t tolerate rampant US violations of China’s adjacent waters and the skies over those expanding islands.”

The Guardian

These are the First Photos of an Underground Iranian Missile Base

October 14, 2015

Iranian state TV has shared images of an underground missile base in an unprecedented broadcast. The base is located 1,640 feet (500 meters) underground, according to BBC World journalist Mehrzad Kohanrouz. The first media images of a subterranean Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps rocket base come only three days after Iran tested a new precision-guided ballistic missile.

Business Insider


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Articles And Commentary

A New Wave of Terror

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Palestinians Burning Israel Flags

(Photo Credit: Pamela Geller)

Pray for peace for Jerusalem: “May those who love you be at peace! May peace be within your ramparts, and prosperity within your fortresses.” For the sake of my relatives and friends I will now say, “May there be peace within you.” For the sake of the Temple of the LORD our God, I will seek your welfare.

Psalm 122:6–9 (ISV)

A new wave of violence erupted across Israel in recent weeks. Violence ramped up in Jerusalem this week after two Israelis were stabbed to death by a Palestinian; that spurred further violence and other stabbings. In the past month, eight Israelis died in 30 attacks involving knives and other weapons, with many more being wounded. Palestinian officials have said more than 30 Palestinians have been killed in the past month. More than 1,100 have been injured, mostly in fighting with Israeli forces.

Why Now?

What happened? Why did the violence erupt now?

What happened was nothing happened. For almost 10 years, Judea and Samaria were amazingly quiet. For over four years the Arab chaos did not penetrate the Promised Land. Israel experienced unprecedented prosperity. The West Bank experienced relative prosperity.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not launch a bold plan to divide the land. Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas did not adopt the Barak plan or the Olmert plan or the Clinton plan.

Some observers are tying the recent spate of violence with the 10 year anniversary of Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza. Where Israel was trying to trade land for peace, some jihadists want more land and less peace.

Others believe that the recent attacks can be traced back to one issue - a controversy over a small but important area in Jerusalem’s Old City: the Al-Aqsa Mosque, which is the third-holiest site in Islam. The mosque sits near the Dome of the Rock where Muslims believe Muhammad rose to heaven.

Both landmarks sit on the Temple Mount in the Muslim quarter of the Old City; however, the Temple Mount is also the holiest place in Judaism. Control of the site is ultimately up to the government of Israel, a non-Muslim state, and so Palestinians fear that Israel might limit their access to it, or even destroy it.

Their fear culminated Oct. 4, when two Palestinians stabbed to death five Israelis near the site, leaving two Israelis dead. This incident was followed by a series of stabbings and other attacks. Because of those later attacks, Israel restricted access to the Old City for 48 hours.

Increasingly in recent years, Jewish activists have demanded greater access to the Temple Mount and others have called for rights of Jews to pray there.

This has sparked widespread concerns among Palestinians that the status quo is being violated, and will end in the division of the Temple Mount.

Over the past few years, tensions have coincided with the Jewish High Holy Days in the autumn. This year, the holiday coincided with the Muslim’s Eid-al-Adha holiday and tensions rose even higher.

IDF Response

Six companies of Israeli soldiers were deployed in Jerusalem Oct. 14 to help police secure the city in light of a recent escalation in violence. Seven Israelis and at least 30 Palestinians have died in two weeks of street attacks and subsequent crackdowns, raising regional concerns of a third Palestinian intifada. The Israeli Cabinet passed a series of measures overnight Oct. 13 aiming to prevent further street attacks, including giving police authority to seal off Palestinian neighborhoods in East Jerusalem and demolish the homes of those carrying out the attacks. The Knesset also approved a call-up of 1,400 reservists in the Border Police. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Oct. 13 that he plans to travel to the Middle East to calm the violence.

Fire at Joseph’s Tomb

Palestinians set fire to a Jewish holy shrine in the West Bank Friday morning, and clashes between Palestinians and the Israeli military flared throughout the day after the militant Islamist group Hamas called for a “day of rage.”

The blaze at the Tomb of the Prophet Joseph, on the outskirts of the northern West Bank city of Nablus, was brought under control by Palestinian ­forces, who also dispersed hundreds of protesters. There were no reports of injuries, but the Israeli military said the structure was seriously damaged.

The incident underscored the runaway tensions across Israel and the West Bank amid a series of attacks and clashes­ that have claimed lives on both sides and brought the Israeli army into residential areas in Israel for the first time in more than a decade.

In an unusual move, Mahmoud Abbas denounced the attack as “irresponsible.” He said he would appoint a committee to investigate the incident, local media reported.

Palestinians Set Fire to a Jewish Holy Shrine

Israeli leaders have accused Abbas of failing to intervene in the latest unrest — which was triggered by confrontations at another holy site, Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa Mosque compound. The site is considered holy by Muslims, who refer to it as the Noble Sanctuary, and by Jews, who call it the Temple Mount.

The tomb, which has been the site of clashes in the past, is often visited by Jewish pilgrims escorted by the Israeli military. The site is patrolled by Palestinian security services, but some Israelis are now calling for Israeli soldiers to be present, too.

“The burning and desecration of Joseph’s Tomb last night is a blatant violation and contradiction of the basic value of freedom of worship. The IDF will take all measures to bring the perpetrators of this despicable act to justice, restore the site to its earlier condition and make sure that the freedom of worship returns to Joseph’s Tomb,” IDF Spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner said in a statement Friday morning.

White House Calls for Order

At a White House news conference, President Obama said his administration was “concerned about the outbreak of violence” and said people in Israel should have a basic expectation of law and order. But he also pointed a finger at Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

We also believe that it’s important for both, Prime Minister Netanyahu and Israeli elected officials and President Abbas and other people in positions of power, to try to tamp down rhetoric that may feed violence or anger or misunderstanding and try to get all people in Israel and in the West Bank to recognize that this kind of random violence is not going to result in anything other than more hardship and more insecurity.

(It is interesting that despite the calls for jihad and the images of rioters waving Palestinian and jihadi flags, the Obama administration is branding what is going on in Israel as “random violence.” It is strangely reminiscent of President Obama calling the jihad at Fort Hood that resulted in the deaths of 13 Americans in Texas “workplace violence.”)

Israel has bolstered its troop presence in Jerusalem and the West Bank in the wake of the violence. As in previous weeks, only women, of all ages, and men over the age of 40 may enter the Temple Mount for Friday prayers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

No End in Sight

Senior Israeli defense officials admit that even if a way is found to stop the knife attacks or if they stop of their own accord, there isn’t much hope that the security coordination between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, which had held up well over the past seven to eight years, will ever return to what it was. The current outburst is taking place because the PA’s restraining mechanisms have eroded, and now the violence is eroding what’s left of them.

Further Reading

China’s Schindler

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Garden of the Righteous Among the Nations

(Photo Credit: Yad Vashem)

Righteous Gentiles

In Jerusalem, there is a museum dedicated to the Jewish victims of the Nazis. It is the world’s largest repository of information on the Holocaust. The main building contains an enormous archive of artifacts, maps, diaries, personal belongings, firsthand testimonies, and other information on World War II, displayed chronologically. Video monitors show survivors telling their miraculous stories. Outside of the museum there is the Garden of the Righteous among the Nations. It pays tribute to Righteous Gentiles. The term originates with the concept of “righteous gentiles,” a term used in rabbinical Judaism to refer to non-Jews, as ger toshav and ger tzedek, who abide by the Seven Laws of Noah.

People such as Oskar Schindler, Nicholas Winton and Raoul Wallenberg are well known for their exploits. Most are not. As of Jan. 1, 2015 there are 25,685 individuals designated with this honor. Poland has the highest number of individuals so honored with 6,532, Netherlands has 5,413 people recognized. France is third with 3,853. On and on the list goes with the numbers dwindling. Toward the bottom of the list comes one of the most populous nations on earth. They are remarkable for the incredibly small number of individuals recognized.

China has a grand total of two.

One of those two people is the subject of this story.

Dr. Ho Feng-Shan

Dr. Ho Feng-Shan was Consul-General of China to Austria from 1938 to 1940 Ho had probably never met or seen a Jew before he arrived in Vienna. His journey from China, to Austria, to becoming one of the Righteous Gentiles is both a testament to the greatness of God and how, through his strength, ordinary men can do extraordinary things.

Ho Feng-Shan was never recognized for this in his lifetime by neither the Republic of China nor Chinese Communist Party, but Israel honored him as Righteous posthumously in 2001.

Humble Beginnings

Dr. Ho was born in the Hunan province of China in 1901. When Ho’s parents died, Norwegian Lutheran missionaries took him in and gave him an education at their school.

Ho proved a bright and hardworking student. He later attended Yale University’s extension college in China and then traveled to Germany to earn a doctorate in political economy in Munich.

Then came a career in China’s diplomatic corps. He was stationed in Vienna and became a popular speaker on the culture and customs of China among the city’s elites.


In March, 1938, Austria was annexed by Nazi Germany and that country’s embassy became a consulate. Ho then became Consul General in Vienna, answering to the Chinese ambassador in Berlin.

The Nazis began intense persecution of the more than 185,000 Austrian Jews, arresting many and sending them to concentration camps. Ho, watching this in horror, became convinced that he had to do something to help them. He later wrote that he “secretly kept in close contact” with American religious groups that were attempting to rescue them.

Visas by the Thousands

One tool Ho had at his disposal was his ability to issue visas. At that time the Nazis allowed Jews to leave Austria only if another country were willing to accept them. But tragically, most countries, fearing the wrath of German leaders, refused to do so. China, however, allowed Ho to issue visas to those wishing to travel to Shanghai. In his article on Ho in “Christians Who Changed Their World,” Dr. Glenn Sunshine explains, “the real purpose of these visas was not so much to allow Jews into Shanghai, but to get them out of Austria.”

Word quickly spread through Vienna’s large Jewish community that China’s consulate would give them visas out of the country. Ho feverishly issued visa after visa, often for large families.

Many of those helped by Ho did indeed reach Shanghai, either by boat from Italy or overland via the Soviet Union. Many others made use of their visas to reach alternate destinations, including Palestine, the Philippines, and elsewhere, such as the parents of Secretary-General of the World Jewish Congress and Vice Chairman of the Yad Vashem Council, Dr. Israel Singer, who traveled to Cuba.

Eric Goldstaub, who had immigrated to Canada, related how, in July 1938, he received Chinese visas for his entire family after spending “days, weeks, and months visiting one foreign consulate or embassy after the other trying to obtain visas for [himself, his] parents and [their] near relatives, numbering some 20 people.”

Doing this life-saving work was not without risk. Once, Ho “faced down an armed Gestapo officer to protect a Jewish family,” Sunshine writes. Ho also lived in constant fear that, his diplomatic standing notwithstanding, the Gestapo might put a permanent end to his activity.

Ho also refused to abide by the instructions of his superior, the Chinese ambassador in Berlin, Chen Jie. Chen Jie, hoping to ingratiate himself with the Nazi authorities and cement closer ties between China and Germany, had forbidden Ho to issue visas on such a large scale, estimated to run into the hundreds, perhaps even thousands.

By the time Ho was recalled to China in May of 1940, he had issued more than 4,000 visas.

After a long diplomatic career, Ho retired in 1973. Many years later, Ho and his family moved to San Francisco, where Ho spent his remaining years working on behalf of his church and community, and writing his memoirs. Dr. Ho died in 1997, at the age of 96.

Why Would He Do It?

Whenever someone risks his life, his career, or his safety for others, it’s natural to ask, “Why? Why did he do it when so many others would not?” Dr. Ho’s answer was, “I thought it only natural to feel compassion and to want to help. From the standpoint of humanity that is the way it should be.”

Ho’s pastor, the Rev. Charles Kuo, elaborated on his answer. Ho “knew he had received many gifts from God. He felt that they were not given to him solely for his own benefit, but to do for others, for his fellow man.”

It was only after his passing that evidence by survivors who benefited from Ho’s aid began to reach Yad Vashem. After carefully evaluating the case, the Commission for the Designation of the Righteous decided in the year 2000 to award Ho Feng-Shan the title of Righteous Among the Nations for his humanitarian courage in issuing Chinese visas to Jews in Vienna in spite of orders from his superior to the contrary and great danger to himself personally and to his family.

On September 12, 2015, President Ma Ying-Jeou of Taiwan posthumously awarded the President’s Citation Award to Dr. Ho Feng Shan, honoring for the first time a man whose courage and compassion had saved thousands of innocent lives in the years leading up to World War II.

Related Readings


The views and opinions expressed in these articles, enews and linked websites are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views held by Koinonia House. Koinonia House is providing this information as a resource to individuals who are interested in current news and events that may have an impact on Christian Life and Biblical trends. Koinonia House is not responsible for any information contained in these articles that may be inaccurate, or does not present an unbiased or complete perspective. Koinonia House disavows any obligation to correct or update the information contained in these articles.

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