JNN Newsletter - March 8, 2017

“Cause me to hear Your lovingkindness in the morning, for in You do I trust. Cause me to know the way in which I should walk, for I lift up my soul to You.” Ps. 143:8

ISRAEL MAKES IT TWO WINS IN A ROW IN WORLD BASEBALL CLASSIC: Israel's fairy-tale run at the World Baseball Classic continued on Tues. 7 March 2017, with a resounding 15-7 rout of Chinese Taipei in Seoul, moving the blue-and-white to the brink of qualification for the last eight of the tournament. Israel's national team got its campaign off to a dream start the previous day, claiming a 2-1 win in 10 innings against host South Korea, which is ranked No. 3 in the world and is a two-time medalist at the WBC. Israel dominated Chinese Taipei, which is ranked No. 4, from the start of Tuesday's affair, scoring four runs in the first inning. Israel increased its lead to 6-0 in the third, and despite allowing three runs in the sixth inning, effectively secured the victory by scoring five more times in the seventh. Pitcher Corey Baker got the win for Israel, which registered 20 hits in all, allowing three hits and no runs in 4.2 innings. Israel will complete its Pool A games when it faces the Netherlands on Thurs. 9 March 2017, but already looks set for a place in the last eight. The top two teams in the pool will advance to second round Pool E, which will be played in Tokyo, Japan. The top two in Pool E will progress to the semifinals at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. (J.Post)

UK PURIM CELEBRATION 2017: Join us in London for a special and joyous time as we pray and celebrate Purim together in remembrance of the heroic story of Mordecai and Esther and the salvation of the Persian Jews from the wicked plot of Haman. Special guest speakers include Pastor Jones Boateng, Pastor Candido Giraldo, Pastor Dennis Greenidge, Pastor Wes Richards and Pastor Derek Walker among others. There will be live worship with Barry and Batya Segal accompanied by Grenville Harding, authentic Jewish music from the Oysland Klezmer band and dancing from the Sh’ma Kingdom Dancers.

Date: Saturday 11 March 2017 - Venue: The Emmanuel Centre, 9 - 23 Marsham Street, Westminster, London - Start Time: 10.30am - Cost: £12.00. per person. Reserve your place by calling the UK office at: +44 (0)1793-279111, or book online at: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/purim-celebration-tickets-29435218531

SIGN OF THE TIMES: MORE ROADS – AND EVEN MORE CARS: The State of Israel continues to grow apace, symbolized by increasing traffic jams and density. In 2016 alone, the number of miles traveled on Israel roads by motor vehicles jumped by 3.4 billion kilometers, or 6.2%, to over 58 billion kilometers. The number of new cars sold in 2016 was 286,000 – 12.5% more than the year before. Already in 2014, Israel's roads and highways were the most crowded among the 35 member countries of the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development), with more than 2,500 vehicles per road-kilometer. The situation has only grown more acute since then. Israel is building more roads, but cannot keep up with the increase in vehicles. Between 2000 and the end of 2015, miles traveled grew by 50% and the number of cars jumped by 70% - while road area grew by only 40%. The solution clearly lies in public transportation. Many projects are underway to this end, including new or expanded light rail routes in Israel's three largest cities (Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Haifa), and expanded train routes between cities and various parts of the countries. However, only 47% of the objectives set for 2016 for these programs were met. It can therefore be expected that as Aliyah and Israel's birth rate thankfully increase, the problems will not go away – but they are being worked on. (Arutz-7) With the increase of Israel’s population and with it more cars and accidents on the road, please pray for an improvement in Israel’s road safety awareness and courtesy.

MYSTERIOUS, ANCIENT STONE MONUMENT UNEARTHED IN GALILEE: Archaeologists from Tel Hai College, the Israel Antiquities Authority and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem announced the discovery of a 4,000-year-old dolmen, a large table-like stone structure, near Kibbutz Shamir in the Upper Galilee. The dolmen is marked by its huge dimensions and the artistic decorations engraved in its ceiling. The dolmen was discovered inside a large chamber measuring 2 by 3 meters, and was covered by an enormous stone estimated to weigh at least 50 tons, one of the largest stones ever used in the construction of dolmens in the Middle East. The dolmen itself was enclosed in an enormous stone heap (tumulus) approximately 20 meters in diameter, and its stones are estimated to weigh a minimum of 400 tons. At least four smaller dolmens that were positioned at the foot of the decorated dolmen were identified inside the stone heap. “In other words, what we have here is a huge monumental structure built hierarchically (with a main cell and secondary cells). This is the first time such a hierarchical dolmen has been identified in the Middle East,” said the IAA in a release. Experts said the latest find sheds new light on the nature of dolmens in ancient Israel.

Uri Berger, an archaeologist with the Israel Antiquities Authority and partner in the study said “The engraved shapes depict a straight line going to the center of an arc. About fifteen such engravings were documented on the ceiling of the dolmen, spread out in a kind of arc along the ceiling. No parallels exist for these shapes in the engraved rock drawings of the Middle East, and their significance remains a mystery.” Experts also said the dolmen provides evidence of a significant and established governmental system in the region during the Bronze Age. “Archaeologists tend to interpret the past based on material finds,” said the IAA. “The absence of cities, large settlements and monumental buildings attests to the collapse of the governmental and economic systems during a ‘dark period’ in history. The dolmens tell a different story about the period – a story about a society that had a complex governmental and economic system that executed monumental engineering projects but did not leave behind any other archaeological evidence. The gigantic dolmen at Kibbutz Shamir is without doubt an indication of public construction,” added Professor Sharon, “that required a significant amount of manpower over a considerable period of time. During that time all of those people had to be housed and fed. The building of such a huge construction necessitated knowledge of engineering and architecture that small nomadic groups did not usually possess. And even more importantly, a strong system of government was required here that could assemble a large amount of manpower, provide for the personnel and above all direct the implementation and control of a large and lengthy project.” (Israel News) Giants anybody?

ARCHAEOLOGISTS DISCOVER 2,000-YEAR-OLD ‘EMPEROR’S ROAD’ NEAR BEIT SHEMESH: A wide and well-preserved 2,000-year-old road dating to the Roman period was unearthed last month during archaeological excavations carried out by the Israel Antiquities Authority near Beit Shemesh. On 7 March 2017, Irina Zilberbod, director of the excavation on behalf of the IAA, said the road was up to 6 meters wide, and stretched for approximately 1.5 kilometers. “The road was apparently built to link the Roman settlement that existed in the vicinity of Beit Natif with the main highway known as the ‘Emperor’s Road,’” said Zilberbod. Ancient coins were also discovered between the pavement stones, including one from the second year of the Great Revolt in 67 AD; one from the Umayyad period; one from the prefect of Judea, Pontius Pilate, dating to 29 AD; and a coin of Agrippa I from 41 AD, that was minted in Jerusalem. Amit Shadman, the Authority’s district archaeologist for Judea, said the ancient road passed close to the Israel National Trail. “We believe that it will spark interest among hikers,” said Shadman, noting that the IAA and Mei Shemesh Corporation have agreed that the road will be conserved for the public’s benefit. (J.Post)

KNESSET BANS ENTRY TO FOREIGNERS CALLING FOR BOYCOTTS OF ISRAEL: Israel has enacted a law banning entry to foreigners who publicly call for boycotting the Jewish state or its settlements. The Knesset passed the law by a vote of 46-28 on Mon. 6 March 2017. The ban applies to any foreigner “who knowingly issues a public call for boycotting Israel that, given the content of the call and the circumstances in which it was issued, has a reasonable possibility of leading to the imposition of a boycott.” It includes those who urge boycotting areas under Israeli control, such as the Judea & Samaria settlements. The measure was meant to target groups, rather than individuals, according to Roy Folkman, a lawmaker from the Kulanu party. (JTA) “Mockers stir up a city, but the wise turn away anger.” Prov 29:8

RECORD LOW RAINFALL IN FEBRUARY: February was defined as an arid month throughout the country, according to data released Mon. 6 March 2017 by the Water Authority. In the coastal aquifers, the amount of precipitation during the month was 50-60% of the annual average for February. The northern aquifers suffered a particularly arid month with just 10% of the annual average precipitation in the Kinneret aquifer. For some of the weather stations, this was a record low amount of precipitation for February. This is the fourth consecutive year that the north is suffering from a dearth in rainfall. Despite the policy of the Water Authority to reduce to an absolute minimum the amount of water pumped from the Sea of Galilee, the water level is under the red line and the north is suffering from a water shortage expected to get more severe during the coming summer months. The Water Authority has been investing in desalination processes in order to maintain the water reserves in Israel. At present more than half of the water provided for different uses are man-made, employing desalination and recycling methods. The authority stated that it intends to set up a desalination plant in the Western Galilee which will reinforce water resources. (Arutz-7) Israel’s rainy season is fast coming to a close. Intercede that abundant showers will bless the land during the remainder of March.

CONSERVATIVE SYNAGOGUES VOTE TO ALLOW NON-JEWS AS MEMBERS: The umbrella body for Conservative synagogues approved a resolution to allow individual congregations to decide whether to grant membership to non-Jews. The resolution was passed last week during a Special Meeting of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism General Assembly. The measure passed overwhelmingly by a vote of 94 to 8 with one abstention. “USCJ, as a valued and trusted partner, is committed to assisting welcoming, vibrant, and caring Jewish communities to fully engage the spiritual gifts of all community members. We celebrate the diversity among and within our groups and encourage the engagement of all those who seek a spiritual and communal home in an authentic and dynamic Jewish setting. We call on all of our synagogues to open their doors wide to all who want to enter,” reads the commentary to the new standard.” The change was endorsed by the major Conservative institutions in the United States. (INN)

The suggestions, opinions and scripture references made by JNN writers and editors are based on the best information received.

Barry Segal with the Editorial Staff