Arlene Bridges Samuels
In Essentials, Unity

A Good New Year 5783 for Israel? Not If It Depends on Abbas and Raisi

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The Jewish year 5783 is off and running. Countless Christian Zionists like me have sincerely wished Israelis a sweet new year! We advocate for Israel with US Congress and support many fine pro-Israel organizations here in the US and in Israel. We act AND we pray. One of the biggest calls to prayer takes place annually on the first Sunday of October. Organized by Eagles’ Wings Ministry, 500,000 churches mobilize millions of believers for the Day to Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem IN Israel and around the world in churches and homes. Prayers combined with action is a biblical mandate for us. We follow news pertaining to Israel closely which informs our prayers including actions at the United Nations Generals Assembly. Here’s my commentary about the 77th UNGA abbreviated from my weekly column at The Christian Broadcasting Network Israel.

After the United Nations General Assembly speeches last week by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Iran’s President Riasi, it is not surprising that wishes for a “sweet near year” were not spoken. Only Israel’s destruction would generate their sweet new year. According to Israeli and Palestinian media, Abbas later called President Herzog with a Rosh Hashanah greeting, however his hypocrisy is on display continually. Will 5783 produce a call to his Palestinian terrorists to stop assaulting and murdering Israelis?

Abbas and Riasi have perfected the art of turning truth upside down displaying a level of unmatched hypocrisy. Along with their speeches, they have fine-tuned them by holding up photographs of terrorists praising them as heroic martyrs on holy missions.

Mr. Abbas spent 47 minutes glorifying his own leadership, and his usual description of Palestinians as Israeli victims. He defined Israel as apartheid, accused them of massacring thousands of children, assaults on Islamic and Christian holy sites, and claiming that Israel is not a peace partner. This dictator lives in a multimillion-dollar home in Ramallah, has served for 15 years neglecting his promised elections, and has defiantly refused direct negotiations with Israel’s leaders since 2009.

He punctuated his speech by holding up photos, including Nasser Abu Hamid who murdered seven Israelis and attempted murders of 12 more. Due to multiple life sentences Hamid has been in prison since 2002. Abbas calls Hamid and the terrorist prisoners “heroic martyrs” and “the living conscience of our people.”

Abbas and Raisi share the same playbook of lies and hypocrisy. Taking no responsibility for creating separate nightmares for their citizens who live in an anemic society devoid of true freedom, both leaders are disenchanted with the United States.

“A country which does not respect the rights of its own citizens will not respect the rights of its neighbors.” –Andrei Sakharov, Soviet Dissident, Nobel Laureate, Human Rights Activist

With a list of their own one-sided reasons, the name-calling is more intense against Israel.  Raisi strode to the United Nations podium and unleashed a torrent of lies calling Israel a “savage power.”

Like Abbas, he accused Israel of killing women and children in a “ dark report card of the Zionist regime.” He went on to name Gaza the biggest prison in the world. No mention of course about Israel’s unilateral decision to withdraw from Gaza in 2005. Under former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, eight thousand Israelis were forced to vacate their homes, businesses, schools, and synagogues. Typically, no mention about Hamas, his hateful surrogate which purposely places civilian women and children in harm’s way.  This, from an Islamic theocrat, who formerly served as a prosecuting judge who ordered thousands of Iranians killed. About Riasi, Amnesty International Secretary General Agnes Callamard commented that “He is a grim reminder that impunity reigns supreme in Iran.”

During Riasi’s speech at the United Nations, Iranians were protesting throughout Iran about the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish woman who died while detained by the “morality police.” Her crime? Not wearing an acceptable headdress as required by the Islamic Republic’s strict laws about women’s clothing.

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Indeed, the protests center on far more than clothing. It is about citizens living under an oppressive regime since 1979; a regime more interested in developing a nuclear weapon of mass destruction, than relieving the woes of their own people.  News is not emerging consistently since the regime uses rolling blackouts on the internet. Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, and Telegram were shut down earlier. Varying media report 75 or more deaths in two weeks of protests but likely much higher. More than a thousand have been arrested including journalists. Reuters reports that Iran’s security forces used tear gas, clubs, drones, and live ammunition against crowds shouting, “Death to the Dictator.”  With his history of ruthlessness, Riasi is carrying out his vow to “deal decisively” with citizens he views as a threat to what he calls Iran’s security and tranquility.

Riasi also held up a picture before exiting the podium. In it, a smiling Qasam Soleimani, the Commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). Riasi praised him as a freedom-seeking martyr.  Soleimani’s twenty years of overseeing terror aimed at Israel-and globally-ended with an American drone of justice at Baghdad’s International Airport.

Abbas and Raisi each made defamatory claims. In his long list of lies, Abbas insists he is willing to negotiate but that Israel refuses. Raisi insists that Iran’s quest for weapons of mass destruction are peaceful. The evidence against both claims is taller than the Burj Khalifa in Dubai!

Christians must stay alert and free themselves from the widespread propaganda, especially with the long arm of Iranian terror reaching into many parts of the world, including the United States. Nevertheless, too many are deceived. It remains the responsibility of Christians, Jews, and all who accept the truth about Palestinian and Iranian leaders’ deceptions to stand up as truth-bearers in relationships, social media, and beneficial reforms.

About the Author
Arlene Bridges Samuels is a pioneer in pro-Israel Christian advocacy for more than two decades in positions with Israel Always and Earl Cox, Israel's Goodwill Ambassador to Christians and Jews, SE Region Outreach Director at American Israel Public Affairs Committee, (AIPAC) and International Christian Embassy Jerusalem USA's project, American Christian Leaders for Israel. Since 2020, she is the weekley featured columnist at The Christian Broadcasting Network Israel, and frequent Guest Columnist for Allisrael News and The Jerusalem Connection Report. Arlene co-edited The Auschwitz Album Revisited. Traveling to Israel since 1990, by invitation she attends the GPO Christian Media Summit and serves on the board of Violins of Hope South Carolina.
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