The Christian Godfather of the Israeli Army

UnknownSadly only a few know the heroic story of Lt. Col. John Henry Patterson (pictured). Jerry Klinger, the President of the Jewish-American Society for Historic Preservation (www.JASHP.org) has authored a detailed account of this extraordinary man.

At a tribute in Patterson’s honor Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: “There is no exaggeration; Patterson was the commander of the first Jewish fighting force in nearly two millennia. And as such, he can be called the godfather of the Israeli army.”

At that event Klinger was seated in the front row with the guest of honour. Of the comment by the Prime Minister, Klinger wrote: “It was a curious statement to those who knew nothing about Colonel Patterson. Patterson was a Christian. A Christian was the Godfather of the modern Israel Defense Forces, not a Jew.”

The connection becomes even more intimate when we learn Patterson was the sandak (godfather) of Yonnie (Jonathan) Netanyahu, elder brother of the Prime Minister. Yonni born in 1946 was named for Patterson and for Jonathan’s grandfather. Yonni like his godfather rose to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel. He was killed in the 1976 Entebbe raid.

Bridge Builder

imagesPatterson led an adventurous life. Historians list him as an Anglo-Irish soldier, hunter, author and Zionist. He wrote ‘The Man-eaters of Tsavo (1907) which detailed his bridge building assignment and a battle with hungry, man-eating lions. He was commissioned by the British to build a railway bridge over the Tsavo River (Kenya) 1988-89. The work was hindered when frequent lion attacks depleted the work crew and demoralized those who remained.

Patterson learned tiger hunting skills serving with the Brits in India. More than a hundred of his bridge-builders were killed by giant-sized lions and Patterson resolved to eliminate the problem. After a difficult campaign Patterson killed two gigantic lions.

Klinger reports: “They were incredibly huge beasts measuring over nine feet in length from their noses to the tips of their tails. The lion corpses were brought into camp for the men to see. It took eight men to carry each one.”

Patterson wrote a book ‘The Man-eaters of Tsavo.” It was a best-seller and enjoyed numerous printings. There were three movies made from the book. The most recent, “The Ghost and the Darkness” in 1996 starred Val Klimer.

Patterson was appointed Game Warden of a reserve in East Africa in 1908. A couple on safari, Audley and Ethel Blyth were mysteriously shot. Although Patterson was investigated for the crime, no evidence led to him, nevertheless tongues wagged. He was shunned by the powers-that-be and resigned from the army in 1911. World War 1 broke out three years later.

Patterson returned to uniform and was sent to Flanders. The Turks feared the Jews would side with Britain and expelled them out of what was then Palestine. The desperate Jews fled to Egypt.

Gallipoli

The Jewish refugees, Patterson and a Russian activist Vladimir Jabotinsky would soon connect alongside a one-armed Russian Joseph Trumpeldor. Jabotinsky and Trumpeldor were avid Zionists and Patterson already a Jewish sympathizer soon embraced the cause.

The Jews wanted to fight with the Brits for ‘Palestine.’ They were offered a support and supply role as mule drivers. Jabotinsky offended by the offer, refused. His passionate friend Trumpeldor accepted but a problem remained. Who would lead this unusual unit? Enter Patterson, a non-Jew and a very experienced fighter. Patterson wrote about that moment in his book, “With the Zionists in Gallipoli.”

“It was strange, therefore that I, so imbued with the Jewish traditions should have arrived in Egypt at the psychological moment when General Sir John Maxwell, the C-in-C in Egypt, was looking for a suitable officer to recruit a Jewish unit. A Jewish unit had been unknown for 2,000 years, since the day of the Maccabees, those heroic sons of Israel who fought so valiantly, and for a time so successfully, to wrest Jerusalem from the Roman Legions…. It is curious that General Maxwell should have chosen me (to command a Jewish unit), because he knew nothing of my knowledge of Jewish history and my sympathy for the Jewish race. When as a boy I eagerly devoured the records of the glorious deeds of the Jewish military captains, such as Joshua, Joab, Gideon, Judas Maccabee, I never dreamed that I in a small way would become a captain of a host of the Children of Israel.”

Klinger wrote: “The Zion Mule Corp was organized, six hundred and fifty men strong. With the blessing of the chief Rabbi of Alexandria, they sailed for Gallipoli. They sailed with and as part of the British army opening the first step in the creation of the later Israel Defense Forces.

The tragedy and inspiration of Gallipoli followed. The Zion Mule Corp came through a wicked war with ‘courage, purpose and steadfastness.’

After the torrid campaign Patterson was hospitalized. Jabotinsky who watched events closely was distraught when the British disbanded the Zion Mule Corps, ignoring promises of legitimacy, made to the Jewish refugees when they signed on.

The Jewish Legion

Furious Jabotinsky spearheaded a campaign to begin a Jewish legion but the British leadership wanted none of it. Lord Kitchener openly opposed the Jewish unit and thwarted the plan .Then on June 5, 1916 Kitchener sailed for a high level meeting with the Russians.. His ship hit a mine and Kitchener was never found.

He was replaced by Captain Amery who had served with Patterson in the Boer War and at Gallipoli. Meetings began with Jabotinsky, Patterson and Amery. It turned out Amery was keen for Jews to help Britain win control of Palestine from the Turks. The Jewish legion was approved.

When the formation of the Jewish Legion commenced the leadership was an important consideration. When the debate commenced, Jabotinsky declared: “There is only one nominee ….even though he is not a Jew, he must be our colonel; and I hope that one day he will be our general: Patterson!”

The appointment was officially confirmed July 27, 1917. “Never in Jewish history has there been in our midst a Christian friend of his penetration and devotion.” Vladimir Jabotinsky said. 67 years after his death, the ashes of Lt Col John Henry Patterson were transferred for burial in Israel.

Ron Ross is a Middle East consultant for United Christian Broadcasters (Vision FM). Previously he was radio news editor for Bridges for Peace in Jerusalem, Israel. His career started at WINTV (Email: ron@ronross.org)

 

 

 

 

 

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Widows and Orphans, The Key to Pure and Undefiled Religion?

imagesTension targeted the First-century church. On the Day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit was poured out specifically to bring power and anointing to the Bride of Christ, the Church, but the new entity was soon in conflict.

The first Jewish Christians worshipped Jesus but they lived according to the Law of Moses. These were called the Palestinian Jews. As converts from throughout the Roman Empire surfaced, they had no interest in Jewish culture, and were identified as Hellenized Jews having come from Greek influences. Neither group showed zeal for spreading the Gospel until Saul of Tarsus, the zealous Christian killer was converted on the Damascus Road. Now renamed Paul he passionately set out to preach the Lord with immediate resistance but with great results.

Under Nero, the Roman authorities specifically targeted the persecution of Christians. Most of Jesus disciples died violently. In those early, formative times James, a half brother of Jesus Christ was one of the leaders. His New Testament letter is among the earliest written.

Because he wrote to inspire and encourage the believers his theme is ‘faith.’ Because of the world in which they lived he wrote: ‘religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this, to visit widows and orphans in their affliction, and keep yourself unstained from this world.” (James chapter 1, verse 27) He would be thinking of the families who were left without a breadwinner, even the wives and children of the murdered disciples.

Widows and Orphans

He challenged the early church to live in the spirit of their faith by preferring others, just as Jesus had displayed. We have a massive widows and orphans situation on our hands today. Vast numbers of innocent women and in particular young girls have been abused and sadly murdered. It is the spirit of our faith that they not be mere statistics.

Recently on my Vision FM radio spot we talked about 250 girls murdered by ISIS terrorists. Their crime? They refused to be part of ‘sexual jihad’ and consequently were executed. Since 2014 hundreds, if not thousands, have been forced into sex slavery. The alternative is death.

Earlier this year British Conservative MP Fiona Bruce shared the testimony of a 16-year-old Yazidi girl. “She spoke of witnessing her friends being raped and hearing their screams,” the MP explained. The same teen, in her testimony, described a 9-year-old girl ‘raped by so many men, she died!’ Appalling. I believe “religion that is pure and undefiled,” is very concerned.

World Vision published the plight of Kema who is 8-years-old and terrified of marriage. “Girls like Kema suffer sexual and emotional abuse,” WV report. “Girls like Kema are forced to marry men three or four times their age.” Sponsorship for Kema and girls like her is outlined at my.worldvision.com.au

images-1Last year ISIS circulated a price list for sex slaves. Girls and boys aged 1 to 9 cost $165, adolescent girls are $124 and women over 40 are $41. According to the United Nations women captured as sex slaves by the ISIS group are sold at markets ‘for the price of a packet of cigarettes.”

 Plead the Case

Zainab Bangura, the UN envoy on sexual violence said women are stripped naked and shipped around like cattle. “This is how they attract young men as fighters,” she said.

The Bible describes rulers who are ‘rebels’, who do ‘not defend the cause of the fatherless.” The prophet Isaiah declared ‘the widow’s case does not come before them.” (Isaiah chapter 1, verse 23) But he has a cause of action for believers. “Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.” (Isaiah chapter 1, verse 17)

There has been considerable debate over the New Testament letter by James. His focus is ‘faith.’ He believed vociferously in prayer and accordingly was said to have knees like a camel from kneeling. His letter described the spirit of religion. In that spirit we must be concerned with the persecution and shaming of others. We can so easily be diverted from the priorities set by the Lord for his Kingdom. It was James who warned us to be ‘doers of the message and not hearers only.’ (James chapter 1, verses 22)

 “Loyal Friend”

Followers of Jesus must be committed to the wellbeing of others, even like ‘a father to the fatherless.’ It is so easy to feel powerless in the face of the cruel, onslaught of evil but there are creative ways to enter the fray.

Recently the Good News Network told an inspiring story. When the distressing stories of sexual abuse were told 7,700 donors from around the world responded. Rafiki Mwema – meaning “Loyal Friend” – is a nonprofit home that educates, houses, and cares for young Kenyan girls who have been sexually abused.

An Aussie mum Sarah Rosberg set up a webpage to raise $75,000 to assist Kenyan girls who were victims of sexual abuse. Over the course of one month $200,000 was raised to provide a second facility. (Rafiki Mwema can be followed on Facebook or Instagram)

International headlines lean towards the negative aspects of every situation and there is no denying the seriousness of any given misdeed. But prayer is our most potent yet often forgotten weapon. Mother Theresa had a powerful insight. She said: “May God break my heart so completely that the whole world falls in.”

Maybe we should step back and see the Almighty power and significance of God. Oswald Chambers, the Scottish Baptist evangelist said it best: “We have to pray with our eyes on God, not on the difficulties.”

In Ephesians chapter 6 the Apostle Paul urges us to pray ‘on every occasion in the power of the Spirit.” Paul encouraged Christians to ‘watch’ and ‘persevere. Author John White wrote about the warfare aspects of prayer. He commented: “Hell’s legions are terrified of prayer. Satan trembles when he sees, the weakest saint upon his knees.” (The Fight by John White, Ivp)

James and his Camel Knees would be please to see that faith in action on behalf of those in such great need.

 

 

 

Sunni Arabs “Israel’s Allies.”

UnknownDore Gold (pictured) the Director General of the Israel Foreign Ministry captured headlines when he described the Sunni Arab nations as “Israel’s Allies.” He was in New York (2015) lobbying against the proposed US-Iran deal which was finalised despite international objection. He based his ‘Israel’s Allies’ phrase on the agreement Israel had with Saudi Arabia, opposing the US-Iran proposal.

Saudi Arabia and Iran are bitter enemies. They embody the divided rivalry within Islam between Sunni and Shia beliefs. The passionate battle rages because their prophet Mohammed died without leaving a successor. (1400 years ago).

Basically, the Sunni believe Abu Bakr the trusted friend and adviser to Mohammed was the appropriate successor. Shia believed the successor should come directly from within the family and so opted for cousin Ali.

In the Independent (UK) John Hall wrote: ‘The tension is not eased by a Hadith (news or story) in which the Prophet was quoted as saying: “My Ummah (community) will be fragmented into seventy-three sects and all of them will be in the Hell fire except one.” Inevitably both Sunnis and Shias claim to be the one “pure” Islamic sect.”

Power Struggle

Last year an article published by the Wall Street Journal suggested the intense rivalry now transcends theological differences and seeks to gain dominance politically in the Middle East

“The differences between groups in Islam have always existed, but it is only when you mix them with politics that it becomes really dangerous—dangerous like an atomic bomb,” said Ihsan Bu-Huleiga, a Saudi economist who as a member of the kingdom’s appointed legislature in 1996-2009 was one of the few members of its Shiite minority to hold a prominent political position,” wrote Yaraslav Trofimov (WSJ May 14, 2015)

They are ‘dangerous like an atomic bomb’ sums up the severity of this scenario and it has drawn the Sunnis into a practical alliance with Israel.

In November, 2013 the Saudis agreed Israel could use its airspace and offered to ‘provide drones, helicopters and tanker planes’ for an attack on Iran.

Both countries were concerned with the United States plan to find an agreement with Tehran.

Sudan is also heralding a new deal with Israel. In an Opinion piece for the Jerusalem Post (January 24, 2016) Seth J Frantzman wrote: “On January 21 Sudanese foreign minister Ibrahim Ghandour said at a conference that “the matter of normalized relations with Israel is something that can be looked into.”

His comments come in the wake of Sudan breaking off relations with Iran after the Saudi embassy in Iran was attacked and Saudi Arabia encouraged Sunni regimes to oppose Iran.”

Frantzman summed up: “The Sunni Arab states that want Israel to help them confront Iran have proved incapable of doing so themselves. In Yemen the “grand alliance” of Saudi Arabia, the Gulf states and others, has relied on Columbian mercenaries, and King Salman of Saudi Arabia even asked Pakistan to send troops.”

Brave Writers

The Arab world is warming to the possibilities (anything to stop Iran). Kuwaitu media personality Yousuf ‘Abd Al-Karim Al-Zinkawi just weeks ago called on all Arab and Muslim states to recognize Israel ‘without delay.’ He said they should stop referring to Israel as ‘the Zionist Entity’ or referring to ‘the Israeli occupation.’

His article was published in the Kuwaiti daily Al Siyassa. He argued: “The very presence of the Arab and Islamic States in the UN General Assembly, under the same roof as the Israeli delegations means …. they recognize Israel,” he wrote.

Now a Palestinian author has condemned anti-Semitism and embraced Israelis. Author Ounallah Abu Safieh said on Palestinian Authority TV “Do I hear that I have to hate the Jew because he is a Jew? No!” (PA TV March 14, 2016) He argued that from a religious perspective, God is one and the source of all religion. He also argued that in the past, Jews, Christians and Muslims lived together and that Muslim leaders often had Jewish advisors:

“I also see that all of us are from one source, even the religions. The source of religion is one, and what is added, was created by man, in his opinion. It is something that we men created, which caused one to be a Shi’ite, one to be a Sunni, one a Christian, and one a Jew. Originally He is one.” Salah Al-Din’s doctor was a Jew. In the kingdom of Muslim Spain, all of the advisors in Muslim Spain, the advisors of the kings and rulers were Jews, those in charge of the treasury and economy and information.” This from a report by the Palestinian Media Watch (pmw.org)

His reasoning is clear, God created all of us in His own image and that includes everyone.

In April this year, 80-year-old Saudi King Salman visited Egypt for talks with President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi (Pictured right) During the talks Egypt aUnknown-1greed to handing over two islands in the Straits of Tiran into Saudi territory.

On TV King Salman said: “The other mission that we should work on together is the fight against extremism and the fight against terrorism.”

He was speaking about new Saudi policy. Months ago they formed a new anti-terrorism coalition and with its members, they will share intelligence, counter violent ideology and deploy troops if necessary.

In all of this Israel has signalled it has no protest. Israeli lawmaker Tzachi Hanegbi spoke on Israel’s Army Radio. Regarding the transfer of the islands he said: ” It relates to us and it does not bother us. The Saudis, who are committed to freedom of shipping under international law, will not harm the essence of the agreement between Egypt and us in this regard and freedom of shipping in Aqaba and Eilat will remain as is.”

There is reason to be encouraged by the growing fellowship between former adversaries. It brings to mind the biblical promise to Israel: “Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life.” (Psalm chapter 138, verse 7)

 

 

Politics in Perspective

imagesI’m rendering to Caeser right now, without much success. No matter which candidate becomes President of the United States, I think I will be disappointed. None of the leaders in Australia get me very inspired either. So I am trying to render to Caeser that which is politics while I cling close to God as the real powerhouse of my confidence. (Mark chapter 12, verse 17)

Am I the only one wrestling with this tension? Americans think they avoid the crisis by not voting. Australians by law must vote but for which candidate or party?

Our Christian standards are under serious attack. What used to be called bible absolutes have suddenly become a bunch of maybes. So often I feel hopeless as I watch arguments about marriage and abortion move further away from the plan outlined by the Bible.

Do faith and politics connect? How effective has the Christian message been in Western culture? It is possible for believers to go too far putting their faith in political leaders who are flawed like all of us. No one will measure up to the standards set by Jesus. Nevertheless we want our elected representatives to represent our faith and the basics found in the Ten Commandments.

When God placed man in the Garden of Eden he told them ‘to work it and guard it.’ (Genesis chapter 2, verse 15) That went great until we disobeyed his wisdom and guidance. The human race dropped its guard and we entered into what we called a fallen world.We are learning that we cannot raise a fallen world in our own strength. It takes a superbly divine power to overcome the flesh.

Ambassadors

Jesus triumphed and invited us to be born again. When we accept, we are transformed and become citizens of His Kingdom, with a new authority and anointing as his representatives. The Apostle Paul described it with a political term. He declared we are ‘ambassadors for Christ as though God were making his appeal through us.’ (2 Corinthians chapter 5, verse 20) Ambassadors, meaning we are elected to be his representatives with all the power and dominion that commission provides.

There is an army of courageous Christians who blessed their fellow man through political, spirit- inspired influence. In Genesis chapter 47 Joseph was placed in charge of all Egypt. He was what today we might call Prime Minister. The wise administration applied by Joseph saved lives during famine.

Oliver Cromwell, William Wilberforce, Sir Winston Churchill, Tony Blair, Margaret Thatcher, Bishop Festo Kivengere, Mary Whitehouse CBE and so many more, were saints who stood for Christian ethics and rights in the public and political arena.

Dr Billy Graham has been confidante and friend to numerous US presidents. Dr.Martin Luther King powerfully influenced his generation and won the Nobel Peace Prize. (The $50,000 prize-money he donated to the civil rights movement).

UnknownThe father of the Australian federation Sir Henry Parkes (right)  said, “we are pre-eminently a Christian people – as our laws, our whole system of jurisprudence, our Constitution… are based upon and interwoven with our Christian belief”

George Washington famously said, “It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.”

Russian author Alexander Solzhenitsin fought a continuous literary war with the Soviet Union hierarchy. He won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1970. He suffered in Stalin’s prison camps and wrote of the ordeal. When his book ‘One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich” was published he offered a prayer: How easy it is for me to live with you, Lord!How easy for me to believe in you,  When my spirit is lost, perplexed and cast down, When the sharpest can see no further than the night,  And know not what on the morrow they must do You give me a sure certainty That you exist, that you are watching over me And will not permit the ways of righteousness to be closed to me.  Here on the summit of earthly glory I look back astonished On the road which through depths of despair has led me here.  To this point from which I can also reflect to men your radiance And all that I can still reflect – you shall grant to me.  And what I shall fail you shall grant to others.”

 Christian Values

Rev Fred Nile is an ordained minister who heads up the Christian Democratic Party (CDP). He has served in the New South Wales Legislative Council for 35 years. The CDP website says they were founded by caring Australians and their movement is ‘based on Christian values and ethics.”

The CDP has a published list of Christian values they seek to implement and defend. Just a few might give us some idea of how our interest in politics may help disciple our nation. They strive to uphold a free and democratic society with freedom of speech, the rule of law and stable constitutional government. Second they seek to support and strengthen the family unit as the basis of our society with responsible parenting, with pro-family, pro-child policies and emphatically they say, ‘No to euthanasia.’

CDP also stands for “high moral principles in all walks of life and legislation based on biblical ethics and integrity.”   They have 14 policy pointers at the website www.christianitydemocraticparty.com.au.

The story of each one of the above alongside so many more, reads like extended chapters of the New Testament. Their dedicated contribution personalised ‘go into all the world and disciple nations.’

Our frustration with politics and politicians comes when we disagree with them or when their human frailties surface. Government is a human institution and comes with all the fallen nature found in the rest of us. The ultimate, stabilising source can only be the Lord. Everyone else at some stage, will fall short.

On-Line Bible Series, Highlights Israel

UnknownWhen my grandson Ezekiel decides to go to bed and read, he takes his computer or iPad with him. Times have changed. I remember reading a book under the blankets with a flashlight.

Computers, iPads, Ipods and all manner of new gizmos have changed our lives. Now the Israeli Bible is online and appropriately it is found at www.theisraelbible.com. I love it.

In a review Israel 21c said: “The new mobile-friendly website stems from a print version of The Israel Bible published over the past two years by Israel365 and completed in October 2015. Its 20 softcover volumes include the entire 24-book canon (Tanakh, in Hebrew) along with original commentary developed by a team of 10 Israeli educators and tour guides.”

Many of us have been closely linked with Israel and the Jewish people, and we delight in it being called ‘The Land of the Bible.’ It is also called ‘the Holy Land’ and anywhere I visit throughout Israel has a direct connection with the Bible and its many stories and events.

Browsing this new website is an eye-opening, enthralling adventure. The home page announces The Israel Bible ‘honouring the God, the People, The Land of Israel.’

It offers a study of the 24 books in the Tanakh. Sadly Christians call it The Old Testament but it is not old at all. Rather it offers new wisdom and incite with every study!

The site contains full biblical text in English and Hebrew. It provides Bible reading plans for personal study of the weekly Torah portions. (Jews refer to the first five books of the Bible as the Torah).

MapsThe online service includes maps, charts and related resources. Even free emails are offered for daily study. The commentaries offered enhance the deeper meaning of the Scriptures. They focus predictably on the significance of the Land of Israel and the People. A video teaching series is coming soon.

Standing with Israel

“The Israel Bible is the world’s first Bible to highlight the Land of Israel, the People of Israel and the unique relationship between them,” the website introduction says.

They also say: “Never before has the Land of Israel been at the forefront of the world’s attention as it is in our generation. Efforts to vilify the Jewish State seem to expand every day across the globe, as does the growing movement of Biblical Zionists who stand with the nation of Israel as an expression of their commitment to God’s word. As we seek to understand the clash of these two worldviews and look to make sense of the modern world’s obsession with Israel, the need for The Israel Bible has never been more important as it is today.”

The website is operated by Teach for Israel, a US based non-profit organization formed in 2011 by Rabbi Naphtali “Tuly” Weisz, an orthodox rabbi, director of Israel365.

“It’s our goal to find new ways to use modern technology to bring Israel and the Bible to life,” he said. “There are many people who are passionate about Israel, Torah and technology and as surprising as it is in 2016, no one has yet built a website that combines these three passions.”

An audio component allows readers to hear the Hebrew text. “While Jews take for granted the fact that the Torah is meant to be heard in Hebrew, for our non-Jewish readers it’s a real treat to be able to listen to the Bible in its original language,” Weisz said.

TheIsraelBible.com is based on an open-source model, so users can contribute videos, interactive maps and other available or original content relevant to a particular verse.

“Together we can crowd-source the single largest collection of easily accessible Israel-related biblical commentary on earth,” said Weisz. Thankfully that goal has been achieved and you may reap the rewards at www.theisraelbible.com.