Saddam's Death, 85 (january 2017, part 2)
attempt to destroy political holism in the middle east

See also: Page 84: jan 2017 and Page 86: february 2017
Israel & The Temple Revolution & Unesco & the Temple

Regime Change in Iraq - Overview 2002/2003
Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was born April 28, 1937 and died December 30, 2006. He was the fifth President of Iraq, holding that position from July 16, 1979 until 9 April 2003. He was one of the leading members of the revolutionary Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party, and afterward, the Baghdad-based Ba’ath Party and its regional organization Ba’ath Party, Iraq Region, which advocated ba’athism, an ideological marriage of Arab nationalism with Arab socialism. (Patricia Ramos, july 2013)

"The national security of America and the security of the world could be attained if the American leaders [..] become rational, if America disengages itself from its evil alliance with Zionism, which has been scheming to exploit the world and plunge it in blood and darkness, by using America and some Western countries.
What the American peoples need mostly is someone who tells them the truth, courageously and honestly as it is.
They don’t need fanfares and cheerleaders, if they want to take a lesson from the (sept. 11) event so as to reach a real awakening, in spite of the enormity of the event that hit America.
But the world, including the rulers of America, should say all this to the American peoples, so as to have the courage to tell the truth and act according to what is right and not what to is wrong and unjust, to undertake their responsibilities in fairness and justice, and by recourse to reason..."

Saddam Hussein, INA 15-9-2002

"The despot thinks he is just as God... What a nadir and mean fate!
The despot, as represented in this age, in our day, imagines he can enslave the people..
But they were born free. They were freed by God’s will through prophets and messengers, to be slaves only to Him and not to anyone of the people." Saddam Hussein, Iraq Daily 4-3-2003

A person with a God Complex may refuse to admit the possibility of their error or failure, even in the face of irrefutable evidence, intractable problems or difficult or impossible tasks.
The person is also highly dogmatic in their views, meaning the person speaks of their personal opinions as though they are unquestionably correct.
Someone with a god complex may exhibit no regard for the conventions and demands of society, and may request special consideration or privileges.

"That is the issue that will continue in this country... It is the eternal struggle between these two principles -- right and wrong -- throughout the world. They are the two principles that have stood face to face from the beginning of time, and will ever continue to struggle.
The one is the common right of humanity and the other the divine right of kings." Abraham Lincoln (October 15, 1858 Debate at Alton, Illinois)

"Happy day, when, all appetites controlled, all poisons subdued, all matter subjected, mind, all conquering mind, shall live and move the monarch of the world. Glorious consummation! Hail fall of Fury! Reign of Reason, all hail!" Abraham Lincoln (February 22, 1842 Temperance Address)

"...To be a human being among human beings, and remain one forever, no matter what misfortunes befall, not to become depressed, and not to falter - this is what life is, herein lies its task." Fyodor Dostoevsky (to his brother Mikhail, Dec. 22, 1849)

All mankind is from Adam and Eve. An Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over black nor a black has any superiority over white except by piety and good action.
Learn that every Muslim is a brother to every Muslim and that the Muslims constitute one brotherhood. Nothing shall be legitimate to a Muslim which belongs to a fellow Muslim unless it was given freely and willingly.
“Do not therefore do injustice to yourselves. Remember one day you will meet Allah and answer your deeds. So beware, do not astray from the path of righteousness after I am gone." Prophet Muhammad, Last Sermon

“Human beings are members of a whole,
In creation of one essence and soul.
If one member is afflicted with pain,
Other members uneasy will remain.
If you have no sympathy for human pain,
The name of human you can not retain.”

Saadi Shirazi
(Persian poet & humanist, born in Shiraz, Iran, c. 1210)

Index Page

"Holism is the most fundamental discovery of 20th century science. It is a discovery of every science from astrophysics to quantum physics to environmental science to psychology to anthropology.
It is the discovery that the entire universe is an integral whole, and that the basic organizational principle of the universe is the field principle: the universe consists of fields within fields, levels of wholeness and integration that mirror in fundamental ways, and integrate with, the ultimate, cosmic whole...."
"For many thinkers and religious teachers throughout this history, holism was the dominant thought, and the harmony that it implies has most often been understood to encompass cosmic, civilizational, and personal dimensions. Jesus, Mohammed, Buddha, Lord Krishna, Lao Tzu, and Confucius all give us visions of transformative harmony, a transformative harmony that derives from a deep relation to the holism of the cosmos."

About political holism

Political holism is based on the recognition that "we" are all members of a single whole. There's no "they," even though "we" are not all alike. Because "we" are all part of the whole, and therefore interdependent, we benefit from cooperating with each other. Political holism is a way of thinking about human cultures and nations as interdependent.
Political holists search for solutions other than war to settle international disagreements. Their model of the world is one in which cooperation and negotiation, even with the enemy, even with the weak, promotes political stability more than warfare.
In an overpopulated world with planet-wide environmental problems, the development of weapons of mass destruction has rendered war obsolete as an effective means to resolve disputes.

Political dualists consider political holists unpatriotic for questioning the necessity to defeat "them." In times of impending war, political dualists tend to measure patriotism by the intensity of one's hostility to the country's immediate enemy.
Naturally, they would view as disloyalty any suggestion that the enemy is not evil, any call for cooperation with the enemy, any criticism of one's own country.
To political dualists, cooperation with the enemy means capitulation, relinquishment of the nation's position of dominance.

At its extreme, political dualism is essentially tribalism. (Betty Craige, 16-8-1997)

"The West creates enemies; in the past it was the communism then it became Islam, and then it became Saddam Hussein for a different reason. Now, they want to create a new enemy represented by Bashar. That's why they say that the problem is the president so he has to leave. That is why we have to focus of the real problem, not to waste our time listening to what they say." (Bashar al-Assad, 9-11-2012)

The policy should be to help peace in the region, to fight terrorism, to promote secularism, to support this area economically, to help upgrade the mind and society like you did in your country. That is the supposed mission of the United States, not to launch wars. Launching war doesn’t make you a great power." (Bashar Al-Assad, 26-1-2015)

Judicial equality, dignity, liberty and emancipation
Meet Asma Lamrabet, Morocco's feminist polymath
Your Middle East, January 12, 2017

Patriarchal Men Will Punish You
Moroccan author Asma Lamrabet is both a faithful Muslim and a committed feminist.
A tireless advocate for gender equality in a region where women's rights often lag far behind those of men, Lamrabet has accumulated a body of work showing how feminism and Islam can co-exist despite centuries of male-centred dogma.
Lamrabet's key message is that gender inequality is less to do with the tenets of Islam and more down to its interpretation within male-dominated societies.
Her latest work, "Faithful and Feminists", examines passages of the Koran and argues that there is nothing in the text itself to enshrine female subordination.
"In all religious traditions, you find a certain stereotypical representation of women," she says. "The problem doesn't come from religious texts but instead from the interpretation of these texts by men."
It is for this reason, argues the Rabat native, who writes award-winning texts in between a career as a pathologist, that "it's absolutely necessary to read the Koran in context.
"When the Koran speaks of reason and justice, they need to be seen as universal concepts. When there are some verses that respond to given historical circumstances," says Lamrabet, "we must keep the spirit, but not take it literally."
Lamrabet is an unalloyed supporter of secular rule, which she says "is the only way of truly protecting individual freedoms while also protecting religion."
She admits that secularism has a bad reputation in Muslim Arab nations, "as it's often associated with atheism."
While Lamrabet finds the idea of female preachers "interesting", she's at pains to point out that having women as messengers changes little if the message itself remains essentially "patriarchal".
"Judicial equality, dignity, liberty and emancipation. These are the keys to feminism."

See also: Women in Islam – a Wider Perspective

‘Don’t open doors to evil’:
Anti-feminist Saudi cleric calls concerts & cinemas a ‘depravity’
RT (Russian News), 14 Jan, 2017

Cinemas and singing concerts are merely a depravity, Saudi Arabia’s top religious cleric said, adding that cinemas are dangerous as they may show films which are “immoral,” “atheist” and can change the country’s culture.
“We know that singing concerts and cinemas are a depravity,” Grand Mufti Abdul-Aziz ibn Abdullah Al ash-Sheikh said in an interview on Saudi TV on Friday, as cited by AFP.

The heated discussion on cinemas and their ‘danger’ started after the top cleric was asked about the plans of the Saudi General Authority for Entertainment to license concerts and consider opening cinemas.
Cinemas “might show movies that are libertine, lewd, immoral and atheist, because they rely on films imported to change our culture,” he stated, adding that there is also “no good” in signing concerts.
According to the head of the Saudi supreme council of clerics, both concerts and cinemas represent a "call for mixing between sexes.”
“At the beginning they would assign areas for women, but then both men and women will end up in one area. This corrupts morals and destroys values,” he said.
The Grand Mufti, however, said that “entertainment through cultural and scientific media is OK.” But the Saudi General Authority for Entertainment should “not open doors to evil.”

See also: Antifeminism & the fight for equal rights

Joseph, the Dreamer: Most Beloved Son Of Jacob
Representant of the Dyonisian sign of Pisces

According to Ibn Kathir, “Jacob had twelve sons who were the
eponymous ancestors of the tribes of the Israelites.
The most noble, the most exalted, the greatest of them was Joseph.."

Joseph is an important figure in the Bible's Book of Genesis and also in the Quran as well as the Book of Mormon.
Sold into slavery by his jealous brothers, he rose to become vizier, the second most powerful man in Egypt next to Pharaoh, where his presence and office caused Israel to leave Canaan and settle in Egypt.
In Rabbinic tradition Joseph is the ancestor of the "Messiah ben Yosef": The Suffering Messiah.

Of all the sons, Joseph was preferred by his father (Jacob), and this is represented by a "long coat of many colors".
When Joseph was seventeen years old he had two dreams that made his brothers plot his demise.
In the first dream, Joseph and his brothers gathered bundles of grain, of which those his brothers gathered, bowed to his own.
In the second dream, the sun (father), the moon (mother), and eleven stars (brothers) bowed to Joseph himself. These dreams, implying his supremacy, angered his brothers. (Genesis 37:1-11)

Joseph's half-brothers were jealous of him; wherefore, in Dothan, most of them plotted to kill him, with the exception of Reuben, who suggested to have Joseph thrown into an empty cistern, intending to rescue Joseph himself.
Unaware of this secondary intention, the others obeyed his first Upon imprisoning Joseph, the brothers saw a camel caravan carrying spices and perfumes to Egypt, and sold Joseph to these merchants. Thereafter the guilty brothers painted goat's blood on Joseph's coat and showed it to Jacob, who therefore believed Joseph dead. (Genesis 37:12-35)

See also: Unity in Diversity and The Rainbow Flag

"I am the Vine" - Joseph & Jesus

Joseph is a fruitful vine, a fruitful vine near a spring, whose branches climb over a wall. With bitterness archers attacked him; they shot at him with hostility. But his bow remained steady, his strong arms stayed limber, because of the hand of the Mighty One of Jacob, because of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel, because of your father’s God, who helps you, because of the Almighty, who blesses you with blessings of the skies above, blessings of the deep springs below, blessings of the breast and womb.
Your father’s blessings are greater than the blessings of the ancient mountains, than the bounty of the age-old hills. Let all these rest on the head of Joseph, on the brow of the prince among his brothers." (Genesis 49)

The vine is one of the most vivid symbols in the Bible and is used to express the relationship between God and His people.
The vine sometimes refers to the Vineyard as being the protected place where the children of God----the Vines----flourish under the tender care of God, the Keeper of the Vineyard. [Isaiah 5:7]
The vine was used as the symbol of the Church of God, in which, alone, this relationship exists.
The vine as the emblem of Christ follows from His words expressing the new relation between God and man through Him.
'I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman... I am the vine, you the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same beareth much fruit: for without me you can do nothing...' [John 15:1, 5, 8]

In pre-Christian times DIONYSUS symbolized the Vine (the right to dream) and the Spring (element Water, spiritual unity with God)

Dionysus is the (androgyn) god of the grape harvest, winemaking and wine, of fertility, theatre and religious ecstasy in ancient Greek religion and myth.
Wine played an important role in Greek culture, and the cult of Dionysus was the main religious focus for its unrestrained consumption.
He is a god of epiphany, "the god that comes", and his "foreignness" as an arriving outsider-god may be inherent and essential to his cults. He is a major, popular figure of Greek mythology and religion, becoming increasingly important over time, and included in some lists of the twelve Olympians, as the last of their number, and the only god born from a mortal mother. His festivals were the driving force behind the development of Greek theatre.
The earliest cult images of Dionysus show a mature male, bearded and robed. He holds a fennel staff, tipped with a pine-cone and known as a thyrsus. Later images show him as a beardless, sensuous, naked or half-naked androgynous youth: the literature describes him as womanly or "man-womanish... (Wikipedia)

In Greek mythology, Apollo (Virgo) and Dionysus (Pisces) are both sons of Zeus (Jupiter). Apollo is the god of reason and the rational, while Dionysus is the god of the irrational and chaos. The Greeks did not consider the two gods to be opposites or rivals...

The Lord of Souls & Bearer of the Divine Feminine
Dionysus, Jesus and Pisces: enemies of patriarchalism
Gray Crawford, February 20, 2014

In Dionysus we find the mystical and material participation of Pisces with nature.
Leonard Shlain theorized that Dionysus arose in prominence in the fifth and fourth centuries B.C. in Greece, as rational thought and intellectual theory became elevated in eminence along with the rise of patriarchal gods into positions formerly held by matriarchal goddesses.
For five thousand years following the advent of agriculture, people ardently believed that the Great Mother revitalized the earth, just as she resurrected her beloved son/ lover/ brother each spring. It is the story of Inanna and Dumuzi, Isis and Osiris, Ishtar and Tammuz, and Aphrodite and Adonis.
In the most sacred ancient rite of the hiero gamos the man was a mortal and the woman was a goddess.
So a need arose for a god of dance, drunkenness, ecstasy, revelry, madness, tragedy, and dismemberment according to Shlain, who further revealed a connection between Dionysus and another divine son of a mortal woman, Jesus Christ:

Although the message of Jesus and his portrayal in the Bible differs from some of the images of Dionysus found in myth, Shlain noted that “both Christ and Dionysus represented the mystic side of human nature,” and that both of them “triumphed over conventional rationality and pragmatism”.
Astrologers have connected both Dionysus and Jesus Christ to the sign of Pisces, some believing that Dionysus was a significant precursor to the Age of Pisces ushered in by Jesus Christ, who some also believe was a Pisces Sun sign with a lot of additional Pisces energy.
For example, there is all of the fish symbolism associated with Jesus and his disciples, and his last meal in which Jesus has his followers drink his blood as wine, and eat his body as bread, is ripe with Dionysian overtones...
Joseph Campbell, in noting how the spiritual initiation of Dionysus links him with the divine feminine, said “this is the condition of the dreamer, and roundabout we see the way of initiation, the way to get past it, to realize your androgyny in the metaphysical sense, and your immortality along with your mortality” (Goddesses, p. 223).

This notion of a metaphysical androgyny connects with Pisces, whose natives often have an integrated sense of their “masculine” and “feminine” sides, and also with Dionysus, who was an androgynous god.
In order to protect the young Dionysus from another dismembering attack from Titans orchestrated by Hera, Dionysus was dressed in female attire and raised as a woman by nymphs. He grew into a figure that brought women, groups of women, into rapturous states of spiritual ecstasy, and many of his sacred rituals were only open to participation from women.
In an age of gods in which patriarchal figures overtook roles previously given to goddesses, Dionysus emerged as a bearer of the divine feminine...

Finding the middle way between Dionysus and Apollo is the path toward great art, according to Nietzsche in 'The Birth of Tragedy'
James Hillman (Mythic Figures) believed that in both psychiatry and scholarship the Apollonian concepts of “light, order and distance” had been favored over the “emotional involvement” of Dionysus.
Hillman thought that as a result there had been a repression of the Dionysian, and a distorted sense of regarding Dionysus as “inferior, hysterical, effeminate, unbridled, and dangerous,” instead of viewing Dionysus as the “lord of souls,” a status Hillman saw as more fitting for this mythic figure.
Dionysos is the grape crushed and fermented to resurrect as wine, and wine is the god taken into the body, affecting the soul.

"The Twelfth Sign is commonly referred to as the Sign of the Unconscious. We can learn much from the unconscious. In its most noble manifestation, we will be prompted to be charitable. The Twelfth Sign compels us to seek closure in a spiritual way as an aid to positive growth."

Shams Tabrizi: My Path to God

Rumi Quotes of Love and Life

Sufism. Dance. Escapism. These are very Piscean/Neptunian realms.
They represent at once our desire to merge with the divine, to be subsumed by what we cannot see, to surrender to what is so much greater than us.
From Pisces/Neptune, poets, dancers, photographers, filmmakers, musicians, writers all receive their inspiration; healers receive their sense of compassion, their devotion to the sick and unconditional love and the rest of us experience oneness.
It is the well from which our nocturnal visions emerge and it is where can go to dissolve our internal rigidity, to break down some of the walls we've erected in our lives.
But, if we're not careful, we can be subversively undermined by Neptune. From yielding too much, we lose sense of ourselves as spirits occupying earthly bodies. We succumb to the likes of addiction or alcoholism, and all the attendant pain of being earthed when what our soul longs to do is return to the oceanic womb from whence we came. (Sheba Remy Kharbanda)

Feminism & Masculinity Studies
Meryem İlayda Atlas, Daily Sabah (Turkey), 15-1-2017

Are OLD, BEARDED men 'real men'?

Prophet Mohammed as a YOUNG man
When we say gender studies, we mean studies on the issues of women, men and LGBTQ. Gender studies, however, everywhere around the world, are mostly understood as studies specifically focused on women....
When we talk of equality and justice between men and women in gender studies, we should not only talk about one side of it, as there is a reciprocal relationship between the sexes, and we cannot understand women's studies without also focusing on masculinity.
Masculinity studies were very late to the game and, as a part of gender studies, only started to bear its first fruit in the 1990s.
Capitalism, militarism, nationalism, traditionalism and neoliberalism were reevaluated with a perspective of the "personal is political" and masculinity studies found out that men hold the dominant position in gender relations as the real pragmatic users, beneficiaries or hegemons of any established order in various societies and contexts whether it be patriarchal society or post-modern business sectors, and even academia, politics and anywhere else you can imagine.
But one thing soon emerged from this holistic perspective on men. Is every man hegemonic? Are all of them beneficiaries and/or dominant exploiters?
Masculinity studies clearly put on the table that many men in various societies are suffering, that they are real victims of the high standards held over men and are affected by the inter-masculine hierarchy and hegemonic masculinity.

Men can be objects of Scientific Research too
Prof. Helena Gurfinkel, 6-12-2012

In the 1990s, Masculinity Studies, a relative newcomer to the field of gender inquiry, began to pose questions about men and their relationship with patriarchal power (something that had hitherto seemed obvious and gone unquestioned).
Do all men have power? Do all men want power? Is masculinity the same in every culture and time period? Is masculinity a word that has a plural, as well as singular, form? Does the performance of masculinity depend on the categories of race, class, and sexuality?

Are OLD, BRAGGARTS 'real men'?

Donald Trump as a YOUNG man
Masculinity Studies look at the tense and complex relationship between hegemonic masculinities (that is, the idea of a “real man” in a given time and place) and subordinate masculinities (masculinities that, in a given time and place, fall short of the “real man” ideal).
For example, being involved in sports and being a provider are the examples of American hegemonic masculinity, while shunning sports and being a stay-at-home-dad are examples of subordinate masculinities.
Usually, hegemonic masculinities have power and meet with social approval, while subordinate ones do not.
Throughout history, men have paid a steep price for not adhering to, or consciously resisting, hegemonic models.
Masculinity-studies scholars know, however, that times change, and that what was subordinate half a century ago, may be relatively mainstream, if not hegemonic, now.
Because masculinity-studies scholars realize that sex and gender are separate entities, they also study the lives of, and become advocates for, transgender individuals who are born biologically female but live as men.

Masculinity Studies (or, as it is also often called, Men’s Studies) is many things, but one thing it is not: a rejoinder to, or repudiation of feminism.
It owes to feminism an enormous intellectual and political debt. In fact, it would not have existed without feminism and its courage to question patriarchal power and privilege.
Men’s Studies scholars do not say, as many expect them to, “Enough of those feminists; let’s say only good things about men from now on!” Instead, they collaborate with feminists and scholars of race, class, and sexuality in asking complex questions about the ways in which society constructs and controls us as sexed and gendered individuals.

How to create a Pisces world?
Donald Trump & his Pisces-son Barron

donald trump's golden machoworld (grandeur, lots of gold, big cars, big furniture, bombastic)

As Pisces is the ‘ruler of the depths of water’, it is often a dreamy and relaxed sign. Pisceans are therefore well suited to a beach cottage design style. They love to be near water and if they can’t achieve this, should surround themselves with beach or marine-related trinkets and architectural details. Light colours, natural elements and lots of space and natural light. These are features that suit the contemplative nature of Pisces.
Pisces is a water sign and as such, most Pisceans love the water. They find it very soothing and if possible, they like to live by the ocean, a river or a lake. While not everyone can afford a beach house like this one in Sydney’s Palm Beach, we can all dream – and, as we’ve just learnt, Pisces are great dreamers.
For the rest of us, a beautiful water feature in the garden might do the trick to provide Pisces access to water in their homes. It’s not quite the same as an oceanfront, but the sound of the gurgling water as it bubbles out of a fountain urn like this one here can be very soothing.
Pisces is a very spiritual sign. Pisces should nurture this interest to satisfy their need to know why we are here. Placing altars, statues or symbols around the home will help to feed their inquiring minds, and help to soothe their emotional nature. (Designing with the Stars)

Trump, Barron William, born on 20 March 2006 around 5:30 AM: Sun and Ascendant in PISCES

the pisces world (wide, open, fresh, water, silver & blue, humble)

Trump Reportedly Confirms Kushner to Serve as Mideast Peace Broker
Amir Tibon, Haaretz, Jan 16, 2017

Strong characteristics: Shyness, Sensitive to others, Love, Worry too much.
Hebrew Astrology teaches us about ourselves. We came into the world to overcome our mazal and that starts with the first breath we take and continues until the last breath we take in this lifetime (See more:Kabbalistic Astrology)

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump has reportedly confirmed that he intends to appoint his son-in-law Jared Kushner as a mediator who will try to broker a peace agreement in the Middle East. Trump made the confirmation, which he had mentioned as an option in the past, in an interview with The Times of London published on Sunday night.
Trump officially announced last week that Kushner, 35, will serve as an adviser in his White House, an appointment that could face legal difficulties, since anti-nepotism laws in the U.S. specifically forbid government officials to promote or appoint their own sons-in-law within the government agencies they work for.
Kushner is considered one of the closest people to the president-elect and played a major role in his election victory.

Jared Corey Kushner (born January 10, 1981: Sun in CAPRICORN, Moon in PISCES) is an American real estate investor and developer, publisher.
Kushner ('modern orthodox') was raised in an Orthodox Jewish family in New Jersey. He graduated from the Frisch School, a private, coed yeshiva high school in 1999. In 2003, Kushner graduated cum laude from Harvard College with a B.A. in sociology. In 2007, Kushner graduated from New York University where he earned a J.D. and M.B.A.
Kushner married Ivanka Trump, daughter of businessman and U.S. president-elect Donald Trump, in a Jewish ceremony on October 25, 2009. Ivanka converted to Judaism under the auspices of a modern Orthodox rabbi before marrying Kushner. (Wikipedia)

Modern Orthodoxy, destroyed by Settler Messianism

In response to the Jewish emancipation of the late 18th to early 19th century, the Enlightenment and modernity, some Jewish groups decided to abandon certain customs and principles of Jewish law, often doing away with practices that they could not easily explain to their fellow non-Jewish citizens; whilst others decided to ignore secular studies in their entirety and only study Torah.
Modern Orthodoxy was borne out of this context, believing that it was possible for Jews to maintain Jewish law, ritual observance and customs whilst exposing themselves to secular knowledge, science and modern ideas. Orthodox Jews living in the west should not segregate themselves behind ghetto walls.
Modern Orthodoxy traces its roots to the works of Rabbis Azriel Hildesheimer and Samson Raphael Hirsch
Samson Raphael Hirsch, a Frankfurt rabbi and Jewish philosopher, articulated the fundamental position of Modern Orthodoxy in the 19th century.
His neo-orthodox philosophy was largely in response to the growing Reform Movement in Germany and an Orthodox Jewish position on the Enlightenment. The movement that he established was based on the belief that it was possible to partake in secular studies, in particular the sciences, without compromising on Jewish law.
Hirsch believed that the Torah could be found through worldly and secular studies. The ideas of neo-orthodoxy spread in Western Europe and later the United States (where they are relatively small in number, making up just 3 percent of American Jewry as a whole).

Today, the movement is additionally, and particularly, influenced by the (pro-Zionist) philosophy of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik and the closely related Torah Umadda, as well as by the writings of Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook. Religious Zionism, strictly speaking a distinct philosophy, has an indirect influence. Kook" saw Zionism as a part of a divine (Messianic) scheme.
In Israel Religious Zionism ('The Messiah is a Warrior - Aries|Benjamin- and King of the World - Leo|Judah) dominates Modern Orthodoxy. This religious movement assigns a central role to the "People of Israel".
Two characteristics are manifest: in general, 'Modern' Orthodoxy places a high national significance on the State of Israel, and institutions and individuals are, typically, Zionist in orientation.
The emphasis on the religious imperative of settlement above all else, and the obsessive internal argument that has arisen over it, have had a distorting effect on Modern Orthodoxy, both in Israel and among those in the Diaspora who vicariously define their Orthodoxy by reference to their counterparts in the Holy Land.
Modern Orthodoxy has become fixated on the issue of settlements at the expense of its own religious development and its outreach to the modern world.

Jesus, Son of Joseph: the anti-militaristic Messiah
BibleSearchers Website

The two-Messiah concept has been found in Jewish literature as early as the 1st century BCE in portrayed in the Dead Sea Scrolls in Qumran.

Joseph, 'the most beloved son of Jacob', was rejected and betrayed by his own blood brothers because of jealousy and sold as a slave to those who took him to a foreign land.

The Messiah of the House of Joseph is specifically said to come from Joseph’s son, Ephraim, a biblical and prophetic figure at the time of the end who represents the ten lost tribes of the House of Israel.
This concept is fascinating in that the two Messiahs, one from the tribe of Ephraim and one from the tribe of Judah represent the final reunification of the two kingdoms of Israel and Judah.
A majority of the Jews in the land of Judea in the 1st century CE became followers of Jesus, “The Nazarene.”
They had their own Sanhedrin, synagogue and an outreach ministry to other nations using the Noahide Laws of Judaism by a Hassidic student of Gamaliel the Elder of the Bet Hillel (Rabbinic yeshiva of Hillel the Elder), Rabbi Shaul known to Christians as the Apostle Paul.
What made Yahshua so different is that he rejected the military model of the Messiah ben Yosef (Messiah son of Joseph).

The concept of the Messiah ben David (Messiah son of David - the 'Lion-' or the 'Warrior-King') was also prominent in the 1st century BCE when in the wake of Roman oppression, the Maccabean and Davidian contenders for the throne were a constant worry to the Roman and Herodian authorities.
When the Essenes escaped into the wilderness in the Hassidic revolt against the temple authority, the disciples Bet Hillel and Menahem the Essenes later joining them in 20 BCE. At that time, the polemics of division within the House of Judah was ripe for a Davidian ruler.

Out of the messianic revival of Yahshua haMaschiach (Jesus the Messiah) in Judea that ended in his death on Pesach 30 CE, the Party of the Nazarenes eventually encompassed the Nazarenes, the Essenes and many of the disciples of Bet Hillel.
The life of Yahshua ben Yosef (Jesus son of Joseph) has been a source of great acrimony between the Jews and the Christians for almost seventeen centuries. His followers in the Roman Christian Church three centuries later have defined Jesus the Nazarene (Jesus of Nazareth) in Hellenistic terms.

Jacques Brel & The Pisces-Kingdom of Love
born on 8 April 1929 at 03:00 AM
Sun: Aries, Moon in PISCES, Ascendant (for 3.00 AM) PISCES

If we only have love, we can melt all the guns
And then give the new world to our daughters and sons

I will make a kingdom where love shall be king,
where love shall be law

In 1956, as the Algerian war of independence from French colonialism was intensifying, Brel wrote “Quand on n’a que l’amour” (see video above), which was released on his second album and testified to the singer’s own opposition to the war.
Even if this song is still imbued with a Christian idealism, which is evident throughout the entire album, it is nevertheless significant and an indication of songs to come.
Brel tries to show what he sees, not only putting emphasis on what is pleasant or what should be, but on what is. He tries to describe the feelings of powerlessness felt toward war and other social injustices.
Noteworthy on the 1959 album are such songs as “La Colombe,” “La valse à mille temps,” “Les Flamandes,” “Seul,” and Brel’s most famous song “Ne me quitte pas.”
This artistic masterpiece was translated into more than 15 languages and heard all over the world. In the US alone, more than 270 versions of “Ne me quitte pas” were recorded.
This song (see video above) depicts a lover promising the impossible to prevent his departing companion from leaving when it is already much too late to resolve their problems. He feels abandoned and he knows his pleas will not be heard. But even as he knows it won’t work, he’s trying—he must. As he sings and makes his promises, he begins to cry....

The tears of Joseph - The tears of greatness

"Pisces are extremely empathetic. Sometimes, they place another’s emotions over their own, and this can be chaotic because they are then left to fester in their own ignored emotions. This is also great because if you ever need a shoulder to cry on or genuine advice, a Pisces will selflessly give it." (Ilia Jones, Elite Daily, 12-5-2015)

"And Yosef (Joseph) turned away from them and cried..." (Bereshis 42:23-24)
"And Yosef hastened, for his mercy was stirred toward his brother (Benjamin), and he (Yosef) sought to cry, and he went into the room and cried there." (Ibid. 43:30)
"And he began to cry... and he said, 'I am Yosef; is my father still alive?'" (Ibid. 45:2-3) "And he embraced Benjamin his brother and cried, and Benjamin embraced him and cried as well. And he kissed all of his brothers, embraced them and cried..." (Ibid. 45:14-15)
"And he (Yosef) embraced his father and continued to cry." (Ibid. 46:29) "And he (Yosef) embraced his father and cried upon him and kissed him." (Ibid. 50:1) " ... and Yosef cried as they spoke unto him." (Ibid. 50:17) (source: Arutz Sheva, 13/01/2017 )

Trump's Remarkable Anti-War-Statement
‘You know who I like? People who DON’T get killed in combat.
By Yossarian, Oct 6, 2016

"I have taken some criticism recently for saying veteran suicides may be due to some soldiers being not as strong as others who ‘can handle it.’ Last year I also heard a bunch of whining when I questioned the heroism of John McCain by stating that I like guys who weren’t captured. I’m here to say, on the record, that I continue to stand by these comments.
Because America, it’s time we had a serious discussion about what it means to be a ‘hero.’
We live in an entitled country where everyone gets a trophy and it’s time we stop applying the word ‘hero’ to everyone who stubs a toe in a combat zone....

You know who I like? People who DON’T get killed in combat. You know…WINNERS.
Why should we even give awards to people who risk their lives in combat? What if they get multiple draft deferments because they are in school, or because they can convince a doctor to give them a deferment for a foot condition?
Some people might say they are avoiding their civic duty, but you know what I say they are? Smart. Smart enough to earn a Purple Heart the easy way by staying far, far away from any theater of war.
Heroes are people that others admire. Millions and millions of admirers. A huge movement aimed at making big changes and cutting great deals.
So let’s put to rest this nonsense about heroism, and recognize heroism for what it should really be: doing big, huge, wonderful things, beautiful things, and making America great again. (opinion piece by Donald J. Trump)

Donald Trump & his Alter-Ego John F. Kennedy
Most people don't realize themselves that in astrology a person has an
EGO (Sun-Moon-houses 1 & 10) and also an ALTER-EGO or SOULMATE (houses 2, 7 and 11) .

Kennedy's EGO is intellectual (Gemini-Virgo), balanced (Libra),
Father|Motherly and visionair (Saturn, Moon, Neptune house 10): type 'Messiah ben-Joseph'

Trump's EGO is truth-seeking intellectual (Gemini-Sagitarius), optimistisc-warm (Leo),
Agressive, Defensive and Revengeful (Mars Pluto house 1) and looking for earthly, materialistic solutions in life
(Taurus - Eartly Mother- house 10): type 'Messiah ben-David'

Alter-Ego Kennedy: Leo, Scorpio, Aries.
Alter-Ego Trump: Virgo, Gemini, Pisces, Aquarius.

"Our goal is not the victory of might,
but the vindication of right..."
John F. Kennedy (Cuba speech, 22-10-1962)

Donald Trump could be like John F Kennedy, says Bill Gates
Ben Kentish, The Independent, 14-12-2016

Donald Trump could be a similar president to John F Kennedy, according to Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates.
The billionaire entrepreneur said Trump embraced “innovation” in the same way as JFK, who served as US President for almost three years before being assassinated in 1963.
Mr Gates told CNBC: “A lot of his message has been about ... where he sees things not as good as he'd like.
“But in the same way that President Kennedy talked about the space mission and got the country behind that, I think whether it's education or stopping epidemics ... [or] in this energy space, there can be a very upbeat message that [Mr Trump's] administration [is] going to organise things, get rid of regulatory barriers, and have American leadership through innovation be one of the things that he gets behind.”
Mr Gates confirmed reports he had held a phone conversation with Mr Trump.
He said: “I had the opportunity to talk to him about innovation. Of course, my whole career has been along those lines. And he was interested in listening to that. And I'm sure there will be further conversations.”

Mr Trump has faced criticism for rejecting scientific evidence on a number of issues. Despite strong evidence to the contrary, he has insisted climate change is not real and is instead a hoax invented by the Chinese to damage American interests.
He also claimed vaccines cause autism, said environmentally-friendly light bulbs cause cancer, and suggested fracking “poses zero health risks” but wind farms are “bad for people’s health”.
Scientific American magazine published an editorial the week before the election calling Mr Trump’s views on science “shockingly ignorant” and claiming he showed “a disregard for science that is alarming in a candidate for high office”.

Cardinal Dolan asks for Wisdom at Donald Trump’s inauguration
by Dennis Sadowski, Catholic Herald, Friday, 13 Jan 2017

"Laughter is a very special gift. We have to be very careful that it is used appropriately and not at the expense of others. But if you want to give the best "medicine," help others learn to laugh."
Floyd Kendall, March On: Devotions for Caring

New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan said the Scripture passage he chose to read at the inauguration of Donald Trump as president – Wisdom chapter 9, in which King Solomon prays for wisdom to lead Israel according to God’s will – was an easy one to make. “I pray it all the time,” he told Catholic News Service...
In the prayer, Solomon acknowledges that God made humankind “to govern the world in holiness and righteousness and to render judgment in integrity of heart.” The king continues by asking God for wisdom, “the consort at your throne, and do not reject me from among your children.”
Solomon pleads with God to send wisdom “that she may be with me and work with me, that I may know what is pleasing to you.” He asks that his “deeds will be acceptable and I will judge your people justly and be worthy of my father’s throne.”

As for his appearance on the podium at the start of the inaugural ceremony with three other faith leaders, Cardinal Dolan explained that he was “flattered” to be invited to participate by inauguration planners.
Cardinal Dolan acknowledged that he opened himself up to critics by agreeing to be part of the ceremonies. “I know they are [there] because they’ve written to me,” he said. “And as I tell them, had Mrs [Hillary] Clinton won and invited me, I would have been just as honoured.
“We pastors and religious leaders are in the sacred enterprise of prayer. People ask us to pray with them and for them. That doesn’t mean we’re for them or against them,” he added. “That’s our sacred responsibility.”

Wisdom - Chapter 9:
'God, Lord of mercy, who by your word have made the universe, and in your wisdom have fitted human beings to rule the creatures that you have made, to govern the world in holiness and saving justice and in honesty of soul to dispense fair judgement, grant me Wisdom...
For I am your servant, son of your serving maid, a feeble man, with little time to live, with small understanding of justice and the laws. Indeed, were anyone perfect among the sons of men, if he lacked the Wisdom that comes from you, he would still count for nothing...
Who could ever have known your will, had you not given Wisdom and sent your holy Spirit from above?
Thus have the paths of those on earth been straightened and people have been taught what pleases you, and have been saved, by Wisdom.

Wisdom or sapience is the ability to think and act using knowledge, experience, understanding, common sense, and insight.
Wisdom has been regarded as one of four cardinal virtues; and as a virtue, it is a habit or disposition to perform the action with the highest degree of adequacy under any given circumstance with the limitation of error in any given action.
This implies a possession of knowledge, or the seeking of knowledge to apply to the given circumstance. This involves an understanding of people, objects, events, situations, and the willingness as well as the ability to apply perception, judgement, and action in keeping with the understanding of what is the optimal course of action. (Wikipedia info)

Never forget your roots...
Wisdom & The PISCES-VIRGO God

In Mesopotamian religion and mythology, Enki, also known as Ea, was the God of Wisdom. Wisdom was achieved by restoring balance.
The main temple to Enki was called E-abzu, meaning "abzu temple" (also E-en-gur-a, meaning "house of the subterranean waters"), a ziggurat temple surrounded by Euphratean marshlands near the ancient Persian Gulf coastline at Eridu.
It was the first temple known to have been built in Southern Iraq. Four separate excavations at the site of Eridu have demonstrated the existence of a shrine dating back to the earliest Ubaid period, over 6,500 years ago.
The Enki temple had at its entrance a pool of fresh water...

The planet Mercury, associated with Babylonian Nabu (the son of Marduk) was in Sumerian times identified with Enki.
Enki and later Ea were apparently depicted, sometimes, as a man covered with the skin of a fish, and this representation, as likewise the name of his temple E-apsu, "house of the watery deep", points decidedly to his original character as a god of the waters (the planet Neptune)...

Syrian opposition leaders call for inclusion of Kurdish faction in Astana talks
By Rudaw, 15-1-2017

Prominent members of the Syrian opposition groups called on Kurdish participation in the anticipated peace talks in Kazakh capital Astana next week.
Opposition leaders Mustafa Shekha and Mahnoud Afandi who are currently visiting Russia told Rudaw that the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) has been a force on the ground in Syria’s Kurdish regions and should be added to the list of peace negotiators.
“If we’re invited, we will take part and support the peace talks to stop the bloodshed. I really hope all Syrian people are represented in the meeting, since we have all common concerns and wishes,” opposition leader Shekha told Rudaw after the joint press conference in Moscow.
Russia and Turkey have jointly announced that a new round of peace efforts will take place on January 23 in Astana for the first time after the failed Geneva negotiations last year.
Both the US and Russia have in the past shown strong support for the inclusion of the Kurdish factions’ participation in any talks regarding the future of Syria where Kurds constitute around 10 percent of the population and are viewed as a moderate force running the mainly Kurdish inhabited areas north of the country.
Ankara has vehemently refused to invite the PYD and its armed wing of People’s Protection Units (YPG) to the meeting, calling the group an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
Once regarded as a pragmatic leader by Ankara, PYD leader Salih Muslim gradually became persona non grata in Turkey where he had previously lived and completed education in Istanbul Technical University.
The Turkish government has said the PYD under Muslim has taken irreversible steps to turn the party into a political and military wing of the PKK with which Ankara has been at decades-long on and off war.

See also: Erdogan Stops Talking with Kurdish Militants, 28-5-2015

Rebuilding Syria's Decimated Medical Infrastructure
By Seema Sengupta, Asia Times, 16-1-2016

Rebuilding a nation from the ruins of war is no easy task, especially when the nature of the conflict is fratricidal. But if a devastated post-World War II Europe proves anything, it is that where there is unity of purpose all is possible. Even as the Second World War was still being fought, Allied leaders began thinking about Europe's reconstruction.
Now, Syria is in need of a master plan to rebuild, painstakingly, what has been lost during the last six years of turmoil. And besides the restoration of economic and agrarian infrastructure -- the collapse of the latter (due to one of the worst droughts this relatively prosperous Arab country endured between 2006 and 2009) was a major trigger for the rebellion against Bashar al-Assad's regime in 2011 -- Syria's now virtually non-existent healthcare system requires urgent reconstruction too.
After all, the lingering health effects of this bitter conflict may be as far-reaching as the civil war itself in the years to come.

Al-Kindi Hospital - destroyed by rebels

“One must not be afraid of new ideas, no matter the source. And we must never fear the truth, even when it pains us.” Al Kindi - Philosopher of the Arabs
The question is whether a country where hospitals have been targeted, and medical professionals viewed with distrust, by combatants, can really bounce back to its former state of medical provision.
Before the onset of the war, Syria boasted of one of the best healthcare systems in the entire Middle-East.
As Dr.Talal Bakfalouni, a senior health administrator and the former Director of Planning and International Cooperation for his country's health ministry, puts it: "Syria's health system was close to achieving universal coverage. Healthcare indicators were among the best in the region and were comparable to advanced countries, while efficiency of provision was the hallmark."
Indeed, Syria had optimal healthcare infrastructure comprising state-of-the-art facilities staffed by well-trained providers with access to authoritative and up-to-date medical science information.
The country's healthcare delivery was robust: national life expectancy rose to 75.7 years in 2012 from 56 in 1970, with substantial reductions in death rate from all causes. And immediately before the country descended into a brutal fratricidal conflict, infant and maternal mortality rates dropped significantly.
Interestingly, access to health services rose dramatically from the 1980s, with rural populations achieving better outcomes than ever before despite low public investment in healthcare -- total government expenditure on health was just 2.9 percent of GDP in 2009.

Unfortunately, Syria's medical system has now been decimated completely, with hundreds of thousands battling chronic illnesses and disabilities left untreated.
Aleppo's once-booming pharmaceutical industry has crumbled and patients are forced to buy medicines at inflated rates. With casualties from treatable diseases and combat-related injuries skyrocketing, the time for weighing only short-term, emergency solutions is up.
According to Elise Baker, who is chief Syria researcher at the NGO Physicians for Human Right, follow-up care for wounds, amputations and infections is now seriously inadequate.
A long-term plan capable of addressing future health needs and issues must be formulated urgently, she says. One senior medical professional conversant with the situation on the ground, says there is no reason why the country cannot redevelop a self-sustaining medical infrastructure -- if the leap is made now from crisis-response to strategic planning and recovery.
To that end, outside help will be crucial.

Russia, Turkey conducting first joint air operation against Islamic State in Aleppo
By Ibra Joudeh, Al-Masdar 18/01/2017

On Wednesday, Russia’s Aerospace Force and Turkey’s Air Force are conducting the first joint air operation against the Islamic State terror group (outlawed in Russia) on the outskirts of the al-Bab town in the Aleppo province, Head of the Main Operations Department of Russia’s General Staff Lieutenant-General Sergei Rudskoi told reporters.
"The air operation, agreed on with the Syrian government, involves nine warplanes of the Russian Aerospace Force, as well as four F-16 and four F-4 fighters of the Turkey’s Air Force. A total of 36 targets are planned to be hit," he said.
According to Rudskoi, all the targets have been previously fixed by the two countries’ General Staff and their air force units command. "In the past two days, a reconnaissance mission involving unmanned aircraft and cosmic reconnaissance equipment was carried out in order to help fix the targets," Rudskoi elaborated. "The joint airstrikes against the ISIS facilities, delivered by Russia and Turkey, have already proven highly effective," he noted.

Restoration of law and order in Aleppo
TASS News Agency, 17-1-2017

The Russian military police has helped restore law and order in the Syrian city of Aleppo liberated from terrorists.
"With the assistance of officers of the Russian military police, law-enforcement bodies have been restored in Aleppo districts liberated from terrorists and their work has been organized to ensure the population’s security," Lieutenant-General Sergei Rudskoi said.
Also, specialists of the Russian Armed Forces’ International Mine Action Center have demined more than 200 socially significant facilities, 3,210 buildings on the territory of over 2,000 hectares, 709 kilometers of roads and defused 26,395 explosive items in Aleppo. "This has allowed more than 10,000 residents to return to their homes in the city’s eastern quarters."
Doctors of the Russian Defense Ministry’s hospital have provided medical assistance to more than 5,000 people, including 1,847 children, Rudskoi said. "Russian officers are continuing work aimed at restoring peaceful life in other districts of Syria as well..."

Moscow welcomes Jaysh al-Islam group’s readiness to join talks with Damascus
By Ibra Joudeh, Al-Masdar 18/01/2017

Moscow welcomes the Jaysh al-Islam group’s readiness to join talks with Syria’s government, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Wednesday commenting on media reports saying that Mohammed Alloush, one of the group’s leaders, may head the Syrian armed opposition delegation at the Astana talks.
Syrian armed group Ahrar al-Sham said on Wednesday it will not take part in peace talks between the government and ‘opposition’ factions in the Kazakh capital next week. Ahrar al-Sham said however that it was giving its support to other armed groups represented at the Astana talks.
Ahrar al-Sham said the army’s offensive against the gunmen in Wadi Barada, an area 15 kilometres (10 miles) northwest of Damascus that is the capital’s main source of water, was among the reasons it would not attend the talks.
The Syrian army has pressed an assault to retake the area from the terrorists after mains supplies were cut last month, leaving 5.5 million people in Damascus and its suburbs without water.

Final Stages of Reconciliation Underway in Damascus Countryside
Fars News Agency (Tehran-Iran, 17-1-2017)

A member of the National Reconciliation Committee informed on Thursday that final measures have been taken with regard to reconciliation between militants and the Syrian government in the provinces of Damascus and Quneitra and thousands of militants will be granted amnesty soon.
Mas'ab al-Halabi said that the peace committees in Beit Jin farm and the town of Jabata al-Khashab have made breakthroughs and the militants that have requested amnesty will be pardoned soon.
He further added that the number of the militants that have applied for government amnesty has exceeded 1,000, while 140 militants have rejected peace in demand for relocation to Idlib.
Al-Halabi went on to say that reconciliation in the villages of Kafr Hour, Beit Saber and Beit Tima has played a crucial role in the course of the peace process in Damascus countryside.
The Russian Defense Ministry announced earlier today that over 2,200 militants in Wadi al-Bardi region in Western Ghouta have laid down arms and joined the nationwide peace agreement with the Syrian government.
Chief of the Main Operational Directorate of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces Lt.Gen. Sergei Rudskoy announced that 2,274 militants have handed over their weapons to the Syrian army and joined peace with the government.
He added that the ground has been paved for those militants that have not agreed to join the peace process to leave the region for the militant-held regions in Idlib province along with their families.

Russian Police in Aleppo

In December 2016, the Russian military police arrived in Aleppo to perform tasks and train local police, ahead of the expulsion of radical Islamist groups from the city. Most soldiers are natives of the Chechen Republic. Chechnya is a predominately Muslim region of Russia that has experienced its own wars with radical Islamists. (Al-Masdar News, 19-1-2017)

President Assad: How to get rid of the hateful or Wahhabi Ideology?
That’s our big concern after the crisis.
SANA, interview Japanese TBS TV, 20-1-2017

Go to the ballot box
- Q: In course of the peacemaking process, would you consider your resignation as an option, when you think it’s necessary for reconciliation?

Turkey supported Muslim Brotherhood & Saudi Salafists (2012): "A Coup. We want a Coup!"

- President Assad: The resignation of the President or the continuation of that President in his position is a national issue, it’s related to every Syrian, because in Syria the President would be elected directly by the Syrian people, so this is not the right of the government or the right of the opposition; it’s the right of every Syrian, so the only decision-maker in that regard is the ballot box.
Whoever wants the President to leave, they can go to the ballot box and say “no, we don’t want him.” This is the democracy everywhere in the world.
So, no, it’s not something we discuss either with the opposition or with any other country. This is a Syrian issue, and this is part of the constitution, it’s related to the constitution.
When we have election, or could be early election – it’s not on the table now – but this is the only way to say whether I have to leave or not. Again, I’m not the reason of the problem. As President, I have to help my country during the crisis, not to flee, not to escape, not to say “I have to leave and let the people fend for themselves.”
No, this is not the solution. In the crisis, the President should be at the helm, should take care of the crisis, then after the crisis is finished, he can say maybe he wants to stay or wants to leave, and this is where the Syrian people would tell him “stay” or “no, you have to leave, we don’t want you anymore.”

- Q: Your plan to rebuild this country, how long does it take? Your timetable?
- President Assad: We have started before the end of the crisis, we put the plans and we started with suburbs around Damascus and now we are planning in Aleppo and other cities to reconstruct new suburbs that’s been destroyed, but in a modern way.
So, we haven’t waited, and we are not going to wait till the end of the crisis; we can start right away, as the Syrian people are determined to rebuild their country.
We built Syria, Syria was not built by any foreigners; we built it with our engineers, with our labors, with our own resources, with the help of some friends – financial help, not technical help. So, we have the ability to rebuild Syria.
It takes time because it needs a lot of money. The Syrians, every Syrian is going to build his own house according to his resources even if it is limited, you have expatriates, you have the refugees who left Syria, some of them are in good condition, they want to come back, and with the support of our friends Russia, China, and Iran.
Many other countries started discussing the reconstruction of Syria, and they’re going to help with their financial resources. So, you have so many resources to rebuild Syria. It’s not about time; it will take time. Any reconstruction will take time, but the most important thing is that you have the ability to rebuild your country.
We are not worried about that. What we are worried about is how can we rebuild the minds of the people that have been under the control of ISIS and al-Nusra for many years; that their minds have been polluted because of the instilled ideology in their minds, this, as I said, as I called it, hateful or Wahhabi Ideology. They saw the death and the killing, and some of the children killed with their hands innocent people. How can we rebuild those minds, or rehabilitate those minds? That’s our big concern after the crisis.

Mehmet Simsek: “We have to be pragmatic, realistic"
Al-Alam, 20-1-2017

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek says Ankara can no longer insist on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s resignation as a precondition for resolving the nearly six-year crisis in the Arab country.
The facts on the ground [in Syria] have changed dramatically, so Turkey can no longer insist on a settlement without Assad, it's not realistic,” Simsek told a panel on Syria and Iraq at the World Economic Forum in the Swiss city of Davos on Friday; Press TV reported. “We have to be pragmatic, realistic,” he said.
The Turkish government had previously demanded the Syrian president’s resignation, describing his removal from power as the only solution to the conflict which has ravaged Syria since 2011.
Ankara, however, has become less insistent on Assad’s leaving office since its recent rapprochement with Russia, which supports the Syrian president, and ahead of peace talks planned to be held in Kazakhstan’s capital of Astana on January 23. Ankara has stepped up its cooperation with Moscow recently...
Representatives from the Syrian government and foreign-sponsored opposition groups are expected to take part in the Astana negotiations. The negotiations, which exclude the Daesh and Jabhat Fateh al-Sham Takfiri terrorist groups, are mediated by Russia, Turkey, and Iran.
The Syrian president said the upcoming peace talks in Astana would focus on enforcing a cessation of hostilities across the Arab country: "I believe that they will focus, in the beginning, and will prioritize, as we see it, reaching a ceasefire," Assad said.

Mehmet Şimşek (born 1 January 1967) is a Turkish politician and economist of Kurdish origin who currently serves as a Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey since 24 November 2015. He previously served as the Minister of Finance from 2009 to 2015, serving in the cabinets of Prime Ministers of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Ahmet Davutoğlu. As a member of the Justice and Development Party, he was elected as a Member of Parliament for Gaziantep in the 2007 general election and for Batman in the 2011 general election. (Wkipedia info)

Egyptian Engineers delegation discusses
with Syrian officials enhancing cooperation
Syrian Arab News Agency, 20 January 2017

Syrian Prime Minister Imad Khamis underlined the importance of cooperation between Syria and Egypt to achieve economic exchange to the benefit of the two countries.
Khamis remarks came during his meeting with a delegation of Egyptian Engineers Syndicate, headed by its Chairman Tariq Nabarawy in Damascus on Friday.
Khamis spoke about the terrorist war waged against Syria to destroy it and sabotage its infrastructure, underlining that Syria insists to confront this war in parallel with rebuilding.
The two sides affirmed that signing a cooperation agreement between Syrian and Egyptian engineers’ syndicates will be the first fruits of the cooperation between the two countries and will help reactivate the joint committees and the possibility of opening branches of Syrian banks in Egypt and a branch of National Bank of Egypt in Syria to achieve the economic interlacement between the two countries.

The Elimination of Human History
Turkey Removed Assyrian Sculpture From Public Square
AINA (Assyrian) News, 17-01-2017

Turkish authorities removed an Assyrian sculpture from a public square on January 8. The sculpture, an Assyrian winged bull known as a Lamassu, was in front of the local council building in Diyarbakir. No explanation has been provided by the Turkish government.
Diyarbakir is home to many Assyrians and is 55 miles north of Mardin and Tur Abdin, the historically Assyrian cities in Turkey.
The sculpture was erected by the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), which has many Assyrian members and a strong presence in Diyarbakir. It was removed after Turkey placed unelected government loyalists in charge of the municipality, under the emergency decree issued after the failed military coup in July 2015, which gave sweeping powers to the government.
Erol Dora, an Assyrian member of the Turkish Parliament from HDP, raised the issue of the sculpture in parliament. He asked the interior minister why the sculpture was removed and what has become of it. No response to his inquiry has been made

Astrology & Religious Art

A lamassu is an Assyrian protective deity, often depicted as having a human's head, a body of an ox or a lion, and bird's wings. In some writings, it is portrayed to represent a female deity. The Lammasu or Lumasi represent the zodiacs, parent-stars or constellations: Human head = AQUARIUS (Air) - Ox = TAURUS (Earth) - Lion = LEO (Fire) - Bird-wings = SCORPIO (Water)

The ancient Jewish people were influenced by the iconography of Assyrian culture. The prophet Ezekiel wrote about a fantastic being made up of aspects of a human being, a lion, an eagle and a bull. The prophet Ezekiel was among the Jews who were exiled to Babylon in the 6th century BC. The creatures in his vision, from which the images of the tetramorph are derived, are reminiscent of ancient Assyria art.
"As for the likeness of their faces, they four had the face of a man, and the face of a lion, on the right side: and they four had the face of an ox on the left side; they four also had the face of an eagle." (Ezekiel 1:10, ESV).
Later, in the early Christian period, the four Gospels were ascribed to each of these components.
When it was depicted in art, this image was called the Tetramorph (a tetramorph is a symbolic arrangement of four differing elements, or the combination of four disparate elements in one unit).

In Christian art the tetramorph is the union of the symbols of the Four Evangelists, derived from the four living creatures in the Book of Ezekiel, into a single figure or, more commonly, a group of four figures. Each of the four Evangelists is associated with one of the living creatures, usually shown with wings.
The most common association, but not the original or only, is: Matthew the man (Aquarius), Mark the lion (Leo), Luke the ox (Taurus), and John the eagle (Scorpio).
In Christian art and iconography, Evangelist portraits are often accompanied by tetramorphs, or the symbols alone used to represent them.
Evangelist portraits that depict them in their human forms are often accompanied by their symbolic creatures, and Christ in Majesty is often shown surrounded by the four symbols.
The creatures of the Christian tetramorph were also common in Egyptian, Greek, and Assyrian mythology. The early Christians adopted this symbolism and adapted it for the four Evangelists as the tetramorph, which first appears in Christian art in the 5th century, but who's interpretative origin stems from Irenaeus in the 2nd century.

Zarathustra & The Four Elements

Live & Let Live

Zoroastrianism was the official religion of Persia prior to the Islamic conquest of the Sasanid Empire in the 7th century and is one of the world’s oldest extant religions, founded by the Iranian Prophet Zarathustra.
Zoroastrianism is a monotheistic religion, from a time when polytheism was the norm, and its god, Ahura Mazda ('the Lord of Wisdom), is considered to encompass two key attributes:
Being (not 'I have', but 'I am') = ‘Ahura‘, and Mind (Intellectualism|Spiritualism) = ‘Mazda‘

The theology includes the duty to protect nature and, in particular, the elements of water, earth and fire and air.
Of the four primordial elements, fire and water are seen as purifying and, consequently, are important elements of ritual, incorporated into the fabric of the places of worship.
Some people think that Zoroastrians worship fire, but this is not the case. Fire is used for its symbolical power in the worship of the god, signifying purity and truth.
Fire is a symbol, a symbol of divinity. It is fed daily by the attendant priests with pieces of sandalwood.

iran: family - iran:temple - kurds:fire ritual

UNESCO: Daesh|IS Ruins Palmyra Monuments
to 'Deprive Syrians of Their Past and Future'
Syria Times, 21 January 2017

The destruction of Palmyra’s famed Tetrapylon and the facade of the ancient Syrian city’s Roman theatre by the terrorists of Daesh is a war crime, UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova said on Friday, according to the UN News Center. "This destruction is a new war crime and an immense loss for the Syrian people and for humanity," Bokova said.
Bokova called the destruction a "blow against cultural heritage" and underlined that it showed intentions of Daesh to "deprive the Syrian people of its past and its future".

She added that one of the reasons Daesh (Islamic State) had decided to destroy the Tetrapylon was the fact that it "testified to the specificity of Palmyrene identity, as a source of pride and dignity for all Syrians today...."
In December, Daesh recaptured Palmyra. According to various sources, the number of terrorists that took part in the storming of the city reached 5,000 including hundreds of suicide bombers and dozens of armored vehicles.

Mikhail Piotrovsky, the Director General of the Russian Hermitage Museum said the new destructions of monuments in Palmyra come across as acts of the militants' vengeance.
"It was quite some time ago probably as far back as last May that the IS radio said they would come and stage a new 'concert' in the theater, and now they've done it," he said making a reference to a concert that the Mariinsky Theater symphony orchestra from Russia gave at the site of the Roman theater last May...

Netanyahu's Message to the Iranian People
"You are shackled by a theocratic tyranny"
Arutz Sheva, 21/01/2017

Netanyahu & the Chabad message

Chabad message: "Maintaining possession of the lands taken in the Six-Day War is necessary not only to prevent attack, but also to protect against terrorism. The proposition of exchanging land for peace is unheard of in the annals of history. Whenever has a nation that won territory in a defensive war surrendered it to the very nations which attacked it?

The most immediate step to solving the problem is to settle the entire land. Wherever there is open space in Judea, Samaria, Gaza, and the Golan, settlements should be established.
This should not be done with fanfare. The idea is not to create an image, but to create a reality. When the land is settled by Jews, it will become obvious to all that we consider this as Jewish land, not theoretically, but practically." (The Rebbe: Wisdom & teachings)

Israeli President Binyamin Netanyahu posted on Facebook on Saturday night, "I plan to speak soon with President Trump about how to counter the threat of the Iranian regime which calls for Israel's destruction.
"But it struck me recently that I've spoken a lot about the Iranian regime and not enough about the Iranian people, or for that matter, to the Iranian people. "So I hope this message reaches every Iranian - young and old, religious and secular, man and woman.
"I know you'd prefer to live without fear. I know you'd want to be able to speak freely, to love who you want without the fear of being tortured or hung from a crane. I know you'd like to surf the web freely and not have to see videos like this one using a virtual private network to circumvent censorship.
"You have a proud history. You have a rich culture. Tragically, you are shackled by a theocratic tyranny.
"In a free Iran you will once again be able to flourish without limit. But today, a cruel regime is trying to keep you down. This ruthless regime continues to deny you your freedom. It prevents thousands of candidates from competing in elections. It steals money from your poor to fund a mass murderer like Assad.
"By calling daily for Israel's destruction, the regime hopes to instill hostility between us. This is wrong. We are your friend...
"The fanatics must not win. Their cruelty must not conquer our compassion..."

Patriarch Kirill: "The church is a community open to the whole world
It cannot be together with one nationality against another."
RT Russia News, 16-10-2016

"To heal and revive our world and all the people in it, we need to look again at the older religious traditions that sought and followed a concept of a female God, or within God, or aspect of God. The Divine She, the Mother Earth and Queen of Heaven, the She of the underworld, all express a concept that has been swept from the patriarchal thought and tradition." (Alix Pirani, in 'The Absent Mother')

The Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, Kirill (secular name: Vladimir Mikhailovich Gundyayev, born 20-11-1946), has delivered a speech in London’s Cathedral of the Dormition of the Mother of God and All Saints in a four-day visit to the UK to mark the 300th anniversary of the Russian Orthodox Church’s presence there:

The Church has a special significance for the spiritual life of people. It brings people together regardless of national, social, material, cultural or political borders.
By its nature the church cannot be together with the right or the left, or with the centrists. It cannot be together with the rich against the poor or together with the poor against the rich. It cannot be together with one nationality against another.
The church is a community open to the whole world. And within this community all human differences are erased.
Even a very rich person stands surrounded by poor people. And even high-ranking people stand side by side with ordinary people. This symbolizes the erasure of those differences within the church.
The very same role has to be played by the church in international relations. The faith, the religion, the church is the mirror of the people’s soul. And at the deepest level the church represents its people outside, in the world.

We, people of the faith, can see things that cannot be seen by those who doubt. We can distance ourselves from the short-term interests and problems and offer a different perspective, including on the current state of Russian-British relations.
And our perspective is vastly different from that of the politicians, because our nations are bound together by historical, religious and even monarchic ties. We know each other and respect each other greatly...

To commemorate this joyous occasion I would like to present you with an icon of Our Blessed Mother of God. It's a centuries-old icon. Praying before it, please pray for our Church and for our country...
And to everyone who is here today I would like to present this image, depicting all the British saints. The United Kingdom has been blessed with many saints... It's these saints that tie us together with bonds stronger that any human ones.
This is our shared heritage. This is our shared history. This is the embodiment of our shared values. And I'm convinced that it will also serve as the foundation for our bright future together.

Mary in Islam and Protestantism
by Arthur Policarpio, 2014

In December 2003, the Blessed Mother graced the cover of 3 major Protestant magazines with total circulation of more than half a million.
They include The Lutheran – the official publication of the denomination that launched the 16th century Protestant rebellion against the Catholic Church – as well as Christianity Today, the magazine of record for evangelical Protestantism, and Good News, a publication for evangelical Methodists.
The articles in all three magazines agree that Protestants have neglected Mary for too long, and that it is high time for Protestants to re-consider the place of Mary in Protestantism.

Indeed, more and more non-Catholics are beginning to find a place for Mary in their religions.
Numerous books on Mary have been written by Protestant scholars, many with the common exhortation for Protestants to take a closer look at Mary. Stories abound about Buddhists and other non-Catholics visiting the shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes, a traditionally-Catholic symbol of Marian devotion.
Muslims, on the other hand, very much revere and respect Mary. In fact, Mary is mentioned more times in the Koran, Islam’s Holy Book, than in the Bible!
Mary is likewise a topic in many ecumenical discussions – scholarly discussions between Catholic theologians, Protestant scholars, Muslims, and other religions with the objective of unearthing more and more “common ground” among the religions.
In June 2001, after returning from an interfaith conference held at Lourdes, Cardinal Francis Arinze, then president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, declared that Mary is a starting point for presenting the Christian message to believers of other religions.

A (Motherless) Boy Called Bibi
By Uri Avnery, Gush Shalom, May 02, 2015

sometimes i feel like a motherless child

IF IT is true that the character of a person is shaped by his early childhood, we must examine the background of Netanyahu in order to understand him.
He grew up in the shadow of a strong father. Benzion Millikowsky, who changed his foreign name to the Hebrew Netanyah.
Benzion was a very dominant and very unhappy person. Born in Warsaw, then a provincial town in the Russian Empire, he immigrated to Palestine as a young man, studied history at the new Hebrew University in Jerusalem and expected to become a professor there. He was not accepted.
Benzion was the son of an early adherent of Vladimir (Ze’ev) Jabotinsky, the extreme rightist Zionist leader. He inherited from his father a very extremist outlook, and passed it on to his three sons.
Binyamin was the second one. His elder brother, Yonatan, still a child himself, called him Bibi, and the childish appellation stuck.
His extreme Zionism did not stop Benzion leaving Palestine and seeking his academic luck in the United States, where a second-rate university gave him a professorship.
During the years, the Netanyahu family went back and forth between the US and Israel. Binyamin grew up in America, acquired perfect American English, essential for his future career, studied and became a furniture salesman, until he was discovered by the far-right Likud foreign minister, Moshe Arens, who sent him to the UN as Israeli spokesman.

BENZION NETANYAHU was not only a very bitter person, he was also a very autocratic family man. The three Netanyahu boys lived in constant awe of Father. They were not allowed to make any noise at home while the Great Man worked in his closed study. They were not allowed to bring other boys home.
Their mother (Cela-Tzila Segal, born 28-8-1912 in Petah Tikva) was completely devoted to her husband and served him in every way, sacrificing her own personality.

1: yonatan+cela 2: benzion+bibi - yonatan+cela 3: yonathan+cela - bibi

In every family, the second child of three is in a difficult position. He is not admired like the eldest, nor indulged like the youngest. For Binyamin this was especially hard, because of the personality of the eldest.
Yonatan Netanyahu (both names mean “God has given”) seems to have been a specially blessed boy. He was good-looking, gifted, much liked, even admired. Between his father, the embittered Great Thinker, and his elder brother, the Legendary Hero, Binyamin grew up as a quiet but very ambitious boy, part Israeli, part American.
Between his obsessive need to be approved by his father and to be found equal to his glorious brother, Netanyahu’s own character was forged.

See also: What it Means to be a Rejected Child

Donald Trump & Mary Devotion

"Mary's life shows that God accomplishes great deeds through those
who are the most humble". Pope Francis
"I think I am much more humble than you would understand"
Donald Trump, 17-7-2016

Donald Trump's parents belonged to the Reformed Church in America, although he was confirmed at one of the Presbyterian Church (USA) congregations himself.
This matter of membership does not play a big role since he attends services of both denominations, other ones that are part of the Reformed tradition, and even some that subscribe to other Protestant branches (like the Episcopal Church (USA), an Anglican denomination).
In 2016, Donald Trump visited Bethesda-by-the-Sea, an Episcopal church for Christmas service.

Do Episcopalians pay Mary enough attention?
Answer: Not always obviously, but Mary is honored well
By Richard Martin, Episcopal Life Forum

It is my observation that Anglicans would rather "sing of Mary!" for, within Anglicanism, Marian devotion is often subtle and understated, profoundly biblical and expressed more often in hymns and poems, in sculpture, paintings, icons and stained glass, by chapels and shrines, than in statements and doctrinal treatises.
Though many Episcopalians honor the blessed Virgin Mary in their devotional life, many do not. Thus, much teaching is needed within the Episcopal Church, theologically and devotionally.

Mary is a symbol of independent woman
By Alison Cheek, Episcopal Life Forum

Symbols of Mary abound in many churches, and she is honored by many Lady Chapels and shrines such as the splendid Lady Chapel in the Washington National Cathedral. (Picture site)
For centuries countless women and men have prayed to Mary and sought her help. For many women in particular, devotion to Mary has been a vehicle for the experience of the Goddess.
Elisabeth Schuessler Fiorenza, in an article in Womanspring Rising, writes of her growing up years in the Roman Catholic tradition in Germany. She says, "Even though any Catholic schoolchild can explain on an intellectual-theological level the difference between the worship of God and Jesus and the veneration of Mary, on an emotional, imaginative, experiential level the Catholic child experiences the love of God in the figure of a woman. ...
The Catholic tradition gives us the opportunity to experience the divine reality in the figure of a woman. Those of us raised in a more Protestant ethos have likely missed this experience. Moreover, antipathy to "papist practices" has caused us to pay insufficient attention to Mary as disciple where it is possible to identify.
The movement that developed around Jesus disrupted the patriarchal family and formed a new familial structure -- a discipleship of equals. Nowhere is this more evident than in some of the vignettes about Mary.
Mary as disciple is an independent woman. Cult history marks her as an important and powerful leader in the early Christian communities. Whether Mary is for us "the human face" of God, the mother with whom we can identify or the strong community leader, friendship with her can be rewarding.

Astana round of talks on Syria
Jaberi Ansari: "Changes begin in people’s minds"
FARS news Agency, 23-1-2017

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Jaber Ansari underlined the necessity for immediate action on the crisis in Syria.
Addressing the Astana round of talks on Syria in Rixos Hotel in Kazakhstan, Jaberi Ansari presented an image of the ongoing crisis in Syria and urged immediate action on bringing stability to the hard-hit country:

As we are sitting here in comfort; men, women and children in Syria are struggling with difficulties, agony and ravages of war, terrorism and displacement within or out of their homeland. In some parts, including Damascus, they are even deprived from drinking water.

As an Iranian, I can feel their misery. It was not long ago when Iran fell victim of an imposed war that left hundreds of thousands of martyrs, wounded and displaced people and led to destruction of vast areas of the country. Everybody in my accompanying delegation have lived those days.
In the human world, the divergence of beliefs and interests are natural, but war is the ugliest manifestation of such disagreement.
The utmost goal of our joint efforts to end the Syrian conflict must be an irreversible cessation of hostilities that enables the people of Syria to get back to the normal life they deserve, like any other nation. Syrians shall enjoy a sovereign state in an integrated territory within safe borders.
All nations shall enjoy the inherent right of self-determination and no external powers should or can interfere with the right of people. Syrian nation is no exception and shall exercise this right of theirs, free from any external pressure.
Those who seek the prolongation of the Syrian crisis for their own interests hinder the fulfillment of people’s rights.

Today, we have assembled in Astana to re-orient our endeavor towards peace and to remedy the shortcomings of past processes, in order to help a dialog between the Syrian government and the Syrian armed opposition groups.
To this end, we need to have a clear road map. Specifically, all participating parties to these talks need to denounce acts of violence and respect not only the ceasefire, but cessation of all kind of hostilities.
We shall welcome the adherence of non-participating groups to this process, once they abide by principle of non-violence.
The international community should join efforts to curb the illegal transfer of arms, financial aids and fighters into Syria.. An effective mechanism of ceasefire should be in place, ensured by the Astana tripartite initiative to guarantee the irreversibility of ceasefire and cessation of hostilities.

At the same time, all friends of Syria should join hands to remove sanctions and blockage, to help the reconstruction, to facilitate the free return of the displaced population in urgent response to the dire human situation in Syria.
Changes begin in people’s minds. The vicious cycle of violence and terrorism can be stopped only if extremist ideologies that justify barbarism, more than often in the false name of religion, are denounced and renounced.
This may begin with introducing the true merciful and blessing face of divine religions and an intercultural dialog among regional neighbors and in the world at large.

Al-Jafaari: Syria which we love is the homeland of diversity in all its forms
Syrian Arab News Agency, 23-1-2017

Head of the Syrian Arab Republic delegation to the Astana meeting Bashar al-Jaafari said that Syria hopes that the meeting will fix the cessation of hostilities for a specified period of time in a way that would separate the terrorist groups that have agreed to the cessation and that desire to national reconciliation on the one side from ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra and other groups affiliated to them on the other side, adding that Syria hopes that all efforts will unite in fighting terrorism to meet the demands of the Syrian people, and this necessitates closing the Syrian-Turkish borders and drying up the sources of terrorism.
Al-Jaafari said that the Syrian national political powers – including the government and oppositions groups – along with the UN Security Council’s resolutions and the consultative meetings have all unanimously agreed on respecting Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and its people’s unity, not relinquishing any part of its land, and rejecting all forms of direct or indirect foreign interference in Syria’s internal affairs, in way that ensures that only the Syrians will decide the future of their country through democratic means and ballot boxes.
Syria which we love is the homeland of diversity in all its forms, a homeland where the Syrians believe in the basis and principles of their independent democratic secular state based upon political pluralism, the rule of law, independence of the judiciary system, equality among citizens in rights and duties, guaranteeing cultural and social variety among all spectrum of the Syrian people, as well as maintaining the continuation of the work of the state institutions,” he said.

Syrian opposition hopeful war in Syria will end due to Russia’s role
By Ibra Joudeh, Al-Masdar News, 24/01/2017

The Syrian opposition hopes that military activities in the country will end due to Russia’s role in settling the conflict, head of the opposition delegation Mohammed Alloush told reporters on Tuesday.
According to him, the meeting held in Kazakhstan’s capital of Astana marks the beginning of a process aimed at ensuring the ceasefire and implementing humanitarian provisions of the UN Security Council Resolution.
"We would like Russia to continue playing a positive role in establishing peace and in supporting a truly fair political process aimed at settling the situation in Syria," Alloush said.
He pointed to Russia’s growing role in establishing peace in the country.
"We welcome Russia’s willingness to shift from being a participant in hostilities to being a guarantor capable of influencing Iran and Syria. For us, this is a positive step on the way to finding a solution," the head of the opposition delegation stressed.

Trump to speak with Netanyahu about Judea, Samaria building
wants to get closer with Israel...
Arutz Sheva, 24-1-2017

President Donald Trump wants to speak with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about recent plans to build in Judea and Samaria [occupied West Bank] when they meet next month.
“He wants to have a meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu and we’ll discuss that,” Sean Spicer, the White House spokesman, said Tuesday at the daily briefing for reporters when asked about the announcements.
Netanyahu and Trump spoke over the weekend, and Trump invited Netanyahu to the White House next month.

Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beytenu) this week said they had given the go-ahead to plans for 2,500 housing units in the Judea and Samaria. Additionally, a Jerusalem municipal committee this week approved 566 housing units in Jewish and Arab neighborhoods in eastern Jerusalem.
Spicer indicated that Trump, not yet a week in office and still without a secretary of state, is scrambling to set policy on sensitive issues, but is determined to move past the tensions that characterized the Netanyahu government’s relationship with the Obama administration. “He has asked his team to get together” and study the Judea Samaria issue, Spicer said. “Israel has continued to be a huge ally of the United States … he [Trump] wants to get closer with Israel.”
The Obama administration opposed Jewish population of Judea, Samaria, and Jerusalem, and in its final month for the first time allowed through a UN Security Council resolution condemning Israel for its Jewish housing expansion. The departure of Obama has heartened advocates in Israel of Jewish expansion.
On Trump's campaign pledge to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem, Spicer said Monday that the new president had not yet decided when to make the move.

Chabad's Truth vs. The darkness of the United Nations
By Benjamin Netanyahu, 24-9-2009

I became Israel's ambassador to the United Nations in 1984.
Shortly afterwards, I had a visitor in my office in New York. He came in and there was this strapping chassid, with a beard and payos [side locks]. I said to him, "Do I know you?"
"Bibi, you don't know me? It's Shmarya!" I hadn't seen him in a few years. He said, "Well, you see, I have become a Lubavitcher, and the Rebbe wants to see you..."

I saw two old bearded Jews dancing in a circle of light with a Torah.
I felt the strength of generations, the power of our traditions, our faith and our people. Suddenly a door opened.. You saw the sea parting, like the Red Sea. The Rebbe came up and went to the book and he started to read with his back to the crowd. At that point, Shmarya said to me, "Now... ! Go to the Rebbe now."
I came to the Rebbe. I tapped him on the shoulder I said in English, "Rebbe, I came to see you." We started talking. After forty minutes he stopped. He said what he wanted to say.
The Rabbi said many things to me that night. But he said one big thing. He said, "You will go into a house of lies," that's how he referred to a particular institution.
He said, "Remember that in a hall of perfect darkness, if you light one small candle, its precious light will be seen from afar, by everyone. Your mission is to light a candle for truth and for the Jewish people." That is what I have tried to do ever since. This is what we are all asked to do.

The Rebbe about the Jews:
"What unites us is not that other people don't like us,
but that G-d loves us;
that every Jew is a fragment of the Divine presence
and together the Jews are the physical presence
of G-d on earth."

The Rebbe about the Arabs on the mountain:
" They are going to leave from their own good will.
And later, they will be sorry for every day
that they did not do it earlier."

Chabad's goal: Accelerate the coming of the messiah
by Paul Steinberg, August 27, 2012

So then, what is Chabad’s goal? What do they want? They nobly want us to do mitzvot or mitzvos (fulfill Jewish commandments). And why do they want us to do mitzvos?
Because of messianism. That is to say, doing mitzvos – “changing the world one mitzvah at a time” – helps to bring about the messiah. Messianism is the belief that there is a messiah (the mashiach) and that he is coming (they are sure it’s a “he”)...
Messianism has been at the heart of the mission of Chabad for at least the past hundred years, and they believe that it is their job is to hasten the coming of the messiah by encouraging mitzvos, specific ritual acts.
Chabad has their own version of a top ten list of mitzvos, and the performance of those mitzvos has cosmic significance, potentially tipping the spiritual balance toward the messiah’s arrival.
In other words, putting on tefillin in the street, eating a kosher meal, or spending a Shabbat at a Chabad house just one time and never doing it again is an act that has the power to tip the celestial scales. Therefore, the role of the shluchim is to encourage mitzvos in order to accelerate the coming of the messiah.
Over the past 50 years, Chabad has taken this message and skillfully packaged it into media and slogans – slogans that are particularly catchy in America, such as, “We want mashiach now!”
Wanting something and wanting it now, after all, is about as American as apple pie. However, what is fascinating about this religious ideology is that it doesn’t take much to motivate the mashiach and get him here now....

Rabbi's Abraham Shemtov & Levi Shemtov - Chabad leaders

Rabbi Shemtov is well known in the halls of Congress, and Sue Fishkoff, author of The Rebbe’s Army: Inside the World of Chabad-Lubavitch, writes: “It’s not enough that Chabad’s man in D.C. knows the name and phone number of just about every congressman, senator and foreign ambassador in the nation’s capital — he also knows their legislative assistants, their secretaries and the people who clean their offices. ... He lunches with prime ministers and navigates political jungles with firm good humor.”
Officials and staff members from all walks of life affirm that Rabbi Shemtov is exceptionally well liked and that he has amazing rapport with a wide range of political leaders. Because Rabbi Shemtov has such a vast network, his finger is on the pulse of the state of Jewish power today... (Voice of Orthodox Community, 6-3-2011)

Chabad’s presence is prominent at the Kotel in Jerusalem, in the cyber world of the Internet and even at the White House in Washington.
Furthermore, their marketing products such as publications and magazines, as well as collective distribution are the envy of many in the Jewish organizational world.

Ivanka Trump & the Chabad House in DC
YNet News, 7-1-2017

Soon-to-be First Daughter Ivanka Trump and her family will be joining The SHUL of the Nation's Capital, a synagogue run by international Jewish community organization Chabad; among the Shul's congregants are former senator Joe Lieberman and Secretary of Treasury Jack Lew.
Businesswoman Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner have purchased a home in Washington DC. As a practicing Jewish couple, their impending move also necessitated joining a local synagogue. They Chose The SHUL, a small synagogue run by the Chabad Jewish community and outreach organization.
It was reported that the Trump-Kushners chose to join TheSHUL for its more intimate atmosphere.
Another factor to possibly influence their decision was that the capitol's Orthodox synagogue is home to many Democratic Party members, which might have created a less welcoming tone for the young couple.
Following her relationship with her now-husband, Jewish businessman Jared Kushner, Ivanka converted to Judaism and eventually married. She has since then identified as Jewish Orthodox...

UN, EU slam Tel Aviv’s approval of 2,500 fresh settlement units
Press TV, Wed Jan 25, 2017

The United Nations has decried Israel’s approval of the construction of 2,500 new settler units in the West Bank, stressing that such "unilateral actions" are hindering peace.
On Tuesday, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres’ spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, said, "For the secretary general there is no plan B for the two states solution."
The Palestine Liberation Organization also reacted to the move with Secretary General Saeb Erekat saying that "the international community must hold Israel accountable immediately."
He added that Tel Aviv seems to have become emboldened by "what they consider encouragement by American President Donald Trump."
A spokesman for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas denounced the construction plans as a new blow to attempts aimed at bringing peace to the region.

The EU also slammed the move, stating that it “seriously undermines the prospects for peace with the Palestinians."
“It is regrettable that Israel is proceeding with this policy, despite the continuous serious international concern and objections, which have been constantly raised at all levels," said a statement released by the European Union External Action Service.

Earlier in the day, the Israeli ministry of military affairs announced that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the minister of military affairs, Avigdor Lieberman, had endorsed the settlement plans.
More than 230 illegal settlements have been constructed since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories. The unauthorized structures have hampered attempts to establish peace in the Middle East.
In December 2016, the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 2334 that denounced the Israeli settlements as a “flagrant violation of international law.”

Flashback 2008: "There is no chosen people on this earth"
Amy DePaul interviews Seyed Mohammad Marandi
Guernica, 5-2-2008

- Guernica: In an interview with Matt Lauer of NBC, you mentioned President Ahmadinejad being mistranslated on some of the things he has said about Israel. How was he mistranslated?
- Seyed Mohammad Marandi: President Ahmadinejad said that the Zionist state of Israel should no longer exist as a political entity. This has always been the policy of successive Iranian governments such as those of President Khatami and President Rafsanjani.
In general, Iranians believe that all Palestinians have the right to return home and that there is no chosen people on this earth, whether Jewish, Muslim, Christian.

Iran had the same policy towards apartheid South Africa and at the time when it was supporting and funding the ANC [African National Congress] among other groups in South Africa, these groups were also considered to be terrorist organizations by many western governments.
It is ludicrous to believe that he meant nuclear weapons can be used. It is truly fearful to see how the mainstream media in the west can construct an adversary and that there are so few dissenting voices.

- Guernica: What’s the most important point you’d like Americans to know about Iran?
- Seyed Mohammad Marandi: Americans should know that Iranians are just as decent, human and rational as other human beings. Sadly, the mainstream media in the U.S. regularly fails to recognize and reflect this.

Seyed Mohammad Marandi is an assistant professor of English Literature at the University of Tehran and head of Department of North American Studies. He is also an honorary research fellow in the Department of American and Canadian Studies, University of Birmingham.

Libyan National Army forces liberate all of Qanfouda
Middle East Online, 25-1-2017

"We came, we saw, he died"

Hillary Clinton traveled to Libya in a secret visit on 18 October 2011 to celebrate the fall of Muammar Gadaffi

BENGHAZI - Forces loyal to Libyan Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar battling jihadists around second city Benghazi said Wednesday they had taken one of the last remaining strongholds of the militants.
Haftar's Libyan National Army (LNA) "liberated all of Qanfouda", an area 15 kilometres (nine miles) west of the centre of Benghazi, spokesman Ahmed al-Memari posted on Facebook.
Two other LNA officials confirmed to AFP that Qanfouda, the scene of fierce fighting since June, had fallen from jihadist hands. One of the officials said there were still militants from the Al-Qaeda-linked Ansar Al-Sharia group present near Qanfouda.

Libya's unrest since the 2011 ousting of Moamer Kadhafi allowed extremist organisations including the Islamic State group to gain a foothold in the country. For nearly three years Benghazi has been the scene of bloody attacks and fighting between these groups and forces loyal to Haftar.

The country has fallen into chaos, with the UN-backed Government of National Accord based in Tripoli failing to assert its authority over the country.
The [UN-US-imposed] GNA is opposed by a [democratically elected] rival administration that is based in Libya's far east and backed by Khalifa Haftar.
Haftar has managed to retake a large part of the eastern coastal city from jihadists since Benghazi came under their control in 2014.
But jihadists still control the central Benghazi districts of Al-Saberi and Souq al-Hout, according to the LNA. These jihadist groups include the Revolutionary Shura Council of Benghazi, an alliance of Islamist militias that includes the Al-Qaeda-linked Ansar Al-Sharia.

Tulsi Gabbard calls on US govt to stop ‘supporting terrorists’
RT Russian News, 26 Jan, 2017

Education is necessary for young people to thrive in our global community.
Tulsi has fought to protect funding for education programs, accountability standards, and for disadvantaged and underserved children. She believes that we must continue to provide to ensure that every child can attain the education they need to be successful. (Tulsi Gabbard Website)

Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has called on the US to put an end to the “illegal war” she believes it wages in Syria after visiting Damascus and Aleppo.
During her trip, she spoke with civilians, religious leaders, opposition leaders, and President Assad. Gabbard described her privately-funded seven-day trip to Lebanon and Syria as a “fact-finding mission” to learn the truth about the war by speaking directly to the Syrian people. Gabbard travelled to Beirut, and then to Damascus and Aleppo, where she spoke with Syrian students, entrepreneurs, academics, and aid workers. She also received firsthand accounts of the conflict from refugees displaced by the war. She met with a number of religious leaders, including The Grand Mufti of Syria Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun and Archbishop Denys Antoine Chahda, who heads the Syrian Catholic Church of Aleppo. Gabbard also met with several leaders of the Syrian opposition who spearheaded anti-government protests in 2011.

Gabbard confessed she lacked any plausible explanations to offer the Syrian people about the role of the US in the lingering conflict, as she was asked questions like: “Why is the United States and its allies helping al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups try to take over Syria? Syria did not attack the United States. Al-Qaeda did.”
The Syrian people caught in this war “cry out for the U.S. and other countries to stop supporting those who are destroying Syria and her people,” Gabbard wrote in a blog post, adding that it is the message they asked her to convey to the world, as it has been constantly muted by “one-sided biased reports pushing a narrative that supports this regime change war at the expense of Syrian lives.”

An Iraq War veteran and member of the House Armed Services and Foreign Affairs Committees, Gabbard is known for her sharp criticism of former US President Barack Obama’s interventionist policy in the Middle East.

Knowledge is a natural right of every human being
Gaddafi: The Green Book - Education

To impose certain subjects upon people is a dictatorial act.
All countries which set courses of education in terms of formal curricula and force pupils to learn them, coerce their citizens.
All methods of education prevailing in the world should be done away with through a worldwide cultural revolution to emancipate man's mind from curricula of fanaticism and from the process of deliberate adaptation of man's taste, his ability to form concepts and his mentality.
This does not mean that schools are to be closed and that people should turn their backs on education, as it may seem to superficial readers. On the contrary, it means that society should provide all types of education, giving people the chance to choose freely any subjects they wish to learn...

Knowledge is a natural right of every human being which nobody has the right to deprive him of under any pretext except in a case where a person himself does something which deprives him of that right.
Ignorance will come to an end when everything is presented as it actually is and when knowledge about everything is available to each person in the manner that suits him.

Bibi Meets Mary Trump and Frank Patterson

Frank Patterson sings
Bring Flowers Of The Rarest
O Virgin most tender, Our homage we render, Thy love and protection, Sweet Mother, to win; In danger defend us, In sorrow befriend us, And shield our hearts from contagion and sin.
O Mary! we crown thee with blossoms today, Queen of the Angels, Queen of the May, O Mary! we crown thee with blossoms today, Queen of the Angels, Queen of the May.

Donald is filming in Hollywood

Bibi Baskin travelled to the Trump Taj Mahal Hotel in Atlantic City where she met with Mary Trump, mother of Donald Trump
. The interview took place in a luxury suite on the 51st floor of the Trump Taj Mahal Hotel, where Mrs Trump had just had lunch with Irish singer Frank Patterson who also spoke to Bibi.
Mary Trump had long been a fan of Frank Patterson. "We have all his tapes, all his cassettes..."
She recalls meeting Frank for the first time at Booth Memorial Hospital in New York, where he was performing and Mary was a patient in recovery after being mugged.
She plans to go to Frank’s concert later that day, and again at Carnegie Hall the following week.
Frank Patterson, who also lives in New York, says that Mary’s love for Irish music stems from her Scottish heritage. Since their first meeting Mary and Frank have remained friends and have worked on various charity events together.

Speaking about the Trump family Mary explains that Donald couldn’t be there to meet Bibi as he is filming with Steven Spielberg in Hollywood. (This episode of ‘It’s Bibi’ was broadcast on 16 March 1994)

Over 2,600 militants lay down arms in Syria’s Damascus province
TASS News Agency, 26-1-2017

Residents of the Wadi Barada River valley, a region, which supplies water to Syria’s Damascus province are finally returning to normal civilian life.
The majority of settlements in the region have joined the reconciliation process. More than 2,600 gunmen that were active there have laid down their arms. Those who refused to return to a ‘normal’ life have been evacuated by the authorities to the Idlib province with their families, Colonel Alexander Blinkov, Spokesman for the Russian Center for Reconciliation of the Warring Parties in Syria, told reporters.
"Steps are currently being taken as part of the first stage of a comprehensive reconciliation plan in this area. Hardcore opposition members who refused to surrender weapons are leaving for the Idlib province with their families with the assistance of the Syrian authorities."
The militants who are filing to adjust their legal status have joined self-defense units.

"Recently, a great number of militants have come to realize the need to return to a peaceful routine and live a normal life like all the rest under our flag," said Osama al-Almari, the head of administration of the village of Ain El-Fijeh.
Some of the gunmen who have legalized their status have joined the ranks of pro-government forces. One of them is Adek Agil, a former commander of a militant group who is now in command of a local self-defense unit. "I fought against the government troops. Eventually, I realized that this is wrong. They deceived us," he said. "That was a mistake, and I regret it. That is why I sided with the government forces to live as before."
People in the valley hope that the conflict will be resolved soon, the militants will leave the area and it will be possible to return to civilian life and live in a peaceful atmosphere. They also hope that tourists will return to the area, said Mahmoud Haydar, head of the administration of the Deir Qanoun populated locality.
Wadi Barada is a strategically important area providing cities in the Damascus province with water. In February 2012, it was seized by Free Syrian Army gunmen. In January 2017, the militants lost some important heights and then pressed for a truce.

King of Jordan to Putin: "We have a common vision"
TASS January 25, 2017

Russia plays a crucial role in resolving the Syrian conflict, King Abdullah II of Jordan said at a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday.
"We recognize Russia’s crucial role in resolving this (Syrian) and many other regional issues," he said.
"We do fully support the settlement process launched in Astana and appreciate Russia’s role and its involvement in this process," the king added. He expressed the hope that "the Syrians will have a common inclusive future," while the corresponding negotiations will continue in a variety of formats, including in the Geneva one.
"Today I am glad to be here again, to visit Moscow and reaffirm that we are bound by serious and strong friendship with you. We also have a common vision, which will contribute to stability and the normalization of the situation in the region."
Putin expressed his gratitude to King Abdullah II of Jordan for supporting the negotiation process on Syria in Astana.
The two leaders highlighted the need to prepare for rebuilding the war-torn country, sustain peace and stability, and help refugees return to their country. They also outlined the situation in Iraq and means of supporting Baghdad to reach national reconciliation, in addition to discussing regional developments and the Libyan issue. The King said that it is not possible to deal with the Syrian conflict away from ensuring the stability of Iraq.

Boris Johnson: "There is a need to be realistic"
RT (Russia News) 26-1-2017

UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson says Britain has changed its stance and now believes Syrian President Bashar Assad could potentially be allowed to run for president if there was a peaceful settlement of the conflict.
“It is our view that Bashar al-Assad should go, it’s been our longstanding position. But we are open-minded about how that happens and the timescale on which that happens,” Johnson told the Lords International Relations Committee on Thursday, according to The Guardian.
There is a need to be “realistic about the way the landscape has changed” and to take a fresh look at the situation, Johnson said. “We are getting to the stage where some sort of democratic resolution has got to be introduced,” he added.
“I would hope it would be possible to have a plebiscite or an election which is properly supervised by the UN and in which all the 11 million displaced persons, including the 4 million who are outside Syria now, are fully entitled to vote," he said.
Johnson stressed that cooperation with Russia would most certainly mean cooperation with Iran, Syria’s ally, which is likely to be “a good thing.”
“We think that trying to improve relations with Iran through this deal, and it’s a pretty cautious thing, is on the whole a good thing and we regard that as one of the achievements of the (former US President Barack) Obama administration.”
On the other hand, the foreign minister said that they “do not want to see a further extension of Iranian policy and influence in the region.”

Theresa May: We have to defend our values
UK and US cannot return to 'failed' interventions
BBC News, 26 January 2017

Theresa May (UK Prime Minister) has told US Republicans the UK and America cannot return to "failed" military interventions "to remake the world in our own image". Suggesting a UK foreign policy shift, she said those days were over but added that the US and UK should not "stand idly by when the threat is real".
In her speech, Mrs May said: "It is in our interests - those of Britain and America together - to stand strong together to defend our values, our interests and the very ideas in which we believe.
"This cannot mean a return to the failed policies of the past. The days of Britain and America intervening in sovereign countries in an attempt to remake the world in our own image are over.
"But nor can we afford to stand idly by when the threat is real and when it is in our own interests to intervene. We must be strong, smart and hard-headed. And we must demonstrate the resolve necessary to stand up for our interests.
Mrs May's US speech comes ahead of talks with President Donald Trump. She will be the first world leader to meet the new president. Theresa May will present Donald Trump, whose mother was born in the Outer Hebrides, with an engraved quaich, a Scottish artefact symbolising friendship.
Opposition leader, Labour's Jeremy Corbyn, said: "Theresa May must stand up for our country's values when she meets Donald Trump...

Pie Jesu - Merciful Jesus, Lamb of God
by: Andrew Johnston
(born 23 September 1994, Dumfries, Scotland)

God’s Lamb, who lifted the world’s sins,
grant them peace, everlasting peace

British Values & The Church of England

The Church of England is the Anglican Christian state church of England: both Catholic and Reformed. Headed by the Archbishop of Canterbury (currently Justin Welby) and primarily governed from London with the monarch as the supreme governor, the Church of England is also the mother church of the international Anglican Communion.

Justin Welby's New Year Message 2017

"The story of Coventry (bombed in 1940) says so much that is true about Britain at its best... About our courage, our standing up to tyranny, how we stand alongside the suffering and defeated. How we stand for human dignity and hope.
It says something vitally important about our generosity. How we’ve embraced the idea of reconciliation, so that our wartime enemies are now friends..."
"Living well together despite our differences, offering hospitality to the stranger and those in exile, with unshakable hope for the future – these are the gifts, the commands and the promises of Jesus Christ."

‘Virgin' Mary will marry Prophet Mohammed in heaven
RT (Russia News) 28--1-2017

An Egyptian cleric has earned the ire of the country’s Christian community by claiming that the Prophet Mohammed would marry Mary, the mother of Jesus, in heaven. Dr. Salem Abdel Galil, a scholar at the prestigious Al-Azhar University in Cairo, made the remarks on his TV show, “Muslims are asking.”
“The Prophet himself pointed to the high position of Maryam. And can I belittle her position, saying it only refers to a specific time and place? No! She was chosen among the wives of both worlds... And she will be the wife of our favorite Mohammed in heaven, and she will be the first to enter heaven together with the greatest prophets. And not just with the prophets, but with the greatest prophets!”

Galil’s comments drew anger from members of Egypt’s Christian minority: “We Christians don’t recognize any aspect of the Virgin Mary except her sanctity, her purity and her virginity.,” Nader Soubhi, of the Christian Youth Movement for Orthodox Copts, said.

The Virgin Mary and the Prophet Muhammad
Both 'Virgins' in their own special way
Mary Joan Winn Leith, Bible History Daily, 11/01/2016

The Virgin Mary and the prophet Muhammad have a lot in common.
The similarities I have in mind first occurred to me when I was teaching the Qur’an’s Sura 97 (al-Qadr, “Destiny”).
This is the Sura that extolls the holiest night of the Muslim calendar, the Laylat al-Qadr (Night of Destiny) when Muhammad received the first revelation of the Qur’an.
The connection I see between Mary and Muhammad centers on the significance of the Word of God in Christianity, Islam and Judaism.
Basic to all three religious traditions is the understanding that God, impelled by compassion, reveals to humans the way to salvation.
The traditions use different theological terminology (redemption, salvation, eternal life, etc.), but in essence, God’s revelation gives humans the knowledge and means to overcome the sorrow, pain and death that constitute the human condition. All three traditions describe this revelation as the Word of God.

A Spiritual Marriage

Spiritual marriage comes from the original divine law that marriage should be the union between soulmates who are attracted to each other by divine magnetism and not by the animal magnetism of sexual activity. Sometimes it is narrowed down to "love without sex"—a practice in which a man and a woman live intimately without engaging in any sexual activities. It has been known throughout many cultures as the bond of a man and a woman for reasons of spiritual and emotional intimacy and connection where partners help each other reach spiritual realization of God.

One evening, as the Prophet lay in bed, in that intuitive state midway between wakefulness and sleep, the angel Gabriel came to him. Gabriel opened Muhammad’s chest, cleansed his heart with sacred water, and filled it with Wisdom and Faith that he had brought on a golden tray.

Archangel Gabriel (the Messenger of God) helps us to be a good eloquent. Gabriel blesses us with extremely good communication skills so that we would be able to deliver our speech with the utmost clarity and make the audience understand the exact meaning of our words. Gabriel also helps us to discontinue our previous way of speaking and develop a new better way so that our words would create an atmosphere of inspiration, motivation and happiness. (Source)

For Christians, Jesus is the “Word” that became flesh, or, to use another Christian term, Jesus is the “incarnation” (the “enfleshment”) of God.
In a very real sense, then, both Mary and Muhammad are the mediators, the “middle person” (“middleman” doesn’t work here) between God and humanity.
Both are the bearers of a message from God that cannot be delivered to humans on earth without the agency of a human body.
Mary literally bears the Word of God in her womb and—to use the archaic sense of the word—Mary is “delivered” of the Word of God when she gives birth to Jesus.
Similarly, the earthly human capacity for hearing and speech allows Muhammad to bear and deliver the Word of God to the people of Mecca and Medina.
Because Mary and Muhammad in their roles as mediators by definition experienced a direct encounter with the divine, both faiths came to believe that they must have enjoyed an exceptional degree of purity.
Mary’s purity is her virginity, a physical state, which Christians, under the influence of Greco-Roman thought, associated with spiritual perfection and sinlessness.
As for Muhammad, his purity had nothing to do with sexuality; after all, he married a number of wives, including even some widows.
Muhammad’s exceptional purity has to do with knowledge, which initially may seem to be a peculiar form of purity. It is an article of faith in Islam that the words of the Qur’an are God’s, not Muhammad’s. Muhammad could not read or write; he was, so to speak, a virgin from the point of view of education.
No human father contributed to the incarnation of Jesus, and no human artistry had any role in the creation of the Qur’an.

Mary Joan Winn Leith is chair of the department of religious studies at Stonehill College in Easton, Massachusetts. At Stonehill, she teaches courses on the Bible and the religion, history and culture of the Ancient Near East and Greece. Leith is a regular Biblical Views columnist for Biblical Archaeology Review.