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Netanyahu: Ezekiel 37 Fulfilled in Israel

By Tzippe Barrow, CBN News Internet Producer - Jerusalem
JERUSALEM, Israel - Speaking on the 65th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz in Poland last week, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu proclaimed the fulfillment of the prophet Ezekiel's vision of the valley of dry bones.
"The Jewish people rose from ashes and destruction, from a terrible pain that can never be healed," Netanyahu said at the ceremony. 
"Armed with the Jewish spirit, the justice of man, and the vision of the prophets, we sprouted new branches and grew deep roots. Dry bones became covered with flesh, a spirit filled them, and they lived and stood on their own feet, as Ezekiel prophesized:
"Then He said to me, 'Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They indeed say, 'Our bones are dry, our hope is lost, and we ourselves are cut off!' Therefore prophesy and say to them, thus says the Lord God, 'Behold, O My people, I will open your graves and cause you to come up from your graves and bring you into the land of Israel. Then you shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O My people, and brought you up from your graves."
Netanyahu often quotes scripture in his speeches. From his youth, he has been a student of the Tenach, the Hebrew Bible or Old Testament, which records the history of Israel and its people.
Experts say archaeological excavations in Jerusalem and throughout the country continually verify the authenticity of the Bible, which all Israeli children study as part of their school curriculum.
In related news, the youngest Netanyahu, 15-year-old Avner, scored 98 in the final round of the Jerusalem Public School District's Bible Quiz on Tuesday.
The prime minister, his wife, Sarah, and Avner's older brother, Yair, were on hand at the Bible Lands Museum in Givat Ram to congratulate him.
Like many Israelis, both Bibi and Sarah Netanyahu come from families who made Bible study a priority in the home.
Later this year, Avner will represent his district in the national Bible quiz.

Israeli Prof. Deciphers Earliest Hebrew Text

Israel Text ArticleCBNNews, HAIFA, Israel - Ancient Hebrew text deciphered and translated by University of Haifa Prof. Gershon Galil has been hailed as the earliest known Hebrew writing, dating from King David's reign in the 10th century B.C.
According to Prof. Galil, the words etched on the trapezoid pottery shard are ancient Hebrew, providing tangible evidence that the Kingdom of Israel existed at this time.
The professor based his conclusions on the verbs, which are peculiar to the Hebrew language and point to Israelite culture and not to other peoples living in the region in the 10th century B.C.
"This text is a social statement, relating to slaves, widows and orphans," Prof. Galil said in a press statement. "It uses verbs that were characteristic of Hebrew, such as asah [did], avad [worked], which were rarely used in other regional languages. Particular words that appear in the text, such as almanah [widow], are specific to Hebrew and are written differently in other languages," he said.
"The content itself was also unfamiliar to all the cultures in the region besides the Hebrew society: The present inscription provides social elements similar to those found in the biblical prophecies and [are] very different from the prophecies written by other cultures postulating glorification of the gods and taking care of their physical needs," the professor said.
Other experts contend it's not possible to prove whether the letters and words are ancient Hebrew or another local language used at that time.
Prof. Galil also said the artifact proves that Hebrew was a written language as early as the 10th century B.C. and may mean that portions of the Old Testament were written centuries earlier than scholars generally believe.
The professor also noted the significance of the location, a small town in ancient Judea. According to Galil, historians can assume that scribes living in Jerusalem and in the central part of the country were likely to have been far more proficient than those in the Judean countryside.
"It can now be maintained that it was highly reasonable that during the 10th century B.C.E. [before the Common Era], during the reign of King David, there were scribes in Israel who were able to write literary texts and complex historiographies such as the books of Judges and Samuel," the professor said.
Galil also said that the complex nature of the text coupled with the structures uncovered at the excavation site, disprove theories that the Kingdom of Israel didn't exist in the 10th century.
The text reflects biblical commandments on how the Israelites were to relate to needy members of society, such as orphans, and how the Jews were to treat strangers in their midst.
Prof. Galil compared the text to Isaiah 1:17, Psalm 72:3, Exodus 23:3, among other verses in the Tenach (the Old Testament or Hebrew Bible).
Translation of the text:
1: You shall not do [it], but worship the [Lord].
2: Judge the sla[ve] and the wid[ow], judge the orph[an]
3: [and] the stranger. [Pl]ead for he infant / plead for the po[or and]
4: the widow. Rehabilitate [the poor] at the hands of the king.
5: Protect the po[or and] the slave / [supp]ort the stranger.

Israeli President Hosts Christian Leaders

Israel & Christian LeadersBy CBNNews
JERUSALEM, Israel - Israeli President Shimon Peres hosted Christian leaders at his Jerusalem residence on Monday, wishing them Happy New Year and Merry Christmas.
Among the attendees were Greek Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos III; Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Fuad Twal; Archbishop Aris Shirvanian, representing the Armenian Patriarch; Friar Pier Battista, custos of the Holy Land; and Greek-Catholic Melkite Archbishop Elias Shakur.
"It is Israel's responsibility to make sure every believer can pray to his or her Lord without interruption. Israel is deeply committed to protecting the holy sites for every religion. We will not tolerate any offense toward any church, mosque or synagogue," the president told the gathering of religious leaders.
"I know there are some differences between us, but there are also many similarities," Peres said. "By and large, I believe that the religious and spiritual leaders who have assembled here today constitute a camp of peace," he said.
"While we may practice different religions, we are looking at the same sky and praying to the Lord. Use your good voices and strong spirits to overcome the great divisions," the president said.
Peres concluded by asking his guests to help fight discrimination.
"I think the time has come to cross out any expression of discrimination. I wish that every young girl and young boy, Jewish or Arab, will have the opportunity to get the highest education without discrimination," Peres said.
"I wish to protect every mosque, church, and synagogue as independent, as a place of good faith and not a place of extremism. I think we are taking measures to achieve that," he said.
The Greek patriarch responded to the president's remarks.
"Events and gatherings such as this one are of great importance for promoting values that are greatly needed in our present day," Patriarch Theophilos III said.
"Rest assured that both the Christian institutions and leadership in the Holy Land are willing to employ their blessings and resources in furthering peace in the region because we believe that this constitutes one of the fundamental commandments of our faith, which solidifies our existence and determines our mission," he said.
"We are appreciative of the authorities' efforts in facilitating the access for pilgrims and worshippers and commend them to continue and push further this holy important provision," the Greek patriarch concluded.

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