September 5, 2016: Weekly 5 minute update

You may view the 5 minute update this week via audio:

1) Listen to the audio

In this week’s 5 minute update, we focused on:

1) The current status of the Israeli / Palestinian peace process and the announcement by the Temple Institute in Jerusalem of the establishment of a school for Jewish priests to perform the Temple service and the selection of a High Priest by the nascent Sanhedrin

Recently, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had a meeting with a blue-ribbon, bipartisan delegation of high-ranking former national security officials. One of the issues discussed was the possibility of US President Barack Obama supporting the parameters of a Palestinian state at the UN Security Council between November and January. Speculation is high in Israel that Obama will want to leave some kind of legacy regarding the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians before he leaves office on January 20, 2017.  His options include delivering a speech laying down what he believes should be the parameters of any final peace deal, to either supporting or not vetoing a new UN resolution on the Mideast that would supplant UN Security Council Resolution 242 that has underpinned all peace efforts since 1967.

Israel’s concern is that any of these moves might be used to try and impose a solution on the conflict from the outside. In order to discourage this from happening, Israeli government officials have in recent days highlighted Obama’s 2011 speech to the UN General Assembly which at the time was debating the issue of Palestinian statehood.

“Peace will not come through statements and resolutions at the United Nations – if it were that easy, it would have been accomplished by now,” Obama said. “Ultimately, it is the Israelis and the Palestinians who must live side by side. Ultimately, it is the Israelis and the Palestinians – not us – who must reach agreement on the issues that divide them: on borders and on security, on refugees and Jerusalem.” One Israeli official said that this speech was Israel’s “reference point” regarding possible Obama moves in the coming months. “That speech was clear and unequivocal, and hopefully there will not be any surprises,” the official said.

The United States and the European Union wants the UN Security Council to endorse some kind of parameters to support a two-state solution and an eventual Palestinian state. This was revealed after the Middle East Quartet consisting of the UN, EU, Russia and the US, who are mediators of the Israel / Palestinian peace process issued a report on July 1 on the current status of the peace process while providing specific recommendations that could contribute to an eventual peace agreement. As expected, the Quartet report was highly critical of Israeli settlement building. However, the report also highlighted Palestinian incitement to violence against Israel. This part of the report infuriated the Palestinian Authority. Nevertheless, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged the UN Security Council to support the Quartet’s findings despite the strong opposition from both Israel and the Palestinians.

Negotiations on a draft presidential statement — a non-binding document issued by the president of the council — began shortly after the report was presented to the UN on July 1, and, according to diplomats, the EU and the US were also exploring the possibility of drafting a full-fledged UN Security Council Resolution calling on the two sides to embrace the report. However, Egypt, which is a non-permanent member of the council, successfully stopped that effort. Palestinian representative to the United Nations, Riyad Mansour, explained that Arab diplomats agreed during a meeting to try to block any move by the UN Security Council to adopt a US-drafted statement backing the recommendations contained in the Quartet report. Egypt, which represents the Arab group on the council, was told “not to allow a statement to be adopted welcoming and endorsing the recommendations because of its rebuke of Palestinian incitement and terrorism” Mansour said.

The Palestinian envoy suggested that the recommendations by the Quartet concerning Israeli settlements were watered down in the final draft of the report by a “very powerful” member of the quartet, in a reference to the United States. The Palestinians want the Security Council to “take note” of the report and welcome the current French and Egyptian initiatives to revive peace talks but the UN Security Council must not endorse the recommendations of the report, Mansour said. The French initiative would ensure that there is a collective approach to ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he said.

Israel’s UN Ambassador Danny Danon stressed that direct negotiations were the only path to achieve peace. “Plans for international initiative which seeks to impose a solution on the two sides send exactly the wrong message, said Danon. “It tells the Palestinians they can achieve all the goals while continuing to encourage terror and refuse to even talk to Israel.”

Meanwhile, Palestinian Ambassador to Russia Abdel Hafiz Nofal said that Foreign ministers from nearly 30 countries will discuss the Israeli-Palestinian issue on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York in September and announce the date of the French sponsored international conference on the Israeli / Palestinian conflict adding that the participating nations have already initiated preparatory work for the French conference in subcommittees. Nofal said: “By the end of meeting, if all parties agree, France may announce that the final conference is likely to convene during the first week of October or, if there are any complications, in December.” The 71st Regular Session of the UN General Assembly will begin at UN Headquarters on September 13, 2016.

On August 31, Israel’s governing body in the West Bank approved the construction of 466 new housing units. Construction in the settlements was approved by the Civil Administration’s High Planning Committee, which had been convened at the insistence of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, Israel Army Radio reported.

United States spokesman Josh Earnest called the “significant expansion of the settlement activity” a “serious and growing threat to the viability of a two state solution.” He said the US was “particularly troubled by the policy of retroactively approving illegal outposts and unauthorized settlements. These policies have effectively given the government’s green light for the pervasive advancement of settlement activity in a new and potentially unlimited way. As the Quartet report highlights, we are concerned about a systematic process of land seizures, settlement expansions and legalizations,” he said. This, the official warned, “fundamentally undermines the prospects for a two-state solution and risks entrenching a one-state reality of perpetual occupation and conflict.”

The European Union issued a statement condemning Israel’s decision calling it “a serious concern.” The EU statement added: “The Quartet’s report published in July identified such action as undermining the prospects for peace and steadily eroding the viability of the two-state solution and recommended that any expansion of settlements be frozen. The EU reiterates its strong opposition to Israel’s settlement policy and all actions taken in this context.”

Nickolay Mladenov, the UN coordinator for the Middle East peace process, said that Israeli settlement expansion has surged in the two months since the diplomatic Quartet called for a halt to the construction of Jewish outposts on Palestinian land. Since July 1, Israeli has advanced plans for over 1,000 housing units in occupied east Jerusalem and 735 units in the West Bank, Mladenov said. “The Quartet’s recommendations continues to be ignored, including by a surge in Israeli settlement-related announcements and continuing demolitions,” Mladenov told the UN Security Council. The UN Security Council declared Israeli settlements in occupied territory to be illegal in a resolution adopted in 1979. The UN envoy declared that according to UN Resolution 446 of March, 1979, Israeli settlements in occupied territory have no legal validity and have since then constituted an obstruction to achieving a comprehensive, just, and lasting peace in the Middle East. “No legal acrobatics can change the fact that all outposts, whether ‘legalized’ under Israeli law or not, whether located on state land, absentee land, or private land, just like all settlements in Area C and in East Jerusalem, remain illegal under international law,” Mladenov insisted.

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly rejected calls for a halt to settlement expansion arguing that the residential projects are not an obstacle to peace saying, “The UN envoy to the Middle East’s remarks to the Security Council distort history and international law and drive peace even further away. Jews have been in Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria for thousands of years and their presence there is not an obstacle to peace,” the prime minister stated. “The obstacle to peace is the unending attempt to deny the Jewish people’s connection to parts of their historic land and the obdurate refusal to recognize that they are not foreigners there. The claim that Jewish construction in Jerusalem is illegal is as absurd as the claim that American construction in Washington or French construction in Paris is illegal,” Netanyahu continued. “The Palestinian demand that a future Palestinian state be ethnically cleansed of Jews is outrageous, and the UN must condemn it instead of adopting it.”

According to Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon, Mladenov’s remarks hindered the peace process while further validating the UN’s hypocritical attitude towards Israel.

“His words are in complete isolation from the facts on the ground,” said Danon. “Israel will continue to build the eternal capital of Jerusalem, just as the nations of the world will continue to build capitals without checking in with the United Nations. The UN should concentrate on solving the main obstacle in the area, which is the Palestinian refusal to condemn terrorism and to return to the negotiating table,” he concluded. Danon added that Mladenov’s statements are a “prize to the Palestinians,” in fact distance the chances of reaching a solution to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs and illustrate the hypocrisy of the UN regarding Israel.

In other news, the Temple Institute has brought the Third Temple one step closer by establishing a school for Jewish priests (kohanim) to learn how to perform the Temple Service. A group of students, certified as being from the priestly class, stands ready to learn all of the details of these complicated tasks. At the end of March, the Temple Institute established a registry of Kohanim, a list of men who have a clear patriarchal heritage from the priestly class. The Kohanim must fit certain criteria, in addition to having priestly heritage: they must have been born and raised in Israel and have observed the laws of purity incumbent upon priests. This excludes anyone who has come into proximity with the dead, so priests who were born in hospitals, have visited hospitals, or have entered cemeteries are not eligible.

The Temple Institute established The Nezer HaKodesh Institute for Kohanic Studies to instruct Jews from the priestly caste in the Temple service. This comes after four years of extensive pilot programs. In the new program, students will learn the halacha (Torah law) relevant to the Temple service.


Furthermore, a significant step was recently taken towards reinstating the Temple service when the nascent Sanhedrin selected Rabbi Baruch Kahane as the next Kohen Gadol (high priest). Rabbi Kahane is a prominent scholar, knowledgeable in the complicated laws pertaining to the subject of the Temple Service. He is part of the Halacha Berurah Institute, established by Rabbi Avraham Isaac HaCohen Kook, the first Chief Rabbi of Israel, which deals with the elucidation of Jewish law from its Talmudic sources (Oral Law) and commentaries. He has played a prominent role in all the reenactments of the Temple services performed to date.

The Sanhedrin selection was made as a precaution for Yom Kippur. However, it should be noted that while the Nascent Sanhedrin recommended Rabbi Baruch Kahane as the Kohen Gadol, it did not officially appoint him as he made it clear he would be unwilling to accept such an appointment at this time. The Sanhedrin recommended him for the position of “Rosh Kohanim” (head of the priests), a role with Biblical precedent which is often but not always synonymous with that of the High Priest. The court recognized and blessed Rabbi Kahane’s invaluable efforts in the past to advance the issue of reinstating the Temple Service, which include participating in reenactments and establishing a school for educating kohanim.

Rabbi Baruch Kahane (Courtesy)
Rabbi Baruch Kahane

Rabbi Kahane was reluctant to discuss the Sanhedrin’s decision. “This may not be the time to choose a Kohen Gadol. There are no sacrifices required,” he said. However, he added, “That could change overnight. In any case, it is clear that we need to be prepared, to prepare the priests, to have everything ready.”

When asked how long it would take to begin sacrifices if it suddenly became permissible, he considered carefully before answering. “If the government decided to permit it, it would only take a few weeks to make preparations, even to do the Yom Kippur service,” he said. “The structures can be temporary and prepared almost overnight. The biggest obstacle is educating the kohanim, which we are taking care of already. Once the priests are thoroughly educated, choosing a Kohen Gadol and teaching him what he needs to know for the Yom Kippur service is relatively simple and will take one week. The Temple Service performed by the Kohen Gadol is very demanding, but for an educated kohen, it is not overly difficult to learn to serve as the Kohen Gadol.”

Rabbi Hillel Weiss, spokesman for the nascent Sanhedrin, explained the necessity for choosing a High Priest, even in the absence of a Temple. “We do not need a miraculous occurrence like the sudden appearance of a Temple descending from heaven onto the Temple Mount to make this decision relevant,” explained Rabbi Weiss. “The only obstacle preventing the Temple service today is the political issue. If that should suddenly change, as it very well could, we would be required to begin the Temple service immediately. It is therefore necessary that we have a candidate prepared to fill the role of the High Priest, especially now that we have kohanim prepared to serve in the Temple.”

Rabbi Yisrael Ariel, founder and and head of the Temple Institute, is a member of the Sanhedrin but did not rule in this decision. He told Breaking Israel News that it was necessary for the Sanhedrin to choose a Kohen Gadol. “This is certainly something we should do now as religious Jews. Choosing a high priest and all of the preparations for the Temple Service  are mitzvot (commandments) that are incumbent upon us according to the Torah,” said Rabbi Ariel.

“It is not a matter of opinion. It is written explicitly in the Torah and, just like any of the other mitzvot written in the Torah, we have to choose a Kohen Gadol, and make all the preparations, regardless of whether there is a Temple standing right now.”

The Temple Institute was founded in 1987 to fulfill the mission of bringing about the Third Temple. It has recreated over 70 vessels that are ready to be used in the Temple, is breeding the Red Heifer in order to purify the Nation of Israel and has produced the special garment the Bible requires the Kohanim to wear while performing the Temple service.

The Institute has also reconstructed the High Priest’s breastplate featuring the twelve precious stones of the tribes of Israel, the half-ton golden menorah that will stand inside the Temple, and the musical instruments of the Levitical choir. In addition, it has made significant advances in preparing the architectural plans for the building of the Temple.

An agreement to divide Jerusalem and establish a PLO state is a tribulation event.

The link to these articles are as follows:
1) Amid talk of Obama peace push, Israel invokes his vow not to impose solution
2) Egypt Blocked UN Endorsement of Quartet Report on Palestinian-Israeli Conflict
3) Citing ‘pro-Israel bias,’ Arabs seek to block Quartet report at UN
4) Int’l Meeting on Israel-Palestine to Take Place in New York in September
5) Israel’s West Bank governing body okays 466 settlement homes
6) UN sees surge in Israeli settlements after Quartet report
7) Settlement building ‘surged’ in recent months — UN envoy
8) PM Netanyahu: “Jews have been in Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria for thousands of years and their presence there is not an obstacle to peace”
9) EU: ‘Serious concern’ over new settlement construction
10) Danon: Middle East envoy’s remarks ‘disconnected from reality’
11) Temple Institute Opens School for Levite Priests in Preparation for Third Temple
12) The World’s First Institute for Training Third Temple Priests
13) Temple Service Could Be One Week Away as Sanhedrin Appoints High Priest
14) Third Temple Closer Than Ever as Search Begins for Eligible Jewish Priests

From a Biblical prophetic perspective, the reason why the God of Israel would allow these events to happen is because it will result in the end of the exile of the house of Jacob and the reunification of the 12 tribes of Israel (Ephraim and Judah).

We will to be “watchmen on the walls of Jerusalem” and we will not rest until the God of Israel makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth (Isaiah 62).

Shalom in Yeshua the Messiah,

Eddie Chumney
Hebraic Heritage Ministries Int’l

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