Saudi Arabia Mulling Normalization With Israel

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Arutz Sheva: According to a report by a Lebanese newspaper Tuesday, the Saudi government is weighing the possible normalization of relations with Israel ahead of a planned Middle East peace program by the Trump administration which aims to not only secure a final status agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, but lead to recognition of the Jewish state by the larger Arab world.

Lebanon’s Al-Akhbar has publicized the contents of a letter it alleges was sent from Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir to the kingdom’s Defense Minister and Crown Prince, Mohammad bin Salman.

In the letter, Adel al-Jubeir urges the Crown Prince to accept the Trump administration’s efforts to normalize relations between Israel and the Arab world, listing the potential benefits of such a dramatic shift in Saudi policy. more …

Opinion: Behold Ishmael:

Excerpts: Genesis 17:

“Abraham was ninety-nine years old when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. And Ishmael his son was thirteen years old when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin.” (Gen. 17:24-25).

Genesis 17:20 records that God promised Ishmael’s mother (Hagar) that he would be blessed and a great nation would come from him, and he would dwell east of the promised land Genesis 25:18.

There is, however, no Biblical record of the circumcision of Jacob and Esau. In 2013 as I began writing Antichrist: The Search for Amalek, I almost stopped the project over the circumcision of the twins Jacob and Esau. After much searching, I came across a Talmudic scholar, Rabbi Louis Ginzberg, who was Professor of Talmud at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America from 1902-1953.

Ginzberg’s signature work, “Legend of the Jews” provided an answer of the missing circumcision. I knew I would have problems with this since many Christian pastors reject the extra-Biblical work of the rabbis.

What I found, however were ancient accounts that provided the details of the Biblical accounts with amazing detail. The Psalmist declared that God commanded the patriarchs to pass these accounts from father to son through the generations (Psalm 78:5-7).

“For He established a testimony in Jacob,
And appointed a law in Israel,
Which He commanded our fathers,
That they should make them known to their children 
That the generation to come might know them,
The children who would be born,
That they may arise and declare them to their children,
That they may set their hope in God,
And not forget the works of God,
But keep His commandments.”

Rabbi Ginzberg:

“On account of his ruddy appearance he [Esau] remained uncircumcised. Isaac, his father, feared that it [his ruddy appearance] was due to poor circulation of the blood, and he hesitated to perform the circumcision. He decided to wait until Esau should attain his thirteenth year, the age at which Ishmael had received the sign of the covenant.

But when Esau grew up, he refused to give heed to his father’s wish, and so he was left uncircumcised. 

The opposite of his brother in this as in all respects, Jacob was born with the sign of the covenant upon his body, a rare distinction. But Esau also bore a mark upon him at birth, the figure of a serpent, the symbol of all that is wicked and hated of God.”

Jacob was born circumcised, a rare medical condition called aposthia, which explains why Moses, who was said to be born that way as well, made no mention of the account.

That Ishmael was circumcised at 13 is an indication that although there is still enmity toward Isaac (Gen. 16:12) for his lack of inheritance to the land of promise, his bitterness is more subdued than that of Esau.

(For more on Ishmael see our e-book chapter 1 here)