Why doesn’t Israel honor John the Baptist – and worship Mary? Does Salman, Trump, Kushner, and Greenblatt, fear God?
John The Nazarite
John’s remains are being worshipped by Muslim’s in Syria.
Senior advisor to President Trump Jared Kushner was in Jeddah on Tuesday as part of a US delegation that met with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
According to reports, the US delegation also included Jason Greenblatt, special presidential representative for international negotiations, and Dina Powell, deputy national security advisor for strategy.
Why doesn’t Israel honor John the Baptist – and worship Mary?
John, known as Yahya in Arabic, is praised by Muslims as well. He is one of twenty-five prophets mentioned in the Quran, and it is said that anyone who denounces John also denounces Islam.
While both the Quran and the Bible mention John’s miraculous birth and his righteous way of living, only the Bible reveals his greater purpose: “And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord” (Luke 1:17).
An insider’s perspective on how the Abraham Accords were concluded and why they offer a way forward to a new era of peace and prosperity in the Middle East — if only they are not abandoned by the Biden Administration.
His colleagues have described him as “General Armageddon” and two days after his appointment, cities across Ukraine were hit by rocket attacks against civilian targets which included a road junction by a university and a children’s playground in a park.
Founder of the Wagner mercenary group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, who has been calling for a tougher response to Ukraine’s counteroffensive called Surovikin “the most competent commander in the Russian army,” according to Live 24.
Veteran commander Surovikin was known for being “totally ruthless”
The appointment of a notoriously “ruthless” Russian commander to lead the Ukraine invasion has fuelled fears that Vladimir Putin is set to repeat his brutal tactics from the Syrian war.
DAMASCUS, Syria — Russian President Vladimir Putin criticized the presence of foreign troops in Syria, saying they are there against the will of the Syrian government and are blocking the consolidation of the war-torn country, the Kremlin said Tuesday.
Putin was referring to hundreds of U.S. troops stationed in eastern Syria and working with Kurdish-led fighters in battling the militant Islamic State group, as well as Turkish forces in northern Syria. Speaking during a rare meeting in Moscow on Monday night with his Syrian counterpart Bashar Assad, he said the presence of the foreigners is illegal because they don’t have permission to be there from the United Nations or Syria’s government.
MBS LIKELY ORDERED THE MURDER OF JAMAL KHASHOGGI
On October 2, 2018, Jamal Khashoggi — a 59-year-old Saudi dissident, journalist, and columnist for The Washington Post — was allegedly assassinated by agents of the Saudi government at the Saudi consulate in Turkey. Khashoggi was lured to the consulate in Istanbul under the guise of providing paperwork to prove his divorce so he could get remarried. But when he arrived, he was ambushed, suffocated, and dismembered by a 15-person assassination team, according to The Washington Post. Khashoggi’s final moments are captured in audio recordings and Turkish investigators concluded that Khashoggi had been strangled within minutes of arriving at the consulate.
The first is the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus, Syria. The mosque was built on the remains of an ancient Christian church, and John the Baptist’s head is claimed to be buried there in a shrine.
Similarly, the Residenz Museum in Munich, Germany claims to have John’s head among other relics collected by Duke Wilhelm V in the 16th century.
And if you happen to visit Rome, you may come across his alleged skull at the Church of San Silvestro in Capite.
Finally, the 13th century cathedral in Amiens, France was built for the sole purpose of housing John’s head. Supposedly, a Crusader carried it from Constantinople in 1206.
The world may be confused about the final resting place of John the Baptist, but considering he was a man who cared nothing for himself, maybe we’re missing the point.
Israel and Saudi Arabia: No longer enemies but not quite friends
Bloomberg / Updated: Sep 5, 2022, 13:39 IST
File photo: Saudi crown prince and de facto leader Mohammed bin Salman
RIYADH: Israel’s longest-serving prime minister pops up on Saudi state-run television from Tel Aviv. An Israeli-American declares himself the “chief rabbi of Saudi Arabia” after arriving on a tourist visa. A prominent Saudi family invests in two Israeli companies and doesn’t bother to hide it.
All these recent events would have been unthinkable not long ago. But previously clandestine links between Saudi Arabia and Israel are increasingly visible as some of the Middle East’s deep-seated rivalries cautiously give way to pragmatic economic and security ties. Saudi crown prince and de facto leader Mohammed bin Salman is seeking to accelerate his plans to overhaul an oil-reliant economy, while Israel is keen to build on 2020’s diplomatic breakthroughs with smaller Gulf nations.
“We do not view Israel as an enemy, but rather as a potential ally,” Prince Mohammed said earlier this year in a striking reassessment of one of the region’s most consequential fault-lines.
For decades after Israel’s founding in 1948, Saudi Arabia and its Persian Gulf neighbors shunned the Jewish state in solidarity with the Palestinians expelled to create it. The thought of doing business with Israel was anathema. Even today, polling shows a vast majority in the Gulf oppose accepting Israel as just another country, suggesting developments have more to do with the agenda of autocratic ruling elites than a sea-change in Arab views.
“It’s more of a thawing of relations rather than a warming of relations,” said Abdulaziz Alghashian, a researcher who studies Saudi foreign policy toward Israel. “It’s still nevertheless pretty significant.”
Israelis are traveling to the kingdom with greater ease using third-country passports, a few routing their business through overseas entities and even discussing it in public.
Qualitest is an Israeli engineering and software-testing company acquired by international investors in 2019. It doesn’t operate directly in Saudi Arabia, said Shai Liberman, managing director for Europe, Israel and the Middle East, but sells its product to other firms who then use it in the kingdom.
Investment is heading in the opposite direction, too. Mithaq Capital SPC — controlled by the Alrajhi family, Saudi banking scions — is now the largest shareholder in two Israeli companies: mobility intelligence firm Otonomo Technologies Ltd, and London-listed digital advertiser Tremor International Ltd.
Israel and Gulf nations established largely hidden security ties over shared concerns, especially Iran. But it’s primarily the strong economic motivation that’s driving more visible relations now as Prince Mohammed tries to lessen Saudi reliance on oil and develop advanced industries.
“We like the innovation and the technology culture that Israel has, and we try to find ways to benefit from that,” said Muhammad Asif Seemab, managing director of Mithaq Capital.
Officials in Riyadh are also allowing the wider debate around Israel to be re-framed.
Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was interviewed on Saudi television channel Al Arabiya, sitting in front of a Hebrew-language map and warning of the danger of a potential nuclear deal with Iran. Less well known is Jacob Herzog, the rabbi who’s been allowed to minister to a tiny Jewish community of foreign workers in the Saudi capital.
When the UAE and Bahrain in 2020 signed US-brokered normalization pacts with Israel, which became known as the Abraham Accords, there was speculation Saudi Arabia would follow.
For Israeli leaders, receiving recognition from Saudi Arabia — the region’s geopolitical heavyweight — would be a coveted prize, and that’s unlikely to change no matter what government is installed after elections later this year.
They didn’t get it, partly because the kingdom’s religious and regional prominence dictates different political considerations than those of smaller neighbors. An Israeli business owner visiting Riyadh still can’t make a direct phone call to Tel Aviv, let alone a money transfer.
Jason Greenblatt, who was a special envoy for the Middle East under former US President Donald Trump and one of the accords’ architects, said the Saudi leadership “recognizes that Israel can be a huge benefit to the region” even if it’s not yet ready to sign any kind of normalization agreement.
Greenblatt is raising funds for a blockchain and crypto technology investment vehicle, and said it’s an “aspiration” of his to facilitate Saudi investment into Israel, though he concedes that will take time.
Polling by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy suggests growing disappointment with what the Abraham Accords have delivered, with only 19% to 25% of respondents seeing them positively across Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain. Yet their existence appears to have encouraged acceptance of unofficial ties with Israel among some in the Gulf, the institute said.
Others continue to voice their disapproval. In July, an imam of Mecca’s grand mosque included a supplication against “the usurping, occupying Jews” while leading Friday prayers. And when an Israeli journalist who traveled to Saudi Arabia during a July visit by President Joe Biden found a way into the holy city that’s off-limits to non-Muslims, condemnation was swift.
In this mixed atmosphere, Saudi officials maintain that a resolution between Israelis and Palestinians remains at the core of their policy.
Normalization is “borderline offensive to keep talking about” and isn’t a policy goal in and of itself, Princess Reema bint Bandar, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the US, said in July. The real goal should be a two state solution for Israel and Palestine, she said.
It would be counterproductive for Israel to push the Saudis too hard, said Yoel Guzansky, a senior research fellow in Gulf politics at Israel’s Institute for National Security Studies. “Why go too fast?” he said. “You can actually cause damage to the relationship.”
The US political landscape is another obstacle, said Alghashian, as Saudi leaders assess Biden is unlikely to muster the will to offer sweeteners they’d want, including security guarantees.
Still, American entrepreneur Bruce Gurfein is among those betting even the current gradual opening will be good for business.
Gurfein, who’s Jewish and has family in Israel, recently drove a White Nissan Armada from his base in Dubai through Saudi Arabia to Jerusalem — a 26-hour road-trip that he spread out over a week, meeting businesspeople along the way. He’s working on a business accelerator called Future Gig, connecting Israeli startups to the Saudi market and vice versa, with a focus on renewable energy, water scarcity and desert agriculture.
Neom, the crown prince’s vision for a high-tech region on the Red Sea coast a 40-minute drive from Israel, could also fuel collaboration.
On a popular Arabic podcast, Saudi political sociologist Khalid AlDakhil recently laid out his ideas for strengthening the kingdom, touching on nuclear energy and the military — and a possible partner, if the rewards are worth it.
“We honestly need to learn from the Israelis,” he said.