Donkey Terrorists?

Israel complains of Hamas donkey-terrorists.

Reuters / Abed Omar Qusini

Palestinian militant movement Hamas has launched several attacks at Israeli forces involving donkeys carrying explosives, the IDF complained. The practice doesn’t seem to be efficient, as Israelis can simply gun down the animals from a distance.

The latest such incident happened on Friday in the Rafah area, the IDF reported Saturday.

“A donkey suspiciously began to approach forces. The forces engaged the donkey and it exploded at a safe distance, whereas no injuries were sustained by the IDF as a result,” the Israeli report said.

“Sending an animal to its death to serve terrorist purposes may seem shocking, but last night certainly wasn’t the first time Palestinian terrorists adopted this despicable tactic,” the IDF said.

Animals, and particularly donkeys, have been participants of insurgencies across the turbulent Middle East for decades, although they are usually used to pull carts with explosives – a cheap version of a car bomb – rather than clad in bombs.

One memorable example happened in January 2003, when a donkey with a bomb strapped to it was left on a road between Jerusalem and the West Bank settlement of Gush Etzion. The bomb was later remotely detonated, but no humans were hurt. The incident caused PETA to call on Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat to keep animals out of the conflict, which some activists called a publicity stunt that disregarded the loss of human life in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Not only insurgent groups, but also governments explored the use of animal bombs for warfare. The US considered turning pigeons and bats into flying bombs and Soviet Union actually trained dogs to carry explosives to Nazi German tanks during World War II.

The latter program was abandoned, presumably due to low efficiency compared to conventional anti-tank weapons, which became available in larger quantities in the later years of the war. The dog trainers switched to training much more needed mine sniffers for engineers and sledge dogs for medics.



Saintless Christianity

dutchmasterWhat would Christianity mean if there were no saints?

To rephrase the question: What would be the meaning of the Christian gospel if there were no wonderworkers, no people who had been transfigured with the Divine Light, no clairvoyant prophets, no healers, no people who had raised the dead, no ascetics living alone in the deserts for years on end, no beacons of radical, all-forgiving love? 

What would be the meaning of the Christian gospel if there were no wonderworking relics, no true Body and Blood of Christ, no true Baptism in the death and resurrection of Christ? What if there were no weeping icons?

Fr Stephen Freeman has a look. Well written and insightful, as always.


Anglican Parish Opens Its Own Post Office

This in via Anglican Samizdat:

In the UK, post offices and churches are both in decline. St. James in West Hamstead has decided – not unlike Canadian Anglican and Lutheran denominations – to pool its decline with the post office’s so they can wither away together.

St. James is an inclusive church:

We are Inclusive Churches welcoming all regardless of age, gender, background, ethnicity, disability or sexuality. We take pride in being progressive in our support for the inclusion of all people in the Church of God – gay or straight, male or female, black or white, old or young.

Now it even includes a post office.

If the church used this as a method of spreading the good news of eternal salvation through Jesus Christ, it could be a good thing. As it is, the vicar seems to be more interested in meetings, gatherings, social events and debt counselling.

Interestingly, the vicar is Rev Andrew Cain who recently married an atheist – an atheist who also happens to be a man. The good news for him is, if his bishop fires him, he can always work in the post office.

You can’t make this stuff up.



Britain Arrests Over 600 Suspected Paedophiles

London — Over 600 suspected paedophiles have been arrested in Britain as part of a six-monthabuse 2 investigation, the UK’s National Crime Agency said on Wednesday. The NCA said that doctors, teachers, scout leaders, care workers and former police officers are among those detained. The operation targeted people viewing what it called “indecent” images of children online.

The NCA said that some of those arrested had “unsupervised access to children in the course of their work.” The NCA said 39 people were on a list of registered sex offenders. Commenting on the operation, NCA Deputy Director General Phil Gormley said: “Our aim was to protect children who were victims of, or might be at risk of, sexual exploitation. A child is victimized not only when they are abused and an image is taken. They are re-victimized every time that image is viewed by someone.”



Bible Archaeology

Roman Roads and Milestones

Via Ferrell’s Travel Blog:

A new website devoted to Roman Roads and Milestones in Judaea/Palaestina has recently come to our attention. This site is co-sponsored by the Kinneret College on the Sea of Galilee Department of Holy Land Studies and Tel Aviv University IMC-Israeli Milestone Committee. Most readers will know that Kinneret is the Hebrew name for the Sea of Galilee. The website includes articles by the late Israel Roll and others, as well as maps showing the location of the roads. Many of the articles are in Hebrew or another language other than English. The maps, however, should be useful to those who do not read Hebrew.

The English website is available here. (If it links to the Hebrew page look in the upper left hand corner and click on EN.)