Palestinian Chief Vows Martyrdom or Victory

A 35-year-old woman was killed and two others were injured by a Qassam rocket while standing near a vehicle in downtown Sderot May 21, less than a kilometer from where Senior European Union Envoy Javier Solana and Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni held a joint press conference.

"We will keep to the same path until we win one of two goals: victory or martyrdom," Hamas chief and Palestinian Authority (P.A.) Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said on the 21st. Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri in Gaza also said Monday "The Palestinian resistance, especially Hamas and its armed wing Izzedin al-Qassam, will keep up [sic] launching homemade shells on the Israeli settlements and communities."

"Israel will not allow this situation to continue. We are determined to bring this to an end and will take whatever steps are necessary," said David Baker, an official from the prime minister's office.

More than 15 Qassam rockets hit Israel on May 20, one of which struck an empty home and another caused a restaurant to burn to the ground. Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) claimed responsibility for a number of the attacks.

In response to the escalated number of Qassams launched by Hamas and PIJ from Gaza, the security cabinet authorized the Israel Air Force (IAF) to retaliate. On the night of May 20, the IAF struck the home of Hamas parliamentarian Khalil al-Haya. He was lightly wounded, but seven of his family members died and 13 were wounded. Israeli airstrikes today killed four PIJ militants.

The Israeli Project

6-Week Pregnancy Test May Be Weapon In War Against Girls

A new home test reportedly can determine an unborn child's sex only six weeks into pregnancy, and a bioethics specialist has warned its primary purpose would appear to be enabling women to receive early sex-selection abortions. The test, which is available on the Internet, moves up the time for detecting an unborn child's sex by more than three months. Ultrasound tests to determine the gender of babies normally are performed at about 20 weeks.

Bioethics commentator Wesley Smith said he could think of "only one main reason" for a test as early as six weeks. "If you want a boy, and it's a girl-or probably less frequently, the other way around-then there is plenty of time to have a eugenic abortion and start again," Smith wrote on the Weblog at

The new test may prove to be another weapon in what one scholar has labeled as a "global war against baby girls." Sex-selection abortions have permanently altered the demographic balance of China and are in the process of doing the same in India, he said. This trend has reached Eastern Europe and Latin America, and it also is beginning to be observed in Africa, according to Nicholas Eberstadt, a scholar at the Washington-based American Enterprise Institute and a member of the President's Council on Bioethics.

The kit, which is manufactured by DNA Worldwide, can be purchased for less than $380, according to The Mail, a British newspaper.

Baptist Press

Pediatricians Call for End of Research on Embryonic Stem Cells

The American College of Pediatricians (ACP) has called for an end to embryonic stem cell research and recommends the exclusive support of already proven effective adult stem cell research. "Not only does embryonic research require taking the life of human embryos, it also prolongs needless suffering by delaying the development of more promising adult stem cell treatments and cures," stated Michelle Cretella, MD, fellow of the American College of Pediatricians.

Research using non-embryo sources of stem cells, including amniotic fluid, umbilical cord blood, placenta and adult blood, fat and various organs, have yielded impressive results, the organization suggests. "Adult stem cells are now routinely used in certain forms of cancer therapy. Over the last decade, these cells have been used to successfully treat spinal cord injuries, heart failure, Parkinson's disease, diabetes and dozens of other conditions in human trials."

The group noted further that "This has not been the case with any embryonic stem cell trial. Instead, there have been catastrophic results with these cells producing the wrong tissue, forming tumors, and triggering immune rejection."

Palestinians Target "Missionary Activity"

A Palestinian Islamic group confirmed May 15 that its "armed wing" is targeting what it called "Christian missionary activity" in Israel's Gaza Strip. In a statement faxed to WorldNetDaily, the Islamic outreach Jihadia Salafiya admitted that gunmen affiliated with the group had carried out a deadly attack on a U.N.-run school in Gaza on Monday, May 14. One person was killed and six others were wounded when the attackers hurled grenades at the school after declaring over loudspeakers that the institution was "corrupting Islam" by allowing boys and girls to participate together in sporting activities. In its official statement, Jihadia Salafiya accused the U.N. of "spreading Christian missionary activity" and "trying to convert our Muslims under the cover of an international organization." The group said it will "keep hitting them and trying to kill them." Last month the head of Jihadia Salafiya, Abu Saqer, praised other Muslim elements for the recent bombing of a Christian bookstore in Gaza. The Bible Society bookstore, which was funded by American Protestants, was severely damaged in the blast.

WorldWide Religious News, BosNewsLife via MissionNet

Herod the Great's Tomb Believed Found

Archeologists at Hebrew University of Jerusalem say they have found the tomb of Herod the Great, the ruthless ruler who is mentioned in the Gospel of Matthew as governing Judea during the time of Christ's birth and who also led a massive expansion of the Second Temple.

The tomb was found about 10 miles south of Jerusalem at an area called Mount Herodium where Herod built a palace, according to a May 8 university news release.

Ehud Netzer, a professor at Hebrew University who led the discovery, said he is certain the tomb was Herod's. Herod's sarchophagus-his stone coffin-was found broken into hundreds of pieces, presumably destroyed during the first Jewish revolt against the Romans in A.D. 66-72, when Jews took control of the site, the press release stated. It was during this time that the Romans destroyed the Temple, which was built several centuries earlier and expanded under Herod.

Herod, who ruled Judea from 37 B.C. to A.D. 4, is mentioned only twice in the New Testament, in Matthew 2 and Luke 1, but he ruled Judea the first few years of Christ's earthly life. Herod's sons and grandsons are referenced elsewhere and sometimes confused with Herod himself. (For instance, Herod Antipas is called "Herod the tetrarch" in Matthew 14:1.)

Baptist Press

U.S. Hispanics Hunger for God

Two Southern Baptist Hispanic leaders see evidence of a spiritual hunger and high receptivity to the gospel among Hispanics in a recent study by the Pew Research Center. Bob Sena, director of the field services team in the North American Mission Board's church planting group, said the fact that 23% of Hispanics now identify with either evangelical or Protestant churches "indicates that Hispanics are now more receptive to the gospel message than ever before in the history of this country." Southern Baptists planted 1,592 Hispanic churches in the past five years.

Daniel Sanchez, professor of missions and director of the Scarborough Institute for Church Planting and Growth at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, agreed that the study confirms a deep spiritual hunger among Hispanics in the U.S. "They are searching for an experience that connects them more closely to God than they find in their traditional forms of worship," Sanchez said of the trend away from traditional Catholicism toward charismatic worship among Hispanics.

Evangelical News, Baptist Press via MissionNet

Boston Hospital Opens "Transgender" Children's Clinic

A new clinic at Children's Hospital Boston is offering hormone treatment to young children identified as "transgender" to facilitate eventual surgery for a gender switch, according to a report by MassResistance May 17.

Led by endocrinologist Dr. Norman Spack, the Gender Management Service Clinic is the first U.S. clinic to initiate medical intervention for healthy children on the basis of a "transgender" identification. A 12-year-old German boy who began receiving puberty-blocking hormone treatments last winter in preparation for sex-change "transition" surgery was believed to be the youngest child to receive the treatment at the time. However, the Boston clinic will reportedly offer the treatments to children as young as seven years old, according to researcher Ari Taube for MassResistance.

"You're giving authority to seven-, eight-, or nine-year-olds to determine what gender they want to display," Taube noted-adding that Dr. Spack has acknowledged in the past that only about 20% of children who express gender confusion continue to express that confusion throughout adulthood. Transgender procedures can only achieve the outward appearance of the opposite gender; they cannot actually change the individual's gender, as the chromosomal differences remain.

Amnesty International Publicly Supports Abortion

In London, the human rights lobby group Amnesty International has finally admitted it has adopted a new policy supporting abortion. After pro-life groups exposed the organization's secret adoption of a pro-abortion position early in May, AI officials admitted that Amnesty would begin lobbying for abortion to be decriminalized globally.

Widney Brown, senior policy and campaigns director, told Reuters that the board of AI agreed on the policy change in April. The new policy calls for a moratorium on all criminal penalties for abortion. "Decriminalization' means the removal of all criminal penalties (including
imprisonment, fines, and other punishments) against those seeking, obtaining, providing information about, or carrying out abortions," the document states.

Interest in Religion Is Running High on College Campuses

Chaplains and professors at college campuses across the U.S., including Harvard and Berkeley, say students are more interested in religion and spirituality than at any other time they remember. "My theory is that the baby boomers decided they weren't going to impose their religious life on their children the way their parents imposed it on them. The idea was to let them come to it themselves," Lloyd Steffen, a chaplain at Lehigh University, told The New York Times "And then they get to campus and things happen-someone dies, a suicide occurs. Real issues arise for them and they sometimes feel that they don't have resources to deal with them. And sometimes they turn to religion and courses in religion."

Religion Today, The New York Times, Baptist Press via MissionNet

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