Big Trucks Mean Big Trouble for Ford

Big Trucks Mean Big Trouble for Ford

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Selling big trucks has put a ton of problems on Ford’s bottom line. Despite a new CEO, the problems won’t just fade away.

The sound echoing around the Ford sales lots these days is not just the pitter-patter of feet sidling toward Asian automakers. It is a raging stampede away from big suvs. This trend could devastate Ford Motor Company, which has hedged the farm on big truck sales.

Bloomberg reports that Ford’s sales dropped 12 percent last month, and quoted one analyst as saying this was expected “because of the continuing struggle for pickups and full-size suvs.” Sales for Ford’s F-Series pickups alone fell 15 percent.

A stalwart of the American industrial revolution, Ford has hemorrhaged significant revenue because its product lines, including cars and trucks, just aren’t selling enough. Over the last few months, dropping sales have started to look like failing vital signs, presaging the death of America’s Motor City magnet.

Of late, Ford’s product line strategy appears misguided in view of ballooning gas prices. From coast to coast, the buzz is in: suvs are out. Expensive to fill and hard on gas, Ford’s main revenue flow, big trucks and suvs, is running dry. It appears Ford has been blind-sided by a lack of foresight with its product line choices, and the accident scene has turned investors’ stomachs. Yet, Ford is not alone. The big-truck landscape is beginning to look like no-man’s-land: Sell in that space at your own peril.

A casualty of a poor product line strategy and slumping sales, Bill Ford stepped down as ceo of Ford Motor Company on Tuesday. After a tough five years under Mr. Ford (five years ago, Ford Company’s stock price soared at $20; today it is less than $9), the company hired Alan Mulally, a 37-year executive who has been flying high on the wings of his astute restructuring decisions in Boeing’s commercial airplane division, to lead it back to mainstream consumer appeal.

Mulally’s reputation as a deft restructuring specialist may portend a lane shift for the rusty automaker. But the new ceo has a tough road ahead. An effective restructure will require more than a quick stop at the chop shop and detail center. Asian automakers have flooded the market with just the kinds of cars American consumers are looking for, and they are capturing the spending dollars.

msnbc reports the kind of changes we can expect at Ford in the near future: “Big changes do appear to be coming down the highway. To deal with mounting losses and a dwindling market share, Ford is cutting its U.S. production by 21 percent this year and is expected to announce more changes soon that would go beyond those detailed in its ‘Way Forward’ recovery plan, delivered in January. Those plans called for the closure of 14 plants and 30,000 job cuts by 2012” (September 6). These cutbacks are calibrated to the unpleasant reality facing Ford: that it may never again compete on the level it used to.

Looking at the success of Toyota, and its prescient move into compact cars at a time when gas prices pinch pocketbooks, the current product line offering Ford has in place won’t offer a speedy solution. And its development cycle prohibits a quick fix: Product line development takes years. It could be a long while before Ford can move its organization into position to build newer models that fit America’s present spending mood.

Another possibility presents itself. A smaller, ailing Ford may be an attractive item to an Asian or European automaker hoping to make a big statement like Daimler-Benz, which plucked a gem out of America’s fading industrial crown by swallowing Chrysler Corporation, forming DaimlerChrysler. Ford’s slide may actually be taking it toward the takeover cliff.

These facts all reflect the decline in the manufacturing base that helped thrust America to superpowerdom. It would not be altogether surprising to wake up one fine morning to read that Ford Company is a thing of America’s mighty industrial past.

German Observer Sees “Hostile Attitude Towards Jews”

German Observer Sees “Hostile Attitude Towards Jews”

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Germany has one of Europe’s most rigid policies forbidding the use of Nazi trappings, such as publicly displaying the swastika. Though right-wing groups are making modest political gains, general sentiment in Germany is still very anti-Nazi.

However, raw anti-Semitism—though it may not wear a brown shirt—still lurks in the heart of the Fatherland, according to Charlotte Knobloch, president of the German Jewish Council. In an interview published August 31 on Spiegel Online, Knobloch made some disturbing comments on what she has seen, particularly since the Israel-Hezbollah war:

Spiegel Online: When you took office you said one of the main focuses of your work would be the struggle against right-wing extremism. Has the conflict in the Middle East worsened anti-Semitic attitudes in Germany?Knobloch: It has, unfortunately. I see an absolutely hostile attitude towards Jews and Israel. Signs that read “Israel—Child Murderers” are being carried through the streets at demonstrations here, for example. The police don’t confiscate these placards. Persons that deal with the issue only marginally, or not at all, are influenced negatively. That’s the basis of this hostile attitude. You can find it everywhere. We’re currently organizing a fundraising concert, for example, and even there we get negative, anti-Semitic mail. No distinctions are made. We’re sucked into the current Middle East conflict 100 percent, as Jewish citizens in Germany.

The catch-cry among critics of Israel is that people confuse taking issue against Israel’s policies with anti-Semitism. But when German Jews are targeted for Israel’s policies, Jew-hatred is clearly on display. The fact is, anti-Semites used the Lebanon war as a pretense to ramp up attacks on Jews in other countries around the world.

Knobloch noted that those politicians who are taking advantage of the anti-Jew mood are doing quite well politically (emphasis ours):

Oskar Lafontaine, the leader of the Left Party, for example. Left Party parliamentarians aren’t particularly objective in their evaluation of the catastrophe in the Middle East. I’m also thinking of Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul, the Minister of Economic Aid and Development and member of the Social Democrat Party (spd). These people encourage the hostile mood against Jews. I’ve never experienced anything quite like this. It’s on a new level. This hostile mood is now more noticeable in the German public than it used to be. It’s infiltrated every group and every level of society. I hope this development can be reversed by a joint effort on the part of all democratic forces. Otherwise all the positive images I have about Germany would be put into question.

Despite public proclamations to the contrary, the demons of anti-Semitism were never exorcised from Germany after World War ii. Anti-Israelism has become a legitimate public and political expression of such racism. A telling survey a few years ago sponsored by the European Commission found that Europeans (59 percent) consider the tiny, democratic, Westernized nation of Israel a threat to world peace more than they do any other country in the world, including Iran and North Korea.

What is especially interesting is the fact that Israel is choosing this moment to turn to Germany for help with its security. Knobloch called it a “watershed for Israel” and mentioned what a surprise it was to see Israel requesting military participation from Germany. Though she views this as a positive opportunity for Germany to counteract the anti-Israel forces in its midst, the facts clearly indicate that this overture by Israel is sure to end badly.

Israel Lifts Lebanon Blockade

Israel Lifts Lebanon Blockade

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Yesterday, three weeks after fighting ceased and under great pressure from the United Nations, Israel announced it would end its sea and air embargo of Lebanon today at 6 p.m., with European forces set to take over Israeli positions. However, even as Lebanon’s seaports and airports come under guard by international forces, its border with Syria will remain a gaping hole in the arms embargo.

Last week it was reported that Israel would not end its blockade of Lebanon until “sufficient” forces were deployed along the Syrian border. But it seems Israel once again has been pressured to compromise: Miri Eisin, a spokeswoman for Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, said the land border “is still an open issue—it’s not resolved so far as Israel is concerned.” Israel, according to a senior Israeli official, has “an understanding” that international forces will be deployed along the border. Syria, however, has strongly opposed such a force.

Rather than a UN force to assist the Lebanese Army that currently patrols the Lebanon-Syria border, Syria has said it will help. After meeting with Syrian President Bashar Assad in Damascus on September 1, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan announced that the Syrian president would cooperate in the arms embargo. Syria agreed to help secure the border with Lebanon by increasing the number of guards deployed there and by establishing liaison mechanisms with the Lebanese Army and border police.

The idea is almost laughable: for Syria to patrol a border to stop its own arms shipments. Annan, however, apparently put stock in it.

The Israelis, of course, know better: “Syria is a regime that supports terror and hosts terror organizations …. If they are going to keep that promise, we welcome it. Unfortunately from our experience, we doubt it,” said Israeli Foreign Ministry deputy spokesman Yariv Ovadia.

With this agreement, the Syrian and Lebanese governments have won a small victory. Israel requested that UN troops be deployed on the Syria-Lebanon border to quell arms trafficking. Currently, no UN troops have been deployed to the border. If this situation stands, it leaves Syria and Lebanon to police their own mutual border. “The land border with Syria is the wild card and the real test of the arms embargo,” said the spokesman for the Israeli Foreign Ministry, Mark Regev. So far, it appears to be the weakest link.

With Israel pulling out from southern Lebanon, Lebanese waters and air space being handed over to UN oversight—which has yet to prove itself—and the Lebanese-Syria border currently being patrolled solely by Lebanese forces, the Jewish state has already largely abandoned its commitment to stop arms shipments to Hezbollah, in spite of its own misgivings. Time will prove whether its replacements are effective. Like Israel’s foreign ministry, we doubt it.

The Outcome of the Israeli/German Relationship

Israel’s inexplicable trust in Germany is growing. The Bible shows clearly that the outcome of this misplaced trust is Israel’s destruction—followed by the return of Jesus Christ.

The citizen of Israel stares out his window at his nation, a tear in his eye and a knot in his stomach. He knows Israel is in trouble.

It is true that for the whole of its mere half-century of existence, the country has existed without peace. But as this Jewish citizen watches Palestinian teenagers and Israeli soldiers tussling in the streets, as the multilingual shouting and popping of gunfire fills his ears, he knows that today the situation is worse than it has ever been. He fears Israel is changed forever.

Israel’s Birth

Let’s look back at Israel’s recent history.

When World War ii ended, there were many Jewish refugees with no place to call home. Most of the world became sympathetic to these Jews.

After a bitter struggle in the United Nations, the land of Israel was declared a nation. In 1948, when Israel (biblical Judah—the name Jew is just a shortened version of Judah) was declared a nation, the Arabs attacked immediately.

The Jews had no real army. They were losing the war after three weeks. Then the Arabs strangely called for a temporary truce. This is exactly what Israel needed to re-arm and train their weary troops—many of them civilians who carried guns.

Shortly thereafter the Arabs started fighting again. This time the Jews were well prepared and soon won the war.

It was a miracle from God. Many of the Jews acknowledged that. They experienced many miracles in the following years.

The Jews were prophesied to have a nation in this end time. So it had to happen!

The Jews were determined fighters. This was their first sovereign nation in 2,000 years. Only death could make them surrender their new and only homeland.

Will to Fight

There continued to be many problems between the Jews and Arabs. The problems became so intense in 1967 that almost every nation in the world believed the Arabs were about to attack Israel again.

The Soviet Union was strongly urging Egypt to attack. Egyptian troops poured into the Sinai and ordered the UN forces out. War seemed imminent.

Egypt, Jordan and Syria were allied to start a war. So the Jews felt compelled to strike first. Jewish war planes flew into Egypt and destroyed 300 Egyptian combat fighters in three hours. The Jews then captured all of the Sinai, the Suez Canal, East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Golan Heights in just six days.

Again, a series of miracles by God saved the Jewish nation.

Tourists began to pour into Israel. The state became prosperous and complacent. The Jews were lulled into a false sense of security.

In late 1973, the Jewish military ignored serious intelligence reports that the Arabs were again going to attack. The attack occurred on October 6—during the solemn Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur.

The Jews won the war in three weeks, with much aid from the Americans. Egypt was beaten, but not humiliated. Once again biblical Judah had been miraculously saved.

But soon after, something dramatic changed in Israel.

Menachem Begin was elected prime minister in 1977. President Carter persuaded him to give the Sinai back to Egypt in the late 1970s.

This was the beginning of the Israeli-Arab peace process. The Jews gave up land for a piece of paper.

When the Jews gave the Sinai back to Egypt, that probably included Mount Sinai, where God gave the Ten Commandments to Moses. This fiery mountain spectacle gave birth to the nation of Israel! The Sinai area was where the children of Israel wandered for 40 years as they rebelled against God’s law. Giving the Sinai back to Egypt is at the heart of their problems! Their history with God is virtually meaningless! The Jewish nation was born and sustained by godly miracles. But it still refuses to trust God!

The Jews have also given Gaza, Jericho, Bethlehem and other West Bank areas back to the Palestinians. It seems the world has forgotten that those areas were won in a war where the Arabs were trying to annihilate the Jews. This land-for-peace process is almost unheard of in history, except perhaps what has recently happened in South Africa. God gave Bethlehem—the birthplace of Christ—to the Jews. Through the “peace” process, they gave it to the Palestinians. The Jews rejected and crucified Christ almost 2,000 years ago. They still reject Him today. But then, so do most of those people who profess to be Christians.

The Jews have given back many other biblical sites to the Arabs. America and Britain have strongly urged them to do so. We fail to realize that such a lack of faith is why all the adults of ancient Israel had to die in the Sinai wilderness.

Throughout this terribly misnamed “peace” process—involving giving up land and seeing no appreciable drop in violence—Palestinian leaders have consistently told politicians and media that they want peaceful coexistence with Israel while simultaneously promising to their people Israel’s destruction.

Now, after years of gambling with its own soil, Israel finds itself depleted of property and will, sapped and bloodied by a policy that has publicized, for all to see, the fatal weariness of this tiny nation.

Judah’s Wound

In the Philadelphia Church of God’s message today, we must tell Judah, America and Britain the real cause of their serious problems. It is their only hope of survival!

The book of Hosea was written as prophecy for the end time. Again, the nation called Israel today is really biblical Judah. There are some specific prophecies about Judah in this book. “When Ephraim saw his sickness, and Judah saw his wound, then went Ephraim to the Assyrian, and sent to king Jareb: yet could he not heal you, nor cure you of your wound” (Hosea 5:13). Studying this verse in the original Hebrew reveals that both Ephraim (Britain) and Judah (called “Israel” today) go to Assyria (or Germany—to prove that fact, write for our free booklet Germany and the Holy Roman Empire).

Why do the Jews go to Germany, and what is Judah’s wound? The word wound is number 4205 in Strong’s Concordance. It means “in the sense of binding up: a bondage, i.e. remedy.” GeseniusLexicon defines it this way: “the pressing together, binding up of a wound; here used figuratively of a remedy applied to the wounds of the state.” In other words, the remedyisthe wound!

Another word for wound is also mentioned in Obadiah 1:7: “All the men of thy confederacy have brought thee even to the border: the men that were at peace with thee have deceived thee, and prevailed against thee; they that eat thy bread have laid a wound under thee: there is none understanding in him.” This wound is number 4204 in Strong’s. Gesenius defines it as “falsehood; hence, fraud, insidious dealing … net, or snare.” It has the same root word as the word used in Hosea 5:13. In Obadiah the wound is directly related to being deceived by a peace pact!

Is the peace pact with the Arabs the Israeli wound that God refers to in Hosea 5:13? There would have been no peace pact if Judah would have trusted God instead of men. The word wound in verse 13 means bandage. It’s as if a bandage is hopelessly applied to an open, running sore. From the beginning of the peace process, the Jews have looked to men, often their enemies, for help—not God. That is the unseen wound.

So little trust in God—so much trust in their enemies!

The real wound is spiritual—a lack of faith in God. The Jews keep trying to heal themselves by making peace pacts. They were strong when they trusted God. Even recent history proves that truth. Just a few years ago they were a terror to the Arabs. Now the Arabs are a terror to the Jews. A complete reversal in such a short time! Why?

The Israelis will finally see that their peace pact with the Palestinians has failed. The Jews really only see the effect of their wound. They don’t see the cause. That is why they turn to Germany for another peace pact! This time they place their trust in an even greater enemy! Once again they fail to trust God. It will lead to the worst disaster in the Jews’ long history of suffering. The deadly delusion that problems can be solved by negotiation is going to lead Israel and the U.S. to disaster!

There is a reason why everything seems to go wrong in America, Britain and Judah. But our people never seem to fear God enough to turn from our sins! And that does not mean to repent of what we call sin, but what God calls sinGod’s definition.

So God states, “I will break the pride of your power.” That means we have power, but lack the will to use it.

Going to Germany

Let’s look again at Hosea 5:13. “When Ephraim saw his sickness, and Judah saw his wound, then went Ephraim to the Assyrian, and sent to king Jareb: yet could he not heal you, nor cure you of your wound.” Lange’s Commentary states that the word Jareb, the German leader, means “warlike monarch.” The Soncino Commentary translates it as “King Contentious.” He will be far more dangerous than Hitler was.

If you read our literature on Germany, you will see that this leader will be ruled by Satan! And Britain and the Jews will go to him for mercy and aid!

Already the European Union has stepped up its efforts to help the Middle East peace process as the U.S. pulls out of the region and grows weaker. German-led Europe has been publicly mentioned as being a protector to Israel.

Can anyone miss the cruel irony of this situation? One Hungarian-born Holocaust survivor who lives in Israel said, “If there is anything that frightens Israelis more than Syrian troops on the Golan, it is German troops on the Golan.”

It seems the Israelis can trust their worst enemy, but they can’t trust God to protect them! And God is their only source of help.

Israel will become “lovers” with the Germans. This move will lead to their destruction. It is not the Arabs who will destroy them. The friendship between Germany and Israel will lead to one of the biggest double-crosses in the history of man! (For more information, request Jerusalem in Prophecy.)

“I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face: in their affliction they will seek me early” (verse 15). God will not stop punishing Judah (and all Israel—mainly America and Britain) until they “acknowledge their offense,” or repent of their sins and seek God. But how can they know what their sins are and how to repent?

“Blow ye the cornet in Gibeah, and the trumpet in Ramah: cry aloud at Beth-aven, after thee, O Benjamin. Ephraim shall be desolate in the day of rebuke: among the tribes of Israel have I made known that which shall surely be” (verses 8‑9). God has made their sins known to them through Herbert W. Armstrong and our Church today. You are reading that trumpet message now! Hosea is specifically about our work today (write for our booklet on Hosea). The Jews are going to suffer at the hands of the Arabs and Germans until they awaken! They must acknowledge our message from God! If they don’t hear the alarm of war through our message, they must experience being conquered!

Our physical and spiritual leaders have deceived the people. “For they have healed the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace” (Jeremiah 23:11). Our leaders have gotten the people to accept peace pacts like the one with Judah and the Palestinians. The leaders continually talk of peace, peace,when there is no peace.

Look around. Do you see peace? The more violence we see, the more they talk about peace! They don’t know how to have peace. “The way of peace they know not; and there is no judgment in their goings: they have made them crooked paths: whosoever goeth therein shall not know peace” (Isaiah 59:8).

Through the peace process, Judah has become vulnerable to the enemy, with very little freedom to strike back. Just a few years ago, they would have retaliated with far greater force! But not today.

Soon the whole world will see what the Arabs saw all along—that the peace process is a wound from which the Jews will never recover!

Unless they repent, their future is extremely bleak. The good news is, this present crisis will soon culminate in the return of Jesus Christ. What a glorious future that lies just ahead! But immediately before that event, the worst time of suffering ever on Earth is upon us.

South Africa: Leaders Tolerate Plague of Violence

South Africa: Leaders Tolerate Plague of Violence

Reuters

Twelve years on from apartheid, South Africa is losing the fight against violent crime.

Fudging the figures is a time-worn technique for obscuring unflattering facts. Often when a government has something to hide, the real statistics are hard to come by. Consider, for example, the official U.S. debt versus the real numbers.

But this is nothing unique to America. In the case of South Africa, the statistics being sanitized and downplayed are those describing violent crime.

South Africa is known as the crime capital of the world, and for good reason: On average, the chances of a South African being murdered are 12 times greater than those of an American, and 50 times greater than a person living in Western Europe.

These types of statistics do not reflect well on the governance of the African National Congress (anc) over the past 12 years. Hence, it does what it can to deflect attention from them.

For one, the government has the police release crime figures only once a year in order to “reduce attention paid to crime” (Associated Press, August 26).

The latest official statistics available are those for the 12 months from April 2004 to March 2005. During this time, there were 18,793 murders (an average of 51 a day), 24,516 attempted murders, 55,114 reported rapes and 249,369 assaults with grievous injury. That’s not to mention 267,857 common assaults, 230,603 robberies, 12,434 carjackings, 332,212 burglaries, and hundreds of thousands of other crimes such as thefts from motor vehicles, abductions and drug-related crimes. In a nation with a population of 47 million, this all adds up to a very violent society.

Even so, “People don’t trust the government figures,” according to Peter Gastrow, a crime analyst in Cape Town. And perhaps for good reason.

There is cause to believe the police figures released by the government don’t accurately represent the true extent of South Africa’s violent crime. A study done by Rob McCafferty, “Murder in South Africa,” in June 2003, reveals that independent agencies consistently put the figures much higher. For example, “While police crime statistics show there were 21,683 murders in 2000, the mrc [Medical Research Council] puts the figure at 32,482. The mrc’s estimate is close to the figure from the Department of Home Affairs, which is 30,068. This is a third more murders than reported by the saps [South African Police Service]. A discrepancy of more than 10,000 murders is more than a ‘margin of error’” (emphasis ours throughout).

According to these figures, on average there are 89 murders committed in South Africa each and every day.

The international organization Interpol puts the figures even higher. “Interpol claimed that there were approximately double the numbers of ‘murders known to police’ in South Africa than the official police statistics reveal” (ibid.).

Is the government underreporting the figures? There is certainly reason to believe that is the case. After all, if South Africa is to attract overseas investment to fuel its troubled economy (where, for example, unemployment stands at around 40 percent), it wouldn’t want investors scared off by out-of-control crime. In addition, surely the anc would prefer its promises of a new and improved, liberated South Africa after apartheid to not be exposed as empty. As bad as the figures are, worse statistics would be even more embarrassing.

Which would explain why, though figures for the past year have not been released, the government insists there has been a slight decline in violent crime.

The facts, however, indicate otherwise. “Crime Expo South Africa (cesa) has confirmation from underwrites in the tourism industry, that projected violent crime statistics for the year 2005/2006 reflect shocking increases. This is based on actual statistics currently on record” (cesa,September 5). Those statistics, for example, indicate a 109 percent increase in hold-ups for the purpose of stealing money, and a 66 percent increase in theft.

Independent statistics kept by Massmart, one of Africa’s largest consumer good distributors, indicate that crime in South Africa is about 20 percent up on last year. ceo Mark Lamberti told Moneyweb Radio: “I’m talking about armed robberies, robberies of cash-in-transit, attacks of one sort or another on our staff, people being involved in hijackings and robberies at their homes and so on.” Lamberti protested that “quite frankly, the [crime] level right now, despite a number of denials in this regard, is not acceptable. I’ve actually heard it said, ‘Well, this is perception, not reality.’ I mean, nothing could be further from the truth and we’ve got statistics to back that up.”

Perhaps what is even more disturbing is the conviction rate: A csinstudy indicates a conviction rate of less than 3 percent for serious and violent crimes committed in South Africa in 2004/05. The Institute for Security Studies in Cape Town cites the conviction rate for murder cases that went to court (60 percent of total) during the same period to be just 18 percent.

In a sense, statistics don’t tell the true story: that South Africa is a place more and more people want to leave; where people generally do not feel safe; where carjackings are a regular event; where burglars kill for the smallest item; where car drivers have to avoid certain intersections for fear of having their window smashed in for the sake of a purse or watch; where farmers cannot sleep without fear of being murdered. As Associated Press reported, “Watch your back in South Africa. They kill folks here. Murder them at a bewildering rate. Robbers kill their victims, bystanders kill criminals, family members kill each other. Gunbattles erupt on streets and in shopping malls. Passers-by whip out pistols and join in firefights between criminals and police or security guards” (op. cit.).

This is a country where, each year, between 1,400 and 1,700 children go missing—and only 11 percent are found. A South African from Newcastle wrote on Tuesday, “My 11-year-old niece was riding her bicycle this afternoon when she was attacked. The man threw her off the bicycle and when she stood up he stabbed her 12 times in the arm and neck. He then raced off on the bicycle. Luckily the knife did not penetrate the artery on her neck and she is in stable condition. Needless to say, our family is traumatized. On going to the police station, her mother was asked ‘Do you want to report it?’”

The same day, it was reported, “An elderly farmer was killed and his wife … assaulted at Albert Falls, near Pietermaritzburg, on Tuesday morning, police said. Inspector Joey Jeevan said Eric Podolski, 71, had been tied to a tree and hit on the head in a field where he was later found dead. … They then tied up and gagged Miriam Podoloski and ransacked the farmhouse, leaving with R1,200 cash and possibly the farmer’s firearm. Miriam Podolski broke free and alerted the police. As usual, no arrests have been made.”

And if this month is like last month, there will be about another 50 such stories of violent, senseless murders before October hits.

Police are making hardly a dent. Indeed, those who are meant to provide protection for South Africa’s citizens are requesting protection. After 54 police officers were murdered in the first six months of this year, the police union’s regional secretary made this appeal: “They are killing us. We need protection from the state.”

“In Johannesburg in June, cops and robbers shot it out for hours in what has become known as ‘the Jeppestown massacre,’” Associated Press reported. “The gunmen killed four captured policemen, riddling their bodies with bullets. Two of the officers, knowing the end was near, died together, embracing each other as they were repeatedly shot. Eleven suspects were killed” (op. cit.).

As astonishing as these facts are, what makes them all the more so is the response to the problem by key government officials.

Though by any measure—even artificially low official police figures—this is a phenomenal problem, the ruling anc apparently doesn’t see it that way.

Consider the response of the minister responsible for safety and security, Charles Nqakula, to concerns expressed about South Africa’s rampant crime rate after a horrendous spate of murders earlier this year. “The whingers [complainers] can do one of two things,” he announced to parliament in June. “They can continue to whinge until they are blue in the face—they can be as negative as they want to—or they can simply leave this country.”

President Thabo Mbeki has lashed out at the suggestion that violent crime might be out of control in his country and called those who make such a claim racist. Mbeki writes a column for the African National Congress website, which is “a launchpad for attacks on the media, multinationals and opposition parties” (Guardian, Oct. 5, 2004).

It is clear that the anc government does not wish to reveal how dreadfully it has failed to curb violence in the nation of South Africa.

A South Africa without apartheid was supposed to bring a new age of equality and peace to the nation—at least, judging by the views put forward by Western media. Twelve years on, however, these same media have taken pretty much the same tack as the current Mbeki government: essentially ignoring the increase of social ills in South Africa. The facts point to a politically incorrect, yet unmistakable, conclusion: Far from amending the injustices under apartheid, the subsequent administration has largely created new injustices.

The Bible speaks specifically about the curses the nation of South Africa finds itself under. For more insight into the predicament South Africa faces and its relevance to Bible prophecy, read South Africa in Prophecy.

Palestinian Textbooks Teach Hate

Palestinian Textbooks Teach Hate

PT

Hate propaganda is scattered through Palestinian textbooks, according to an August 29 Arutz Sheva report.

The latest study of Palestinian Authority (pa) textbooks commissioned by the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center reveals “a curriculum that prepares a new generation of Palestinians to destroy Israel” (ibid.). This is hardly a revelation, having been going on for many years, but it still serves as a good reminder for what Israel is up against as its prime minister, Ehud Olmert, contemplates the next round of territorial concessions to the Palestinians.

For instance, Israel does not appear on any of the maps in the textbooks; the name of Israel is replaced with Palestine. Haifa, Israel’s warm-water port, is annexed as a Palestinian seaport, and the Israeli cities of Galilee, Nazareth and Beit She’an are shown as Palestinian regions. Furthermore, the problems the Palestinians face are blamed solely on Israel, with it being portrayed as the enemy. Martyrdom and jihad are glorified, with war and violence being represented as the means of accomplishing Palestinian goals. The full report can be found here.

Indoctrination of Palestinian youth with hostile propaganda toward Israel will only perpetuate the intransigence of youthful Palestinians. After all, what will indoctrinated Palestinian youth—taught to either ignore or abhor Israel’s right to exist—mature into? A generation of peacemakers? Hardly.

This problem craves an immediate change. But perhaps the most troubling aspect of it is the lack of attention it receives from the highest echelons of the Israeli government. Besieged on all fronts by war and internal strife, Israel’s leaders appear to have let the issue slide to the back burner.

Their attitude may perhaps be summed up by Olmert’s comment back in 2001, “They [the pa] can teach what they want, and we will teach what we want.”