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Israel elections: Netanyahu set to win as rival concedes

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is set to win re-election after his main rival conceded defeat.

With more than 99 percent of votes counted, Netanyahu’s Likud party was set to lead a right-wing bloc with 65 of the 120 seats in parliament.

His main challenger, Benny Gantz, accepted the result on Wednesday, acknowledging that he had failed to unseat the prime minister.

“We respect the decision of the people,” he told reporters.

Although Gantz’s Blue and White Party was set to win a similar number of seats to Likud, there was no obvious path for its leader to find a parliamentary majority.

A number of right-wing parties expressed their support for Netanyahu and are on course to give him a parliamentary majority.

Addressing a jubilant gathering of supporters early on Wednesday, Netanyahu praised the crowd for an “almost inconceivable achievement”.

“I was very moved that the nation of Israel once again entrusted me for the fifth time, and with even greater trust,” he added.

Final results are expected to be announced on Thursday.

Despite facing the possibility of being indicted on charges of corruption, fraud and breach of trust in three cases, Netanyahu is now set to embark on a record fifth term in office and will also become Israel’s longest-serving prime minister.

His previous terms have been marked by a rightward shift in Israeli policy towards the occupied Palestinian territories, as peace talks with the Palestinians have collapsed and the expansion of illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank had accelerated. In the run-up to the election, he said he would annex Israeli settlements if he won a fifth term.

“I think the whole rules of the game are changing, because now Israel is clearly superimposing all of Greater Israel on all of historical Palestine,” said Hanan Ashrawi, PLO executive committee member.

“They have totally cancelled any agreements. They have nullified the two-state solution. They have totally negated the requirements of peace. They have totally violated international law. Now we need a whole new strategy to deal with this.”

US President Donald Trump phoned to congratulate Netanyahu on his victory, the Israeli leader said later on Wednesday.

Trump told reporters at the White House that Netanyahu’s re-election improved the chances of a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians.

“He’s been a great ally and he’s a friend. I’d like to congratulate him on a well-thought-out race,” Trump said.

However, Diana Buttu, a Palestinian Haifa-based analyst and former legal adviser to Palestinian peace negotiators, told Al Jazeera that Netanyahu’s renewed mandate will allow him to continue his “policies of apartheid, colonisation and racism”.

Buttu said that for as long as Netanyahu has been prime minister, the Palestinian Authority (PA) has been urging the international community to intervene during the bombing of Gaza, construction of illegal settlements, demolition of Palestinian homes, passage of the nation-state law and regarding the annexation of the West Bank.

“Netanyahu is ideologically opposed to Palestinian freedom he’s going to continue to do whatever he wants against Palestinians,” Buttu said.

“The message that the Israeli public has sent is very clear. They support him, they support his policies of apartheid, they support his policies of colonisation and they support a racist.”

Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin is due to begin meeting with the political parties who won entry into the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, next week to see who they will support for prime minister. He will then select a leader to try and form a coalition.

Voter turnout was 67.9 percent, down from 71.8 percent in 2015. Turnout in the Arab community was significantly lower, standing at 46 percent an hour before the polls closed.

Despite a low voter turnout among Palestinians, the Arab alliances of Hadash-Ta’al and Ra’am-Balad passed the threshold, gaining six and four seats respectively.

However, their total of 10 Knesset seats is lower than in the 2015 elections, when the Arab Joint List won 13, making them the third-largest faction in parliament.

Some voters blamed the low turnout on the split between Arab factions, which had united for the 2015 vote, while there was also a campaign to boycott the election.

On Tuesday, Likud activists placed 1,200 hidden cameras in Palestinian polling areas, prompting the Central Elections Committee (CEC) chairman Judge Hanan Melcer to file a complaint to police.

Netanyahu responded saying there should be cameras everywhere to “ensure a fair vote”. The cameras were subsequently removed.

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ഇനി മുതൽ 20 ഭാഷകളില്‍ ഓഡിയോ ആൻഡ് ടെക്സ്റ്റ് ബൈബിള്‍

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ഇനി മുതൽ മൊബൈല്‍ ആപ്ലിക്കേഷനിലൂടെ 20 ഭാഷകളില്‍ ഓഡിയോ ആൻഡ് ടെക്സ്റ്റ് ബൈബിള്‍ ലഭ്യമാകും.

ഫാ. ജോസുകുട്ടി മഠത്തിപ്പറമ്പില്‍ എസ്ഡിബിക്കും ഇലോയിറ്റ് ഇന്നവേഷന്‍സ് സിഇഒ തോംസണ്‍ ഫിലിപ്പുമാണ് ഇതിനു പിന്നിൽ.

കോണ്‍ഫറന്‍സ് ഓഫ് കാത്തലിക് ബിഷപ്‌സ് ഓഫ് ഇന്ത്യ (സിസിബിഐ) യുടെ ക്രിയേറ്റീവ് ബൈബിള്‍ മിനിസ്ട്രി അവാര്‍ഡ് ഇവർക്ക് ലഭിച്ചു.

സലേഷ്യന്‍ സമൂഹാംഗമായ ഫാ. ജോസുകുട്ടി രൂപകല്പന ചെയ്ത ‘ഹോളി ബൈബിള്‍ ഇന്‍ ടങ്‌സ്’ (Holy Bible In Tounges) എന്ന മൊബൈല്‍ ആപ്ലിക്കേഷന്‍ എറണാകുളം കേന്ദ്രമായി പ്രവര്‍ത്തിക്കുന്ന തോംസണ്‍ ഫിലിപ്പിന്റെ നേതൃത്വത്തില്‍ ഇലോയിറ്റ് ഇന്നവേഷന്‍സ് ആണ് വികസിപ്പിച്ചെടുത്തത്.

ബംഗളൂരുവിലെ എൻബിസിഎൽസിയിൽ നടന്ന ചടങ്ങിൽ സുൽത്താൻപേട്ട് ബിഷപ്പും സിസിബിഐ കമ്മീഷൻ ഫോർ ബൈബിളിൻ്റെ ചെയർമാനുമായ ഡോ. ആന്റണിസാമി പീറ്റർ അബിർ പുരസ്‌കാരം സമ്മാനിച്ചു. ഹിന്ദി, മലയാളം, കന്നഡ തുടങ്ങിയ ഇന്ത്യയിലെ പ്രമുഖ ഭാഷകളോടൊപ്പം വടക്കുകിഴക്കന്‍ സംസ്ഥാനങ്ങളിലെ നിരവധി ഗോത്ര ഭാഷകളിലും ആഫ്രിക്കന്‍ ഭൂഖണ്ഡത്തിലെ മലഗച്ച ഭാഷയിലും ബൈബിള്‍ റെക്കോര്‍ഡ് ചെയ്തു ആന്‍ഡ്രോയഡിലും ആപ്പിള്‍ അപ്ലിക്കേഷന്‍സിലും ലഭ്യമാക്കിയിട്ടുണ്ട്.

കോട്ടയം അതിരൂപതാംഗമായ ഫാ. ജോസുകുട്ടി മഠത്തിപ്പറമ്പില്‍ കല്ലറ പഴയപ്പള്ളി (സെന്റ് തോമസ് ക്‌നാനായ കത്തോലിക്ക) ഇടവകയിലെ മഠത്തിപറമ്പില്‍ തോമസ്‌-ഗ്രേസികുട്ടി ദമ്പതികളുടെ മകനാണ്. കഴിഞ്ഞ 15 വര്‍ഷമായി വടക്കുകിഴക്കന്‍ സംസ്ഥാനങ്ങളില്‍ മിഷനറിയായ ഫാ. ജോസുകുട്ടി സലേഷ്യന്‍ സമൂഹത്തിന്റെ ദിമപുര്‍ പ്രൊവിന്‍സ് അംഗവും ഇറ്റാനഗര്‍ (അരുണാചല്‍പ്രദേശ്) ഡോണ്‍ബോസ്‌കോ കോളജ് അധ്യാപകനുമാണ്.

ഇലോയിറ്റ് ഇന്നവേഷന്‍സ് എന്ന കമ്പനി സൗജന്യമായിട്ടാണ് ഇതിന്റെ ഡിസൈനും സാങ്കേതിക സഹായങ്ങളും ചെയ്തത്. ഗൂഗിൾ പ്ലേ സ്റ്റോറിലും ആപ്പിൾ ആപ്പ് സ്റ്റോറിലും ലഭിക്കുന്ന ഈ ആപ്പിൽ മലയാളം, ഇംഗ്ലീഷ്, ഹിന്ദി, കന്നഡ, ആസാമീസ് തുടങ്ങിയ ഇരുപതു ഭാഷകളില്‍ ബൈബിള്‍ ലഭ്യമാണ്.

പ്ലേ സ്റ്റോർ ലിങ്ക്

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.eloitinnovation.theholybibleintongues
Sources:marianvibes

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Priests attacked at Catholic mission in east India

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Priests at a Catholic mission in eastern India were brutally attacked by a gang of thieves who also entered the nearby staff quarters and threatened and looted women teachers at gunpoint.

The incident occurred on April 10 at Bagdehi mission station, which houses St. Arnold Primary School run by the Society of Divine Word (SVD), in Odisha state’s Jharsuguda district.

“The thieves attacked the priests with curtain rods and chairs,” said Father Anuranjan Bilung, provincial superior of the eastern province of the congregation. “They took away mobile phones and destroyed them, then tied the priests’ hands and legs with ropes and locked them in a room.”

The armed gang of about a dozen men entered the mission campus at 9.30 p.m. It continued to terrorize the priests, the teaching staff, and their families well past midnight before decamping with 100,000 Indian rupees (US$1,212) and valuables, including gold ornaments and mobile phones.

“Eight teachers were locked in one room,” Bilung told to News on April 12. The priest said that, luckily, the thieves did not do any physical harm to the women teachers.

The thieves kept asking where the priests resided and then took hold of a helper at gunpoint and asked her to show them their residence, which was about 50 meters away from the school and staff quarters.

“They threatened to kill her daughter if she failed to show them where the priests lived,” Bilung said.

After their attackers left, one of the priests who hid his mobile phone managed to contact an employee of the school who stayed outside the campus. They were rescued after some time and rushed to the nearby Church-run dispensary to get first aid.

“They are still in trauma and need rest,” Bilung said.

A police team arrived and recorded the statements of the priests, the teachers and other staff members. Bilung said the thieves appeared to have planned the crime well and “executed it with precision.”

The priest did not rule out the possibility of someone familiar with the campus being involved in the attack.
Sources:christiansworldnews

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Persecuted Christian Receives Aid to Keep Children in School

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Somalia— Halima and her children, Sahra, Ahmed, and Yasir, are part of a community of Somali believers in Mombasa who face persecution from multiple sources.

After Halima became a Christian in 2012, she kept her faith secret for five years. Following her baptism in 2017, her husband Osman and other family members discovered that she had left Islam. Osman divorced Halima, forcing her to relocate to another part of Mombasa with her children.

Despite living discreetly, Halima’s Christian activities were uncovered, resulting in harassment by her former community and local authorities. In May 2023, their home was targeted twice by Muslim assailants, though they were unsuccessful in breaching the premises. These attackers accused Halima of leading Muslims astray and labeled her a “Christian crusader.” Additionally, local Muslim police officers falsely accused her children of being involved in nighttime gangs.

The combination of unemployment, ongoing harassment, and fear of reprisals from her ex-husband left Halima struggling to provide for her children. Consequently, her children were forced to drop out of school earlier this year due to unpaid fees. Halima’s only wish was to be able to re-enroll her children in school and secure their education.

ICC learned about Halima’s case in October 2023. We helped her obtain the funds she needed to send her children back to school.

“My children had no hope of continuing with school for this year,” Halima said. “I had struggled the whole of 2023 to keep them in school, and I was not prepared for 2024. I kept trusting God, and He surely came through for me. ICC visited us and did two projects for the MBBs (Muslim Background Believers) and a third project for my children. They are all now in school, and everything is paid for. We rarely get someone who understands our plight as underground Christians, but you have shown that you care and love the body of Christ in all circumstances.”

Halima has asked that Christians continue to pray for the underground believers experiencing persecution in Somalia. She asks that people pray that more Somali Muslims come to the knowledge of Jesus Christ and become part of the global body of Christ, as she once did.
Sources:persecution

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