Morning Briefing – The Telegraph

Good morning.

David Cameron and Nigel Farage took to the stage last night to field questions from members of the public on ITV, so how did it go? Vote Leave has been antsy about the Ukip leader representing Brexiteers rather than one of their own like Boris Johnson, and will feel their fears were justified after was repeatedly accused of  “discriminating” against migrants and had to deny he was “encouraging racism” (the Archbishop of Canterbury had added fuel to the fire hours before). Farage fought back, telling a woman who asked him about his controversial Cologne remarks to “calm down”, another to “forget it” and a third that she “couldn’t be more wrong”. Ukippers may have enjoyed his firm responses, but will undecided voters?

The Ukip leader didn’t drop any outright clangers, but that didn’t stop David Cameron afterwards trying to paint him as representative of his fellow Brexiteers. Voters were told by the Prime Minister not to back the “little England of Nigel Farage” and – in a line with echoes of Lord Mandelson – to be “fighters” not “quitters”. “We’re an amazing country. If you love your country you don’t damage the economy,” he told the audience. “It’s funny, isn’t it. At the last election, Mr Cameron was desperate not to face Mr Farage on TV. Now, it seems, he’s all too eager,” notes Michael Deacon. That’s not to say the night was a clear win for Cameron, as he still struggled to answer voters’ questions about immigration, and was booed for refusing to say how much net migration would fall as a result of his renegotiation. Think of the evening as a low-score draw.

Vote Leave is picking up where Farage left off this morning with Michael Gove set to speak alongside Dominic Raab on “how EU membership weakens our border control and threatens our security”. The pair will have much to draw on, especially after British football fans travelling to the European Championships in France were warned that stadiums are “potential targets” for terrorist attacks. Boris Johnson meanwhile is preparing to lead the Brexiteers into battle tomorrow night on ITV, flanked by Andea Leadsom and Gisela Stuart. The Remainers they’ll be facing are Labour’s Angela Eagle, Conservative Amber Rudd and Nicola Sturgeon – who  just a few weeks ago ruled out sharing a platform with Europhile Tories. Johnson will debate the EU again next Tuesday at  a special Telegraph event held at YouTube’s London headquarters in partnership with the Huffington Post, so be sure to put that in your diary. Gove and Johnson also challenged Cameron to debate them head-to-head as well.

Voters have rushed to register before the electoral deadline – with the website crashing in the final few hours sparking calls led by Jeremy Corbyn for the cut-off point to be extended – so we’re entering the final stretch of the campaign. The race remains tight after a string of polls suggested Brexit was enjoying a boost. A new poll from the Pew Research Centre suggests that should not be a surprise as anti-Brussels sentiment has grown sharply all across Europe over the past year thanks to a toxic combination of economic stagnation and the mismanagement of the migrant crisis. Philip Johnston thinks it’s time Britain started to prepare for the implications  of a Brexit vote, warning in today’s paper: “Since there is a pro-EU majority in the Commons, the wishes of the Leavers could always be over-ridden without a further mandate from the people setting out precisely what Britain’s post-EU arrangements should be. That might need an early general election to sort out.”

Palestinian Leaders and Child Sacrifice

The tragic death of three Palestinian siblings, killed in a fire that destroyed their house in the Gaza Strip on May 6, demonstrates yet again the depth to which Palestinian leaders will go to exploit their children for political purposes and narrow interests.

The three children from the Abu Hindi family — Mohamed, 3 years old, his brother Nasser, 2 years old and their two-month infant sister Rahaf, died in a fire caused by candles that were being used due to the recurring power outages in the Gaza Strip.

The electricity crisis in the Gaza Strip is the direct result of the continued power struggle between the two Palestinian rival forces, Hamas and the Palestinian Authority (PA).

In recent months, the crisis has deepened, leaving large parts of the Gaza Strip without electricity for most of the day. Hamas blames the Palestinian Authority for the crisis because of its failure to cover the costs of the fuel needed to operate the power plants in the Gaza Strip. The PA has retorted by blaming Hamas’s “corruption” and “incompetence.”


Abbas: Bible Proves Israel Belongs to Palestinians

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and his advisors have begun a campaign to fabricate an imaginary, continuous 6,000-year-old Palestinian history in the land of Israel which predates Abraham and the Jewish people, twisting the words of the Bible to support their claim.

“Our narrative says that we have been in this land since before Abraham,” Abbas proclaimed in a video from March 21, 2016, translated from Arabic by the Palestinian Media Watch (PMW). “I am not saying it. The Bible says it. The Bible says, in these words, that the Palestinians existed before Abraham.”

Abbas was presumably referring to the words of Genesis, which mentions a people called the Philistines who predated Abraham:

And Avraham sojourned in the land of the Philistines many days. Genesis 21:34

In historical reality, the Philistines were a Biblical people of Greek origin who settled on the ancient Israel’s coastal plain around the 12th century BCE. Approximately 600 years later, both the Philistine and Israelite nations were exiled by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, the Philistines in 604 BCE and the Kingdom of Judah in 586 BCE.

The Philistine nation and identity was subsumed into the conquering Greek culture and the Philistines disappeared as a people soon after. The Israelites returned to Israel 70 years later and rebuilt the Temple. The Philistines, now non-existant, have no ancestral or historical connection to today’s Palestinians, as much as Abbas might wish it.


Blindsided: A Dream Engagement Turned Nightmare

Every now and then, Don Huckstep wonders how the heck it happened. How did a normal, everyday guy from Indiana get caught up in a bizarre, made-for-TV drama? Mostly, though, he tries to forget.

Where to start? Maybe near the end, right before everything unraveled. In the summer of 2014, Don was on a roll. At age 57, he had a nice home in Lafayette, a job he loved in sales and marketing, and a fiancee he adored named Teri Deneka. The couple was planning a trip to Italy for an early honeymoon, after which they’d return home to say I do.

To Don, it seemed the getaway couldn’t come soon enough for Teri. She had been under a lot of stress for months. Her 68-year-old mother, Nena Metoyer, had leukemia, and in August she came up from Florida to stay in Teri’s home in the small town of Fowler, Indiana, so Teri could care for her. But Nena’s condition worsened. Teri told Don she was taking her mother to visit family in Chicago. On September 11, Teri texted him. “My mom past [sic] last night,” she wrote. “I don’t want to talk right now. I just wanted you to know. As soon as they release her, I’m taking her to Florida. I’ll call you when I’m ready.”


Reading the Qur’an during Ramadan 1: Juz Alhamdulillah

A juz (جزء‎‎) is one of thirty divisions of the Qur’an, roughly equal in length. If a believing Muslim (or anyone) reads one day, he or she will have read the entire Qur’an in a month. This is often done during Ramadan, with the recitation of one juz each night. Tonight is the third night of Ramadan, so we’re starting a bit late, but it seemed a good occasion to revisit my Blogging the Qur’an series, divided by ajza (the plural of juz).


Israeli Politician Yair Lapid’s Facebook Post About His Autistic Daughter’s IDF Graduation Goes Viral, Brings Country to Tears

Israel’s former finance minister moved the country to tears on Tuesday with a post on Facebook about his special-needs daughter, who just finished serving in the IDF.MK Yair Lapid, the head of the Yesh Atid Party, wrote: