March 31, 2007
By SUSAN D. BRANDENBURG
Mike Cohen glanced at the blinking red light on his PDA, his personal digital assistant.
"What used to be measured in eons is now measured in seconds," he said. "I hold the world in my hand - maps, numbers, names, countries, war zones - it's all communicated instantly on this little instrument - a cell phone that originated in Israel."
Cohen is a veteran political strategist, security analyst and is involved as a reservist in international communications strategies for the Israeli Defense Forces. In 2002, Cohen was assigned to Israel's National Emergency Response & Negotiation Team when Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity was occupied by terrorists. As an expert on international terrorism and the use of electronic information distribution systems by official security services, Cohen was also invited to testify before the 9/11 Commission in Washington.
He spoke at Beach United Methodist Church Tuesday night as the guest of M-EDG, a Jacksonville Beach-based medical enterprise group that has established the Florida-Israel Biomedical Initiative. He gave a presentation entitled America & Israel, Christians & Jews, Jacksonville & Jerusalem: The Amazing Direct Cutting Edge Connections.
"America is the first world power in history to look upon all as equals," said Cohen. "There has always been a spiritual connectivity between our peoples, and we have blessed each other in many practical ways as well."
He said Israel was the birthplace not only of cell phones, but of the pentium chip, digital cards, voice mail and the pill-cam, a new medical diagnostic tool that involves swallowing a capsule containing a tiny camera.
In addition to emphasizing the historic and ongoing spiritual relationship between Christians and Jews, Cohen talked of the wide-ranging economic potential of combining Israeli technology and American marketing capabilities in the Florida-Israel Biomedical Initiative.
"These people in Jacksonville Beach have revolutionized the way Israel does business in America," he said. "They came to Israel in November and began building a strong financial network that will enhance the economy of both of our countries."
"It's exciting!" declared Nancy Allen of Ponte Vedra Beach. "I had no idea all of that technology came out of Israel." Allen, of Hand in Hand Geriatric Care Management, joined with Chaplain John Dawson of Christian Compassion Ministries, Melissa Middlebrooks of Beach United Methodist Church and Jane Hart of Hart-Felt Ministries to provide a brief musical program prior to Cohen's presentation.
As a behind-the-scenes expert who has served for 22 years as an IDF officer in an elite special forces unit and in wide-ranging advisory capacities under five Israeli prime ministers, Cohen talked of the explosive situation in the Middle East today.
The jihad declared by Islamic factions in the Middle East, he said, is aimed at "the Saturday people" [Jews] first, then "the Sunday people" [Christians]. Talking of the biblical reference to Israel as a "light unto the nations," Cohen predicted that as Israel rises or falls, so will the free world.
On the current Iranian nuclear capabilities and the threat posed to Israel and the United States, Cohen said that, in his opinion, the capabilities are already in place.
"I think everybody in this country should hear Dr. Cohen's message," Richard Martin of Deerwood said following the presentation. "It's urgently important."
"I'm a retired soldier," said Bill Womble, a resident of Jacksonville Beach. "I see it from a soldier's point of view. Dr. Cohen and I have much in common."
Womble's wife, Carol, called Cohen's presentation "eye-opening."
"I was especially touched at the JerUSAlem emblem he had up on the screen ... and I never knew until tonight that the presidential seal had a Star of David on it."
Noting that the world is in a crisis of vision and decision, Cohen quoted Proverbs 29:18: "Where there is no vision, the people perish."
He concluded that there are five components that will help the free world achieve a clear vision and eventual victory over terrorism: 1) Prayer. 2) Knowledge. "Don't believe what you hear, even from me," he said. "Discover the truth for yourself." 3) Communication. "Speak up for what you believe," he said. "Call and write your senators and congressmen; write letters to the editor; do whatever you can to effect change." 4) Love offerings; charitable giving, and 5) Tourism and investment in Israel.
"Come to Israel," he urged the audience. "The world is in that little place."
Cohen, founder and senior research analyst of the Galilee Institute, also invited the public to visit www.gogalil.com for updated Israeli-related news. For more information on the Florida-Israel Biomedical Initiative, visit www.m-edg.com.
This story can be found on Jacksonville.com at http://www.jacksonville.com/tu-online/stories/033107/neS_8922121.shtml.
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