Inside Zion Oil
Zion Oil & Gas was the first new IPO listing of 2007, and the CEO and director were given the honor of ringing the AMEX bell in New York on the first day of 2007 trading, just as they recently did when listed on the NASDAQ. Israel imports most of its oil from Russia and the Caspian region via the BTC pipeline.
- 1 Background
- 2 Zion Oil's WorldNetDaily Connection and Joseph Farah
- 3 The Tamar find and Jerome Corsi
- 4 Zion oil's WorldNet Insider: Ralph Devore
- 5 The Ness Energy Connection: Philip Mandelker and WorldNet Daily
- 6 Articles and resources
The company was founded by John Brown, a Texas oil man and born-again Christian who believes that the Bible provides guidance on finding massive quantities of petroleum oil deposits in Israel. Brown personally believes that his involvement in Zion Oil was prophesied by 1 Kings (8:41) which mentions "a stranger, that is not of thy people Israel, but cometh out of a far country for thy name’s sake".
Despite his unpromising background of Creationist beliefs, Brown has built up a significant oil exploration company, which employs serious business people and qualified geologists. Zion's Biblical literalists believe verbatim in the Bible, however they must accept the science of oil exploration where evolution is fact, and the earth is dated as being several billion years old. The science of oil exploration conflicts directly with Old Testament beliefs, yet according to Brown, suppression of literal interpretations of the Bible must be tolerated to provide the needed scientific basis for oil exploration.
Zion Oil is a loss-making operation, and has never turned a profit and Zion's first well was unsuccessful. However, Zion's first limited rights offering provided enough capital by 2007 for a second well to be drilled, the Ma’anit #2. The company states that the Ma’anit #2 well would at best produce natural gas and condensate, but not oil. That year Zion Oil shareholders met in Israel to discuss drilling preparations for Ma’anit well #2 which completed in August of 2009. At the meeting, Zion Oil founder Brown referred shareholders to 1 Kings 18, in which Elijah sends a servant to look for a rain cloud:
- "Go and look toward the sea," he told his servant. And he went up and looked. "There is nothing there," he said. Seven times Elijah said, "Go back."
- "Only on the seventh time does the rain actually come."
Brown's pronouncements at this public meeting implied oil was there for the taking, if one only looked; CEO Rinberg added the standard SEC disclaimer where "forward-looking" statements by Brown should not be taken as assurances that any oil will ever be found in Israel.
Most recently, Zion Oil released information that they were looking at "seven areas of interest" in their latest deep drilling operation with "no small fascination". The reference to the number seven and the biblical sounding pronouncements are too subtle for casual investors to detect, but this rather cryptic public statement by Zion was pounced on by true believers as evidence that an upcoming oil find is emminent.
When John Brown appeared on Fox News to discuss Zion Oil in Israel, he did his best to address the Fox reporter's questions about a "scheme" where his response illustrated the consistent messianic "vision" he puts forward in the mainstream media.
The link illustrates Brown's version of religious interpretation of Biblical prophesy which remains consistent across the spectrum, whether directed to WorldNet Daily, geologists, oil experts, Fox News, or even the Israeli government. While Brown must keep WorldNet's messianics on board with Zion, Israeli officials and the scientific community must be kept on-board too. And yet Brown seems to care less whether people agree with him or not, and so far the strategy has worked, in keeping investors invested and Zion's geologists employed.
So, with all of these differing agendas, how can John Brown and the Bible lead us to oil in Israel? Brown takes the direct approach adopted by the the late James Spillman, also of WorldNet Daily fame, that is the "anatomy" theory, ie the "footprint of Joseph" which we have seen before:
- "Brown, pointing to the Bible he says he always carries with him, referred to several biblical passages he is certain indicate where to find petroleum. He stressed that two passages, detailing God’s blessings to each of biblical patriarch Jacob’s 12 sons, are very specific: "Let Asher be blessed ...and let him dip his foot in oil."'– Deuteronomy 33:24
- "Joseph is a fruitful bough by a well ...blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that couches beneath shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head." – Genesis 49: 22-26
- "Mapping the tribes’ biblical territory indeed shows that Asher’s area resembles a giant foot dipped into the top, or "crown" area of the land of Joseph’s son, Manasseh."
Brown tells us what the passage means, via the theory of the late James Spillman, of WorldNet Daily:
- "A major oil discovery in Israel will not only have a profound effect on that nation’s economy but also a potentially explosive political effect on the surrounding Arab nations. More importantly, says Spillman, the discovery of a huge oil reserve in Israel and its geo-political implications could be a precursor to last days events mentioned in Ezekiel 38, leading to the battle of Armageddon."
Spillman's reference to the political effect of oil in Israel on Arab nations is a common theme among the religious right  with reference to the Gog-Magog war from Ezekiel 38-39, where Russia and Iran attack Israel together in the Last Days, according to the politicized Born Again interpretation of Biblical prophecy. To complete the picture, Brown claims Spillman as his mentor, and Brown actually believes he is mentioned in the Bible, as the Founder's Testimony  on the Zion Oil website proclaims:
- "While visiting Israel with Alger Wolfe in May 1983, John Brown’s prayer to the G-d of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob was for oil to be found in Israel. This prayer and G-d’s specific instruction to John were based on the Biblical portion describing the Dedication of the First Temple in Jerusalem and Solomon’s prayers thereat." I Kings 8:22-66
- "Moreover concerning a stranger [John Brown] that is not of thy people Israel, but cometh out of a far country [USA of course] for thy name’s sake: for they shall hear of thy great name, and of thy strong hand, and of thy stretched out arm; when he shall come and pray towards this house; hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place, and do according to ALL that the stranger calleth to thee for [Oil for Israel]: that all the people of the earth may know thy name, to fear thee, as do thy people Israel and that they may know that this house, which I have builded, is called by thy name." (I Kings 8:41-43)
John Brown has funded annual banquets at the John Hagee radical Christians United For Israel Cornerstone Church where Brown declined to speculate on the volume of oil Zion's prospects would "reveal" based on Brown's own interpretation of Biblical prophesies, in deference to SEC rules about barring forward-looking statements which cannot be substantiated.  Brown has had other problems of perception, including a video on YouTube where Brown and Pastor David Davis appear to belittle their own church ...or synagogue? and joke about Zion Oil's deep drilling program.
Zion Oil's WorldNetDaily Connection and Joseph Farah
In 2004 Hal Lindsey used his WorldnetDaily program to generate interest in Zion Oil. "Biblical prophet" Lindsey said: "At this moment, Zion Oil and Gas is selling stock in order to finish its first well. It is right in the center of an area that geologically looks promising. I believe the main reason others have failed to find oil is that they did not drill deep enough."
"Investment in oil exploration is always a big gamble. But, I believe this is a gamble worth taking for the sake of Israel. Besides, I believe God's Word is giving some pretty good clues here."
Lindsey failed to say that he was an owner of fifty thousand shares in Zion Oil & Gas when he published the above statements  and that his own relative, Ralph Devore, owned an eighteen percent share of the company at the time his recommendation was made. Zion investor Devore (who holds shares in Zion Oil to this day) is the director of Hal Lindsey Ministries and is in fact Hal Lindsey's cousin.
In 2004 Devore wrote to former Zion CEO Gene Soltero: "I personally believe that over 90% of the shares that have been purchased from our current IPO are due in some way to Hal [Lindsey]’s TV reporting on Zion’s oil exploration activities. On his TV show, Hal openly spoke about John Brown & Zion Oil being an Evangelical Christian organization with Evangelical Christian Leadership!"  Evangelicals follow WorldNetDaily closely and it is logical to assume they are essential backers of Zion Oil, even though they must reconcile scientific oil exploration techniques with Creationism. WorldNetDaily also pushed the failed Ness Oil on the investing public, a bankrupt oil company which Hill Schwartz Spilker Keller LLC compared as closest in nature to Zion Oil for purposes of valuing Zion Oil prior to their IPO.
When the WorldNet-Devore link to Zion Oil was publicly discovered by Richard Bartholomew Lindsey made no public apology for failing to inform the public of his share ownership in the company he had publicly endorsed, Zion Oil. When Lindsey backed off, political commentator Joe Farah setup oilinisrael.net to push the idea of petroleum reserves under Israel, with much of the site dedicated to information about Zion Oil's exploration.
Farah's website about oil in Israel and Zion Oil features a video about the Ma'anit #1 well which has never produced one single drop of oil Zion Oil, Joseph Project Summary, Drilling para 1. Zion Oil & Gas. which tallies nicely with Farah's failure to produce one single disclaimer about any conflict of interest regarding his wife Elizabeth's interests in Zion Oil as the co-founder of WorldNetDaily where she serves as the Director of Marketing, with close ties to Zion Oil major shareholders Hal Lindsey, Ralph Devore and John Brown. Elizabeth Farah (Undated.). Learning Liberty. WorldNet Daily.
Besides the lack of an SEC disclaimer in pushing Zion Oil, Farah also fails to mention that the "oil in Israel foretold in the Bible" cannot be petroleum because energy-related petroleum products did not exist in Biblical times. The "treasure" in Biblical Israel was olive oil, because olive products were a major stipend in Biblical days, and olive oil was considered to be a treasure from God at the time.
Briefly, Joseph Farah is a right wing activist of Lebanese-Syrian descent. In 1990, Farah became editor of the now-defunct ultra-conservative Sacramento Union newspaper, owned for several years by Gulf Oil Billionaire and financier of right wing think tanks and causes, Richard Mellon Scaife. Farah co-founded the Western Journalism Center with James H. Smith, former publisher of the Sacramento Union. Farah is also a member of the secretive Council for National Policy. Farah is a big proponent of the Barack Obama citizenship conspiracy "Birther" movement, saying, "It'll plague Obama throughout his presidency. It'll be a nagging issue and a sore on his administration, much like Monica Lewinsky was on [President Bill] Clinton. It's not going to go away and it will drive a wedge in an already divided public."
The Tamar find and Jerome Corsi
When Zion's fortunes began to wane with its first dry well, the Tamar offshore find greatly boosted Zion Oil's prospects among those who believe the alleged Biblical prophesy about oil in Israel. For example, an article on WND by Jerome Corsi exclaimed that:
- "A huge deep-water natural gas find off the coast of Israel promises to be a boon to the Jewish state’s economy as well as a stimulus to other developers searching for offshore oil and natural gas in the Mediterranean. The find is significant for those who believe the Bible indicates Israel is sitting on a massive oil reserve that would reshape the geopolitical structure of the Middle East. The find also lends support to the abiotic theory of the origin of oil that holds oil is created naturally within the mantle of the earth, not by biological origins." 
How the Tamar find confirms the "abiotic oil" theory or proves a giant pool of oil lurks beneath Israel remains unexplained by Corsi to this day. Others may ponder the "abiotic" question posed, but Corsi's Biblical claims are questionable. The Bible says nothing about a "massive oil reserve" in Israel, the only mention of Naptha in the Bible is flammable muddy water which appears in 2 Maccabees, and relates to a Zoroastrian-influenced legend about a flame being preserved from the First Temple into the Second Temple period. All other references to oil in the Bible relate to olive oil, which was a very important stipend in Biblical times. Of course, there could be crude oil beneath Israel somewhere, but the Bible's authors had no interest in the subject of petroleum, because there was no reason for them to have any interest.
As with Joe Farah, Corsi maintains considerable credibility with the type of investor Zion Oil hopes to attract: Corsi is a confirmed Constitution Party member, Swift Boat author, and WorldNet Daily columnist. Corsi mixed his own weird brand of fake religion, economics, and psuedo-science to concoct his book "Black Gold Stranglehold"which intended to swift boat fossil fuels the same way Corsi swift boated John Kerry in the 2004 general election. Corsi is among an exotic group who believe oil is manufactured by the earth and is not a fossil fuel, which fits in neatly with an apocalyptic messianic religious view that the earth is only ten to fifteen thousand years old.
Among Corsi's credentials: he called for the impeachment of George W. Bush for being too liberal, and on August 15th, 2008, Corsi endorsed Constitution Party presidential candidate Chuck Baldwin, who campaigned to re-open the 911 investigations in support of the 911 Truth Movement.
In March of 2008, Corsi reported in WorldNetDaily that a "Muslim terrorist group with ties to criminal drug networks and al-Qaida" has given "strong support" to John McCain. Corsi is not a Republican and has complained that "the Republican Party is controlled by what used to be called the 'Rockefeller Wing'."
Zion oil's WorldNet Insider: Ralph Devore
WorldNet Daily's Hal Lindsey has been listed as a group member holding fifty thousand shares in Zion Oil & Gas since 2003. On April 1st of 2004 Mr. Lindsey made direct claims about "oil in Israel" finds on his radio show to highlight his interest in Zion Oil, however Mr. Lindsey provided no disclaimer about owning any interest in Zion Oil.
Another WorldNetDaily insider, WorldNet Director Ralph Devore, served as a Director of Zion Oil & Gas from June, 2001 until his resignation over a disagreement about Jewish participation in the company in December of 2004. Zion Oil documents filed with the SEC say this about Mr. Devore:
- "In July 2000, Zion entered into a financial advisory and services agreement with Ralph DeVore, before he was elected a director, whereby Mr. DeVore assisted us in a number of areas, including business structuring, investor relations, introductions to investment bankers and investors, and other related financial services. (emphasis added) Mr. DeVore was elected a director in June 2001. In August 2001 the agreement was extended through September 30, 2001 and Mr. DeVore was awarded another warrant, :this one (as provided in the agreement) giving him the right to purchase 40,000 shares of our common stock at $0.20 per share until December 31, 2004. As the 120,000 :shares, upon purchase, would be restricted shares and there was no public market, the awards were valued at $0. Following the expiration of the agreement, Mr. DeVore :continued to provide financial advisory services on an as needed basis.
In January of 2005 WorldNet Daily's primary link to Zion Oil hit the skids when a new report appeared on the Zion Oil website dated January 5th, 2005, announcing that WorldNet Director DeVore had resigned as a Director of Zion Oil in December of 2004.  However it is interesting to note that, despite the scandal, Devore did not divest his Zion Oil shares at that time, and Devore still holds considerable numbers of shares today, in 2009.
It seems the personal problems between Brown and WorldNet/Zion Director Devore began in July, 2004 over Jewish participation in the company thus diluting its "evangelical" character. On July 26, 2004, Director DeVore subsequently hand-delivered an exceedingly bizarre and disjointed letter of resignation full of Biblical quotations, exclamation marks and ponderous capitalization, addressed to Brown and VP Parry; the letter is filed with the SEC as "Exhibit x": EX-17 2 ex17-1.htm LETTER OF RESIGNATION AND RELATED CORRESPONDENCE,
- "Last night (Sat., 7-24) the Lord woke me up. I could not go back to sleep. He was troubling my spirit about Zion Oil! Lately I have been intensifying my prayer time, asking the Lord Jesus why Zion has not reached its minimum offering. I have been asking Him to show me what, if anything, is standing in the way of completing at least the $6.5 million minimum offering before August 31st."
- "Do the Majority of the Members of the Board of Directors reflect and will they fulfill and maintain the PRIMARY DIRECTIVE that applies to ANY group, body or corporate structure that professes, that openly proclaims to the world that it is an 'instrument of the Lord Jesus Christ,' that it is an 'Evangelical Christian Entity!' This profession, this open proclamation CANNOT BE ONLY WORDS! THE LORD DEMANDS THAT THERE MUST BE DEEDS, ACTIONS, AND UNDENIABLE EVIDENCE! If a bird walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, waddles like a duck – then it must be a duck!"
After complaining about the lack of corporate prayer, DeVore gets down to what’s really bothering him:
- "...The following is what the Lord Jesus through His Holy Spirit revealed to me (Devore) concerning the present state of Zion: 
- IS ZION OIL PRIMARILY AN EVANGELICAL CHRISTIAN CORPORATION? IS ZION OIL PRIMARILY A JEWISH ORGANIZATION? OR IS ZION 70% EVANGELICAL AND 30% JEWISH or THE OTHER WAY AROUND? IS ZION 50% EVANGELICAL AND 50% JEWISH? Some belief will dominate!…If the majority of Zion’s Leadership is guilty of vacillating between Christianity and Judaism, then the Word of God states that we are guilty of "Syncretism"! The MIXING OF GOD’S WORD WITH OTHER RELIGIONS! THE CHRISTIAN BIBLE CALLS THIS REBELLION TOWARDS GOD! IF THIS IS TRUE ABOUT THE MAJORITY OF ZION’S LEADERSHIP, THE WORD OF GOD ALSO SAYS WE ARE BEING DOUBLE MINDED."
Above, WorldNet/Zion Director DeVore claims Zion failed to strike oil in Israel because Jewish involvement amounted to "syncretism" thus angering God. (Syncretism as defined by the American Heritage Dictionary is the reconciliation or fusion of differing systems of belief. This is most evident in the areas of philosophy and religion, and usually results in a new teaching or belief system. Obviously, this cannot be reconciled to biblical Christianity.)
Then on August 6, 2004 Devore mailed a rather alarming letter to Zion President and COO Gene Soltero, expressing his displeasure at Jewish influence within Zion Oil:
- I thought about just resigning from Zion's board. I cannot do that because of the almost $500,000 that has been invested by people into Zion (Oil & Gas) because they believed what I told them about Zion being an Evangelical company. Furthermore, the Lord placed me on Zion's board, and He has not given me the freedom to resign. The Lord made it clear to me that I was guilty of and must share in the responsibility for the things that He did not see in Zion Oil.
- "SINCE MY ENCOUNTER WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT ON SATURDAY NIGHT, 7-24-04 I AM NO LONGER CERTAIN WHO IS THE LORD OF THE MAJORITY OF ZION OIL'S LEADERSHIP? DOES ZION OIL'S MAJORITY OF LEADERS FOLLOW THE TEACHINGS OF JUDAISM OR THE TEACHINGS OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST? WHAT DOES THE MAJORITY OF ZION'S LEADERSHIP BELIEVE IN- ARE THEY EVANGELICAL CHRISTIAN, AND IS JESUS CHRIST THEIR SAVIOR AND LORD OF THEIR LIFE?"
- "Some years ago, I introduced John Brown & Zion Oil to Hal Lindsey- For almost 50 Years Hal has been a EVANGELICAL CHRISTIAN: Minister, Author, Apologist and an Outspoken Supporter of the Nation of Israel. Hal became interested in Zion Oil because I told him that John Brown & Zion Oil were Evangelical Christian in belief, and followed Jesus Christ as Lord! Hal's interest in Zion was and is because it was Evangelical, because of his love of Israel, and because John Brown followed the Leadership of the Lord Jesus! Hal, after spending much time in prayer and because he also desired to see Israel acquire oil, reported what Zion Oil was doing in Israel on his International TV show. I personally believe that over 90% of the shares that have been purchased from our current IPO are due in some way to Hal's TV reporting on Zion's oil exploration activities. On his TV show, Hal openly spoke about John Brown & Zion Oil being an Evangelical Christian organization with Evangelical Christian Leadership! (added emphasis)
- "Hal's love of Israel is because he is an EVANGELICAL CHRISTIAN, NOT BECAUSE HE BELIEVES IN JUDAISM OVER THE TEACHINGS OF JESUS CHRIST!"
Brown then wrote to DeVore, urging him to resign or face being removed at the next board meeting in Israel. Concerning this meeting, Brown writes:
- In response to your many concerns voiced in our past discussions and in the letters and e-mails that you recently sent to Glen, Gene and myself, here are your two choices: the first choice is that sometime in late September (?) we will have our annual shareholder's and Board meeting in Tel-Aviv. Prior to that meeting you can resign or you can come to the meeting (at your own expense). Either way we are going to replace you with another independent director who would be legally qualified according to NASDAQ and SEC requirements (see Phil's memo attached). If you resign using this as the reason before the meeting you can do so with dignity, respect and save face with your family and friends. However, if you do not resign and choose to attend the meeting or choose to do nothing at all, the Board will still replace you. On the other hand, if you do attend, then I will expect that you will openly share your true feelings and concerns and tell our Jewish brethren exactly how you feel about them as non-believers in Jesus taking over Zion. Please keep in mind that the entire meeting and your personal remarks will then be a matter of public record and will then be distributed to all of our shareholders, i.e. did you tell Jacob Varon and the other Jews that you have solicited that Zion is only an evangelical :company?
Understandably, WorldNetDaily Director (and now former Zion Oil Director) DeVore takes offense to Brown's suggestion that he, Devore, is an anti-semite, so DeVore writes the following letter to Brown, which also documents how WorldNetDaily shilled for Zion Oil to attract Evangelical investors:
- Dear John:
- The memo from me that was given to you and Glen on Monday, 7-26-04, was strictly about concerns for the Spiritual state of Zion! It was written as one Christian Brother to another. It had nothing to do with political correctness, corporate legalities, discrimination or trying to violate someone's Constitutional rights. I have never been accused of being a bigot or prejudice in my entire life. John, as you know, in my 25 years of ministry I have mentored, taught and counseled hundreds of Afro-Americans, Asians, Hispanics, and people of other faiths. My e-mail to Gene was only written because you and Glen failed to respond in any manner to my genuine concern regarding Zion's present direction. The Holy Spirit just would not allow me any rest on this primary issue. The Spiritual issues were the direct results of several weeks of intensified prayer asking the Lord Jesus to reveal anything that might be standing in the way of Zion completing its Evangelical purpose. What I wrote to you was the result of those weeks of prayer! The prayer issue and Zion's primary purpose for being were directed to you and the other Evangelical followers of Jesus Christ, not to unbelievers, persons of other religions or people only interested in monetary gain. My prayer issue was similar to your recent e-mail asking everyone to pray for Israel and Zion Oil. I fail to comprehend how this issue differs from your recent prayer request. I am deeply troubled that you allowed someone with no Spiritual discernment or biblical understanding to respond for you. This appears to only confirm what the Holy Spirit revealed. What Gene believes about Jesus Christ is his concern, and was not the point of my question to him! However, if for some reason Gene does gain the control of Zion's future direction, then I believe I have earned the right to know what his vision for Zion would be. The following is what I now understand Zion's official position is according to Karen Soltero: Zion is a multi-cultural, multi-religious organization that corporately believes in everything and stands for nothing in particular. Zion Oil is more concerned about corporate legalities, the Constitution and offending someone, than in keeping the Word of God or the Leadership of Jesus. Hundreds of seed IPO investors purchased Zion shares after they were told by Hal Lindsey, you and me that Zion was an Evangelical Christian company. (added emphasis) Jesus Christ as the Lord now appears to be unimportant, and it seems as though no one has the right to raise this issue with John Brown or anyone else! Karen Soltero is a nice person. But she has not demonstrated any discernible evidence of being a disciple of Jesus Christ.
Remember, Zion Oil is allegedly an Oil Exploration company. But the final document from former CEO Soltero to DeVore reveals the real reason for DeVore’s sudden objection to non-Evangelicals working at high levels within Zion Oil:
- "To: Ralph DeVore
- Sent: Wednesday, December 29, 2004 2:12 PM
- Subject: Exercise of DeVore Warrants
- Dear Ralph:
- I have reviewed with John and other directors our conversation today and the emails we exchanged this week. Here is the corporate position: Effective August 6, 2004 you resigned from providing any director services. John Brown requested your formal resignation as a director which we have not yet received. You last communicated with us on August 10, 2004, in spite of repeated attempts to contact you. In our board meeting tomorrow the directors will ratify the decision of management to cease paying director's fees to you effective with the accrual of the fees through July 2004. Upon receipt of your resignation letter, we will send you a check for $7,000 past due director's fees. You are not welcome at our board meetings. Prior to and during the public offering registration process you repeatedly committed to organize presentations by John to large groups of prospective investors in the Houston area. After the effective date of our registration you failed to organize a single meeting. Based on your representations and commitments we went through the expensive process of qualifying by exemption to sell to Texas residents. This required us to have a minimum offering of $6.5 million which we failed to meet. Your inaction severely harmed Zion in two ways. If we hadn't relied on you for Texas investors we could have not required such a high minimum and our offering would have succeeded with the $3.7 million we did raise. We didn't see any of the money we thought would be coming from your arrangements and commitments. Attached are the minutes from the four meetings you missed, including board discussion relating to your behavior. Please do not call my cell phone again or bother me at home. You may communicate with me solely at the office."
Soltero explains to Devore that Zion Oil failed to reach its minimum offering because Zion took DeVore’s advice, but DeVore failed to keep his end of the bargain. DeVore's failing then caused him to cop out by claiming to 'receive a message from God' blaming the Zion rights offering fiasco on the fact that Jews were involved with the company, thus undermining Zion's Evangelical 'Born Again' character.  The reason for the foregoing bias is because Evangelicals believe Jews and non-Christians are living in error, and destined for damnation and destruction in the End Times. When WND discovered Rinberg was taking over as CEO and Jewish Zionists insisted on lead positions within management - in exchange for ZN exploration rights in Israel - WND flew the coop. But Brown had to get WorldNet Daily back in the fold to lure in more investors, and by 2007 he had done so.
But by early 2007 Brown acquiesced that WorldNet Daily was so essential to his "Vision" he could not afford to remain at odds with Devore. To appease WorldNet Director Ralph Devore after their big bust-up, Brown expressed his gratitude to DeVore and presented Devore with a gift of appreciation at the Stockholder’s meeting in 2007;  this was unexpected after Devore's spectacular falling-out with Brown over Jewish participation in the Zion Oil venture, when Brown forced Devore's resignation from Zion's BOD over the issue of Jewish participation in what Devore had assumed to be an "evangelical" corporation which excluded Jews.
The above would be exquisitely entertaining, if it were not so tragic. Essentially, millions of dollars were raised by WorldNet Daily in Texas based upon their belief that Zion Oil would be a "Christian Evangelical" Oil company operating in Israel with a minimum of Jewish participation. Brown had been offended by DeVore’s comments about Jews leading the corporation but DeVore is the Director of Hal Lindsey Ministries (and a cousin of Lindsey) so the potential media exposure was just too good for Brown to turn down. And we can only guess why WorldNet's DeVore chose to make up with Brown – despite "syncretism" which includes a rabbi who cites Qabbalists as foretelling that Israel will be God’s only bridge with the world when Armageddon comes - Devore probably jumped back on ship via some realization that Zion's share price had further to go.
The Ness Energy Connection: Philip Mandelker and WorldNet Daily
Ness Energy, which a corporate profile stated, "engages in the exploration, production, marketing, and transportation of oil and natural gas in Israel and the United States. On December 5, 2008, Ness Energy International Inc. filed a voluntary petition for liquidation under Chapter 7 in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Texas, Ft. Worth."
Even so, Ness updates claimed success at finding oil in Israel as late as 2004. An upbeat media release stated that "testing of the Gurim #4 well, outside of Arad, Israel proved to be successful in its attempt to prove that commercial production may be established ... after years of hard work and countless trips made by Ness management and its associates, physical, tangible Oil & Gas operations took place with the results being positive that oil could be produced from the Gurim #4 well."
Ness Oil's similarities in public pronouncements and approach to that of Zion Oil are striking.
But even more striking are the Evangelical and ideological similarities between Ness Oil and Zion Oil where Biblical prophecy is used to attract investors. "Love of Israel" was a major component in attracting investors to Ness Oil. In 1999 WorldNet Daily touted Ness Oil as a detractor of "Israel's Islamic enemies" and Hal Lindsey reported on Zion Oil in much the same light in 2004. (repeat the reference please - ed) In 1998 Kaye Corbett of WorldNet published the following glowing report on Ness oil entitled "Apocalypse Soon". In the article Corbett describes an Israeli drilling operation in cooperation with Isramco and Ness oil, where Ness Oil is described as a "Christian-owned" company. To Evangelicals the concept of a "Christian owned " company is key, and harks back to the dispute between Ralph Devore and John Brown.
Ness Oil was led by the late "Hayseed" Stephens, a larger than life Texan who played the counterpart to John Brown in Zion. Stephens frequently recited Biblical verse and made up prophecy to support his theories about oil reserves in Israel. For example, Stephen's claimed the Dead Sea, once known as the Valley of Siddim, "was in ancient times, a beautiful, lush region filled with bubbly lakes of oil, according to Genesis 13:10-11 and 14:10 with Jericho being its major trading center".
According to WorldNetDaily's Corbett:
- "Prominent born-again Christian oilmen have drilled in specific locations in Israel based on their interpretation of various Scripture references. Among them have been Gilman Hill, Andy Sorelle, Jr., and Canadian Lyle Harron. Hill invested $6 million at a drill site near Mount Carmel in the '70s. It came up dry. Sorelle also drilled during the 80's, on the Mediterranean, and spent millions on various leases throughout Israel. Harron spent nearly a decade at a Netanya lease, just north of Tel Aviv. Even the late Armand Hammer was dedicated to finding "black gold" offshore in the Mediterranean."
Articles and resources
Related SourceWatch articles
- Zion Oil & Gas, "Company History", Zion Oil & Gas website, accessed September 2009.
- Amazon Answers, "Where does Israel obtain its oil?", Where does Israel obtain its oil?, Nov 11, 2007.
- "Caspian Pipeline is Declared Open". BBC News (July 13, 2006.).
- Zion Oil & Gas, "About The Joseph Project", Zion Oil & Gas website, accessed September 2009.
- Zion Oil & Gas, "Zion Oil & Gas Reports First Quarter Results", Zion Oil & Gas, May 15, 2008.
- Richard Bartholomew, "Oil Company Stockholders on Spiritual Quest", Bartholomew's Notes on Religion, June 20, 2007.
- Zion Oil & Gas, "Operations Update # 18", 11 September 2009 – Operations Update # 18
- Fox Business News, "Oil Exploration in the Holy Land", Oil Exploration in the Holy Land, September 3, 2009.
- Aaron Klein, "Is Israel sitting on enormous oil reserve? Company uses biblical verses to locate drilling", WorldNet Daily, September 21, 2005.
- Matt Kennedy, "Using Scriptures as guide man searches for oil in Israel", Associated Baptist Press,, July 3, 2007.
- Zion Oil & Gas, "The Founder’s Testimony", The Vision and the Calling
- Zion Oil & Gas, "The Vision by John Brown", The Vision by John Brown., Undated
- Oil in Israel, "Zion Oil & Gas Sponsors Christians United For Israel’s (CUFI)", Zion Oil & Gas Sponsors Christians United For Israel’s (CUFI), July 20, 2008.
- Oil in Israel, "Interview Between Pastor John Hagee & John Brown", Interview Between Pastor John Hagee & John Brown, Nov 15, 2008.
- YouTube, "John Brown Founder of Zion Oil Interview", John Brown Founder of Zion Oil Interview With Pastor David Davis, Feb 27, 2009
- WorldNetDaily, "Israel, nation of miracles", WorldNetDaily website, April Fools, 2004.
- SEC 10-K filing 12/31/04, "ZN SEC 10-K filing 12/31/04, EX-9.II", ZN SEC 10-K filing 12/31/04, EX-9.II, Dec 31, 2004.
- Zion Oil SEC SB-2/A filing, "Zion Oil & Gas Inc SB-2/A 9/11/03", Zion Oil & Gas Inc SB-2/A 9/11/03, Sept 11, 2003.
- Zion Oil & Gas SEC Filing Ralph Devore "SEC Filing Results RALPH DEVORE", Zion Oil & Gas SEC Filing Ralph Devore, Various Dates.
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