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Friday, February 17, 2017

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Every week, we post from seven to ten news stories from Israel with a suggested prayer focus and scripture for each one, guiding readers how to pray for Israel’s most urgent needs. This Prayer Update is also sent to over 18,000 subscribers every Friday by e-mail. Please contact us at intl.office@bridgesforpeace.com if you would like to receive this Prayer Update by e-mail.

Netanyahu, Trump Meeting Reaffirms “Unbreakable Bond” between Israel and the US

by Ilse Posselt

PM Benjamin and Sara Netanyahu with US President Donald and Melania Trump

Thursday, 16 February 2017 | The get-together started on an almost sociable note. Prime Minister Netanyahu and American President Donald Trump are, after all, friendly acquaintances and have seen eye-to-eye on a number of issues over the past few years. Yet yesterday’s meeting at the White House in Washington D.C. was the first time Netanyahu and Trump shook hands as world leaders.

Ever since US Press Secretary announced the meeting some two weeks ago, the get-together has been the topic of much speculation, controversy and expectation. Many within Israel and abroad waited in eager anticipation to find out what the two world leaders would discuss, agree about and possibly differ on. Following a joint press conference hosted by Netanyahu and Trump yesterday morning, the wait is over.

International and Israeli media agree that the primary issue emanating from the conference is what The New York Times describes as “President Trump jettison[ing] two decades of diplomatic orthodoxy … by declaring that the United States would no longer insist on the creation of a Palestinian state as part of a peace accord between Israel and the Palestinians.”

Backing away from the US’s customary commitment to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Trump is the first American President “to refrain from pledging allegiance to the idea of a two-state paradigm and to open the door to the possibility of alternative ideas to achieve peace between Israeli and Palestinians, as well as, in the wider region,” The Jerusalem Post reports.

“I am looking at two states and one state,” Trump told reporters. “I am very happy with the one that both parties like. I thought for a while the two-state might be easier to do, but honestly … if Israel and the Palestinians are happy, then I am happy with the one they like the best.”

For his part, Netanyahu did not abdicate from his commitment to the idea of two states for two peoples. The prime minister alluded to his continued support for the solution, saying that his opinion on the matter “has not changed” since he discussed the two-state option for the first time in 2009.

The two world leaders continued to hint that there might be a new idea for regional Middle East peace on the horizon. The initiative would capitalize on warming relations between Israel and other Sunni Arab states in the region who had strengthened ties over the past year in response to the Iranian threat.

“We can seize an historic opportunity because for the first time in my lifetime and for the first time in the life of my country, Arab countries in the region do not see Israel as an enemy, but increasingly as an ally,” Netanyahu said.

The prime minister continued to explain that the need to seek alternative peace initiatives can be ascribed to the Palestinian Authority’s [PA] blatant refusal to acknowledge Israel as a Jewish state as well as its continuous indoctrination of Palestinian youth to hate Jews. “We have to look for new ways, new ideas, on how to reinstate and how to move peace forward,” he held. “And I believe that the great opportunity for peace comes from a regional approach from involving our new found Arab partners in the pursuance of a broader peace and peace with the Palestinians.”

Trump echoed Netanyahu’s sentiments, adding that peace with Israel would only be possible once the Palestinians cease indoctrinating their people and inciting violence and terror.

“I think the Palestinians have to get rid of some of that hate that they are taught from a very young age,” Trump said. “They are taught tremendous hate. I have seen what they are taught. It starts at a very young age and it starts in the school room. And they have to acknowledge Israel. They are going to have to do that. There is no way a deal can be made if they are not ready to acknowledge a very, very great and important country. And I think they’re going to be willing to do that also.

Referring to the idea of an alternative approach to peace between Israel and the Palestinians, Trump revealed that he had already discussed such plans with Netanyahu. The initiative, he claimed, is “something that is very different that has not been discussed before. And it is actually a much bigger deal—much more important deal in a sense. It would take in many, many countries and would cover a very large territory. We are going to have … other players at a very high level, and I think it might make it easier on both Palestinians and Israel to get something done.”

Aside from the Palestinian issue, the conference also touched on the matter of Iran. Trump undertook to prevent the Islamic Republic from obtaining a nuclear weapon and reiterated his belief that the 2015 nuclear deal struck between Iran and world powers is one of the “worst” he has ever witnessed.

“My administration has already imposed new sanctions on Iran, and I will do more to prevent Iran from ever developing—I mean ever—a nuclear weapon” he vowed.

Both world leaders spoke of the other in admiring terms and the press conference resounded with mutual praise. Trump referred to Netanyahu as “my friend,” and hailed the “unbreakable bond with our cherished ally,” Israel.

The US and the Jewish state, he added, enjoyed a relationship based on shared values and a commitment to advancing “the cause of human dignity. American and Israel,” he explained,” are two countries that cherish the value of all human life.”

“I want the Israeli people to know,” Trump assured, “that the United States stands with Israel in the struggle against terrorism.”

Netanyahu added that there is “no greater supporter of the Jewish people and the Jewish state than President Donald Trump.”

There was, however, a slight point of strain during the conference, when Trump requested Netanyahu to “hold back” on construction in Judea and Samaria. Looking in Netanyahu’s direction, Trump asked, “Both sides will have to make compromises—you know that, right?”

“The Israelis are going to have to show some flexibility,” he continued. “And I think they will do that.”

The press conference took place ahead of a meeting between the two world leaders that lasted a number of hours. Discussion points on the agenda included the policy positions between Israel and America as well as the main issues in the Middle East, including Iran, Syria, the Islamic State and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, 16 February 2017)

Photo Credit: Benjamin Netanyahu/ Facebook

Prayer Focus
Offer petition to the Lord to keep His hand upon PM Netanyahu, guide his steps and lead him with wisdom. Give thanks for his successful meeting with President Trump and continue to pray for their relationship and negotiations towards peace in the Middle East.

Scripture

Uphold my steps in Your paths, that my footsteps may not slip. I have called upon You, for You will hear me, O God; incline Your ear to me, and hear my speech.


- Psalm 17:5-6

Action
Continue to pray for your government and those in authority. Pray for good moral standards, integrity, obedience to God and justice to be done uprightly. Remember those who serve: police, fire fighters, nurses etc.

US Backs Israeli-Arab Alliance to Counter Iran, ISIS

The White House press conference with PM Netanyahu and President Trump

Friday, 17 February 2017 | The Trump administration is in talks with Sunni Arab states about having them form a NATO-like mutual defense organization to counter Iran and the Islamic State which would share intelligence with Israel, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday. The coalition would consist of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Jordan, and would be open to other Arab countries as well.

“They’ve been asking diplomatic missions in Washington if we’d be willing to join this force that has an Israeli component,” one Arab diplomat told the Journal. “Israel’s role would be intelligence sharing, not training or boots on the ground. They’d provide intelligence and targets. That’s what the Israelis are good at.”

According to the Journal, “In talks with administration officials over the past two weeks, Emirati and Saudi officials have expressed admiration for Israeli security and intelligence capabilities, tacitly agreeing to pool intelligence with the Israelis if the alliance is formed.” Saudi Maj. Gen. Ahmed Asiri said, “With Israel, we don’t have official relations…[But] the Israelis are facing the same Iranian threat, exactly like us.”

It is currently unclear how far talks have progressed on the alliance which would include a mutual defense pact for the Arab countries involved and would receive military and intelligence support from the United States. Middle East officials told the Journal that Arab diplomats in Washington have discussed the plan with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Mike Flynn, who served as President Donald Trump’s national security adviser before resigning on Monday. Before Flynn’s resignation, diplomats said that the initiative would be raised during Mattis’ upcoming visit to the region.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has often mentioned warmer relations between Israel and Sunni Arab countries. “For the first time in Israel’s lifetime and my lifetime, Arab countries in the region do not see Israel as an enemy but as an ally,” Netanyahu said during a press conference with Trump at the White House on Wednesday. He also alluded to a new regional peace initiative that would take advantage of the stronger partnerships Israel now has with Arab states.

Source: (This article was originally published by The Israel Project, in its publication The Tower on 16 February 2017. Time related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Ashernet

Prayer Focus
Glorify the Lord for the increased cooperation between Israel and the Sunni Arab countries. Pray for PM Netanyahu and the rest of his government, asking the Lord to give them wisdom to see beyond the surface in these relationships. Pray that Israel will safely negotiate the shifting alliances and put their trust in the Lord alone.

Scripture

…the sons of Issachar who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do…


- 1 Chronicles 12:32a

Police Stop Palestinian Terrorist Running towards Playground with Knife

Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron, Israel

Tuesday, 14 February 2017 | The Border Police arrested a 17-year-old female Palestinian who drew a knife and ran at an officer nearby the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron on Saturday afternoon, the Israel Police announced later that evening. The Palestinian, who was not injured, was transferred to security forces for investigating.

According to a statement from the Israel Police, the would-be attacker walked up to a checkpoint outside the holy site at about 4:35 pm. She there identified uniformed members of the Border Police, who are tasked with security at the Cave of the Patriarchs, drew a knife and began to run at one of the officers.

The Border Policeman saw her running towards him with a weapon, and he aimed his weapon at the young Palestinian. She began to run towards a nearby playground where children were playing.

He ran after her and managed to outflank her, positioning himself between the terrorist and the children. He and other members of the Border Police aimed and cocked their weapons at the girl, who then stopped and threw her weapon to the floor.

The 17-year-old resident of Hebron was arrested and taken for questioning by security forces.

Source: (Ynetnews originally published this article on 11 February 2017. Time related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Utilisateur:Djampa - User:Djampa/ Wikipedia

Photo License: Wikipedia

Prayer Focus
Urge the Lord to stop the enemies’ plans of using men, women and children to hurt, stab or kill innocent Israeli citizens and children. Bring the nation of Israel before the Lord asking that they will be vigilant, pay attention to their surroundings and protect the children. Cover the security forces and the IDF in prayer and ask God's angels to surround them.

Scripture

Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me; You will stretch out Your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and Your right hand will save me.


- Psalm 138:7

Hard-line Terrorist Elected as New Hamas Leader

by Ilse Posselt

Gaza city skyline

Tuesday, 14 February 2017 | He is a self-confessed murderer with multiple convictions for brutally killing Palestinians. He is the architect behind a number of terror attacks, a volatile hard-line extremist who earned himself a spot on the United States’ terrorism blacklist in 2015. After serving part of a life sentence in an Israeli prison, he was released in 2011 as part of the prisoner swap to free kidnapped Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit. And now, Yehya Sinwar has been elected to lead Hamas into what Israelis dread could be an era of intensified violence, terror and war against the Jewish state.

A Hamas official announced yesterday that Sinwar had been picked to head up the terror group ruling over the people of Gaza. The 55-year-old terrorist takes over the reins from current Gaza leader, Ismail Haniyah, who is allegedly running for the leadership of Hamas’s political bureau. Hamas’s current political bureau head, Khaled Mashaal, announced recently that he would be stepping down.

Sinwar’s curriculum vitae of terror, murder and bloody mayhem is an extensive one. Born in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza strip into a family of radical fighters, he was the founding fathers of the notorious al-Majd, the brutal intelligence wing of Hamas’s military unit. Sinwar was sentenced to serve four life sentences in an Israeli prison for executing a number of Palestinians accused of collaborating with the Jewish state. Moreover, Sinwar seemed to take tremendous pride in the manner in which he executed his victims. During the 1980s, he went by the nickname, “The Man of the Twelve” in reference to the 12 Palestinians he boasted of killing with his bare hands. According to The Times of Israel, the number is sure to have increased over the past 30 years.

While incarcerated, he continued to act as the mastermind behind various terror attacks against Israel. Then, 22 years into his prison sentence, Sinwar was released as part of the 2011 Gilad Shalit prisoner swap deal.

At the time of his release, The Times of Israel called Sinwar the “most senior prisoner released and clearly destined for leadership.” In the six years since his return to Gaza, he has earned a name as one of Hamas’s most radical and ruthless members, orchestrating various arrests, torture and executions, including that of a senior member of Hamas’s military wing. During Operation Protective Edge in 2014, Sinwar also served as one of the main military leaders.

Sinwar spent the past few years amassing and consolidating political power in Hamas and even though he is not the head of the terror group’s military or political wing, many regard him as the strongest man in the Strip.

The official website for Hamas’s military wing sports a profile for the new Gaza leader, describing him as “silent, active and [possessing] a unique ability to dialogue and persuade people to revert back to Islam as a way of life.”

Dr. Kobi Michael, a senior research fellow at Israel’s Institute for National Security Studies, told The Times of Israel that Sinwar “represents the most radical and extreme line of Hamas.”

“He is affiliated with Iran,” The Times of Israel quoted Michael as saying. “He is supported by Iran. And he prefers the Iranian axis and the cooperation with ISIS in Sinai. I think that the idea that he was elected is something that indicates … winning of the extremist and the radical line in Hamas.”

There seems to be no doubt that the newly elected leader of Hamas in Gaza will continue to fulfill the organization’s charter to bring about the demise of the Jewish state. It is also widely accepted that he is a rigid extremist—even in comparison to other role-players in Hamas—has little regard for human life and an appetite for violence. Yet what makes Sinwar particularly dangerous, The Times of Israel claims is his unpredictability.

Nothing about Sinwar’s future leadership bodes well for the Jewish state. In fact, according to Israeli lawmakers, the election reveals Hamas’s true intention which is to prepare for the next time the terror organization takes Israel on in battle.

“The hardliners, the supporters of extremism and militant actions are leading Hamas,” said former Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) director and Member of Knesset (Israeli government) Yaakov Peri. “They will focus their activities on preparations to the next round [of war] with Israel.”

Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Chairman and also a former Shin Bet director, Member of Knesset, Avi Dichter, added “Hamas leadership sees the world through the rockets, the tunnels and the attacks on Israel…”

Sinwar’s appointment, he warned, meant that the Jewish state should prepare for a future confrontation with Hamas earlier than originally anticipated.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, 14 February 2017)

Photo Credit: Public Domain/ Wikipedia

Photo License: Wikipedia

Prayer Focus
Bring God’s people before the Lord and ask for protection against this radical and ruthless leader who is disguised in sheep’s clothing and is deceiving his own followers. Pray for the leadership and security forces of Israel for wise counsel as to dealing with the new Hamas leader.

Scripture

My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.


- Psalm 121:2-4

Israel’s Efforts to Guard Against Golan Becoming Another Front

by Itamar Eichner

Israel’s northern Golan Heights’ border with Syria

Monday, 13 February 2107 | A 16-page document presented on Sunday by Minister of Construction Yoav Galant during the cabinet meeting offers a far-reaching political and strategic plan whose ultimate goal is to block the growing Iranian threat to Israel’s northern border.

Galant, who is a member of the Security Cabinet and a Maj. Gen. (res.), plans to thwart the formation of an Iranian-Syrian-Lebanese “axis of evil.”

It would be in Israel’s best interest to prevent a Shiite hegemony in Damascus, impede the formation of a corridor between Iran and Hezbollah and push toward recognition of Israeli sovereignty in the Golan as part of a future settlement with Syria.

Implementation of the plan, surmised Galant, would also be of interest to the US, Russia, Europe and the moderate Sunnis—who are supposed to serve an integral part in the plan’s execution.

According to the plan, the US will lead a global coalition, some form or other of “task force,” to rehabilitate Syria with an investment of dozens of billions of dollars.

The Russians will make this possible in exchange for international recognition of Moscow’s centrality in the plan and its right to maintain a stronghold in the Middle East, the center of which is occupied by Syria. The war-torn country’s rehabilitation with the assistance of international funding will be contingent upon Syrian recognition of Israel’s sovereignty in the Golan.

Galant proposed that Trump’s administration conditions the monetary investment by having the Russians block Iran’s involvement in Syria. The US and Israel will support the replacement of President Assad—as long as it serves Russian interests.

The Iranians currently hold complete or partial control of four capitals: Tehran, Beirut, Bagdad and Sana’a, and their power is gradually growing in Syria through their ally Assad and the assistance of Hezbollah and other Shiite militias.

A northern Israeli border under Iranian-Shiite control and Russian protected centers of power in Damascus paint a dangerous scenario for Israel.

Galant’s plan is designed to prevent the Golan from becoming another front in the Iran-Israel conflict.

Source: (Ynetnews originally posted this article on 12 February 2017. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Masterpiz9 at en.wikipedia/Wikipedia

Photo License: Wikipedia

Prayer Focus
Implore the Lord for the success of the plan submitted in this report. Pray that it will give Israel’s leaders strategic understanding of the complex military and diplomatic situation in the Golan Heights and the wisdom to know how to respond to the threats posed by the instability in Syria.

Scripture

The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.


- Proverbs 18:10

Bnei Menashe: Members of the “Lost Jewish Tribe” Come Home

by Ilse Posselt

Bnei Menashe family arrives in Israel

Friday, 17 February 2017 | They are known as Bnei Menashe (sons of Menashe). This small community living in north-eastern India, on a patch of land pocketed between Myanmar and Bangladesh, has been exiled from Israel and separated from their people for nearly three millennia. Yet their faithful Judaism is not the result of adopting a new religion through a conversion process. The Bnei Menashe, the descendants of one of the ten lost tribes of Israel, the tribe of Menashe, have merely returned to the faith of their forbearers.

According to the community’s website, the Sons of Menashe trace their lineage back to the Assyrian exile from the Northern Kingdom of Israel in 721 BC across the silk route before finally settling down in India and Myanmar. Now, following 2,700 years in exile, 102 sons and daughters of Menashe came home to the Promised Land this week.

“After 27 centuries of exile, this lost tribe of Israel is truly coming home,” explains Michael Freund, founder of Shavei Israel, a non-profit organization that works to return “lost” and “hidden” Jews to Israel. “But we will not rest until all the remaining Bnei Menashe still in India are able to make aliyah (return to Israel) as well.”

The past few years have seen some 3,000 Bnei Menashe return to the Promised Land. A further 7,000 remain in India awaiting their homecoming. The current group of new immigrants will live in Nazareth following in the footsteps of other Bnei Menashe who have already settled in the central Israeli city.

According to Freund, this week’s arrivals mark the launch of Operation Menashe 2017. “Over the course of the coming year, with God’s help, we will bring a total of more than 700 Bnei Menashe immigrants to Israel—the largest-ever airlift in a single year.”

This week’s happy homecoming also held a hint of sadness. Among the group of new immigrants were Mizmor Sharon and her two children. Her husband died two weeks ago after a long battle with cancer.

“My children and I are heartbroken that their father did not live to see his dream of making aliyah come true,” said Sharon. “But we are excited to be making this journey and to honor his legacy by building our new lives in the Jewish homeland. I am sure that he will be with us in spirit with every step that we take on the holy soil of Israel.”

Editor’s Note: Bridges for Peace works closely with Shavei Israel, providing funds for transportation and other expenses to bring the Bnei Menashe to Israel. Once they are in the Land, we provide them with practical assistance to help them establish new homes. Please consider joining us in this effort with a donation (click here).

Source: (Bridges for Peace, 17 February 2017)

Photo Credit: Shavei Israel

Prayer Focus
Offer thanksgiving for God's promises that give Jewish people around the world hope of returning to their inheritance, the land of Israel. Pray for the sons of Menashe to experience God's tender love and care as they face a new lifestyle and the challenges of learning the language. Pray for the children to make new friends and adapt in school.

Scripture

For God will save Zion and build the cities of Judah, that they may dwell there and possess it. Also, the descendants of His servants shall inherit it, and those who love His name shall dwell in it.


- Psalm 69:35-36

BDS Crowds Disrupt Israeli UN Ambassador’s Lecture

by Itamar Eichner

BDS Activists

Wednesday, 15 February 2017 | Activists of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions Movement (BDS) disrupted a lecture being delivered by Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon Monday evening to some 300 students in Columbia University in New York.

Carrying signs urging boycotts against Israel, the vociferous activists drowned Danon’s speech to the chants of “Free Palestine, from the river to the sea,” “Israel is a terrorist state” and “Israel has no right to exist,” and the like.

About 100 activists assembled outside the lecture theater while screaming slogans against Danon, against Israel and against the immigration policies of President Trump.

Shortly thereafter, they barged their way into the theater to prevent it from going ahead.

In light of the calls of incitement from the activists, Danon turned to the student agitators directly.

“We will not be quiet in the face of lies that you spread about Israel. We will continue to make our voice heard and we will continue to insist on our righteous truth,” he said.

Danon then invited the activists to listen to his lecture. “Instead of inciting and lying, sit in the seats and maybe you will learn something.”

He went on to say that the slogans espoused by the students represented the same problems endemic to the Palestinian people.

“This is precisely the problem of the Palestinians. They lie, incite and don’t recognize Israel’s right to exist. But I have an announcement for those students—the people of Israel will never leave the Land of Israel,” Danon said to the sounds of a rapturous applause by pro-Israel students and neutral members of the audience.

Throughout the attempts to muffle his lecture, the pro-Israel students responded with their own booing against the hostile BDS crowd before the latter were duly removed and distanced from the lecture theater.

Once the tensions had been abated, Danon addressed the distortion of facts prevailing in the UN, manifested most conspicuously by countless anti-Israel resolutions adopted by its members.

“With the help of the new administration in the US we will see a new era in the UN, an era in which Israel receives fair treatment like all countries in the world.”

Source: (Ynetnews originally posted this article on 14 February 2017 |. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Takver/ Wikipedia

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Praise God that Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, demonstrated fearlessness by directly addressing students who favor economic discrimination against Israel, asking them to sit and listen to the truth. Bring the youth before God, praying for discernment and asking Him to stir a supernatural, powerful love for Israel among all.

Scripture

I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live.


- Deuteronomy 30:19

Action
We serve a God who can do exceedingly more than what we can imagine. Bring your friends and family members who are against Israel or unaware of the truth before Him, praying that they will experience a change of heart.

Winter Is Back—a Rainy Week in Israel

by Ahiya Raved

A rainy morning in Jerusalem

Friday, 17 February 2017 | Editor’s note: Rain has continued to fall in Israel since this article was originally published on 12 February. In Jerusalem, 36mm (1.4 in) of rain fell from Sunday through Wednesday.

It had rained throughout the night (Sunday) and some areas in the Greater Haifa area suffered from flooding with over 30 mm (1.2 in) of rain. Among others, a tunnel in the Haluzey Hataasia Street in Haifa was flooded where a man drowned in December.

Parts of road 58 and Yoseftal Street in Kiryat Yam were also heavily flooded. Rescue teams were called to the affected areas to aid stranded vehicles.

The heaviest amount of rain registered on Saturday was in the northern coastal plain, as the floods clearly showed. Acre had 55 mm (2.2 in) of rain and Haifa had 36 mm (1.4 in). Meteo-tech meteorologist, Lior Sudri, said that we are at the beginning of a very wintery week, where most rain would be concentrated in the south part of the country but could very well spread to the rest of the country over the week.

“This climate is expected to last until Friday and, according to our data, we should expect increases in precipitation in the early hours of the morning with a chance for floods,” Sudri said.

There was snowing in Mount Hermon and in the middle of the week there is expected snowing in northern Golan Heights.

 

Source: (Excerpt of article originally published by Ynetnews on 12 February 2017. Time related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Katelyn Whitaker/ Bridges for Peace

Prayer Focus
Rejoice in the Lord for the bountiful blessing of rain in the land. Pray that the much-needed rain will fall in the catchment areas and raise the level of the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee).

Scripture

Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.


- James 5:17-18

Action
It is so easy for us to always complain about the weather; when it is dry we whine and when it rains we ask God to stop it. We should ask forgiveness for words we speak in vain and ask Him to work in our hearts and guide our mouths as He is the Creator of all.

Israeli Device Reduces Need for Repeat Breast Cancer Surgery by 50%

Medical team performing surgery on a patient (illustrative)

Tuesday, 14 February 2017 | Clinical trials of a revolutionary Israeli device have shown that the device cut the need for repeat surgeries by 50 percent for women who undergo lumpectomies, a procedure to remove breast tumors, The Times of Israel reported Thursday.

MarginProbe, made by Israel-based Dune Medical Devices, allows a surgeon to examine cancerous tissue removed from a breast to ensure that there are no malignant cells on its outer boundaries. The pen-like probe reads electromagnetic waves from the tissue and indicates on an attached console whether or not its edges are healthy. The surgeon can remove more tissue as needed to ensure the affected area is clear of malignant cells before closing the patient up.

Without MarginProbe, surgeons do not have an immediate way to detect cancer cells on the margins of a tissue sample and must send it to a lab. Lab results can take a few weeks, and if they come back positive — as one in four samples do — patients will need to undergo a second surgery.

“We have developed the only technology in the world that has a commercial product that allows surgeons in operating rooms, in real time, to check the margins of the tumor, identify cancerous tissue and decide on the spot if more tissue needs to be removed or not,” Gal Aharonowitz, general manager in charge of Israeli operations, told the Times.

MarginProbe, which won FDA approval in 2012, is used in more than 100 hospitals in the United States and 12 in Israel. Its usage in commercial settings has seen a reduction in repeat surgeries by as much as 80 percent.

Dune Medical is currently in talks with Israel’s Health Ministry to adopt MarginProbe as a standard of care. This would allow hospitals to be reimbursed for its usage, leading to wider adoption in Israel.

According to Aharonowitz, each surgery requires a new probe, which costs $1,000 in the U.S. and isn’t typically covered by insurance. While the cost can be prohibitive, a repeat surgery could run between $6,000 to $9,000, a recent Wall Street Journal article noted.

Dr. Tanir Alweis, a breast surgeon and medical director at the Sarah Markowitz Breast Health Center at Kaplan Medical Center in Rehovot, has used the device on roughly 100 patients and described it as “very, very user friendly.”

While Alweis acknowledged that MarginProbe occasionally returned false positives — indicating cancerous cells when later lab work showed that they were not present — she said that “false positives are a small price to pay for the improvement in the re-operation rate.” The trade-off, Alwees said, “is worth it.”

Dr. Alice Police, a breast cancer surgeon at UC Irvine Health who performs about 300 surgeries annually, said in a video at Dune’s website, “I think it is the biggest advancement in breast cancer surgery in a generation.”

“When we have to tell a patient that they need a second surgery because the margins aren’t clear from the first surgery, it is just devastating for the patient psychologically,” she added.

Source: (Excerpt of article published by The Israel Project, in its publication The Tower, on 09 February, 2017. Time related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Franck Boston/ Shutterstock.com

Prayer Focus
Cry out for all the women who are dealing with breast cancer and pray for comfort and emotional healing. Offer thanksgiving to the Lord for blessing Israel with knowledge to invent the MarginProbe and in turn allow Israel to bless the nations.

Scripture

For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well.


- Psalm 139:13-14

First Female Soldiers Trained for Rappel and Rescue Team

by Isaac Dabush

Female IDF soldier in training for rappel and rescue team

Thursday, 16 February 2017 | Six female soldiers have started training in a CRR course (climbing, rappelling and rescue) which the IDF [Israel Defense Forces] has opened for women for the first time.

Graduates of this prestigious eight-month course will go on to train soldiers in IDF’s most classified elite units in counter-terrorism and rescue missions in both urban and mountainous terrain.

As part of the course, the participants—nine men and six women—will train for different scenarios in multiple field conditions around the country that will simulate the rescue of civilians and combatants. The girls’ participation in the course will require of them to extend their enlistment for eight more months so they will serve as much time as their male counterparts.

“I’m happy to get the opportunity to be part of the first mixed-gender CRR course,” said Private Ofir Shmuelov, one of the six female soldiers to be accepted to the program. “I have no doubt that the burden of proof is on us girls, and I hope we will rise to the challenge. I really want to successfully finish this challenging and interesting training.”

All the participants in the course are soldiers who know and love climbing. The girls who got accepted understand that their success will determine whether more women will be accepted to this course in the future.

“A CRR instructor is a duty that requires professionalism, understanding, physical capabilities and responsibility,” offered Private Ruth Yitzhaki, another female soldier to be accepted to the program. “I feel honored to be part of this program, especially in the first time this course integrates women. I hope not to disappoint. Our training is not expected to be easy, but I’m sure we will succeed and go on to train IDF’s elites to do a perfect job. We have quite a responsibility on our shoulders, and we’re aware of that.”

“The unique nature of CRR is that it’s the only field to incorporate climbing, rappelling and rescuing from difficult terrain in the IDF,” explained Major S., the head of the underground combat department in the Counter Terrorism Unit (CTU). “At the end of the day, the participants will do their job about 300 feet [91.4 meters] above ground while being responsible for the safety of either trainees or injured. Their work must be uncompromisingly professional and safe. Participants in the course travel throughout the country, both to have different training fields and to simulate the different kinds of terrain they must learn and adapt to.

“The field of CRR is supposed to provide an answer to combat, rescue and evacuation problems in challenging heights and depths which it does for IDF soldiers as well as police officers. After close examination we learned that women had a lot to contribute in developing the field, and so we decided to open the option of CRR course instructors to them.

“Throughout the course both men and women will rappel from great heights, something that requires high capabilities—both personal and as part of a team—and the ability to overcome complex difficulties in various conditions. Additionally, participants will learn to instruct and command, as they will be responsible for training combatants and also direct training and rescue teams in a real time scenario.”

Source: (Ynetnews originally posted this article on 15 February 2017. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: IDF Spokesperson's Office

Prayer Focus
Intercede for the female soldiers of the IDF and give thanks for their bravery and backbone to participate in often very dangerous positions to serve their country. Ask God to bless these women with muscle strength, wise words of encouragement and special friendships as they undertake to protect and aid their fellow country men.

Scripture

But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.


- Isaiah 40:31

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