Israel Prayer Update

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 19,000 subscribers every Friday by e-mail. Fill out the form on the side if you would like to receive this Prayer Update by e-mail.

  1. Islamic State Threatens to Topple Hamas, Takeover Gaza
  2. Israeli Hurt in Drive-By Shooting Succumbs to Wounds
  3. Netanyahu: Iran Agreement Becoming Worse by the Day
  4. Israel Captures Hamas Cell in Judea-Samaria
  5. Israel, Jordan Discuss Reopening Dome of Rock to Non-Muslims
  6. “Syria Is That Way,” Netanyahu Tells Anti-Israel Flotilla
  7. Jewish Worldwide Population in 2015 Is Nearly 16 Million
  1. Islamic State Threatens to Topple Hamas, Takeover Gaza

    by Brian Schrauger

    The flag of the Islamic State Wednesday, 1 July 2015 | According to Yoram Cohen, head of Israel's internal security agency, the Shin Bet, Hamas is losing its ability to govern Gaza. Its chief contender for power is the Islamic State, also known as ISIS.

    The infamous terror organization sweeping across the Middle East has established itself in Gaza, Cohen says. In the context of a broader strategy, Islamic States' objective is to replace Hamas. In a video released two days ago, ISIS militants addressed themselves to Hamas and the party of President Mahmoud Abbas, Fatah. "We will uproot the State of the Jews," it begins, then adds, "and you (Hamas) and Fatah."

    Ynet News, an Israeli website news agency, made this its headline story today. The attending Reuters article reports that "Islamic insurgents [have] threatened to turn the Gaza Strip into another one of their Middle East fiefdoms."

    Excerpts of the ISIS video, with English subtitles, are carried by the Jerusalem Post.

    The video's opening banner, colored gold and black, carries a production title in Arabic and English. It says, "A Message to Our People in Jerusalem." Accordingly, its first threat is to "uproot the State of the Jews." It quickly adds threats to Hamas and Fatah.

    The basis for Islamic States' challenge of Hamas, according to its video, is that it has not established Islamic Sharia law. "Eight years [Hamas] has ruled the area," says one of two men who narrate. Eight years, he protests, and Hamas has "not implemented one fatwa for Allah." A "fatwa" is establishment of law based on the ruling of a recognized authority who is always an imam of Sharia Islam.

    "The rule of Sharia [Islamic law] will be implemented in Gaza," promises the narrator. And, he threatens, it will be implemented "in spite of you. We swear that what is happening in the Levant today...will happen in Gaza."

    Yesterday Israel's Minister of Intelligence, Yisrael Katz, put the matter in context. Speaking at the Intelligence, Terror and Special Forces conference in Herzliya, Katz said that Hamas and ISIS are working together in Sinai where they are smuggling weapons and plotting terror attacks. "The Egyptians know this, and [so do] the Saudis," he noted.

    "At the same time," he added, "within Gaza, ISIS has been flouting Hamas."

    About four weeks ago, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) issued a report with a forecast that accurately predicted a spike in ISIS terror operations during Islam's month-long celebration of Ramadan. The purpose for these attacks, it said, was to further Islamic States' ambition to establish a global caliphate—an Islamic theocracy. Accordingly, its aim is destabilization of governments, a process it has begun in the Middle East. Its plan to destabilize countries outside the Middle East begins by drawing them into military engagement in that same region.

    In the context of this agenda, Islamic States' activities in Gaza and the Sinai are clarified. Its likely objective is to provoke wars with Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Israel, drawing in a mixture of Western support and condemnation. Either response furthers the ISIS goal of destabilization.

    Outside Israel, in the Sinai Peninsula, ISIS partners with Hamas to destabilize Arabic states. Inside Israel, however, it is making a bid to replace Hamas, believing it is better able to attack, provoke and destabilize Israel.

    Accordingly, there are reports that, behind the scenes, Israel is not only working with Saudi Arabia and Egypt to thwart Iran, it is also negotiating with Hamas to evict the Islamic State. Israel's likely appeal to Hamas: use your heads and keep them too. Odd bedfellows indeed, in such a time as this.

    Source: (Bridges for Peace, 1 July 2015)

    Prayer Focus

    Pray that God will protect the nation of Israel. ISIS plans to target Christians and Jews in Israel. Pray that their plans will be thwarted.

    Scripture

    Hear my cry, O God;
    Attend to my prayer.
    From the end of the earth I will cry to You,
    When my heart is overwhelmed;
    Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

    - Psalm 61:1-2

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  2. Israeli Hurt in Drive-By Shooting Succumbs to Wounds

    by Roi Yanovsky

    Malachi Moshe Rosenfeld Friday, 3 July 2015 | Malachi Moshe Rosenfeld, 25, who was seriously wounded at a drive-by shooting attack near Shilo on Monday night, succumbed to his wounds at the Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem on Tuesday, his family said.

    Initial investigation found that two terrorists ambushed Israeli vehicles in a car with Palestinian plates on the Alon road, a side road, but relatively well-lit, near the settlement Shilo. Shortly before 11 PM, the terrorists noticed an Israeli vehicle traveling their way, and opened fire at the front of the car from short-range. At least 15 9 mm bullets hit the Israeli car.

    The terrorists continued firing at the vehicle even after the driver made a sharp turn towards the settlement Migdalim. After driving for 200 meters more, the Israeli vehicle stopped and its passengers called for help.

    The terrorists managed to flee the scene in their car. Palestinians have complete freedom of movement on this road, as they do on all other main roads in the West Bank—this is not expected to change following the attack.

    The IDF decided on Tuesday to reinforce its presence in the West Bank with an additional infantry battalion from the Nahal Brigade as a result of the recent spike in terror attacks in the area. The battalion will deal with defensive operations.

    A high ranking official in the IDF said, "There is no collective punishment to the Palestinian population, and the steps that have been taken are a direct result of the current situation assessment and intelligence picture."

    "The moment we get our hands on the perpetrators of the recent attacks we believe that the attacks will stop," he added. "The coordination with the Palestinian security forces continues as do the conversations with the settlers."

    He also stressed that Israel was "far from what happened in the second intifada notwithstanding recent attacks. The recent attacks are a local group, and there is no connection between the attacks. There is no terror infrastructure behind the attacks."

    'Malachi took on big brother role'

    Rosenfeld, the son of popular Israeli clarinetist Eliezer Rosenfeld, was a graduate of the Machon Lev technological yeshiva in Jerusalem, and was studying at the Hebrew University.

    Rosenfeld's parents, Eliezer and Sarah, expressed frustration at the lack of safety they felt due to the deteriorating security situation.

    They asked "security forces and those whose job it is to do as all free countries do and provide us with security." They also decried the fact there were "no appropriate responses" to the recent series of attacks.

    The two parents said that since they lost Malachi's older brother, an IAF pilot who died on a trip to Tze'elim Stream in the Judean Desert in 2002, "Malachi took the big brother role upon himself. He has a lot of love to the younger children in the family."

    After learning of his son's passing, Eliezer told Ynet that Malachi "was a exceptional child, very clever, rationalist, genius and sensitive... he was always victorious and was the king of the world. Yesterday he only went to play basketball, came back to the settlement and was murdered in cold blood. This is a terrible tragedy."

    Rosenfeld's cousin Ariel Bar Asher said that "Malachi was very much like his brother who died, both externally and internally. He had a good soul, friendly, pleasant, a genius and brilliant... he took charge of the family after his brother was killed. He was about to finish his bachelor's degree in a month."

    The family consented to a request from the National Transplant Center to donate Malachi's cornea. "This is a big mitzvah," his father said.

    'Terrorists fired for maybe 5 seconds'

    Yair Hoffer, who was lightly wounded in the shooting, recounted the attack on Tuesday morning. "When we returned from the basketball game, a vehicle was slowly driving in front of us, and suddenly we heard the shots and realized we were being shot at," he said.

    "Thank God, we were a few meters away from the junction. If I had been driving, we might have been closer to the junction and it would have been easier for them to aim. I didn't see how many people were there. I guess they shot about a magazine. When they were done they didn't drive very fast, they drove slowly, I think they were debating whether to leave the vehicle. I crawled outside through the window.

    "When the shots start you just curl up and try to protect your head. I will never forget the feeling, it's just helplessness. When someone decides to try to take your life, and you didn't do anything to him. Decided to try taking your life because he realized you're a Jew. And you're helpless…

    "It's also important for me to say, they say 'settlers', like if it were in Tel Aviv it would be different. I'm a settler, what does that mean? I grew up in Jerusalem and I looked for a nice place with a community to raise my children."

    Another one of the wounded, Hananel (Hani) Cohen, 26 from Kokhav HaShahar, was the one who drove the car that came under the terrorists' fire.

    Cohen is hospitalized at the Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem's Ein Karem with a bullet wound to his leg.

    He said that the Kokhav HaShahar basketball team was playing a game in the settlement of Eli as part of the Binyamin Regional Council's league, which ended at around 10 PM.

    "At 10:50 PM, at the Gideon Junction on a road going from Esh Kodesh to the Alon road, I identified a car coming from the left and had the right of way. I slowed down and let him pass. It went into the junction and instead of driving on, it slowed down. We saw a gun barrel peeking out of the front window and it started shooting. It was a short weapon, looked like an X-95 but the bullets were different," he said.

    "It fired for maybe five seconds. I tried to step on the gas and veer to the other direction but the car did not respond. After a few shots, the terrorists' car started driving south. My car crawled in the opposite direction. I drove maybe 150 meters and dialed the police at the same time," he continued.

    "I realized we were all wounded. Both of the friends sitting in the back got out. Behind us came a vehicle and an officer came out of it and started providing us with help. After that another car arrived and several minutes later another military vehicle that realized what was happened. I was in the best situation, relative to the others. I tried to talk to the police and Magen David Adom and update them on what happened."

    Source: (Ynet News originally published this article on 30 June 2015. Time related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)

    Photo Credit: Ministry of Foreign Affairs

    Prayer Focus

    Pray for a cessation of attacks, which have increased during the Islamic holiday of Ramadan.

    Scripture

    He delivers me from my enemies.
    You also lift me up above those who rise against me;
    You have delivered me from the violent man.

    - Psalm 18:48

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  3. Netanyahu: Iran Agreement Becoming Worse by the Day

    Prime Minister Netanyahu Wednesday, 1 July 2015 | Yesterday was supposed to be D-day. The deadline for hammering out terms of a deal with Iran that, allegedly, would restrict its nuclear activities to peaceful, civilian purposes was set for 30 June 2015. In exchange for restricting its weapons-grade nuclear program, there would be an end to crippling economic sanctions against Iran.

    Yet as the clock struck midnight last night, no comprehensive deal was forthcoming. Instead, the deadline was pushed forward another week to “allow more time for negotiations to reach a long-term solution,” the US State Department said.

    The failure to reach the cut-off date did, however, not come as a surprise. “It has been clear for days that talks would run past the deadline on Tuesday,” reports The Wall Street Journal.

     The week running up to yesterday’s deadline proved particularly telling.

    In a public speech, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei set out to change the goalposts when he listed a number of new red lines. They included various demands for concessions on a range of issues that the Obama administration had already assured lawmakers, and journalists were settled in for the last round of talks in Lausanne, Switzerland.

    Earlier this week, Obama declared that he is prepared to walk away from a “bad deal,” unless Iran accepts a tight monitoring regime for its nuclear activities.

    For his part, Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu has made no bones about his convictions regarding the emerging Iran nuclear deal. Coining the term, a “bad deal,” he has said repeatedly that it will not stop Teheran from getting atomic weapons.

    Now, Netanyahu believes, things have gone from bad to worse.

    Addressing the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Netanyahu made the following statement...

    "In the nuclear talks, to my regret, what we are seeing are Iran's increasing demands, and the major powers' concessions which are also increasing, in keeping with the Iranian pressure. This agreement is going from a bad agreement to a worse agreement, and is becoming worse by the day."

    "In effect, it is paving Iran's way to being not only a major power with one or two nuclear bombs, but with an unlimited arsenal within a decade with the possibility of achieving several atomic bombs beforehand, by violating the monitoring which, in any case, is full of holes."

    "In addition to this, the agreement also gives Iran many billions of dollars, apparently hundreds of billions of dollars, within a short time, which will allow it to finance its increasing aggression, first of all the murderous stranglehold it is using around the State of Israel, but also in other parts of the Middle East that are subject to its aggression, such as Yemen, Iraq and many other places."

    "Therefore, there is both a conventional threat and a non-conventional threat, which in my view will heighten the nuclear arms race in the Middle East."

    "For all of these reasons, this is a bad agreement. I appreciate the fact that there is a broad consensus within the State of Israel against this agreement. There are also increasing voices in the West against this agreement; they understand the significance its implementation would have on global security, theirs as well."

    Source: (Excerpts from the speech originally published by The Prime Minister’s Office on 29 June 2015. Time related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)

    Photo Credit: GPO/ Haim Zach

    Prayer Focus

    Pray that all bad deals with Iran will fall apart, and that world leaders will clearly see the real motivations of Iran’s leaders.

    Scripture

    'I am zealous for Jerusalem
    And for Zion with great zeal.
    I am exceedingly angry with the nations at ease;
    For I was a little angry,
    And they helped—but with evil intent.'

    - Zechariah 1:14-15

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  4. Israel Captures Hamas Cell in Judea-Samaria

    Thursday, 2 July 2015 | The Shin Bet, Israel’s security intelligence service, announced yesterday that it had broken up a Hamas-linked terror cell in the West Bank, The Times of Israel reported. The group was reportedly in the planning stages of a major terror attack. Though the arrests have been made over the past few months, an official announcement came yesterday, during a recent increase in terror attacks that have claimed the lives of two young men, one of whom was buried yesterday.

    The terror group was run by a Hamas operative in Qatar, and consisted of about 40 members concentrated around the city of Nablus. During the arrests, the Shin Bet found around four million shekels in cash and gold, which the group had been selling to fund its operations.

    “The Shin Bet said the Nablus cells were run from Qatar, by Hussam Badran, a Hamas spokesperson and a native of Nablus.

    "Badran, operating under Saleh al-Arouri, the Turkey-based head of Hamas operations in the West Bank, sent messages to the operatives in Nablus via ‘email channels,’ the Shin Bet said, apparently referring to non-direct messages, and laundered the money into gold jewelry transported into the West Bank from Jordan.

    "Anan Fatuah and Samih Aliwi, West Bank shop-owners, allegedly received cash from a Nablus couple that had traveled to Jordan for medical care but were, in fact, a forward unit of Hamas. The couple, Bassam and Mona Sayih, allegedly transferred the funds to Fatuah, who bought gold in Jordan and sold it along with Aliwi in their shop, funneling the money to Hamas operatives.”

    Last year, Badran threatened terror attacks against Israelis in the West Bank.

    Last year, Israel foiled a Hamas attempt to overthrow the Palestinian Authority government in the West Bank.

    25-year-old Malachy Moshe Rosenfeld died on Tuesday night from injuries sustained in a terrorist attack the previous day. Rosenfeld and three of his friends were leaving a basketball game when a Palestinian assailant near the West Bank community of Shvut Rachel ambushed them.

    IDF (Israel Defense Forces) soldiers have been deployed to the West Bank, where they have established multiple checkpoints and inspected vehicles, according to officials. IDF Spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner said it wasn’t clear if the attack was carried out by an independent individual or group, or was the work of a larger organization.

    Source: (The Israel Project, in its publication The Tower, originally published this article on 1 July 2015. Time related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)

    Photo Credit: Israel Defense Forces

    Prayer Focus

    Pray for Israel’s security forces, that they will have courage as they protect their people.

    Scripture

    Though an army may encamp against me,
    My heart shall not fear;
    Though war may rise against me,
    In this I will be confident.

    - Psalm 27:3

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  5. Israel, Jordan Discuss Reopening Dome of Rock to Non-Muslims

    by Ilse Posselt

    The Dome of the Rock Wednesday, 1 July 2015 | Some 15 years after barring its gates to all but Muslims, the doors to the Temple Mount sites might soon open to Jewish and Christian visitors alike, Haaretz reported yesterday.

    A new report by the Brussels-based NGO, International Crisis Group, says that, for several months, Israel and Jordan have been locked in negotiations over readmitting non-Muslims to religious sites on the Temple Mount. The report is scheduled for publication today.

    If negotiations are successful, both the Jewish State and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan reportedly stand to gain. Israel, which currently controls security on the Temple Mount, believes that reopening religious sites to paying visitors will act as an incentive to the Muslim Waqf to maintain peace on the holy site. The Waqf, a religious trust responsible for day-to-day religious affairs on the Temple Mount, has in the past functioned under the authority of the Palestinian Authority (PA). In recent years it has, however, increasingly submitted to Jordanian rule.    

    The rules regulating visitation to the Temple Mount have changed with the turbulent times plaguing Jerusalem. Until 2000, all visitors—regardless of religion or ethnicity—were welcome at the Mount’s religious sites, including the Dome of the Rock shrine, the al-Aqsa Mosque and the Islamic Museum. However, with the outbreak of the Second Intifada in 2000, the doors to the Temple Mount sites were shut to all but Muslims.

    Today, non-Islamic visitors are restricted to walkways on the perimeter of the Mount. Moreover, all non-Muslims are strictly prohibited from praying anywhere on the site.  

    Should current negotiations prove successful, it will mark the first full coordination between Israel, Jordan and the PA on the Temple Mount in 15 years.

    The claim in International Crisis Group’s report remains, however, uncorroborated. Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu’s office denies the existence of such talks. “There are no negotiations and no change in the status quo at the Temple Mount,” an official told Haaretz.

    In recent years, allegations of a change in status at the Temple Mount has often served as a spark to a powder-keg. Just last fall, Jerusalem and the West Bank were embroiled in violent uprisings and terror attacks as rumors ran rife that the Jewish State planned to increase Jewish access and allow Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount.

    The tide of violence only subsided after repeated assurances from Netanyahu that Israel had no intention of changing the status quo.

    The Temple Mount is widely regarded as one of the Old City of Jerusalem’s most important religious sites. Judaism holds it as the holiest place, as it is here where God’s divine presence is said to be manifested more than any other place on earth. Moreover, the Temple Mount is also the location where both the First and Second Temple stood.

    Judaism’s claim to the Temple Mount is vigorously disputed by Muslims. Claiming that the presence of Judaism’s First and Second Temple on the site are untrue, they call it exclusively their own, naming it the third holiest site in Islam. According to Muslim tradition, it is the place from where the Prophet Mohammad made a miraculous nighttime journey in the year 621 CE. Traveling 666 nautical miles from Mecca on a specially gifted horse, he ascended into heaven where he engaged in dialogue with Allah before returning to Mecca that same night. In honor of the prophet’s “visit,” the al-Aqsa Mosque and Dome of the Rock were constructed in 637 CE after the Muslim conquest of Jerusalem.

    These two claims by Judaism and Islam make the Temple Mount one of the most contested religious sites on earth.   

    Source: (Bridges for Peace, 1 July 2015)

    Photo Credit: Bridges for Peace

    Prayer Focus

    This is the place that God chose to put His name—His dwelling place.  Pray that it will be open for Christians and Jews to visit and worship God Almighty.

    Scripture

    For now I have chosen and sanctified this house, that My name may be there forever; and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually.

    - 2 Chronicles 7:16

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  6. “Syria Is That Way,” Netanyahu Tells Anti-Israel Flotilla

    by Ilse Posselt

    Freedom Flotilla III Coalition Monday, 29 June 2015 | Yesterday Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu penned a letter to anti-Israel activists aboard Freedom Flotilla III as it approached Israel’s waters. The stated intent of the flotilla was to breach Israel’s maritime blockade of Gaza in order to deliver and provide humanitarian aid. Israel delivers 800 truckloads of aid to Gaza every day.

    “Welcome to Israel,” Netanyahu wrote. “Perhaps you meant to sail somewhere not far from here—Syria.” After the message was written but apparently before it was delivered, three of four boats in the flotilla reversed course, returning to their ports of origin. Flotilla organizers gave no explanation. For its part, the flagship vessel, the Marianne av Göteborg, carried on.

    Early this morning the Israeli Navy boarded the Marianne. The vessel is registered in Sweden.

    The Israel Defense Force (IDF) reported that, “in accordance with international law, the Israeli Navy advised the vessel several times to change course.” In spite of the warning, activists aboard the Marianne failed to heed numerous diplomatic communiqués and continued on its course.

    After exhausting alternatives, Israeli Naval forces boarded the ship. No incident or injury was reported. “The vessel is currently being escorted to Ashdod Port and is expected to arrive within 12-24 hours,” the IDF statement said. Upon arrival, the 18 activists and journalists aboard the Marianne face immediate deportation.

    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released a statement shortly after the mission, congratulating the Israeli Navy and security forces for “their determined and efficient action in detaining the passengers on the ship that tried to reach the Gaza coast in contravention of the law.”

    Calling the flotilla “nothing but a demonstration of hypocrisy and lies,” he condemned its support for the terror organization Hamas, while turning a blind eye to the appalling human rights violations and carnage sweeping the rest of the Middle East.

    Addressing the flotilla organizers’ objective of “keep[ing] up international pressure that the blockade should end,” Netanyahu stressed that the blockade is imposed under strict adherence to international law and enjoys the full support of a committee of the United Nations (UN) Secretary General.

    “There is no siege on Gaza,” he said. “Israel assists in transferring goods and humanitarian equipment to Gaza—approximately 800 trucks a day that have recently brought into Gaza more than 1.6 million tons of goods [since January 2015]. Moreover, Israel assists in hundreds of humanitarian projects, through international organizations, including the building of clinics and hospitals.”

    In his letter to the activists, Netanyahu wrote, “Welcome to Israel! It appears you’ve made a mistake along the way. Perhaps you meant to sail somewhere not far from here—Syria. There, Assad’s regime is massacring his own people every day with the help of the murderous Iranian regime.”

    “In contrast, here in Israel, we are dealing with a situation where terrorist organizations such as Hamas are trying to harm innocent civilians,” the letter continues. “In the face of these attempts, we are protecting the citizens of Israel in accordance with international law.”

    According to Netanyahu’s letter, Israel remains committed to humanitarian aid that benefits the residents of Gaza. Under no circumstances, however, will the Jewish State tolerate delivery of weapons to terrorist groups committed to its destruction. “Only a year ago, we thwarted an attempt to smuggle by sea hundreds of weapons intended for use against innocent civilians.”

    Questioning the flotilla’s stated motive, Netanyahu’s letter continued, “If human rights really interested you, you wouldn’t sail in solidarity with a terror group that executes Gazans without trial, and uses Gazan children as human shields.”

    The Prime Minister’s missive concluded an expression of regret that the anti-Israel activists have never taken the time to gain first-hand experience of life in the Jewish State. “If you were to travel around in Israel, you would see for yourself that the only stable democracy in the Middle East guarantees equality for all its citizens and freedom of worship for members of all religions; it is a country that upholds international law so that its people can live in safety and its children grow up in peace and quiet.”

    Israel’s limited blockade of Gaza is a security buffer with the purpose of preventing weapons, fighters and explosives from reaching the Hamas terror organization. The partial blockade was initiated in 2006 when Hamas kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. A year later the Jewish State was forced to strengthen the blockade, as the Islamist terror organization seized control of the coastal enclave, turning Gaza into a launching pad for rocket and terror attacks against Israeli civilians. Openly committed to the destruction of the Jewish State, Hamas has spent the last decade stockpiling weapons and waging an ongoing war of terror against Israel.

    While Israel’s security measures and blockade on Gaza has eased significantly in recent years, Egypt’s military blockade of Gaza has intensified. That country’s blockade of Gaza is relative to the Sinai Peninsula where Hamas is said to help fuel a jihadist uprising. By all accounts, Egypt’s blockade of Gaza’s related shores is much more restrictive than Israel’s.

    There are no published plans by any nation or group to protest Egypt’s blockade of Gaza.

    Source: (Bridges for Peace, 29 June 2015)

    Photo Credit: www.facebook.com/FreedomFlotillaCoalition

    Prayer Focus

    Pray that Netanyahu will be strong and courageous as he fights for Israel’s security.

    Scripture

    Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go.

    - Joshua 1:7

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  7. Jewish Worldwide Population in 2015 Is Nearly 16 Million

    by Itamar Eichner

    Monday, 29 June 2015 | Seventy years after the Holocaust, the number of Jews worldwide is close to returning to what it was before World War II—nearly 16 million Jews, a report issued by the Jewish People Policy Institute (JPPI) has revealed.

    Before the Holocaust, there were some 16.6 million Jews across the world. After the Nazis' mass extermination, only around 11 million Jews remained in 1945.

    According to the report, since the end of the war in 1945, the number of Jews in the world consistently increased, reaching some 14.2 million in early 2015. The past decade, between the years 2005-2015, saw the biggest jump since the end of the war, with an over 8 percent increase.

    These estimates are based on halacha (Jewish religious law) criteria for those living in Israel and self-identification for those living outside of Israel.

    Two other sub-groups that could be included among the Jewish people are immigrants to Israel and descendents of Jews who are not considered Jews according to halacha law and are defined "irreligious" (350,000), and "partial Jews" who live mainly in the US –mostly descendents of mixed couples—who number at some half a million.

    Adding these groups to the tally would bring the number of Jews worldwide to nearly 16 million.

    In 1948, Jews were 82 percent of the population in the newly-created State of Israel. By 1958, Jews were 89 percent of the population. Since then, however, there has been a gradual decline in the rate of Jews in the general population, bringing them to only 75 percent in 2015.

    Outside of Israel, where about 6.1[million] Jews live, the largest Jewish population is in the United States. In 1957, there were 5 million Jews in the US, a number that increased to 5.7 million in 2013. This fairly minor increase is caused by a balance of a low birth rate on one hand and a positive immigration rate on the other.

    The JPPI, an independent think-tank based in Jerusalem, will present the 11th annual report to the government on Sunday. Alongside the demographic aspect, ministers will hear about issues affecting Israel-US ties and be briefed on Israel's ties with the Diaspora (Jews living outside Israel).

    Jews Worldwide

    Israel – 6,103,200
    United States – 5,700,000
    France – 475,000
    Canada - 385,300
    Latin America – 383,500
    Britain – 290,000
    Russia – 186,000
    Germany – 118,000
    Australia – 112,500
    Africa – 74,700
    South Africa – 70,000
    Ukraine – 63,000
    Hungary – 47,900
    Iran – 20,000
    Asia – 19,700
    Romania – 9,400
    New Zealand – 7,600
    Morocco – 2,400

    Source: (Ynet News originally published this article on 26 June 2015). Time related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)

    Photo Credit: Ashernet

    Prayer Focus

    Pray that God will protect the Jewish people around the world and give them a desire to join their people in Israel.

    Scripture

    'For behold, the days are coming,’ says the Lord, ‘that I will bring back from captivity My people Israel and Judah,’ says the Lord. ‘And I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it.’

    - Jeremiah 30:3

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