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. In Israel, 5 Civilians Murdered in a Single Day
  2. Catching Terrorists in the Act
  3. Israel Outlaws Radical Islamic Movement
  4. Palestinian Terror Claims Father, Brother of Bride-to-Be
  5. Israel Raises Estimate of Hezbollah’s Rocket Arsenal to 150,000
  6. The Final Wave of Ethiopian Aliyah
  7. PA Leaders Blame Israel for Paris Terror
  8. After Paris, Who Will Fight ISIS?
  9. Israel Unveils 1,700-Year-Old Mosaic
  10. Mountain to Valley Relay Race
  1. In Israel, 5 Civilians Murdered in a Single Day

    by Elior Levy, Roy Yanovsky, Elisha Ben Kimon, Yoav Zitun

    Ezra Schwartz, 18, one of five killed in terrorist attack Friday, 20 November 2015 | Five civilians were killed in two terrorist attacks in Tel Aviv and the West Bank on Thursday in the deadliest day of terror yet to strike the country during the current violent escalation began in October.

    The first incident took place just outside a synagogue in the Panorama building on Ben Tzvi Boulevard in Tel Aviv on Thursday afternoon. According to witness reports, a terrorist armed with a knife attacked the first victim, who managed to stumble into the synagogue after being stabbed. Other worshippers managed to close the door as the attacker attempted to follow the wounded victim in. The assailant then proceeded to stab several people in the building, killing two Israelis—Reuven Aviram, 51, and Aharon Yesiav, 32, and leaving two others wounded.

    Yesiav lived in Holon and worked at a store in the building. He was a father of five, the youngest of whom was born four months ago. He went to pray before the attack and witnesses told his father that he protected other worshippers: "He was the one who saved the people and shielded them with his body from the stabber."

    Aviram, 51, from Ramle, was killed while praying. His only son Uriel, 25, found out about his father's death after he saw his body on the ground in a video he received on whatsapp. "He was a humble man, who was taken from us before his time," his son said.

    The assailant, a 36-year-old resident of Dura near Hebron, with no criminal record, was seriously wounded and was taken into custody.

    Less than three hours later, an Uzi-wielding Palestinian terrorist killed three people and injured several others after he drove his car onto the shoulder on the congested road leading from Alon Shvut to Gush Etzion junction. The terrorist took advantage of a traffic jam, bypassed several cars, and then opened fire at the vehicles. The terrorist managed to murder three people in his attack: 18-year-old American volunteer Ezra Schwartz, Yaakov Don, 49, and Shadi Arafa, 40, a Palestinian citizen of Hebron.

    Schwartz was part of a group of Yeshiva volunteers from Bet Shemesh, who travelled to the area in order to hand out food to soldiers. The group was on its way back home before the attack took place. Schwartz came to Israel as part of a program in which young people come to Israel for nine months of volunteer work.

    Don, the son of holocaust survivors, and a doctoral student for education technology at Haifa University,  who had previously served as an educational envoy, was a resident of Alon Shvut, and a father of four.

    Arafa, 24, was from the village of Dir Samat near Hebron. The Palestinian Health Ministry, an official PA [Palestinian Authority] body, later released a notice stating that Shadi Arafa was killed by Israeli forces. However, the terrorist was captured, not shot, and it was not clear whether Israeli forces had even fired shots. Arafa's body was set to be transferred to the PA on Thursday night.

    Yuval Lasri, who overpowered the terrorist at the scene, said: "I stood in the traffic jam and heard gunfire. The terrorist rammed a car behind me. I got out of my car, pushed his gun away and threw him on the ground. I didn’t shoot at him because I wasn’t sure that he was the terrorist, but then I saw the gun next to him and understood that he was."

    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said of the attack: "The murderous terror has struck Gush Etzion and Tel Aviv. My heart is with the families of the murdered and I send my wishes for a speedy recovery to the wounded.

    "Whoever condemned the attacks in France needs to condemn the attacks in Israel. It's the same terror. Whoever does not do this is a hypocrite and blind," the prime minister concluded.

    Hamas released a statement praising the attack, connecting it to the fact that Israel still holds the bodies of several recent Palestinian attackers who were killed by security forces.

    Source: (Ynetnews originally published this article on 19 November 2015. Time related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)

    Photo Credit:

    Prayer Focus

    Intercede for God’s people, His special treasure in all the earth, as they mourn the loss of these five men. Pray that the world will heed the call of Benjamin Netanyahu to condemn these vicious murders.


    For you are a holy people to the LORD your God; the LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth.

    - Deuteronomy 7:6

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  2. Catching Terrorists in the Act

    by Roi Yanovsky

    Surveillance cameras (illustrative) Wednesday, 25 November 2015 | The Jerusalem Police's Mabat 2000 unit operates some 400 security cameras all over the Old City. These cameras have documented many of the terror attacks that plagued the nation's capital in recent weeks, and these cameras have helped police track down the perpetrators who got away.

    "Mabat" is an acronym in Hebrew that stands for "technological surveillance center," as well as a word which means "look."

    The unit, whose cameras give real-time footage of almost every alley in the Old City, has been security forces' eyes for awhile. Its members have identified terrorists many times, leading to their quick arrests.

    The unit is expected to receive a significant upgrade soon, with new and improved cameras replacing older models.

    "We have a 95 percent identification rate, there's nothing like it anywhere else," said Doron Turgeman, commander of the Jerusalem police's David subdistrict, "I think any police commander would dream of something like this."

    "The unit was established ahead of the year 2000, ahead of the Pope's visit, due to a multiplicity of attacks on Jews, and terrorist attacks in the Old City. The idea is to prevent and identify. With time, our technology and methods have been upgraded," said Mabat 2000's commander, Superintendent Shahar Ivgi.

    The unit's command center has dozens of screens that show what's happening in the Old City in real time. "All of the forces in the field get the same real-time reports. We also know how to prevent attacks before they occur," Ivgi said.

    He demonstrates this when he shows a video from one alley near one of the Temple Mount's gates, in which Mabat 2000 officers identify a masked man coming towards police officers in the field. After getting the report from the command center, the officers were prepared.

    It's important to note, however, that the unit's cameras don't cover the Temple Mount area, and the Israeli-Jordanian initiative to put cameras at the Mount will not be part of the unit's operations.

    Sgt.-Maj. Rotem Benbenisti-Cohen, now responsible for the unit's training, aided in the arrest of a terrorist a few months ago which she found after an attack at the Damascus Gate.

    "I came in for the morning shift and the night shift supervisor briefed me there was a screwdriver stabbing attack at the Damascus Gate, and that the attacker had fled," she said. "For me, there is no such thing as not finding someone. I started to dig and scan, one camera after another, going back and extracting more details. The attack happened at night, so I focused on his sideburns, the young face, I focused on several things—the bag, the shoes, several markers that could help me find him at other hours of the day, because the picture changes."

    When Benbenisti-Cohen and another officer scanned the area, they saw the suspected terrorist return to the scene of the attack. "He was holding a sandwich, eating, and looking at the cameras," Benbenisti-Cohen said.

    At this point, the two officers directed police in the field to the suspect, who was arrested in a nearby alley. When he was interrogated, it turned out that the man had committed another stabbing attack months before, at the Jerusalem light rail station on HaNevi'im Street, which hadn't been solved up to that moment.

    "If he hadn't been caught, he could have gone on," Benbenisti Cohen said.

    Source: (Ynetnews originally posted this article on 18 November 2015. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

    Photo Credit: Paweł Zdziarski/

    Photo License:,_Gdynia.jpeg

    Prayer Focus

    Give thanks for the technology that allows security forces to see suspicious behavior and prevent spontaneous attacks in the Old City. Pray for all the security forces that stand watch in Israel, asking the Lord to keep them alert and ready.


    Hide me from the secret plots of the wicked, from the rebellion of the workers of iniquity… That they may shoot in secret at the blameless; suddenly they shoot at him and do not fear. They encourage themselves in an evil matter; they talk of laying snares secretly; they say, Who will see them?

    - Psalm 64:2, 4–5

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  3. Israel Outlaws Radical Islamic Movement

    by Brian Schrauger

    Sheikh Raed Salah Wednesday, 18 November 2015 | What does a nation do when terrorism is provoked and glorified in the name of religion? As democratic nations today, like France, wrestle with Islamic terrorism, the determination to protect citizens could easily devolve into totalitarian atrocities.  

    How does a country dedicated to protecting civilian lives protect those lives without sacrificing freedom? Freedoms like thinking for one's self, expressing those thoughts, advocating attending convictions, and publicly worshiping according to conscience?

    As a nation and a people that have struggled with this issue since birth, Israel is a living example of how to protect itself without succumbing to tyranny. 

    In spite of inevitable frictions between cultures with profound differences, Israel is a democracy in which, albeit imperfectly, all minority groups share equal civil rights with the majority. It is also a State in which minority members can achieve the highest positions in government, academia, business and entertainment. Arab Muslims in Israel serve in its Supreme Court, military command, Foreign Ministry and more.

    So, when Islamic leaders inside the Jewish state call for its destruction and incite the slaughter of its citizens, what does Israel do? This week, once again, Israel is not just talking about the problem of protecting itself and its essential freedom; it is showing the world how it is done.

    Sheikh Raed Salah has been a Muslim leader in northern Israel since the 1980s. In recent years, he has served as the head of the northern branch of a group called, Islamic Movement in Israel. Its mandate is to advocate for Islam in Israel especially among its Arab citizens. Salah is also affiliated with Hamas, a terrorist organization headquartered in Gaza that is dedicated to Israel's complete destruction.

    In recent years, Salah has been pounding his Islamic pulpit with messages like these documented statements:

    "The finest moment in our destiny is when we meet God as shaheeds (martyrs) in Al-Aqsa Mosque... The streets of Jerusalem will be purified by the blood of the innocents whose souls were taken by the Israeli occupation soldiers..."

    "It is impossible to live in coexistence with the ‘Occupation' (i.e. Israel) and its presence in Al-Aqsa, and the solution is its disappearance forever."

    In these quotes, Al-Aqsa is a reference to the entire Temple Mount complex in Jerusalem's Old City. Abhorrent words, but do they threaten the lives of Israeli citizens? Without ambiguity, Israel says yes, they do.

    This week Israel's National Security Council issued a finding that this kind of speech by Salah and his organization "resulted in rioting on the Temple Mount and in the current wave of terrorism against Israelis in the West Bank [Judea-Samaria], Jerusalem and the rest of Israel, in which 14 Israelis have been murdered." Accordingly, Israel has declared that the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel is unlawful. Now that the organization is illegal, "under Israeli law, any group or person belonging to an unlawful organization—or any person colluding with the organization—is committing a criminal act and can be subject to imprisonment and/or confiscation of funds and property."

    In the very next breath, however, the Jewish state affirms that, inasmuch as the Islamic religion "abides by the law and rejects incitement to violence and terrorist activities," it is perfectly legal and acceptable in Israel.

    The attending lesson to frightened citizens in democratic governments where Islamic terrorism is coming home to roost?

    Do not overreact. Practice due process against members of any ideological group that threatens civilian lives and incites their murder. But when doing so, protect the rights of citizens to practice any ideology, even those that a majority find repugnant.

    Because freedom is the very essence of life and freedom is worth the risk.

    Source: (Excerpts of article published by Bridges for Peace, 18 November 2015)

    Prayer Focus

    Pray for Israel’s leaders: Prime Minister Netanyahu, members of his government and other members of the Knesset. Ask the Lord to give them clarity of vision to see how to best guide and direct this nation during these difficult days.


    When justice is done, it brings joy to the righteous but terror to evildoers.

    - Proverbs 21:15 NIV

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  4. Palestinian Terror Claims Father, Brother of Bride-to-Be

    by Ilse Posselt

    Rabbi Yaakov Litman Monday, 16 November 2015 | It was supposed to be a time of great rejoicing for Rabbi Yaakov Litman. In only four days, the proud father of six from a small town just south of Hebron would walk his daughter, Sara, down the aisle.

    The week before the wedding passed busily as the Litman family prepared for the impending marriage feast. Yet Friday afternoon and the promise of Shabbat meant a well-deserved break. Just before 3 o’clock, Yaakov, his wife, Noa, and five of their children piled into their minivan and set out for a pre-wedding groom’s celebration with their prospective in-laws in the south of Israel.

    Moments later, a rain of bullets fired by Palestinian terrorists turned the time of great rejoicing into one of death and mourning. As the echo of gunfire died down and the terrorists sped away from the scene of carnage, Yaakov and his 18-year old son, Netanel, lay dead. Noa and the remaining four children were seated in the back of the minivan and survived the terror.

    Bride-to-be, Sara, was not with her family at the time of the attack, as she had stayed behind to attend a bridal party in her honor. The celebration was already underway when she received the news of her father’s and brother’s murder.

    In the aftermath of the attack, Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu spoke to Noa personally on Saturday evening to express his condolences on behalf of the Jewish state for the loss of her husband and oldest son.

    Yaakov and Netanel Litman were laid to rest side-by-side in Jerusalem late on Saturday afternoon. The funeral took place three days before Yaakov was supposed to walk his daughter, Sara, down the aisle.

    Young Dvir eulogized his father, “You raised us to love Israel. Who will guide us now? Who will stand with Sara under the chuppah (marriage canopy)?”

    Recalling his brother’s bravery in the face of terror, Dvir said about Netanel, “You always helped me. Who will help me now? You saw our father on the ground in front of us and you never lost your cool. You asked us if we were all alive. Your life was cut short while making a lifesaving call.”

    Sara will not be a bride this week. “We thought we would be busy with celebrations,” she told Arutz Sheva, “but we are busy with mourners.”

    “The pain is just too great,” she said. However, despite the grief and mourning, she is confident that there will one day be a time of great rejoicing again. “We will get married and carry on. Life does not stop. We will bring the joy back to our families. We will continue where they left off. We will build a home, based on my father’s path and Netanel’s path.”

    Sara also vowed that terror and the terrorists will not get the better of her, her family or her people. “The Jewish people will continue to live here proudly. We will continue to travel our roads. The terrorists will not ruin our way of life. God will give us strength in the future as He is giving it to us now.” 

    Source: (Excerpts of article published by Bridges for Peace, 16 November 2015)

    Photo Credit:

    Prayer Focus

    Cry out on behalf of this family who is grieving the loss of their husband/father and son/brother. Pray for the Lord’s comfort to surround them and all the others in Israel who are mourning at this time.


    Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

    - Psalm 23:4

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  5. Israel Raises Estimate of Hezbollah’s Rocket Arsenal to 150,000

    Hezbollah weapons Tuesday, 17 November 2015 | Israeli officials have raised their estimate of Hezbollah’s rocket arsenal to 150,000, an increase of 50% from May of this year, Avi Issacharoff recently reported for The Times of Israel.

    “The revised valuation on rockets suggests Hezbollah is ramping up efforts to acquire weapons whose purpose is to attack Israel, despite its deep involvement in the Syrian civil war.

    “Hezbollah forces have been operating in Syrian territory for over three and a half years. Thousands of the organization’s fighters are thought to be on Syrian soil and hundreds, some say thousands, have been killed there, including at least one senior officer.

    “The organization has simultaneously continued to amass short- and medium-range rockets from Syria while also increasing its cache of Iranian-made long-range missiles.”

    Issacharoff added that Hezbollah assembled a fleet of drones that can be used for intelligence gathering and combat. The Iranian-backed terror group has also been looking to acquire “SA-17 and SA-22 ground-to-air missiles as well as P-800 Oniks air-to-sea missiles.” Despite the concern over Hezbollah’s improved capabilities, Issacharoff wrote that the terror group is reportedly “not interested in a confrontation” at this time.

    Arms transfers to Hezbollah violate United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701, which ended the 2006 war between Israel and the terror group. When Israel called attention to Hezbollah’s continued stockpiling of weapons and violations of the resolution in January, the Security Council refused to act.

    Israel has threatened to destroy any game-changing weapons sent to Hezbollah. Reported explosions at Damascus airport on Wednesday were thought to have been the result of Israeli air strikes, though no evidence exists to attribute the explosions to the Israeli Air Force.

    An Israeli defense official told The New York Times in May that the buildup of Hezbollah’s terror infrastructure in southern Lebanese villages meant that “civilians are living in a military compound,” and that their lives were at risk. A few days later, a newspaper linked to Hezbollah confirmed the Israeli assessment.

    In a conversation with Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah this past August, Iran’s foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that “the nuclear agreement between Tehran and the world powers created a historic opportunity for regional cooperation to fight extremism and face threats posed by the Zionist entity.” A month later, it was reported that Iran had boosted its funding of Hezbollah and Hamas in anticipation of the billions it would receive due to sanctions relief.

    In “Don’t Be Fooled, Hezbollah is Bigger and Badder Than Ever,” which was published in the March 2014 issue of The Tower Magazine, Shai Oseran and Stéphane Cohen wrote:

    “One should not be surprised, then, to hear commentators asserting that Hezbollah has been severely weakened by the events of the last year. But has it?

    “Many Israeli military strategists don’t think so. To the contrary, they point to a number of alarming indicators suggesting that Hezbollah may be stronger than it has ever been. And that has them worried. The massive arsenal of advanced weaponry Hezbollah has amassed since it last faced off with Israel in the 2006 Second Lebanon War, the technological advances it has made, and the battlefield experience it has gained in Syria, have all helped turn Hezbollah into what could be Israel’s most dangerous enemy in a generation.”

    Source: (The Israel Project, in its publication The Tower, originally published this article on 12 November 2015. Time related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)

    Photo Credit: Israel Defense Forces/Flickr

    Prayer Focus

    Proclaim these words of the Lord on behalf of those who may be faint of heart: “Fear not, I AM with you.” Pray for Israel’s military leaders, Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot and GOC Northern Command Aviv Kochavi, that they will look to God for wisdom and strength as they determine Israel’s strategy in the face of the threat from Hezbollah.


    Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. Behold, all those who were incensed against you shall be ashamed and disgraced; they shall be as nothing, and those who strive with you shall perish.

    - Isaiah 41:10–11

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  6. The Final Wave of Ethiopian Aliyah

    by Omri Efraim

    Ethiopians arriving in Israel (illustrative) Friday, 20 November 2015 | The government is expected to approve the final wave of aliyah of Ethiopia's Jewish community, a total of 9,146 people. According to a draft proposal circulated by the Interior Ministry, the process of bringing the final 9,000 Ethiopian Jews to Israel will begin within six months of the proposal's approval.

    According to the proposal, "the main criteria to receive an entry permit to Israel, in accordance with the decisions of the previous governments, were that (the olim) are descended from Ethiopian Jews on their mothers' side, and that they appear on one of the lists attached to the government decisions in question."

    The proposal notes that the "issue of the families awaiting aliyah in Addis Ababa and Gondar is unique: These are people who left their home villages many years ago, and while some of their family members were allowed into Israel, they remained in Addis Ababa and Gondar, and have been maintaining a Jewish lifestyle, with active synagogues, ritual baths, observance of Shabbat and holidays, Hebrew lessons, Jewish studies, and more."

    "The Jewish Agency will hold lessons for those waiting in Addis Ababa and Gondar on the process of reaching Israel, Israel's heritage, Israeli culture and Hebrew lessons."

    Source: (Excerpts of article originally published by Ynetnews on 12 November 2015. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

    Photo Credit: Israel Defense Forces

    Prayer Focus

    Rejoice with the remaining members of the Jewish community in Ethiopia who will soon be coming to Israel. Pray that they will have an easy absorption into the Land of their forefathers.  Give thanks to the Lord who builds up Jerusalem!


    Praise the LORD! For it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant, and praise is beautiful. The LORD builds up Jerusalem; He gathers together the outcasts of Israel.

    - Psalm 147:1–2

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  7. PA Leaders Blame Israel for Paris Terror

    by Brian Schrauger

    Fatah cartoon posted on Twitter Monday, 16 November 2015 | In the aftermath of Friday night's bloodbath in Paris, there is no shortage of global outrage. Most, including France, acknowledge that ISIS is responsible. But Palestinian leaders insist on adding a twist. They say that Israel, in league with ISIS, shares equal blame.

    Fatah's active Twitter account posted a tweet that read, "Terror does not defeat nations but unites them. Palestine stands with France!" But there also was a photo with the tweet. It shows two men holding a tea light candle. One of the men also holds a small flag of France.

    The photo's caption includes a twist that quickly characterized PA expressions of sympathy. "At the French cultural center in Ramallah, we told the French community who gathered with us [that] no other nation understands your wound more than us." Why? "Because we have been subjected to an Israeli state-sponsored reign of terror for 70 years." There is "no difference," it claims, "between murder in Hebron, Beirut or Paris."

    Yesterday, the official PA daily paper, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida published a related op-ed. Like many, it too sought an explanation for what happened. Published in Arabic, the non-profit watchdog group, Palestinian Media Watch, published an English translation.

    "It is not a coincidence," the author opines, "that human blood was exploded in Paris at the same time certain European sanctions are beginning to be implemented against [Israeli] settlement products."

    In other words, the writer asserts, the assault had something to do with Europe's decision last week to label products manufactured by Israelis who live in the biblical heartland of Judea and Samaria.

    But, the writer continues, that is not the only salient link. More to the point, he argues, is that "France leads Europe in advising the security council that will implement the two-state solution. ...Israelis see this as a warning of sudden danger coming from the direction of Europe, where the Zionist, occupying, settling endeavor was born."

    In the global search for the masterminds of terrorist attacks that murdered 129 Parisians, the Palestinian analyst notes that "the wise and correct thing to do is to look for who benefits."

    And who benefits by the slaughter of innocents in France?

    Investigators "need to search the last place reached by the octopus arms of the Mossad... It is clear that its ‘Mossad’ will burn Beirut and Paris in order to achieve [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu’s goals. He, who challenged the master of the White House, hides in his soul enough evil to burn the world."

    Driving the point home, this morning Fatah has tweeted two political cartoons. One depicts two matches in a matchbook labeled "Terrorism." One of the matches portrays a masked face with a scarf labeled IS for Islamic State. The other match head depicts a bearded man with a bowler hat. Emblazoned on the hat is the Jewish Israeli symbol, the Magen David, the Star of David.

    The message? Israel and ISIS are two of a kind.

    And as for Paris? Another cartoon posted by Fatah today shows a grinning ISIS terrorist aiming his rifle from a window ledge. From the window, the Tower of Paris looms.

    Helping the ISIS terrorist point his gun is a grinning portrayal of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu.

    Source: (Excerpts of article published by Bridges for Peace, 16 November 2015)

    Photo Credit: Twitter/Fatah

    Prayer Focus

    Pray for opportunities to counter these lies with the truth. Ask the Lord to bring confusion upon those who have perversity toward Israel in their hearts.


    …he shuffles his feet, he points with his fingers; perversity is in his heart, he devises evil continually, he sows discord.

    - Proverbs 6:13–14

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  8. After Paris, Who Will Fight ISIS?

    by Brian Schrauger

    Islamic State fighters Tuesday, 17 November 2015 | In the aftermath of last Friday's massacre in Paris, there is a growing sense that the terrorist attack may have furthered a tectonic shift in world leadership and direction. In spite of pledges to get tough, France, the United States, Europe and most Middle Eastern countries cannot find it in themselves to pursue a meaningful strategy to combat Islamic State (IS/IL/ISIS). Their failure to produce a clear-cut plan is propelling the West straight into Moscow's coalition with Tehran. Unlike everyone else, Russia and Iran not only have plans, they also have troops with boots where ISIS has its roots—in Syria.

    Since last weekend's bloodbath, France's President Hollande has closed his country’s borders and proposed draconian civil measures to snuff out the enemy's fifth column within. And he has called for a coordinated effort by all Western states to knock the snot out of ISIS.  

    US leader, President Obama, has devoted years to leading an international effort to legalize a weapons-grade nuclear program by the Islamic Republic of Iran. Moving out of the region, withdrawing its presence and it leadership from the Middle East, the US vision has been for a reformed Persian empire to take care of ISIS. 

    Ray Takeyh is a senior fellow on the Council of Foreign Relations. Last weekend he published an expert analysis about ISIS vis-a-vis Iran. ISIS has been a "blessing" for Iran, he said. It "is using ISIS’ ascendance in the Middle East to consolidate its power."

    What ISIS has done for Iran is destabilize the Arab heartland. Behind the headlines—and headless victims—Iran has maneuvered in Iraq, Syria, Israel and Yemen with minimal interference, laying the foundation for its own global caliphate. Accordingly, Takeyh concludes, Tehran's "clerical regime has no interest in diminishing the sectarian bloodbath that has allowed it more influence than at any time since the 1979 revolution." ISIS, he adds, "has given the regime its best shot at an empire."

    On the one hand the West sends battleships and fighter jets. On the other hand, what are those jets and aircraft carriers going to do? They will launch a few missiles and drop a few bombs. But without a mission, without a mandate, without a war to win, the attending fireworks will only be for a bit of ISIS bloodshed and a lot of show.

    Unwilling to do anything on the ground, anything face-to-face with ISIS or anything to clean up after the mess, the global consensus is this: regardless their agendas, let Russia and Iran handle it.

    What, then, is the tectonic shift that is happening? What is the new direction in which the world is heading?

    Simply put, its three hundred year old course aiming for governments "under God" that offer "freedom and justice for all" is being abandoned.

    With no corporate sense of good versus evil, democratic states find themselves unable to lead the world toward meaningful human rights. Disdaining deity to be their moral compass, they open wide their doors to religious fascists. The only ones who will fight the ISIS cancer, really fight it, are pre-existing authoritarian states with their own agendas for world domination.

    Across the globe, as the light of human freedom flickers, a robust blaze is beginning to burn. It is a fire that offers the warmth of security to a frightened world that is moving toward the shadows, toward a night of tyranny. Israel, imperfect as it is and like it or not, may be the only exception. In such a time as this.

    Source: (Excerpts of article by Bridges for Peace, 17 November 2015)

    Photo Credit: Islamic State/

    Photo License:,_Anbar_Province,_Iraq.jpg

    Prayer Focus

    Intercede for the leaders of the Western world, praying that they may yet turn in repentance, humble themselves and rededicate their nations to once more be under God.


    Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.

    - 2 Timothy 2:1–2

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  9. Israel Unveils 1,700-Year-Old Mosaic

    by Ilse Posselt

    Ancient mosaic in Lod Tuesday, 17 November 2015 | The land of Israel is synonymous with hidden treasures left behind by the civilizations that have lived, loved and died on the tiny sliver of earth wedged between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River. Apart from the Jews, many an ancient people have, after all, called this piece of land their temporary dwelling place as occupying powers, invaders and sojourners came—one after the other—only to depart again for different shores or fade into the mist of extinction. 

    Yet regardless of the length of their stay or their prominence in history books, each of these ancient civilizations has left their unique stamp on—or within—the soil of the Land of Promise.

    Over time, the echoes of these civilizations’ existence in the land faded as layer upon layer of dust and earth covered the ancient artworks, eating utensils and other fragments of life. Today Israeli archeologists are peeling away at the layers of land to offer us a glimpse of lives, times and peoples gone by.

    This week, the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) revealed for the first time another hidden treasure located in the city of Lod: a breathtaking Roman-era mosaic dating back nearly 2,000 years.

    The archeological find was uncovered by chance during the construction of the visitor center for the famous ‘Lod Mosaic,’ which was discovered some 20 years ago. The original mosaic is believed to have served as the living room floor in a villa some 1,700 years ago and is considered one of the most spectacular in the country.

    According to the IAA’s director of the excavation, Dr Amir Gorzalczany, the most recent mosaic discovery was revealed late in 2014 during excavations in Lod’s Neve Yerek neighborhood. This area, Dr Gorzalczany explained, used to be “part of a neighborhood of affluent houses that stood here during the Roman and Byzantine periods.”

    “At that time Lod was called Diospolis and was the district capital,” he continued, “until it was replaced by Ramla after the Muslim conquest. The building was used for a very long time.”

    The newest find includes an 11 x 13 meter [36 X 42 foot] mosaic that served as the courtyard pavement of the magnificent villa that had the ‘Lod Mosaic’ as its living room floor.

    The artwork depicts colorful images of hunting and hunted animals, fish, flowers in a basket, vases and birds.

    “The quality of the images portrayed in the mosaic indicates a highly developed artistic ability,” Dr Gorzalczany explained.

    Once excavated in its entirety, the newly discovered mosaic will also form part of the visitor center.

    Source: (Bridges for Peace, 17 November 2015)

    Photo Credit: Assaf Peretz/Israel Antiquities Authority

    Prayer Focus

    Offer praise to the covenant-keeping God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob! Although the Land has seen temporary residents, like the Romans who left this mosaic, it is the everlasting possession of the Jewish people. Rejoice that God has brought them home!


    Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.

    - Genesis 17:8

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  10. Mountain to Valley Relay Race

    Runners by the Sea of Galilee Friday, 20 November 2015 | The Mountain to Valley Relay Race is an annual sporting event that has taken place for the last eight years in the north of Israel and organized by the Mountain to Valley (M2V) Association. Following the success of last year's race, the relay will be open for the second time to tourists from abroad who are being invited to participate in this unique sporting event. Close to 10,000 people are expected to participate in this year's Mountain to Valley Relay Race on May 18–20, 2016.

    The event spreads over a 24-hour period with the 215 km [133.6 mi] relay run divided into 24 sections, from 5km [3.1 mi] to 14 km [8.7 mi] each. Groups of four, six, or eight runners may register to enter either the competitive or non-competitive category. The race will be divided into two separate heats: the first heat will start on Wednesday evening and will finish on Thursday evening; the second heat will start on Thursday morning and will finish on Friday morning.

    The idea is to give the participants the pure thrill of running, either alone or as part of a group, along with the spectacular views of the Holy Land. Most of the route sections overlay country trails, although some sections include paved roads. The trails combine views of historical importance to the three monotheistic religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Starting in the north at the feet of the Roaring Lion statue in Tel-Hai, the route continues along the northern Jordan River Valley, passing the Hula Valley Nature Reserve and the northern section of the Sea of Galilee. The route then climbs and crosses the Lower Galilee mountain range, crosses the Jezreel Valley into the Mountains of Menashe—the northern leg of Mount Carmel—and finally ends at Timrat, just west of Nazareth.

    Source: (Excerpts of article originally published by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 18 November, 2015. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

    Photo Credit:

    Prayer Focus

    Give thanks that the descendants of Abraham are able to run the length and width of the Land of their inheritance. Pray that, as they run, they will gain an ever-deepening understanding of the fulfillment of God’s promise.


    …for all the land which you see I give to you and your descendants forever. And I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth; so that if a man could number the dust of the earth, then your descendants also could be numbered. Arise, walk in the land through its length and its width, for I give it to you.

    - Genesis 13:15–17

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