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. Netanyahu and Rivlin Introduce Israel’s 34th Government
  2. Report: Saudis to Buy Nuke from Pakistan
  3. France to Israel: 18 Months or Else
  4. US to Restock Israel’s Arsenal
  5. Expert: Iran’s Holocaust Denial Betrays Intent to Repeat It
  6. Anti-Semitism in a Liberal Disguise
  7. Plans for Jerusalem: ‘We Will Not Go Back to a Divided City’
  8. Palestinians Find Help in Israeli Hospitals
  1. Netanyahu and Rivlin Introduce Israel’s 34th Government

    by Brian Schrauger

    The 34th Israeli government Wednesday, 20 May 2015 | With temperatures approaching 40 degrees Celsius, ​Israel's Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Rivlin formally introduced their country's 34th Government. Posing on a dais, sheltered from direct sunlight, members of Israel's new cabinet came to have their photo shot. Behind a rope thirty feet away, press cameras snapped.

    Before they were positioned for Israel's de facto yearbook photo, President Reuven Rivlin admonished the new administration. And to vicarious observers on the other side of press corps lenses and computers, he also exhorted the country, its enemies and a watching world.

    Most new governments have the benefit of a breezy honeymoon or grace period for one hundred days. This one, he implied, probably does not.

    "There are great challenges that this government must deal with from the outset, without a 100-day grace period," he said. "Previous [Israeli] governments did not face such challenges in the same way or with the same intensity." This government, he noted, has unusually intense matters at hand in both foreign affairs and domestic. "With regard to foreign affairs," he said, "you are required to deal with international pressure in a manner that demands endurance and the ability to make considered decisions which will not lead the State of Israel to isolation, but will preserve the red lines of Israeli diplomacy. On the domestic front, you face the urgent and crucial mission to present a budget which will provide an answer to the social and economic needs of the citizens of Israel - from housing and employment to welfare."

    Then too, like yesterday's weather, the political climate in Israel is unusually hot. The rhetoric in Israel's recent election was blistering. While Netanyahu's party, Likud, won by a strong margin, his coalition is a narrow 61 seats in a parliament, the Knesset, that holds 120.

    Much noise was made on the issue of the size of the government which was sworn in," Rivlin said, "ostensibly relating to its legitimacy. However, in Israeli democracy, a government of sixty-one Members of Knesset is as democratic and legitimate as a government of ninety Members of Knesset. We must remember that the most dramatic moves in Israel's political history, including the Oslo Agreement, were decided by a single vote. Equally today, we must respect and obey the rule of democracy. A narrow government must be, and is able to be, a good government as long as it is faithful to its internal cohesion, and to the public interests of all the citizens of Israel.

    ​"​On my own behalf and on behalf of citizens of Israel," Rivlin concluded, "I want to wish success to the Prime Minister and all the new ministers and Members of Knesset in general. Together with all the people, I am filled with hope and prayers for your success."

    Acknowledging that​, in fact, his new government "has been established at a time of great challenges and opportunities," Netanyahu addressed his administration's commitment in both foreign and domestic affairs.

    "Our first challenge is to ensure the security of Israel in the face of accumulating threats around us," he said. "Radical Islam is lapping at all our borders, nearly all in the form of factions and forces led by Iran and other radical elements. At the same time, aided by the agreement proposed to it, Iran is making progress in achieving a nuclear weapon.  All the enemies of Israel know that in the face of these threats, we have red lines."

    Implying, as he often has in recent weeks, that Israel is making new alliances in the Middle East, Netanyahu said "many states around us have common interests with us. They see eye to eye with us on the dangers, and they see Israel as central partner in fending them off. We will make every effort to translate this cooperation into processes for stability and peace."

    Apparently Netanyahu sees these new alliances as having a significant role in negotiations with the Palestinians. Cooperation with these new partners, he said, includes "attempts to reach a responsible political settlement with [them], which will safeguard Israel's essential interests."

    If Israel's security is the "first challenge" of this government, "the welfare of the citizens of Israel is our top priority," Netanyahu said.

    Alluding to the Bible, as, it seems, he does with increasing regularity, Netanyahu made a direct link to his vision for Jerusalem and the ethos by which Israel sets its governmental compass.

    "The People of Israel returned to its land, and established here the State of Israel, a Jewish and democratic state," he said. It is "a state which preserves the rule of law and respects every human being. Here in our eternal capital of Jerusalem, the Prophets of Israel embedded the eternal values of humanity, but also embedded the eternal values of our people—to which we are committed in each generation. I am proud to be the Prime Minister of Israel, and I will do all in my power, together with my ministers, to honor the mandate we have been given by the citizens of Israel. There is nothing more valuable than that."

    Toasting the days that lie ahead, Rivlin and Netanyahu drank from glasses of red wine. Standing to the side, the entire cabinet did as well. Then, posing on the dais, men straightened ties while the women among them simply waited, already ready and arranged. Then looking at the squad of media thirty steps away, most members of the cabinet smiled as a cacophony of cameras clicked, capturing the moment for such a time as this.

    Source: (Bridges for Peace, 20 May 2015)

    Photo Credit: Brian Schrauger/bridgesforpeace

    Prayer Focus

    Thank God that Prime Minister Netanyahu was able to assemble a coalition to govern the country. Pray that this cabinet will have great wisdom and receive direction from the Lord as they deal with the complex and dangerous issues facing the country.

    Scripture

    The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord,
    Like the rivers of water;
    He turns it wherever He wishes. 

    - (Proverbs 21:1)

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  2. Report: Saudis to Buy Nuke from Pakistan

    by Brian Schrauger

    King of Saudi Arabia Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud Monday, 18 May 2015 | ​Last week in Washington DC an anonymous Saudi official said, "We can’t sit back and be nowhere as Iran is allowed to retain much of its [nuclear] capability and amass its research." The story was reported in The Sunday Times. It also noted that "Prince Turki bin Faisal, the 70-year-old former Saudi intelligence chief, has been touring the world with the same message. 'Whatever the Iranians have, we will have, too,' he said at a recent conference in Seoul, South Korea."

    Yesterday the world learned just how serious Saudi Arabia is about the matter. According to the United Kingdom's Sunday Times, "Saudi Arabia has taken the 'strategic decision' to acquire 'off-the-shelf' atomic weapons from Pakistan." The article cites "senior American officials" as the source for its report.

    Noting that Saudi Arabia has funded much of Pakistan's nuclear program for the past 30 years, the Times reports that the kingdom's move "comes amid growing anger among Sunni Arab states over a deal backed by President Barack Obama, which they fear could allow their arch foe, Shi'ite Iran, to develop a nuclear bomb." Sunni and Shia (or Shi'ite) refer to the two competing streams of Islam.

    According to the unnamed US Defense official, "For the Saudi's the moment has come. There has been a longstanding agreement with the Pakistanis; ...the House of Saud has now made the strategic decision to move forward."

    In essence, Saudi Arabia has been developing its own nuclear program for decades via its proxy, Pakistan.

    "Nuclear weapon programmes [sic] are extremely expensive and there's no question that a lot of the funding of Pakistan's nuclear weapon's programme [sic] was provided by Saudi Arabia." This from Britain's former foreign secretary, Lord Owen, the Times reports. Loren added, "Given their close relations and close military links, its long been assumed that if the Saudis wanted, they would call in a commitment, moral or otherwise, for Pakistan to supply them with nuclear warheads."

    Whether or not Saudi Arabia has taken delivery of nuclear weapons is unclear. According to the Times, a "United States intelligence official ...said, 'hundreds of people at Langley,' the CIA headquarters, [are] working to establish whether or not Pakistan [has] already supplied nuclear technology or even weaponry to Saudi Arabia."

    At least in part, the problem in Middle East is a matter of numbers. Shia Iran has a population of 80 million compared with Sunni Saudi Arabia's 20 million. The matter of this four-to-one population ratio is further exacerbated by "the widespread belief in the Middle East that there is an American-Iranian stitch-up against Sunni interests." This according to Sir John Jenkins. Until early this year, Jenkins was Britain's ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    Western military leaders are not surprised by the development. Their concern is that, in light of Saudi Arabia's move, Egypt and Turkey may do everything possible to acquire nuclear weapons too. If they do, says an unnamed senior British military official, "we will see a new, even more dangerous, arms race."

    When President Obama announced the international framework agreement with Iran on 2 April 2015, he argued for the pending agreement, stating that, without it, "a nuclear arms race in the region could be triggered." According to Arab countries in that region, it is the agreement itself that is now triggering a nuclear arms race.

    When The Sunday Times asked its unnamed US intelligence office source if, in fact, the Saudis had decided to become a nuclear power, he replied, "That has to be the assumption."

    Source: (Bridges for Peace, 18 May 2015)

    Prayer Focus

    Pray that the Lord will protect the nation of Israel and the region from a nuclear arms race that could at best upset the balance of power in the Middle East and at worst end in disaster for the entire world.

    Scripture

    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 121:3-4)

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  3. France to Israel: 18 Months or Else

    by Itamar Eichner

    French President François Hollande Friday, 22 May 2015 | France is pushing forward with its Middle East peace initiative, shortening the deadline for Israeli-Palestinian talks from two years to 18 months, French magazine Le Figaro reported on Wednesday.

    French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius recently presented the Arab League with a detailed plan to renew peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

    The plan stipulates the formation of a Palestinian state in the pre-1967 lines, with swaps of mutually agreed upon lands similar in size, while taking into account Israel's security needs.

    The French are seeking to achieve a "just, sustainable and global solution" to the conflict.

    If a two-state solution is not reached by the end of the 18 months of talks, France will announce it is officially recognizing the State of Palestine.

    A French source explained that the timeframe for the talks has been shortened in light of the escalation of violence in the West Bank, and with the hopes of seeing the initiative begin to bear fruit before French President Francois Hollande leaves office.

    The French plan determines that both sides would have to define parameters that ensure the security of both Israel and Palestine, which would efficiently and effectively protect the borders, stop terrorism, and thwart the smuggling of arms.

    These parameters would have to honor Palestinian sovereignty and include a full withdrawal of the IDF from Palestinian territories in stages over an interim period agreed upon by the two sides.

    The French have stressed they were interested in reaching a final-status deal, and not another interim agreement that postpones the end of the conflict to an unknown date in the future.

    Another issue [with] the French initiative is one important to the Palestinians—the plan demands a "just, balanced and realistic solution to the issue of refugees," stressing the solution would have to be based on a "mechanism of compensation."

    The French initiative remains vague on the issue of Jerusalem and mentions the necessity of the city being the capital of both Israel and the future Palestinian state.

    The French plan calls for the two-state for two-peoples solution, but includes the demand for the Palestinians to recognize the Jewish nature of Israel. This demand has so far been rejected out of hand by the Palestinians.

    French paper Le Figaro reported that the initiative's draft has been unofficially presented to London and Madrid as well.

    In any case, the French peace initiative will not be officially submitted to the UN Security Council before June 30, the deadline for negotiations with Iran on its nuclear program. French sources said the US asked France to postpone the plan's submission so as to not raise difficulties in talks with Iran. Paris, however, was not willing to wait forever, the French sources said.

    Source: (Ynet originally published this article 21 May 2015. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)

    Photo Credit: Claude Truong-Ngoc/wikipedia.org

    Photo License: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sarre-Union_allocution_François_Hollande_profanation_cimetière_juif_17_février_2015_(cropped).jpg

    Prayer Focus

    Pray that the Lord will protect Israel from this kind of international pressure and preserve his nation as He wills. Pray that He will reveal Himself and His plans for Israel to the leaders of France.

    Scripture

    I will also gather all nations,
    And bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat;
    And I will enter into judgment with them there
    On account of My people, My heritage Israel,
    Whom they have scattered among the nations;
    They have also divided up My land.

    - Joel 3:2

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  4. US to Restock Israel’s Arsenal

    by Ron Ben-Yishai and Yitzak Benhorin

    Thursday, 21 May 2015 | The US State Department approved a massive sale of bombs and missiles worth $1.897 billion, pending final congressional authorization. The procurement package includes bunker buster munitions and its timing suggests the Americans are seeking to alleviate Israeli concerns over the developing deal with Iran.

    The colossal weapons deal is believed to also be intended to prevent vocal opposition by Israel and its allies to the commitments made by President Barack Obama at Camp David to arming Gulf states.

    The pending package to Israel includes 3,000 Hellfire missiles for the air force's helicopters. During Operation Protective Edge, the US suspended a transfer of the air-to-surface missiles over its disapproval of Israel's campaign against Gaza.

    The weapons deal will also significantly increase the Israeli Air Force's precision munitions cache, with hundreds of GPS and laser-guided bombs and missiles included in the package.

    The Defense Security Cooperation Agency—a section of the Department of Defense—said it submitted the required certification to Congress on May 18. If approved by the US legislature, Israel will receive the massive shipment, which, among other tactical weapons includes 50 BLU-113 Super Penetrator and 700 BLU-109 Penetrator bunker buster missiles.

    The statement said that "the United States is committed to the security of Israel, and it is vital to US national interests to assist Israel to develop and maintain a strong and ready self-defense capability."

    The Department of Defense added that "Israel, which already has these munitions in its inventory, will have no difficulty absorbing the additional munitions into its armed forces. The proposed sale of these munitions will not alter the basic military balance in the region."

    Source: (Ynet originally published this article 20 May 2015. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)

    Prayer Focus

    Pray that Israel will trust in the Lord as their shield and defender, trusting Him to provide what is needed to protect the nation. Pray that Israel’s government will stand strong in its opposition to the Iranian nuclear agreement and not be manipulated into silence by foreign governments.

    Scripture

    Some trust in chariots, and some in horses;
    But we will remember the name of the Lord our God. 

    - (Psalm 20:7)

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  5. Expert: Iran’s Holocaust Denial Betrays Intent to Repeat It

    Iranian President Rouhani Thursday, 21 May 2015 | Iranian Holocaust denial, which echoes Nazi rhetoric, exposes an intent “to [repeat] that same crime,” Emanuele Ottolenghi, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), argued in an article published Monday in Tablet Magazine. Ottolenghi rejected claims that it is misguided to associate Iran with Nazi Germany.

    After the war, Nazi fugitives who fled to South America and the Middle East sought to obfuscate their own part in the twentieth century’s worst crime with hope that Nazism could yet make a comeback. They depicted the Holocaust as a gigantic lie that Jews concocted in order to smear German reputation; and so they could pose as victims and blackmail the world to support their dark designs.

    “But theirs was not just an effort to rehabilitate Nazism. They were also seeking allies—in the Middle East and elsewhere—who could finish the job. And Arab nationalism, with its resolve to eradicate both Western influence and Israel’s existence from the region, was the perfect candidate. Nazi-era war criminals like Alois Brunner, who died in Syria, and Johann von Leers, who died in Egypt, worked in the service of propaganda departments of Arab nationalist regimes, and introduced Holocaust denial to the Arab world as a staple of anti-Zionist propaganda….

    “Given how entrenched and pervasive Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism are within the Iranian regime, it is hard to dismiss the possibility that the regime’s principal motivation for embracing this narrative is to provide justification for its recurrence. Holocaust deniers, after all, have long sought to excuse the crime’s perpetrators and shift guilt onto its victims as a prelude to repeating that same crime.”

    Ottolenghi pointed out that even though Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei prohibited “outright” Holocaust denial, it wasn’t because he disagreed with it, but because he wanted “to safeguard Iran’s international image.” Instead, Iran has pushed a theme that “regardless of the magnitude of Nazi atrocities, the Zionists had callously exploited them in order to blackmail world opinion in support of their Palestine grab.” This “softer” variation of Holocaust denial, Ottolenghi wrote, has been adopted by President Hassan Rouhani, widely regarded as a moderate.

    Ottolenghi’s argument is similar to one made in a 2012 interview with Ben Weinthal of FDD by Robert Wistrich, the scholar of anti-Semitism who died yesterday at age 70. Wistrich explained “that the constant efforts to deny, relativize or invert the Holocaust—especially against Israel—are a conscious (or unconscious) invitation to repeat it.”

    “In the Iranian case, around 2005, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad began to publicly proclaim his compulsive insistence that the Holocaust was a myth, and he has never let up since then. His consistent denial of the Holocaust went hand-in-hand with brazen threats to wipe Israel off the map. He has called Israel a ‘rotting branch’ and hammered away at the need for ‘a world without Zionism.’ It is striking that while the world is finally paying close attention to Iran’s relentless drive for nuclear weapons, it is largely ignoring Iranian state-sponsored anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial. But the two issues are interrelated precisely because of Iran’s repeated calls to annihilate Israel.

    “It is amazing to note the degree to which this Iranian Shi’ite annihilationist ideology with its apocalyptic religious underpinning is being glossed over. My point is that this state-sanctioned determination to wipe Israel off the face of the earth means exactly what it says. The will to exterminate is the crucial point here.

    “This is what happened with Hitler from January 1939 onwards when he incessantly repeated his intention to destroy European Jewry exactly as Ahmadinejad does today regarding Israel.”

    Source: (The Israel Project, in its publication The Tower, originally published this article 20 May 2015. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)

    Photo Credit: World Jewish Congress

    Prayer Focus

    Pray that the eyes of the world will be opened to Iran’s intent to destroy the nation of Israel. Pray that those nations who have agreed that the Jewish people should never face another Holocaust will ally with Israel in preventing Iran from perpetrating one.

    Scripture

    Do not keep silent, O God!
    Do not hold Your peace,
    And do not be still, O God!
    2 For behold, Your enemies make a tumult;
    And those who hate You have lifted up their head.
    3 They have taken crafty counsel against Your people,
    And consulted together against Your sheltered ones.
    4 They have said, 'Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation,
    That the name of Israel may be remembered no more.'

    - (Psalm 83:1-4)

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  6. Anti-Semitism in a Liberal Disguise

    by Yitzak Eldan

    A protester in the BDS movement Tuesday, 19 May 2015 | The fifth Global Forum for Combating Anti-Semitism (GFCA) opened in Israel on Tuesday evening in the presence of senior statesmen, parliament members, diplomats, research bodies, Jewish community heads, religious leaders and international organizations from dozens of countries, led by the Foreign Ministry.

    The state of anti-Semitism has never been as serious as on the eve of this forum. Seventy years since the darkest chapter in the history of Europe, anti-Semitism is reaching levels which have yet to be seen, and there is barely a single area in Europe which is free of hatred towards Jews. There are thousands of cases of anti-Jewish violence, anti-Semitic incitement and Holocaust denial.

    One of the reasons is the export of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to European countries through extreme propaganda led by radical Muslim immigrants, who are intentionally blurring the distinction between Israel and the Jews. In addition, Jews in Europe have become the target of the radical and communist left, and at the same time we are witnessing the rise of neo-Nazi and radical right-wing parties.

    The "liberal" or "institutional" anti-Semitism, which has developed from the political center, is also growing stronger in recent years, and it may be the most alarming type of anti-Semitism: "Liberal" activists are leading efforts to outlaw key elements in the Jewish life, presenting circumcision and kosher slaughter in a demonic way, thereby igniting the winds of hatred.

    Until the black January of 2015, which will be remembered for the attacks on the Charlie Hebdo offices and Hyper Cacher supermarket, the European Union countries demonstrated their weakness towards the phenomenon. Upon realizing that something had happened, France rushed to initiate a series of practical moves, presenting an overall government plan of action against anti-Semitism and racism, backed by a budget of more than 100 million euros.

    At the same time, the United States initiated a taskforce aimed at leading the fight against anti-Semitism across and outside the US, and discussed a bill under which the administration would link its participation in future trade agreements with foreign countries with the rejection of boycotts or sanctions against Israel driven by political considerations.

    Israel's new government must include in its basic guidelines the need for a firm battle against anti-Semitism and Israel's de-legitimization. The GFCA must call for the establishment of a national authority to fight this negative phenomenon, a move which will make it possible to increase and tighten the coordination for effective and deep action against the strategic threat.

    At the same time, Europe's governments, the European Parliament and the EU must be required to adopt the French stance and firmly and sharply work to curb and eradicate the phenomenon.

    The world's leaders, led by Europe's leaders, are required to initiate an immediate battle which will include a renewed universal definition of anti-Semitism by the EU Agency of Fundamental Rights; to work without delay to appoint a special EU commissioner and create a multi-national parliamentary force to fight anti-Semitism; to enact special laws against anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial, which only exist in 13 out of 28 European countries, and to increase their enforcement; to outlaw sites encouraging incitement and animosity towards Israel and Jews; and to implement an educational plan teaching the Holocaust and its lessons to the young generation in all European countries.

    Hatred of Jews is not a "Jewish" matter. It threatens the values of democracy, freedom, equality and harmony—all the things Europe sought to be after recovering from its destruction.

    Yitzhak Eldan is president of the Ambassadors' Club of Israel, a senior diplomatic advisor to the Israeli Jewish Congress in Jerusalem and the former Israeli ambassador to UNESCO and the Council of Europe.

    Source: (Ynet News originally published this article 13 May 2015. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)

    Prayer Focus

    Pray against the rising tide of anti-Semitism in Europe and the world. Pray that the EU, and the rest of the international community as well, will take whatever steps are necessary to eradicate this evil.

    Scripture

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

    - (Dueteronomy 14:2)

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  7. Plans for Jerusalem: ‘We Will Not Go Back to a Divided City’

    Prime Minister Netanyahu

    Wednesday, 20 May 2015 | Prime Minister Netanyahu's new cabinet held a special meeting yesterday. In preparation for Jerusalem Day 2017, the 50th anniversary of Jerusalem's reunification in 1967, the cabinet approved a series of decisions to "strengthen" the city for the event. According to the Prime Minister's office, those decisions were as follows:

    * Formulate a plan for the economic development of Jerusalem in 2016-2020, focusing on growth engines to strengthen the city. The plan will be budgeted to start in 2016.

    * Establish a preparatory team for events to be held in 2017. The team will formulate and approve a plan to celebrate the 50th anniversary that will include various events in the fields of education, tourism, culture and sports.

    * Formulate a five-year plan, 2016-2020, to upgrade infrastructures and encourage visits to the Western Wall plaza. This plan will include continued development of the Western Wall plaza and tunnels, preservation of archaeological finds, upgrading transportation infrastructure, and expanded educational activity for students and soldiers. The full plan will be submitted for cabinet approval within two weeks.

    The cabinet also decided to allocate certain structures in Jerusalem for cultural and recreational use.

    Speaking at the cabinet meeting just before it met, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said:

    "We are working on great momentum in many areas and in many cultural institutions, and on the highway to Jerusalem. Everyone sees this. You see this as you travel here, and not just to Jerusalem...in its accessibility and in the railway that we are laying through the hills. This is the development that we are advancing in the heart of Jerusalem, in its neighborhoods, including those on its outskirts, and there is still much to do. I am certain that we will hear from you. I would like to congratulate you on this important effort and also tell you that we will persist on this, with all government ministers.

    "We will make several important decisions today about the development of Jerusalem just as we always do on its festive day, on the day of its liberation. We do not wish to go backwards and those [who] speak with nostalgia about those days apparently do not live here. We will not go back to a divided city, a torn city, a city with barbed wire fences and snipers on the walls. This will not happen and we will see to it that it does not happen. This is not to say that there are no problems or tasks—there are many, there is also distress. We want to provide solutions and we will continue to develop it at the same pace that we see around us."

    Source: (Bridges for Peace, 20 May 2015)

    Photo Credit: Photo by Ashernet

    Prayer Focus

    Praise the Lord for Jerusalem, the city of the Great King, and its 50th anniversary of reunification. Pray for peace within her walls and prosperity within her gates. Pray that the world will recognize Jerusalem as the eternal and undivided capital of the nation of Israel, the spiritual center for Jews and Christians alike.

    Scripture

    Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
    'May they prosper who love you. 

    - (Psalm 122:6)

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  8. Palestinians Find Help in Israeli Hospitals

    by Ilse Posselt

    Hospital room in Rambam Thursday, 21 May 2015 | For Palestinian siblings Ahmed and Hadeel Hamdan, life is one long succession of medical procedures. Where other teens spend time after school playing soccer or going to the beach, the brother and sister from Gaza spend up to 12 hours per day hooked up to dialysis machines.

    The room in their home in Gaza City serves as their “hospital ward”. It is outfitted with state-of-the-art medical machines and equipment, courtesy of a nation that the people of Gaza has long since regarded as bitter enemies: Israel.

    The history between Hamas-ruled Gaza and the Jewish state is indeed fraught with violence and strife. After Israel’s disengagement from the coastal enclave in 2005, the Islamic militant group forcefully seized power in 2007. Guided by a charter that calls for the destruction of the Jewish state, Hamas embarked on a reign of terror. The ensuing years have been marked by a constant barrage of rockets on Israeli civilians and numerous attempted infiltration and terror attacks. Three bloody wars have claimed thousands of lives.

    Yet despite the calls for destruction, the rain of rockets and blatant hostility from the Hamas-ruled strip, the Jewish state continues to provide medical care and assistance to thousands of Gaza’s citizens every year.

    Roughly 27,000 residents from Gaza have to date been issued with permits to travel to Israel and surrounding areas for medical treatment, reports the Associated Press. The number includes patients as well as relatives accompanying them. According to the World Health Organization, nearly 4,000 Gazans were treated in Israeli medical facilities during 2013 alone.

    The Hamdan siblings are but two examples of those who have benefitted from Israel’s helping hand. Since 2012, the two Gazan teenagers have received regular medical treatment at the leading Rambam Medical Center in Haifa.

    When it became clear that only a special treatment called automated peritoneal dialysis would keep the siblings alive while awaiting their kidney transplants, the Rambam Medical Center went to great lengths to have the necessary equipment installed in the family home in Gaza. The teenagers’ mother, Manal, received special training to operate the machinery.

    “I thank them [Rambam Medical Center] very much because they exerted tireless effort,” she says.

    Israel is no stranger when it comes to extending a helping hand to those who wish her harm. During last year’s Operation Protective Edge, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) ran a temporary field hospital on the Gaza border to treat Palestinians. Despite the constant barrage of rockets and the threat of terrorist infiltration, the IDF remained committed to treating wounded civilians from Gaza in cooperation with the Red Crescent. However, despite the Jewish state’s relief efforts, Hamas prevented Gazans from entering Israel in order to benefit from the medical facilities.

    Moreover, as the dust settled in the aftermath of the operation, news broke that an Israeli hospital in Tel Aviv treated the daughter of Hamas leader, Ismail Haniyah, for an undisclosed condition. This follows a trip by Haniyah’s mother-in-law to a Jerusalem hospital for cancer treatment earlier the same year.

    While Israel continues its commitment to help and heal, Hamas remains “sworn to Israel’s destruction,” reports Reuters. Following the treatment of his daughter and mother-in-law in Israeli facilities, Haniyah even reiterated his intention to “continue to build and develop the weapon of resistance” against the Jewish state.

    For its part, Israel appears set on its course of tikkun olam, which literally translates to “repairing the world.” A concept that is woven deeply into the fabric of Jewish society, tikkun olam is a conviction that everybody shoulders a responsibility to heal, repair and transform the world for the better.

    “Granting access to Israeli hospital was fundamentally a humanitarian matter,” explains Mark Regev, an Israeli government spokesman. “This is an ongoing policy. That has been the policy for decades.”  

    Source: (Bridges for Peace, 21 May 2015)

    Photo Credit: Photo by Ashernet

    Prayer Focus

    Thank the Lord for Israel’s medical community and their dedication to giving life-saving care to the Palestinian people. Pray that such efforts on Israel’s part will continue, not just saving lives, but changing hearts among Palestinians as they recognize the value Israel places on every human life.

    Scripture

    I will bless those who bless you,
    And I will curse him who curses you;
    And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.'

    - (Genesis 12:3)

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