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. Terrorists Launch Multiple Rockets Into Israel
  2. Palestinians Reject Compromise to Restart Peace Talks with Israel
  3. Anti-Israel Incitement on the Temple Mount
  4. Israel’s Declassified Report on Hezbollah
  5. UN Envoy Wants IDF on Blacklist with Islamic State
  6. France: Iran Deal Not Likely by 30 June
  7. Behind the Palestinian Campaign to Suspend Israel from FIFA
  8. Israel Opens Doors
  1. Terrorists Launch Multiple Rockets Into Israel

    Rockets fired from Gaza Wednesday, 27 May 2015 | As many as five rockets were fired into Israel from Gaza this evening, the result of a feud among Palestinian terrorists, The Times of Israel reported today.

    “One projectile was located near Gan Yavneh, minutes after the red-alert sirens sounded in the Lachish region and Ashdod, the Israeli army said in a statement.

    “Other reports put the number of rockets launched as high as five. The Israel Defense Forces did not say how many rockets were fired, but indicated it was more than one. Many residents of southern Israel reported hearing multiple blasts. …

    “There was no immediate claim of responsibility from Hamas or other terror groups in the coastal enclave. An Israeli official said Jerusalem holds Hamas responsible for all attacks launched from the enclave.”

    The Times reported that there was an internal dispute in Palestinian Islamic Jihad that led to the rocket attacks.

    A later report, citing sources in Gaza, filled in the details.

    “Sources in Gaza say the Islamic Jihad recently appointed a new commander to oversee the northern region of the coastal enclave. The new commander was supposed to start his new position today officially, but his predecessor opposed it, sparking clashes between the two commanders’ supporters.

    “The new commander’s men then kidnapped two operatives working under the former commander and, in retaliation, the predecessor’s followers decided to fire rockets at Israel.”

    Hamas, the terrorist group that rules Gaza, has reportedly detained suspects in the rocket attacks.

    Fearing retaliation from Israel, Hamas has evacuated a number of its bases and headquarters.

    This is the first time Grad rockets have been fired at Israel since the end of Operation Protective Edge last summer. It is also the first time since Israel’s Independence Day last month that rockets have been fired into Israel.

    Although there has been little rocket fire from Gaza since the end of Operation Protective Edge, Hamas has been busy rebuilding its terror infrastructure, including terror tunnels. The terrorist organization has also been reportedly testing advanced rockets. Earlier this month, an explosion at a Hamas terror training camp injured over 50 people; a few days later, a terrorist was reported killed in a tunnel collapse.

    Source: (The Israel Project, in its publication the Tower, originally published this article 26 May 2015. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)

    Photo Credit: Photo by Isranet

    Prayer Focus

    Pray that the God of Israel will thwart every attempt on the part of radical groups in Gaza to fire on innocent Israeli civilians; pray that Israel will not be forced into another retaliatory war.

    Scripture

    Redeem Israel, O God, out of all their troubles!

    - (Psalm 25:22)

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  2. Palestinians Reject Compromise to Restart Peace Talks with Israel

    Netanyahu and Frederica Mogherini Wednesday, 27 May 2015 | The Palestinian Authority rejected compromise terms that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu outlined for restarting peace talks with Israel, The Times of Israel reported today.

    “The Palestinian Authority refuses to resume negotiations with Israel without Israeli recognition of the pre-1967 borders as the basis for talks and of East Jerusalem as the future Palestinian capital, a PA spokesman said on Tuesday, nixing a reported bid by Jerusalem to resume talks aimed at defining the borders of settlement blocs.

    “Presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh was responding to comments attributed to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a meeting with EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini last week, in which the Israeli premier said his government was willing to define the boundaries of the main settlement blocs, within which construction would be allowed. …

    “’Nothing relating to final status issues can be segmented or postponed,’ Abu Rudeineh said in a statement published by official Palestinian news agency Wafa. ‘The basis for any negotiations must be recognition of the 1967 borders, Jerusalem as the capital of an independent Palestinian state…along with a complete halt to settlement [construction] and the release of the fourth group of [security] prisoners jailed before Oslo.’”

    An earlier report in the Times characterized Netanyahu’s terms for renewed negotiations with the Palestinians, which would involve territorial concessions and the delineation of boundaries between Israel and a Palestinian state, as “a marked departure from his long-held stance.” Netanyahu made his proposal for the renewed peace talks in a meeting with European Union High Representative Frederica Mogherini last week. Citing the Israeli daily Haaretz, the Times reported that “Mogherini was ‘very satisfied’ with her meeting with Netanyahu and defined it a success.”

    American-sponsored peace talks ended last year when Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas refused to accept a framework agreement presented by the United States, signed fifteen international agreements in an effort to achieve statehood outside of bilateral negotiations (the premise of the peace process since at least 1993), and then announced a unity government with the terrorist group Hamas, which rejects Israel’s right to exist.

    Source: (The Israel Project, in its publication the Tower, originally published this article 26 May 2015. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)

    Photo Credit: Photo by Ashernet

    Prayer Focus

    Pray that the international community will come to realize that the so-called 1967 borders were armistice lines only and never intended to be actual borders. Pray that Israel will not give in to pressure to enter into agreements or negotiations that are not in the best interests of the nation.

    Scripture

    I will plant them in their land, and no longer shall they be pulled up from the land I have given them, says the LORD your God.

    - (Amos 9:15)

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  3. Anti-Israel Incitement on the Temple Mount

    by Khaled Abu Toameh

    Muslim Worshippers at
    the Temple Mount
    Tuesday, 26 May 2015 | For several months now, the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Jordan have been strongly condemning visits by Jewish groups and individuals to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

    The PA and Jordan have accused the Jewish visitors of "desecrating" the Haram al-Sharif [Noble Sanctuary], the name used by Muslims to refer to the Temple Mount.

    The visits, which are held in coordination with the Jerusalem Police, are described by the PA and Jordan as attempts to "storm" the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

    The charges made by the PA leadership and Jordan have triggered a campaign by Muslims to foil the visits by Jews to the holy site. Almost every day, Muslim hecklers intercept the Jewish visitors by hurling abuse at them and chanting "Allahu Akbar" ("Allah is Greater") in their faces.

    In some cases, Palestinians have thrown shoes at the Jewish visitors, including children.

    Various Palestinian groups have also recruited women and children to harass the Jewish visitors and any police officers accompanying them. The women, who are hailed as Murabitat ("the Steadfast"), have one main mission: to harass the Jewish visitors. They claim that their chief goal is to protect the Al-Aqsa Mosque against Jewish "aggression." Some of the women receive monthly salaries of up to 1500 shekels (about $400) to try and block the Jewish visitors.

    But now those who have been inciting against Jewish visitors have fallen victim to their own campaign.

    Palestinian and Jordanian officials who recently visited the Temple Mount received a firsthand lesson in what incitement can lead to. The officials themselves have fallen victim to hecklers who shouted profanities at them and forced them to flee the holy site.

    The latest victim was Sheikh Ahmed Helayel, the Chief Islamic Judge of Jordan, who arrived at the Aqsa Mosque last Friday at the head of a leading Jordanian government delegation that also consisted of the kingdom's Minister of Wakf Affairs.

    Sheikh Helayel was supposed to deliver the Friday sermon, but was forced to abandon the podium after scores of worshippers protested his presence and began hurling abuse at Jordan and him. He and all the members of the delegation were rescued by other worshippers who escorted them out of the Temple Mount.

    The Palestinians who humiliated and expelled the Jordanian delegation belong to the radical international Islamist group Hizb-ut-Tahrir (Party of Liberation), the objective of which is to "resume the Islamic way of life by establishing an Islamic State that executes the systems of Islam and carries its call to the world."

    One of the leaders of the mob shouted at the Jordanian cleric: "We were hoping to see you visit us at the head of an Islamic army that would liberate Jerusalem and the Aqsa Mosque, and not under the boots of the Israeli occupation." Another protester accused Jordan of "selling" the West Bank and Jerusalem to Israel in 1967.

    The incident has deeply embarrassed the Palestinian Authority leadership, whose representatives were quick to condemn the assault on the Jordanian officials.

    PA government spokesman Ehab Bsaisso expressed regret over the incident. The chief PA Islamic Judge, Mahmoud Habbash, denounced the incident as "immoral" and "un-Islamic." Habbash claimed that those responsible for the expulsion of the Jordanian officials from the Aqsa Mosque were "providing a free service to Israeli occupation."

    It is worth noting that PA officials regularly encourage Muslim worshippers to intercept Jewish visitors to the holy site. But last year, Habbash, who also serves as religious affairs advisor to PA President Mahmoud Abbas, was forced to flee the Temple Mount after angry Palestinians attacked him with shoes, stones and eggs.

    Still, officials from the PA and Jordan do not seem to have learned the lesson—mainly that their incitement against visits by Jews will ignite a fire that will also consume them. Both Habbash and Sheikh Helayel found themselves in the same situation as Jews who are confronted by hecklers during their visits to the Temple Mount.

    Palestinian and Jordanian officials who incite their people against Israel on a daily basis should not be surprised when their constituents spit in their face, throw shoes at them or expel them from a mosque.

    Jordan has a peace treaty with Israel, while the PA is conducting security coordination with the Israel Defense Forces. That is enough for their people to turn against them and accuse them of "collaboration" with the "Zionist enemy."

    Anti-Israel incitement has once again proven to be counter-productive. But will the Palestinian Authority and Jordan draw conclusions from their mistakes and start educating their people about tolerance and peace with Israel? Sadly, that is unlikely to happen, at least not in the near future. The anti-Israel rhetoric has made it impossible even to talk about the possibility of peace with Israel.

    Source: (The Gatestone Institute originally published this article 25 May 2015. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)

    Prayer Focus

    Although Israel has repeatedly called for peaceful co-existence and equal access to all holy sites, such harassment continues. Pray that this incident will help bring about a solution to this problem and bring an end to such virulent anti-Israel rhetoric.

    Scripture

    I am for peace, but when I speak, they are for war.

    - (Psalm 120:7)

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  4. Israel’s Declassified Report on Hezbollah

    by Ilse Posselt

    Hezbollah troops Monday, 25 May 2015 | “A terror organization has 100,000 rockets aimed at your country, putting the lives of each and every one of your citizens in danger. What would you do?”

    This is the disturbing question posed by a recent Israel Defense Forces (IDF) report dealing with terrorist organization, Hezbollah. For the vast majority of countries throughout the world, the situation is simply unthinkable and the question thus a purely hypothetical one. Yet for Israel, the chilling threat is a daily reality.

    In the declassified, no-holds-barred report, the IDF offers the international community a stark look at the magnitude of the threat that the tiny Jewish nation faces on its northern border.

    Hezbollah, which translates to “Party of God” in Arabic, is a Lebanon-based terror organization. Founded in 1982, the organization is led by Sheikh Hassan Nassrallah. Although Hezbollah originated in and continues to operate from Lebanon, the report highlights a clear distinction between the terrorist organization and the country of its birth: “Lebanon has an army. Hezbollah is not it.”

    The terror organization has made no secret of its objective to destroy the Jewish State. In fact, during a public rally two years ago, Hezbollah leader Nassrallah called Israel “a cancerous growth” that should be wiped out. “The only solution,” he said, “is to destroy it without giving it the opportunity to surrender.”

    Over the past two decades, Hezbollah has made a number of efforts to fulfill this objective. On 12 July 2006, the terror organization attacked an IDF patrol on Israel’s northern border. Three IDF soldiers were killed and two were kidnapped. The incident sparked the Second Lebanon War. Over the next 33 days of war, Hezbollah fired approximately 4,000 rockets on Israeli towns and villages. 199 IDF soldiers and 44 Israeli civilians were killed.

    At the time of the Second Lebanon War, Hezbollah’s arsenal of rockets and missiles was estimated at nearly 20,000. Today that number has skyrocketed to over 100,000. It is a well-known fact that these rockets have the capacity to hit any target within Israel’s borders. However, according to the IDF report, Hezbollah’s fire-power also threatens areas well outside Israel, with a target range as far as Aswan in Egypt, Medina in Saudi-Arabia, large parts of Turkey and dangerously close to Greece.

    In recent years, the terrorist organization has emerged as a proxy for Iran, with Teheran dictating the Hezbollah’s actions in the area. Iran, in turn, has been more than generous in equipping the terror group with a state-of-the art weapons arsenal, including rockets and missiles, advanced air defense systems and drones. Moreover, Syria has become a vital partner in the alliance between Iran and Hezbollah, acting as a conduit for Iranian weapon convoys destined for warehouses in Lebanon.

    The alliance between Teheran, Hezbollah and Syria does not stop there. The terror group has been known to take an active part in the Syrian civil war, with thousands of Hezbollah terrorists armed with Iranian weapons fighting alongside Bashar al-Assad's regime.

    Moreover, the terror organization’s actions do not only impact Israel and its neighbors, but also concern the entire international community.

    Over the past two decades, Hezbollah has gained a reputation for worldwide violence and terror. The organization has been responsible for a long list of international suicide and truck bombings, including the 1983 blast in Beirut, which killed 299 United States and French military personnel and two attacks in Buenos Aires, Argentina, which killed 85 and 29 respectively.

    The world’s reaction to the organization’s reign of terror has been unanimous. To date, a number of countries, including the USA, the UK, France, Canada, Australia and Egypt, have officially designated Hezbollah as a terror organization. The UN Security Council also approved Resolution 1701 regarding the Second Lebanon War, which reinforced previous resolutions calling for the disarmament of armed groups in Lebanon, including Hezbollah. The terror organization has, however, ignored the resolution.

    Today Hezbollah is more dangerous than ever, warns the IDF report. Since the end of the Second Lebanon War, the terror organization has embedded itself into the centers of Lebanon’s civilian populations. According to the IDF report, many villages in southern Lebanon sport houses, schools and football fields—right alongside arsenals storing thousands of tons of explosives guarded by Hezbollah terrorists. By turning these civilian areas into front-line military bases, the terror organization uses “the same people it has sworn to protect as human shields.”

    With 100,000 missiles poised on its border, manned by terrorists committed to her destruction, Israel stands alert, watchful and on guard. The Jewish State’s message to those who seek her harm is clear: “The Israel Defense Forces will not let Hezbollah terrorize Israel.”

    Source: (Bridges for Peace, 25 May 2015)

    Photo Credit: Israel Defense Forces

    Prayer Focus

    Pray that the Lord will bring an end to the reign of terror perpetrated by Hezbollah. Pray that their activities as Iran’s proxy will be ineffective and their jihadist members will be scattered by the God of Israel.

    Scripture

    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 41:11)

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  5. UN Envoy Wants IDF on Blacklist with Islamic State

    by Itamar Eichner

    Israeli children take cover during rocket barrage from Gaza Friday, 29 May 2015 | The UN secretary-general's envoy for Children and Armed Conflict recommended this week to include the IDF on a blacklist of countries and organizations accused of regularly causing harm to children.

    The blacklist includes terror organizations like al-Qaeda, Boko Haram, the Islamic State, and Taliban, as well as African countries such as the Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic and others.

    The list will be released soon as an appendix to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's special report on the subject of children and armed conflict.

    Ban is leaning towards not including the IDF on the list after facing massive pressure from Israel, which warned him that such a move will have far-reaching repercussions on Israel-UN relations.

    On the other hand, the UN is also facing heavy pressure from the Palestinians, their supporters and human rights organizations to include the Israeli army on the list. Palestinians also benefit from the support of senior officials in the UN Secretariat, who are urging Ban not to give in to Israeli pressure. A senior UN official even claimed in a letter to Ban that Israeli representatives threatened her and her friends so that the IDF is not included on the list.

    While the IDF is currently not on the list, Israeli officials said that "we won't rest easy until the last minute." 

    The secretary-general is supposed to come to a final decision on the matter in the next few days.

    The envoy's draft report includes sharp criticism of Israel's treatment of children and mentions the fact that, according to UN figures, more than 500 children were killed and 3,300 were wounded during Operation Protective Edge last summer.

    Israel sent its notes on the report, some of which were accepted with some of the wording softened. However, Israel's main concern was precisely the appendix—the same blacklist of "leprous countries and organizations"—which could open the door to demands for sanctions against Israel.

    Those leading the fight to prevent the inclusion of Israel on the list are Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Foreign Ministry, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, the IDF, and Israel's Ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor.

    Last week, the Foreign Ministry held a briefing for dozens of diplomats from many countries together with the IDF and the Justice Ministry to describe the steps taken by the army to protect Israel during an armed conflict.

    "We are continuing our efforts to persuade the secretary-general not to include Israel on the list," a senior Foreign Ministry official said.

    "Israel-haters are threatening the United Nations and no one is complaining about them. It's a scandal and it's hypocrisy. There are unfortunately a lot of situations in which children are killed in zones of conflict and yet no one dares put them on the list. Do you know how many kids the Saudis have killed while bombing Yemen? I want to see the UN secretary-general's Algerian envoy dare to include Saudi Arabia on the list."

    Netanyahu raised the issue of the list during his meeting on Wednesday with Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who is visiting Israel and about to announce his candidacy in the 2016 US presidential election.

    Graham, who is considered a friend of Israel, told a news conference in Jerusalem, "There’s a report that may come out any day now where the United Nations is considering the State of Israel in the same category as Boko Haram when it comes to crimes against children,” he said.

    “If that ever happened, if the United Nations embraced a report putting the State of Israel in the same categories with terrorist organizations in terms of the way they treat innocent people, particularly children, that would be an outrage that would not go unanswered."

     Graham warned that if the UN continues to be hostile towards Israel, it risks a confrontation with the US Congress and the suspension of American aid, which amounts to one quarter of the UN's budget.

    Source: (Ynet originally published this article 28 May 2015. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)

    Photo Credit: Photo by Ashernet

    Prayer Focus

    Pray that this scandalous accusation against Israel by the UN envoy be rejected by the international community and refuted in the public arena. Pray that such horrific anti-Semitism be exposed for what it is.

    Scripture

    Do not keep silent, O God of my praise! For the mouth of the wicked and the mouth of the deceitful have opened against me; they have spoken against me with a lying tongue. They have surrounded me with words of hatred and fought against me without a cause.

    - (Psalm 109:1-3)

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  6. France: Iran Deal Not Likely by 30 June

    French Minister of Foreign Affairs Laurent Fabius Thursday, 28 May 2015 | French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said that any nuclear deal with Iran must allow for inspections of all sites, “including military sites,” that inspectors suspect may be used or have been used for nuclear purposes, The Hill reported yesterday.

    “’France will not accept (a deal) if it is not clear that inspections can be done at all Iranian installations, including military sites,’ French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told the French Parliament on Wednesday, according to The Jerusalem Post.

    “Fabius added that France still supported working toward a pact, but only one that ensures Iran cannot develop nuclear weapons.

    “’Yes’ to an agreement, but not to an agreement that will enable Iran to have the atomic bomb,” he added. ‘That is the position of France, which is independent and peaceful.’”

    Fabius’ condition echoes that of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Yukiya Amano, who was quoted yesterday saying that “the IAEA has the right to request access at all locations, including military ones,” if it observes suspicious activity.

    Gérard Araud, France’s ambassador to the United States, said Tuesday that he did not expect Iran and the P5+1 nations [China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States, plus Germany]  to meet the June 30 deadline for a deal.

    A year ago, when the P5+1 nations and Iran were seeking to reach a deal by the July 20 expiration of the Joint Plan of Action (JPOA), Amano said that Iran’s failure to explain its past military research would make securing a deal by the deadline difficult. This year’s June 30 deadline reflects two subsequent extensions of the JPOA.

    Being able to inspect Iran’s military sites where nuclear may have taken place or be taking place is essential to allow the IAEA “to conduct effective verification.” Iran’s refusal to disclose its past nuclear research has prompted Amano to say more than once that his agency cannot confirm “that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities.”

    Source: (The Israel Project, in its publication the Tower, originally published this article 27 May 2015. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)

    Photo Credit: Foreign and Commonwealth Office/wikipedia.org

    Photo License: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Laurent_Fabius_January_2015.jpg

    Prayer Focus

    Pray that the nations of the world do not enter into any agreement with Iran that would allow that nation to continue its nuclear program. Pray that, as these negotiations drag on, Iran will not be able to use the time to further its nuclear ambitions, posing a very real threat to Israel’s very existence.

    Scripture

    But now, thus says the LORD, who created you, O Jacob, and He who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine.”

    - (Isaiah 43:1)

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  7. Behind the Palestinian Campaign to Suspend Israel from FIFA

    by Ilse Posselt

    The FIFA headquarters Friday, 29 May 2015 | It has been a nail-biter of a week for Israeli soccer fans. Yet the reason for the suspense has nothing to do with an important game running into overtime or ending in a cliffhanger. As the week draws to a close, all Israeli eyes are on the annual FIFA congress in Zurich. Today, the governing body of world soccer is set to vote on a motion to suspend the Jewish State from international play.  

    The Palestinian Football Association (PFA) is both the instigator and driving force behind the motion. As motivation, the Palestinians have offered a list of offences that Israel is supposedly guilty of. It includes claims that the Jewish state not only unlawfully restricts Palestinian soccer teams’ freedom of movement but also alleges that Israeli teams in Judea-Samaria (West Bank) violate FIFA rules and regulations.

    For the Jewish state to be suspended, a two-thirds majority of FIFA’s 209 members has to vote in favor of the motion. 

    Calling the motion a blatantly political ploy, Israeli officials have argued that the PFA should level their concerns at a more fitting forum. The appeal has, however, fallen on deaf ears and the PFA has forged ahead.

    Yet the Israelis are not the only voice speaking out against the motion. FIFA president, Sepp Blatter, is pitted strongly against today’s vote, echoing Israeli officials’ concern that it seeks to inject politics into the world’s most popular game. Moreover, according to Blatter, Israel is not guilty of violating of FIFA’s rules and regulations.

    In the weeks leading up to FIFA’s annual congress, Blatter even assumed the role of mediator in a bid to calm the political storm that the PFA aimed to unleash. During a visit to the Middle East, Blatter met with both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

    According to The Tower, the FIFA president proposed a friendly match between the two national teams. Netanyahu welcomed the idea, stating that sports “is a vehicle of goodwill among nations.”

    Yet Netanyahu also had a message of warning for the governing body of world soccer, The Tower reported. “The thing that could destroy the Football Association is politicizing it. You politicize it once with Israel, then you politicize it for everyone, and it will cause the deterioration of a great institution.”

    The meeting between Blatter and Abbas was, however, less successful. Rebuffing the gesture of goodwill, the PFA forged ahead with their plans.

    The driving force behind the motion to suspend the Jewish state from world soccer PFA president, Jibril Rajoub. Head of the PA Olympic Committee and a member of the Central Committee of the Palestinian Authority’s ruling party, Fatah, Rajoub is a convicted terrorist and has spent a number of years in Israeli prisons. In 1985, he was one of 1,150 prisoners freed in exchange for three Israeli hostages. According to The Tower, Rajoub is “one of the most virulently anti-Israel and anti-peace members of the Palestinian leadership.”

    International sport has long since acted as a powerful tool in building bridges of peace and friendship between peoples. However, according to Palestinian Media Watch, an Israel-based research institute, the Palestinian Authority not only prohibits any Israeli-Palestinian sporting events but also threatens legal action against any athlete that participates in a sporting events with Israel.

    In recent years Rajoub has become the proverbial poster child for those who oppose the use of sporting events as a building block towards peace in the region. Following last summer’s Operation Protective Edge, the Peres Center for Peace in Israel organized a series of friendly football matches between Israeli and Palestinian children. Three days later, Rajoub’s vicious comments brought the fragile bridge to peace tumbling down. “Any activity of normalization in sports with the Zionist enemy is a crime against humanity.”

    This type of approach, says Palestinian Media Watch, is but one example of how the Palestinian Authority “chooses to further entrench the conflict rather than work to resolve it.”

    As Israelis await the outcome of today’s vote with baited breath, FIFA continues to reel from a controversy that is shaking the governing body to its core. Earlier this week, nine of its officials were arrested on corruption charges.

    Whether the unexpected twist of events will have any impact on the Palestinians’ motion remains to be seen.

    Today, Israeli soccer fans—and the rest of the word—will know.

    Source: (Bridges for Peace, 29 May 2015)

    Photo Credit: Marcello Casal Jr./wikipedia.org

    Photo License: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:2014_FIFA_Convention_Center.jpg

    Prayer Focus

    Pray that this attempt to further delegitimize Israel by depriving Israeli teams of participation in the arena of international sports does not succeed. Pray that, as Israel is allowed to continue to compete, its commitment to sportsmanship, fairness and righteousness will be apparent to all.

    Scripture

    For the LORD gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding; He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk uprightly, He guards  the paths of justice and preserves the way of His saints. Then you will understand righteousness and justice, equity and every good path.

    - (Proverbs 2:6-9)

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  8. Israel Opens Doors

    by Michael Ordman

    The IDF bringing aid to Nepal Thursday, 28 May 2015 | The modern Jewish State was established after the world closed its doors to European Jewry. Today, Israeli innovations are opening doors to millions across the planet who had previously thought their window of opportunity was firmly shut.

    Many sufferers from strokes, dementia, fibromyalgia and burns could be released from their “locked-in” existence now that Israel’s Assaf Harofeh Medical Center has opened the world’s largest high-pressure oxygen chamber. It has a capacity for 150 patients per day and can also treat victims of diving accidents, carbon monoxide poisoning, radiation damage and bone infections. Meanwhile, at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, scientists have discovered that the visual cortexes of the blind from birth are similar to those of the fully sighted. It has provided an open opportunity for the blind to be trained to “see” sounds.

    Open-minded Israeli doctors have known for some time that there is a genetic link between over eighty autoimmune diseases. This has opened a new line of research leading to the discovery by scientists at Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem that the rheumatoid arthritis medication Baricitinib is effective in the treatment of Alopecia Areata, whose symptoms are hair loss. And research by Hebrew University of Jerusalem psychologist Professor Ariel Knafo has shown that children who mimic each other’s body language for mere minutes each day are more likely to open-up to others and share feelings of similarity and closeness. The findings could open the way to new therapies for developing positive social behaviors in disruptive children.

    Israel is open to sharing the credit for discoveries that can benefit humanity. This has led to many joint research agreements between Israeli and international scientists, including recently with the UK’s Royal Society and also with France’s Atomic and Alternative Energy Commission. Israel has also opened its doors to Devendra Fadnavis, Chief Minister of India’s Maharashtra state who wants to replicate Israel’s agriculture technology in one of the most populous areas in the world.

    Recent news is full of multinational companies wanting to open research and development centers in Israel. German energy giant RWE AG is opening an Israeli innovation center in order to develop technology for a smart grid metering system that will keep track of how consumers use electricity. Canadian handset maker Blackberry finally opened up in Israel by buying Israeli device security company WatchDox, whose 100 employees will form the core of Blackberry’s new Israeli R&D team. And US video production giant Avid Technology’s purchase of Israel’s Orad Hi-Tec and its slick graphic technologies will result in the opening of Avid’s new Israeli R&D facility.

    Now that Israel has signed Europe’s “Open Skies” agreement, it has opened up the country to the likes of Europe’s biggest airline Ryanair, which is eager to open up new routes between Tel Aviv and Europe. The airways are also buzzing with the news that a consortium of top Israeli companies and universities is studying 3D printing technologies that could open up a radical new way of designing and manufacturing aircraft components.

    Israel has some beautiful geographic features, including its award-winning beaches, which are now open right through until October. However, I admit that I was openly surprised to read that the usually anti-Israel UNESCO recently added Israel’s open cave system at Beit Guvrin to its list of World Heritage sites. Unfortunately, not all openings in the ground are positive, as the recent earthquake in Nepal has proved. But it again has highlighted the openhearted nature of Israel in sending rescuers and humanitarian aid to save human lives wherever and whenever it can.

    In Israel, the door of opportunity is open to anyone who has the desire to succeed. One such example is Ilit Geller, the female CEO of Israel’s TradAir, who operates in the traditionally “man’s world” of Foreign Exchange trading. 

    Finally, Avraham Nagusie epitomizes Israel’s open-door policy. Nagusie was a shepherd in Ethiopia before immigrating to Israel in 1985. He then graduated with degrees in Social work and Law and a PhD in Education. Now at age 57, he has opened the door to Israel's parliament by becoming a lawmaker in Israel’s 20th Knesset.

    Source: (This article was originally published in Ordman’s blog, “Good News from Israel.” See the original article at this link.)

    Photo Credit: Photo by Ashernet

    Prayer Focus

    Praise the Lord that Israel continues to be a thriving democracy and beacon of freedom and righteousness in the Middle East while surrounded by nations who share none of those values. Pray that her light will shine brightly in the region and around the world, bringing glory to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

    Scripture

    Thus I will magnify Myself and sanctify Myself, and I will be known in the eyes of many nations. Then they shall know that I am the Lord.

    - (Ezekiel 38:23)

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