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 CONTEXT: Israel’s Account of Synagogue Slaughter in Jerusalem
  2. Jerusalem Heightens Security
  3. Hamas Released Video Calling for More Attacks in Jerusalem
  4. Israel’s Prime Minister Warns US: Don’t Fall for Iran’s Ruse
  5. Netanyahu: “We are in a battle for Jerusalem, our eternal capital”
  6. Israel Is Democratic and Jewish
  7. German Neo-Nazi Party Asks for List of City’s Jews
  8. Iran Says They Helped Terrorists Develop Missiles to Hit Israel
  9. Spanish Parliament Passes Resolution to Recognize Palestinian “State”
  10. Sharing Israeli Technology and Experience to Combat Drought
  1. IN CONTEXT: Israel’s Account of Synagogue Slaughter in Jerusalem

    Jewish man praying near the synagogue after the massacre Yesterday afternoon [November 18] Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued this statement regarding the slaughter of rabbis at prayer in their synagogue in Jerusalem:

    “Early this morning (7:00 Israel time), two Palestinian terrorists entered a synagogue in Har Nof (a neighborhood in northwest Jerusalem), with the intention of massacring innocent Jews at prayer.

    “Using a gun and butcher knives, the terrorists murdered four Jewish worshippers during their morning prayers. All four men were rabbis and all held dual citizenship: three were American-Israelis and the fourth was a British-Israeli citizen.

    “A police officer succumbed to his wounds late Tuesday evening, bringing the death toll to five. Seven other Israelis were wounded (three of them seriously) in the attack.

    “The two terrorists from the eastern Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabal Mukaber were killed during the exchange of fire with police. This massacre of peaceful worshippers is the latest in a series of Palestinian terrorist attacks.

    “These terrorist attacks as well as Palestinian violence on Jerusalem's Temple Mount are caused by intensive Palestinian incitement to hatred, violence and terrorism against Israelis.

    “This vicious incitement is conducted by the Palestinian Authority, led by PA President Mahmoud Abbas, and extreme Islamist elements, particularly Hamas. The incitement is based on false claims against Israel and outright lies, including about sensitive religious issues.

    “Recent Palestinian terrorist attacks:

    • 16 November (Saturday night): A 35-year-old Jewish man was moderately injured after being stabbed in the back by a Palestinian in Jerusalem.
    • 10 November: A 26-year-old Israeli woman died in the West Bank [Judea and Samaria] after being run over and stabbed.
    • 10 November: An off-duty IDF soldier was stabbed to death in Tel Aviv.
    • 5 November: An Israeli police officer and 17-year-old yeshiva student were murdered and 13 others injured when a Palestinian terrorist deliberately rammed his car into pedestrians near a Jerusalem light-rail station and then attacked them with a metal bar.
    • 29 October: Rabbi Yehuda Glick was shot multiple times and critically injured by a Palestinian terrorist in central Jerusalem.

    22 October: A three-month-old baby girl and a young woman from Ecuador were murdered, deliberately run over by a Palestinian driver at a light-rail train station in Jerusalem. Seven others were wounded.”

    Source: (Excerpts from press release by Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, November 18, 2014)

    Photo Credit: Ashernet

    Prayer Focus

    Cry out to the Lord, the Good Shepherd, to comfort his people who are mourning in Jerusalem. Pray that they will know His comfort as they grieve for their loved ones who were killed or wounded. Pray especially for the children, that they will not grow up in fear but rather in the knowledge that God is with them during times like these.

    Scripture

    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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  2. Jerusalem Heightens Security

    Security on the ground and in the air: an observation balloon A day after the deadly terror attack on the synagogue in the Har Nof neighborhood, residents of Jerusalem on Wednesday [Nov. 19] expressed their fear over the security situation. Guards were stationed at some kindergartens in the city and while others were locked from the inside. Staff members explained that they had been instructed to do so in meetings with municipal officials and security.

    A group of parents arrived at one of the kindergartens, which operates from a community center, for a meeting with school staff. They expressed concern about the presence of Arab employees who work closely with the school. They said that the issue may have a solution and guards were placed at the site.

    Moriah Peled, who accompanied her daughter to the kindergarten told Ynet: "I'm not calm, I'm terrified. There are workers here who could do whatever they want to our children. Everything is wide open. They told us that they are taking care of it, but what will be in the meantime?"

    There were parents who thought otherwise, however, including Eden Leshem, whose daughter attends the kindergarten next door. "We cannot succumb to this madness," she said. "The Arabs live and work here. They are part of the city."

    Even so, in the wake of Tuesday's attack, police have stepped up security at educational institutions in the city and increased patrols. The new directives stipulate that every school has to have a security guard, but the main problem is that preschools are the responsibility of local authorities, and many of them have no security.

    Since then, there have been situation assessments attended by security officials in order to determine the most sensitive areas, where security guards will be stationed. At the same time, a plan to place guards at kindergartens on a permanent basis was also discussed, as well as ways to tighten security procedures, such as keeping the doors locked. Furthermore, Israel Police Commander Yohanan Danino, Jerusalem District Police chief Moshe Edri and Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat have decided on an extensive recruitment campaign to expand the Civil Guard.

    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday visited the new operations room for the observation unit at the Jerusalem municipality, which runs observation balloons scattered throughout the city and covers real-time disturbances.

    "Spare no effort here," Netanyahu said. "This morning we destroyed the home of a terrorist. It was a significant and important step, and there will be more house demolitions. There will be many more steps."

    Source: (Excerpts of article by Omri Efraim, Ynetnews, November 19, 2014)

    Photo Credit: Israel Defense Forces blog

    Prayer Focus

    Pray for the policemen and women who put their lives on the line each day to protect others. Give them wisdom and knowledge as they must often make split-second decisions. Pray for the city’s leaders, that they will look to the Lord for guidance as they make decisions which affect all the residents of Jerusalem.

    Scripture

    For the LORD gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding…He guards the paths of justice, and preserves the way of His saints.

    - Proverbs 2:6, 8

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  3. Hamas Released Video Calling for More Attacks in Jerusalem

    Monday, November 17 Hamas released a video calling for more terror attacks in Jerusalem. The video threatened acts of revenge after the death of Yusuf Hassan al-Ramouni, an Egged bus driver who was found hanged in a bus in Jerusalem on Sunday. Members of the Arab sector and al-Ramouni's family refused to accept the death was a suicide despite an official autopsy by the Forensics Institute reporting no foul play.

    The video released by Hamas was made in colloquial Hebrew and warned of an "eye for an eye" and mentioned the previous hit and run attacks in Jerusalem as well as the death of the Arab bus driver.

    Security forces clashed with Palestinian rioters in the Sur Baher, Wadi al-Joz, Al-Ram, and Abu Dis neighborhoods in East Jerusalem. Israeli police said that stone throwing was reported near the Palestinian town of Sur Baher and that police forces used riot control measures against the Palestinian rioters.

    Various Palestinian organizations called for a general strike of businesses, bus drivers and Arab officials as a protest against al-Roumani's death. Egged bus drivers who were friends of al-Roumani did not show up to work on Monday causing public transportation delays in Jerusalem. The delays were expected to continue on Tuesday.

    "After the unfortunate death of the Egged bus driver who put an end to his life, delays are occurring in Jerusalem's public bus lines. These delays are caused by the absence of drivers from the Arab sector, from East Jerusalem," Egged said in a statement.

    Earlier on Monday, an IDF officer sustained a hand wound from a firework launched at security forces by Palestinian rioters near Ramallah. The soldier was taken to Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem with two of his fingers partially amputated.

    Dozens of Palestinians threw stones and Molotov cocktails at Israeli security forces at security forces during the incident. IDF soldiers responded with riot control measures. After the incident, Israeli security forces entered an Arab village in northern Jerusalem. Increased Israeli police presence will continue in Jerusalem in the coming days.

    Noam (Dabul) Dvir contributed to this report.

    Source: (Excerpts of article by Elior Levy, Ynetnews, November 18, 2014)

    Prayer Focus

    Intercede for the citizens of Israel as Hamas continues to incite the Arab population to do acts of violence. Pray that the innocents will be alert to any danger and will call upon the Lord’s name for protection.

    Scripture

    Hear my cry, O God; attend to my prayer. For You have been a shelter for me, a strong tower from the enemy.

    - Psalm 61:1, 3

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  4. Israel’s Prime Minister Warns US: Don’t Fall for Iran’s Ruse

    Iran’s Arak IR-40
    heavy water reactor
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was interviewed this afternoon (Sunday, 16 November 2014) on the CBS program "Face the Nation" and made the following remarks: "Iran is not your ally. Iran is not your friend. Iran is your enemy. It's not your partner.

    “Iran is committed to the destruction of Israel, just as the P5+1 [US, Russia, China, UK and France plus Germany], the United States and the world powers are negotiating with Iran a nuclear agreement, the Ayatollah Khamenei, the ruler of Iran, calls for the annihilation of Israel. He just did that four days ago. He specified nine ways and reasons by which Israel should be destroyed. He's participated in rallies and chants of 'Death to America', 'Death to Israel'. This is not a friend, neither in the battle against ISIS [Islamic State of Iraq and Syria] nor in the effort, the great effort that should be made to deprive him [of] the capacity to make nuclear weapons. Don't fall for Iran's ruse. They are not your friend."

    Prime Minister Netanyahu added: "Basically the Middle East is awash with militant Islamists, the militant Islamists led by al-Qaeda and ISIS on the Sunni side, the militant Islamists led by Iran and Hezbollah on the Shiite side. We want both of them to lose. The last thing we want is to have any one of them get weapons of mass destruction. Look at what ISIS is doing now with assault rifles and pick-up trucks. Just imagine what Iran would do if it had nuclear weapons. So both our enemies are fighting one another and when they are, weaken both—don't strengthen either one."

    Source: (Press release by Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, November 16, 2014)

    Photo Credit: Nanking2012/www.wikipedia.org

    Photo License: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Arak_Heavy_Water4.JPG

    Prayer Focus

    Continue to pray that PM Netanyahu’s words would not fall on deaf ears, but instead would be “heard” by the leaders of the world. Pray that Iran’s duplicity would be clearly exposed and would result in the elimination of Iran’s nuclear weapons program.

    Scripture

    For there is no faithfulness in their mouth; their inward part is destruction; their throat is an open tomb; they flatter with their tongue. Pronounce them guilty, O God! Let them fall by their own counsels; cast them out in the multitude of their transgressions, for they have rebelled against You.

    - Psalm 5:9–10

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  5. Netanyahu: “We are in a battle for Jerusalem, our eternal capital”

    Israel’s Prime Minister Last night [November 18] Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu held a special meeting with his security council. Afterward, he delivered this sober assessment to global media representatives. This is an excerpt of what he said:

    “We are in the midst of a terrorist assault focused on Jerusalem. Today, during morning prayers, as they were wrapped in prayer shawls and tefillin, four rabbis were slaughtered, four innocent and pure Jews…The human animals who perpetrated this slaughter were full of…deep hatred and terrible incitement against the Jewish people and its State.

    “But what is outrageous is not only the brutality of the murder but the shouts of joy in Gaza, in Bethlehem and in other places. They are giving out candies, waving axes in the air and praising the shahidim [martyrs in Arabic]. There is daily, even hourly, incitement on the streets of the Palestinian Authority. There, not only do the most reprehensible murderers become the heroes of Palestinian culture, but there is unending, constant incitement against the very existence of the State of Israel, against the security of Israel's citizens…and this is the root of the conflict: The refusal to recognize—and educate for—the existence of the state of the Jews.

    “I call on all heads of state in the civilized world—I want to see outrage. I want to see condemnation, a deep and uncompromising condemnation of these murders of Israelis, of Jews….

    “To my regret, there are those who currently insist on giving the Palestinians a prize in the form of unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state that does not recognize the state of the Jews. We will not tolerate this reality; we will fight terrorism and we will defeat it. We will restore law, order and security to the streets of Jerusalem.

    “Citizens of Israel, I call on you to show maximum alert and to respect the law. As a state, we will settle accounts with all of the terrorists and those who dispatched them. We have already proven that we do this, but let nobody take the law into his hands, even if tempers flare and blood boils. Terrorism has followed us through all the years of the Zionist enterprise. We have always withstood it and we will do so this time as well.

    “There are those who would like to uproot us from our land and from our capital. They will not achieve their aim. We are in a battle for Jerusalem, our eternal capital. In this battle we must be united; this is the order of the day. We have always known to unite in times of trial.

    “We must…unite around one major issue—defending Jerusalem, defending the security of Israel's citizens. I think that this is what the citizens of Israel expect of us at this time—to stand together as one, unified and united. What is called for at this time is national unity.”

    Source: (Press release by Israel Prime Minister’s Office, November 18, 2014)

    Photo Credit: Isranet

    Prayer Focus

    Cry out to the Lord for Jerusalem and her people who are in a battle over control of the city. Ask Him to strengthen and encourage the leaders, reminding them that the Lord is mighty to save.

    Scripture

    In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem: “Do not fear; Zion, let not your hands be weak. The LORD your God in your midst, the Mighty One, will save.

    - Zephaniah 3:16–17a

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  6. Israel Is Democratic and Jewish

    Prime Minister Netanyahu gave his first public statement about last week's visit to Jordan in the Sunday, November 16 weekly Cabinet meeting. He stated:

    "Last Thursday I met with King Abdullah and US Secretary of State John Kerry. We called for a calming of the [Temple Mount] situation, the restoration of quiet and a halt to incitement and violence.” Netanyahu also affirmed that Israel is a fully democratic and Jewish state.

    He continued, "Israel is being challenged by lies...to the effect that we intend to change the status quo on the Temple Mount—this is a gross lie.

    "We are [also] being challenged by unwillingness to recognize the right of the Jewish people to a state of its own.

    "Israel is a Jewish and democratic state. Democracy here finds expression in the right of every person to vote in secret elections. It finds expression in basic law, [in] human dignity and liberty, which promises full individual rights in a manner that is unprecedented anywhere in the very large region around us.

    "Today we will move forward on the nationality law that is designed to bring this balance. It will yet undergo many changes and discussions, but we will make it clear that the State of Israel is the national state of the Jewish people, while providing for equal rights—and ensuring equal rights—for all its citizens."

    Source: (Excepts of an article by Brian Schrauger, Bridges for Peace, November 17, 2014)

    Prayer Focus

    Give thanks to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob that we live in the day when He has brought His people back to their own Land. Remind Him of His Word that this nation is their inheritance—a Jewish nation—that will endure forever.

    Scripture

    And I will cause the captives of Judah and the captives of Israel to return, and will rebuild those places as at the first.

    - Jeremiah 33:7

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  7. German Neo-Nazi Party Asks for List of City’s Jews

    City Hall in Dortmund, Germany A neo-Nazi party from the city of Dortmund has reportedly demanded the city's mayor give them a list of all city's Jews, in an event eerily reminiscent of darker days in Germany's past. Luckily, the mayor refused and slammed the request, passing it on to legal authorities who are working to outlaw the party.

    According to different reports, the party, known as Die Rechte (The Right), wrote a letter to Dortmund Mayor Ullrich Sierau through its lone city council member, Dennis Giemsch, requesting to know many Jews live in and around the city, as well as their addresses.

    The reason for the request, the letter explained, was “professional”: To be able to give proper treatment to the city's residents, the party said it needed to know the relative size of each faith in the local population to be able to "do its job."

    Giemsch reportedly asked the information be given at a city council meeting Wednesday night. Needless to say, his demand was unequivocally refused. The Daily Mail reports the letter was then passed onto the North Rhine-Westphalia interior ministry as part of the ongoing effort to ban the party.

    Mayor Sierau, from Germany's center-left Social Democratic Party, vehemently condemned the letter, and in a press release, slammed the as request "inhuman," saying the city was happy with everyone who chooses to call it their home, and in a Tweet the city said city's Jewish community was an integral part of society.

    The city's Jewish council slammed the request, saying its "true intentions" were obvious, and said it was "obnoxious and perfidious anti-Semitism."

    The party was formed two years ago and has roughly 500 members.

    Source: (By Eldad Beck, Ynetnews, November 15, 2014)

    Photo Credit: smial/www.wikipedia.org

    Photo License: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Dortmund_Rathaus_IMGP6046.jpg

    Prayer Focus

    Praise God for the mayor who refused to grant this request for specific information on the city’s Jewish population. Continue to pray for the Jewish people living in the Diaspora, that they may seek wisdom from the Lord regarding aliyah, and make plans to return to Israel, their Land of Promise.

    Scripture

    A wicked man hardens his face, but as for the upright, he establishes his way. There is no wisdom or understanding or counsel against the LORD.

    - Proverbs 21:29–30

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  8. Iran Says They Helped Terrorists Develop Missiles to Hit Israel

    Iranian weapons captured by IDF in March 2014 Iran has long provided military assistance to Palestinian and Lebanese terror groups, and they certainly aren’t hiding that fact. In an interview published last week [November 12] with Qiam Sejjilha’ magazine, an Iranian official actually boasted that the terrorists have missiles that can hit anywhere in Israel thanks to the Islamic Republic [Iran].

    Lieutenant Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Aerospace Force Brigadier General Seyed Majid Moussavi said in the interview, which was reported into English by the Fars News Agency, that a former Iranian military official who was killed in an explosion in 2011 worked with Hezbollah and Palestinian groups to develop the Fateh-class missile. Moussavi further was quoted as saying the missiles can now reach “all targets from Southern to Northern parts” of Israel. And Iran’s targeting of Israel doesn’t stop by developing terror missiles.

    A separate report by Fars, this one cited in the Asharq Al-Awsat publication, made it clear that three missiles had been developed to launch quickly and [to] specifically hit Israel. The missiles are housed underground.

    Iran has long been accused of backing terrorists that attack Israel and have themselves called for the destruction of the Jewish State. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu highlighted this fact to CBS’ Face the Nation on Sunday, November 16.

    Missiles have been a popular weapon of choice for terror groups. Hezbollah unleashed their missile capability in 2006 on Israel, and the Palestinian group Hamas has fired thousands of missiles and fought three wars with Israel since 2008.

    Iran, meanwhile, often boasts of their own missile capabilities and has been suspected of having weapons able to reach Israel for years.

    Source: (Excerpt of an article by Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, November 16, 2014)

    Photo Credit: IDF/Ashernet

    Prayer Focus

    Intercede for the nation of Israel as they are surrounded by those who seek their destruction. Pray that the people would draw comfort and assurance from the promise of the Lord to strengthen and uphold them in times of trouble.

    Scripture

    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.

    - Isaiah 41:10

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  9. Spanish Parliament Passes Resolution to Recognize Palestinian “State”

    Flag of Spain Following Britain and Ireland’s lead, the Spanish Parliament on Tuesday [November 18] approved a non-binding resolution of recognition of the state of Palestine. The vote passed by a margin of 319 for, 2 against and one abstention.

    In October, Sweden actually recognized the Palestinian state and Israel responded by withdrawing its ambassador. The strong sentiment in Europe to support statehood is apparently growing and is feeding the momentum.

    But while many European legislators argue the resolutions are furthering the goal of a two-state solution, the US and Israel argue that statehood can come about only through negotiations and charge the votes in European parliaments set back the quest for peace.

    [Editor’s note: The vote in Spain was tempered with an amendment proposed by the ruling party.  The amendment was approved with language to the effect that the recognition of Palestine should be the result of a negotiated process between Israel and the PLO which would guarantee peace and security for both parties. This element has not been present in the resolutions approved in Sweden, Ireland, and Britain.

    The following statement was issued by Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon,  "Nothing can be gained from unilateral moves such as the one being made by the Spanish parliament today and it distances us from negotiations with the Palestinians,"]

    Source: (By The Media Line, November 19, 2014)

    Prayer Focus

    As yet another government votes to recognize a Palestinian state, beseech the Lord on behalf of His people. Ask that the nation of Israel will stand firm in the face of international pressure, recognizing and understanding that the Lord is on Israel’s side.

    Scripture

    The LORD brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; He makes the plans of the peoples of no effect. The counsel of the LORD stands forever, the plans of His heart to all generations. Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people He has chosen as His own inheritance.

    - Psalm 33:10–12

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  10. Sharing Israeli Technology and Experience to Combat Drought

    Prof. Eilon Adar, of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev’s Institute for Water Research Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr. [California]    signed a Memorandum of Understanding [MOA] on the sharing of technology and enhancing economic interests between California and Israel.

    As part of that historic agreement Prof. Eilon Adar, the director of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev’s Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research, is visiting California to share technology and experience working with scarce water resources, in late October 2014.

    “As an issue of national security, Israel has successfully made itself water independent,” said California Natural Resources Agency Secretary John Laird. “With a similar climate, California is poised to benefit greatly from Prof. Adar and researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) as we plan for ways to better manage water, particularly in times of severe drought.”

    Along with California’s state and regional water experts, Prof. Adar will visit and learn more about water use, efficiency, and recycling efforts. Prof. Adar will get an overview of California’s water and current drought issues.

    “If we managed to overcome our water problems in Israel, in the Middle East, it can be done almost anywhere else in the world,” Adar said. “However, in order to improve the water management and efficiency in California, the water utility companies need to increase their coordination and cooperation on water use and treatment.” 

    “California’s historic drought has created a need to seek innovative solutions regarding water policy, management and technology,” said a deputy director for Innovation and Entrepreneurship Louis Stewart.  Several programs “serve as a conduit for water innovations coming from abroad.” Under the Israel-California MOA, best practices around water technology are shared.

    At BGU particular emphasis is placed on research and development of water resources in drylands. BGU established their water institute, recognizing the importance of such an initiative, both now and for the future of the entire region.  Among the sciences and technologies practiced are water desalination, water engineering, environmental hydrology, hydro-geology, hydro-biology, hydro-chemistry and water resource economics and management.

    Source: (Excerpts from a press release from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, October 27, 2014)

    Photo Credit: Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

    Prayer Focus

    Give thanks to the Lord of heaven and earth Who is the Source of the blessing of water upon the land. Praise Him for the creativity and innovation with which He has blessed His people and their generosity to share that knowledge.

    Scripture

    You visit the earth and water it, You greatly enrich it…You water its ridges abundantly, You settle its furrows; You make it soft with showers, You bless its growth.

    - Psalm 65: 9a, 10

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