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. Reported Terms of Nuke Deal with Iran Raise Mideast Proliferation Fears
  2. U.S. President Campaigns against Israel’s Prime Minister
  3. Many Arab Voters Want Integration with Jewish State
  4. Victim Pays Tribute to Jerusalem Mayor Who Fought Terrorist
  5. Palestinian Authority Guilty of Terrorism
  6. German Jewish Magazine to Disguise Its Deliveries to Subscribers
  7. Israel at the UN: ‘And the Oscar Goes to…’
  8. IDF Diversity Week: the True Face of Israel
  9. Ready, Set, Go for Jerusalem Marathon 2015
  10. Highland Fruit Tree Production in Ethiopia
  1. Reported Terms of Nuke Deal with Iran Raise Mideast Proliferation Fears

    Countries in the market for nuclear weapons: Saudi Arabia, Turkey, UAE, and…all Gulf States? According to a report by the Associated Press (AP), in the final years of an agreement with Iran over its nuclear program, restrictions and verification measures would be lifted to “allow it [Iran] to slowly ramp up activities that could be used to make nuclear arms.” In the final stages of the deal, restrictions would be gradually relaxed giving Iran greater freedom to advance its nuclear program.

    Additionally, the agreement contains a “sunset clause” that serves as an expiration date for the restrictions imposed on Iran. A possible relaxation of restrictions even before the expiration date could serve to shorten Iran’s breakout time to a nuclear weapon even more.  As talks began in November 2013, the US sought a 20-year period, while Iran wanted the agreement to last only three to five years. The AP suggests that at the end of the term of the deal, restrictions on Iran’s nuclear activities would be lifted.

    Under these conditions, the Islamic Republic could acquire an unlimited amount of centrifuges, enrich unlimited amounts of uranium with no controls on the level of enrichment, and significantly expand the size of its nuclear program. Additionally, all United Nations Security Council restrictions would be rescinded including the one on the heavy water reactor at Arak, which could produce plutonium in sufficient quantities for a nuclear weapon. Essentially, Iran would be viewed as any other state with a civilian nuclear program, such as Germany or Japan, despite the fact that it has been found in violation of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) since 2006.

    The lack of accounting for Iran’s hidden nuclear program as well as the short time that the reported restrictions would be in place have raised fears that the deal being negotiated will provide Iran with an on-ramp to a nuclear weapon.

    Shortly after the Joint Plan of Action was signed in 2013, Saudi Arabia was reported to be in the market for nuclear weapons in the case Iran developed a nuclear weapon. Subsequently a prominent member of the Saudi royal family said that all Gulf States should consider acquiring “nuclear know-how” in order to counter Iran. Other Middle Eastern nations thought to be interested in developing an enrichment capacity that would allow them to build nuclear weapons if Iran is allowed to develop a nuclear weapon, include Turkey and the United Arab Emirates [UAE].

    Source: (Excerpt of article, The Israel Project, in its publication The Tower, February 25, 2015)

    Photo Credit: Jim VAllee/shutterstock.com

    Prayer Focus

    Intercede for the leaders of Israel as the situation surrounding nuclear negotiations with Iran becomes more volatile. Pray that they will look to the LORD for discernment and wisdom to know what actions to take and when to take them.

    Scripture

    Yes, if you cry out for discernment, and lift up your voice for understanding… Then you will understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God. For the LORD gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding…

    - Proverbs 2:3, 5–6

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  2. U.S. President Campaigns against Israel’s Prime Minister

    by Brian Schrauger

    PM Netanyahu speaking before the US Congress in 2011 As Benjamin Netanyahu's appearance before a joint session of the US Congress draws near, President Barack Obama is scuttling almost all pretense of diplomacy. Instead he has launched a rhetorical attack against Netanyahu. And he does so in lockstep with third-party campaigns against the Prime Minister's pending speech.

    Netanyahu is scheduled to speak this coming Tuesday, 3 March. His topic is Iran, specifically a pending deal with Iran that will leave it capable of quickly assembling nuclear weapons. Negotiations are being conducted by the UN authorized P5+1, a group of six global powers that includes the United States.

    According to this week's increasingly blunt words from the US Administration, Netanyahu's concerns about a pending nuclear deal are uninformed, incorrect and destructive. Moreover, his determination to express those concerns before Congress are said to threaten the fabric of the relationship between the US and Israel.

    This week a global social media campaign, #SkipTheSpeech, has moved into high gear. Its goal: persuade Congressional members of the President's political party, Democrats, to boycott next Tuesday's special assembly. So far, some 23 Democrats have indicated they will not attend.

    Congressional Speaker of the House, John Boehner, issued the invitation to Netanyahu on 21 January 2015. One day later the White House announced that Obama would not see Israel's Prime Minister while he was in Washington DC. The reason, it said, was the President's "longstanding practice of not meeting with democratically elected officials shortly before their election." Israelis vote for a new parliament on 17 March, exactly two weeks after Netanyahu delivers his address.

    Obama's refusal to meet with Netanyahu is widely seen as a rebuke for his pending speech. Growing dissonance between the two leaders has become a matter of public knowledge. In Israel, the rift between its Prime Minister and the US President is cause for concern, and many in Israel question the wisdom of Netanyahu's decision to speak.

    Netanyahu insists that his motive for speaking is Israel's security. "I'm going ... because as Prime Minister of Israel, it's my obligation to do everything in my power to prevent the conclusion of a bad [nuclear] deal [with Iran] that could threaten the survival of the State of Israel. How could any responsible Israeli Prime Minister refuse to speak to Congress on a matter so important to Israel's survival?"

    Moreover, Netanyahu asserted, he is going because the deadline for reaching an agreement with Iran is on 24 March, three weeks after the scheduled speech. "That's the date that drives the speech," Netanyahu said. "Now is the time for Israel to make its case—now before it's too late.

    Yesterday, US Secretary of State John Kerry implied that Netanyahu's concerns stem from hysteria, not sacred duty. As a result, Kerry asserted, he "may have a judgment that just may not be correct here.” Kerry's assessment came one day after the President's National Security Adviser, Susan Rice, said that Netanyahu's acceptance of Boehner's invitation is "destructive of the fabric of the relationship" between Israel and the US.

    Earlier this week, Times of Israel editor David Horovitz penned a reply to an essay he wrote on 9 February, "Who to believe on Iran: Obama or Netanyahu?" Credible reports of terms being offered to Iran make the answer clear. "The P5+1 is about to legitimize Iran as a nuclear threshold state. From there, it will be capable of rapidly breaking out to the bomb, well aware that the international community lacks the will to stop it." Who then is right, Horovitz asks. "I think we know now."

    Source: (Excerpt, Bridges for Peace, February 26, 2015)

    Photo Credit: Public Domain

    Prayer Focus

    Pray for Israel’s Prime Minister; ask the LORD to strengthen him and give him wisdom as he prepares to speak before the US Congress next week. Give thanks to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords in whose hands the outcome rests.

    Scripture

    Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, for wisdom and might are His. And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding.

    - Daniel 2:20–21

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  3. Many Arab Voters Want Integration with Jewish State

    by Tsvi Sadan

    Tuesday, 24 February 2015 | The amount of nonsense Israelis are subjected to as election campaigns heat up is diverting attention from the new United Arab List that poses a serious problem for the Jewish state.

    The list is a merger of four Israeli Arab Knesset factions that run the gamut from communists to extreme Islamists. If this list wins the 12 seats surveys say it will win, the Knesset will play host to a powerful political faction that takes order and money from Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas.

    The United Arab List is headed by Ayman Odeh, though he is far less known than the outspoken Haneen Zoabi, who has made a career of cheerleading for the likes of Hamas and Hezbollah.

    This Arab Christian lawyer from Haifa has declared himself an enemy of Zionism, and is in all likelihood up to no good.

    A little known fact is that a large percentage, perhaps a majority, of Israeli Arabs do not share the views of their Knesset representatives. At least that’s what Mahmoud Nujidat and Atef Alkernawi, two Bedouins from Israel’s south, [have stated].

    Meeting with Nujidat was a breath of fresh air. Sick and tired of the old guard, whom he views as having done nothing to improve the lives of Israeli Arabs, Nujidat has created a new party, Hope for Change, that calls for the nation’s Arabs to integrate with Jewish society.

    Nujidat, a devout Muslim who twice made the pilgrimage to Mecca, hopes for his children to love and integrate with their Jewish neighbors.

    “We can’t live in the same home without cooperating with one another,” he insists. “We can no longer fight against each other. Enough. It just can not be that we will educate an entire generation for alienation and hate.”

    Instead, Nujidat wants to see Arabs take on the mantle of loyal citizens of the State of Israel. As far as he is concerned, Israel is his home, and like in any home, husband and wife must find the way to live in peace and harmony.

    Hope for Change is not only about good relationships between Jews and Arabs, it is also about hope and change for Arab women. Any society, says Nujidat, is built upon educated and supportive wives. Improving conditions for women, he argues, will be the beginning of local Arabs’ success. “When a woman is educated, works and adds to the family’s income she honors herself and her husband.”

    Above all, Nujidat believes that the values of Jews and Arabs should not be different. “We all have the same faith,” he asserts. “We have one God whom we believe in. I don’t understand how we managed to miss it. How we led ourselves to dark corners.”

    The present Arab leadership, he says, are benefiting from hostility and animosity. They thrive upon hate. Hope for Change wants to change that. Nujidat and those supporting him want to live in a country where people love one another.

    It is striking how different this message is from that of Odeh the Christian.

    Sadly, however, the positive voice of Hope for Change that represents many Israeli Arabs is drowned out by the clamor of inciting rhetoric that, if given the chance, will frustrate any hope for peace.

    Source: (Excerpts from article courtesy of Israel Today, February 24, 2015)

    Prayer Focus

    Pray that the voices of cooperation will prevail among Israel’s Arab voters, who have equal representation under the laws of Israel.

    Scripture

    As for the assembly, there shall be one statute for you and for the alien who sojourns with you, a perpetual statute throughout your generations; as you are, so shall the alien be before the LORD.

    - Numbers 15:15 NASB

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  4. Victim Pays Tribute to Jerusalem Mayor Who Fought Terrorist

    by Danny Adeno Abebe

    Mayor Birkat visited Goldschmidt at Shaare Zedek Medical Center Tuesday, 24 February, 2015 | Stabbing victim Avraham Goldschmidt thanked Nir Barkat for helping subdue the terrorist who stabbed him in a Jerusalem attack Sunday.

    "I want to thank you with all my heart. It was a humane thing what you did," said Avraham Goldschmidt, 27, to Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat on Sunday night, during a late-night visit the mayor paid the terror victim hours after he was stabbed in a terror attack in the capital.

    Father of four, Goldschmidt was walking near Tzahal Square in Jerusalem on Sunday afternoon when Mohammed Said Abu-Etzbah, an 18-year-old Palestinian from Ramallah began stabbing him. Goldschmidt maintained his composure and managed to block his assailant in every way possible–using his tefillin bag to ward off additional wounds. Barkat happened to come across the attack and subdued the assailant with help from his personal security detail.

    Barkat arrived at the Shaare Zedek Medical Center shortly before midnight to visit Goldschmidt. The two men exchanged words and Goldschmidt repeatedly thanked the mayor, wringing his hand in gratitude.

    "I yelled 'Stabbing, whoever has a weapon come help'," Goldschmidt told Barkat.  Of the attack, Goldschmidt recalled that he had fought back. "I hit him, I threw my teffilin at him and I kept eye contact with the terrorist the whole time."

    The mayor had been waiting in a car at the junction with his office chief and personal security guard when the attack began to unfold. They pulled over and began to run towards the scene of the attack. According to Goldschmidt, after the attacker began to look for more victims, Barkat and his security guard arrived and bore [tackled] him to the ground.

    "The humane thing you did for me was rather unique—you put a coat over me as I lay down," said Goldschmidt.

    "It was cold on the ice," Barkat pointed out.

    Goldschmidt, who was surrounded by friends and family at the hospital, was overcome with emotion by the mayor's visit and recited a prayer where he asked to be the last person to be hurt in an attack in Jerusalem.

    "God willing I will be the last person to be wounded in a terror attack in Jerusalem," said Goldschmidt to Barkat.

    Source: (Excerpt of article, Ynetnews, February 24, 2015)

    Photo Credit: יעקב/www.wikipedia.org

    Photo License: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:ShaareiTzedekHospitalNew.JPG

    Prayer Focus

    Rejoice that the young father of four escaped death or critical injury in the stabbing attack and that, due to the Mayor’s quick actions, there were no other victims. Cry out in prayer for the day when Jerusalem, the Eternal City, will be a city of peace.

    Scripture

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

    - Psalm 122:6

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  5. Palestinian Authority Guilty of Terrorism

    by Brian Schrauger

    Memorial tree at site of Hebrew University massacre. The 2002 cafeteria attack killed 9 people, including 5 American students,
    and injured about 100.
    Tuesday, 24 February 2015 | Yesterday a jury in New York found the Palestinian Authority (PA) guilty of terrorism, specifically in six acts of terrorism against Israelis that killed American citizens. US families of those victims were awarded $218.5 million in damages. The New York Times reports that this amount “is automatically tripled to $655.5 million under the special terrorism law under which the case was brought.”

    According to The Tower Magazine, the case was prosecuted “on behalf of ten families whose members had been physically and psychologically injured by the terror attacks, as well as the estates of four victims who were killed.” The Associated Press adds that the plaintiffs proved their case using the PA's own internal documents.

    Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu praised the verdict. But the Palestinian Authority, he said, refuses to learn the “requisite lesson.” Instead, it “is advancing steps that endanger regional stability.” Netanyahu’s reference was to the PA’s unified government in partnership with the terrorist organization, Hamas. He also charged the PA with hypocrisy because of its application to the International Criminal Court where it hopes to bring charges of war crimes against the Jewish state for defensive measures it took in last year’s Operation Protective Edge.

    Israel persists in its countercharge against the PA’s unity government that includes the terrorist group, Hamas. Because of that partnership, according to Netanyahu and other leaders, the PA is culpable for crimes of arbitrary fire at civilians made from behind Palestinian human shields.

    According to Israeli Foreign Minister, Avigdor Liberman, yesterday’s court decision in the US should be “a wakeup call for the Palestinians and those in the world who support them. ...Terrorism,” he said, “is an integral part of the structure of the Palestinian Authority.”

    Source: (Excerpt of an article from Bridges for Peace, February 24, 2015)

    Photo Credit: Milan.sk/www.wikipedia.org

    Photo License: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:HebrewU-MtScopus.JPG

    Prayer Focus

    Give thanks that human justice was administered on behalf of the families who suffered from acts of terrorism perpetrated by the Palestinian Authority. Pray that the International Criminal Court will take an unbiased approach to any proceedings that may come before it. Seek the LORD on behalf of the leaders of Israel; that they will look to Him alone to bring forth true righteousness and justice.

    Scripture

    Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass. He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday.

    - Psalm 37:5–6

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  6. German Jewish Magazine to Disguise Its Deliveries to Subscribers

    by Dr. Ruchama Weiss, Rabbi Levi Brackman

    Berlin Holocaust Memorial Tuesday, 24 February 2015 | Judisches Berlin, a monthly magazine aimed at the German capital's Jewish community, announced in its latest issue that it would henceforth deliver copies in unmarked envelopes to subscribers, following several anti-Semitic incidents around Europe in recent weeks.

    "We made the decision despite the high additional costs in order to minimize the possibility that anyone of our 100,000 customers in the community will feel any hostility," the spokesman for the newspaper, Ilan Kiesling, told Der Tagesspiegel. The magazine, which was launched in 1998, provides information about the Jewish community in Berlin and the rest of Germany.

    "The Israelis in Berlin are attacked just for being Israeli Jews," Berlin Jewish leader Gideon Joffe wrote in the newspaper. "We are not yet at the stage—and I stress that it's not yet—where Jews are murdered in Germany only because they are Jews. But steps are being taken to protect the rule of law in German democracy."

    According to Joffe, members of the Jewish community are cooperating with the German Ministry of the Interior and police in efforts to increase citizens' sense of security. On New Year's Eve, Shahak Shapira, a 26-year-old Israeli, was beaten by a group of men on the underground railway after he asked them to stop singing anti-Semitic songs.

    The World Jewish Congress [WJC] condemned the attack said the incident illustrated the growing exposure of Jews to violent forms of anti-Semitism in Europe.

    "Just like everybody else, Israeli citizens have a right to live in Europe in safety, without being singled out on the basis of their nationality or faith," WJC Associate Executive Vice-President Maram Stern said.

    Berlin police said there was no rise in anti-Semitic attacks in the city in 2014, but that heavy security is still placed at Jewish schools, cemeteries, and institutions. After recent attacks in Copenhagen and Paris, German Chancellor Angela Merkel emphasized the importance of Jewish life in Germany, and urged Jews to stay in Europe.

    Earlier this month, leading Jewish groups criticized the German government for creating a new commission on anti-Semitism without including a single Jew.

    Julius Schoeps from the Moses Mendelssohn Center for European-Jewish Studies called it "a unique scandal" that the Interior Ministry didn't include any Jewish scientists or community leaders on the commission it created to fight anti-Semitism and support Jewish life in Germany.

    Source: (Excerpt of an article in Ynetnews, February 24, 2015)

    Photo Credit: Public Domain

    Prayer Focus

    Beseech the LORD on behalf of His people who are living in an ever-increasingly anti-Semitic Europe. Remind Him of His promise to bring the Jewish people home to Israel, the Land of their inheritance.

    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…When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you. Fear not, for I am with you; I will bring your descendants from the east, and gather you from the west…

    - Isaiah 43:1, 2b, 5

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  7. Israel at the UN: ‘And the Oscar Goes to…’

    by Brian Schrauger

    UN Ambassador Ron Prosor Wednesday, 25 February 2015 | Earlier this week the 87th Academy Awards handed out Oscars to the world’s best storytellers in the global film industry. At the United Nations Security Council [UNSC] one day later, Israel’s Ambassador, Ron Prosor, announced UN [United Nations] candidates to win Oscars for fictional performances in the category of “Maintenance of International Peace and Security.”

    Prosor was speaking at a special session of the UNSC. The session’s focus was reflection on and recommitment to the United Nations Charter.

    According to Prosor, the whole event marked yet another scene in a United Nations show that has become a “theater of the absurd.” It has “surrendered” to state sponsors of terror and allowed itself to be held hostage by the likes of the terrorist organization Hezbollah in Lebanon. Moreover, its failure to “defend basic freedoms” is abysmal. Instead of defending human rights, it awards leadership to the worst abusers of human rights. And its myopic obsession with the Jewish state of Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East, is at the expense of more than “200,000 men, women, and children [who] have been murdered by a [Syrian] regime that employs torture, starvation, chemical weapons, and barrel bombs.”

    The best candidates for Oscar-winning performances in the United Nations’ theater of the absurd, said Prosor, were these:

    “In the Best Actor Category–for acting like a peace–loving country while developing nuclear capabilities, denying the Holocaust, and threatening the destruction of another member state... the Oscar goes to Iran.

    “In the category for Best Supporting Actor–for its unrelenting support to the Assad Regime in killing hundreds of thousands of civilians... the Oscar goes to Hezbollah.

    "In the category for Best Visual Effects–for making women disappear from the public sphere, the Oscar goes to... surprise, surprise... Saudi Arabia. No competition there.

    “And finally, for rewriting history, the Oscar for Best Editing goes to... the Palestinian Authority. But the truth is-the Palestinian Authority already received enough prizes from this institution.”

    “Mr. President, Oscars aside, if we want to pursue peace and security in the real world, it is time to bring down the curtain on this theater of the absurd and return the original values of the UN Charter back to center stage.”

    Source: (Excerpt of an article from Bridges for Peace, February 25, 2015)

    Photo Credit: Public1london/www.wikipedia.com

    Photo License: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:RONPROSOR.PNG

    Prayer Focus

    Thank the LORD for the gift to the world of His people and the clear wake-up call that is coming from Israel’s UN ambassador. Pray that the world’s leaders will see the hypocrisy of their actions and turn back to the UN’s original purpose—peace and security.

    Scripture

    For they do not speak peace, but they devise deceitful matters against the quiet ones in the land. 

    - Psalm 35:20

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  8. IDF Diversity Week: the True Face of Israel

    Faces of Israel's diverse defenders Monday, February 23 2015 | Every year, thousands of minority recruits join the IDF. Israel’s military makes tremendous efforts to integrate minorities into the army and society in general, resulting in a vast diversity of soldiers among IDF ranks.

    Israel is a country known as “a nation of immigrants.” Soldiers come from all over the world to live in Israel and serve in the IDF, bringing their unique culture and traditions from their countries of origin. Other soldiers come from racial, national, cultural and religious groups that have lived in Israel for generations, including Bedouin, Circassia’s, Druze, Arab Christians and Arab Muslims. The IDF acts to unite members of Israeli society, providing them all with equal opportunity to serve their country.

    Did you know? Here are some facts about minorities and diversity in the IDF:

    • At military swearing-in ceremonies, soldiers may pledge an oath of allegiance on the Tanakh (Old Testament), Christian Bible or Koran.
    • The many minorities that join the IDF are given special privileges since their differences in religion and culture are accepted. For instance, additional vacation time is allotted to soldiers of all faiths and religious backgrounds. An example is Bedouin and Druze soldiers who are granted time off from the army to celebrate the religious holiday of Eid al-Adha with friends and family.
    • The Druze are an ethno religious, monotheistic community who live primarily in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Israel. Over 133,000 live in Israel, mostly in the north. They have the highest draft rate in Israel, with 88% of Druze males joining the IDF.
    • In 2001, the Women’s Affairs Advisor to the Chief of Staff was created in an effort to empower women and maximize the capabilities and opportunities of women serving in the IDF.
    • Despite being exempt from their mandatory military service due to mental or physical difficulties, many still choose to enlist in the IDF as volunteers. The Shiluv Menatzeach program helps over 150 mentally challenged and Down’s syndrome volunteers complete 1-2 years of military service, where they are integrated in roles with the general soldier population.

    Source: (Excerpt of an article from Israel Defense Forces, February 23, 2015)

    Photo Credit: Israel Defense Forces blog

    Prayer Focus

    Take time to give thanks to the LORD for the His goodness. Thank Him for the diversity in the IDF, which shows clearly that He is fulfilling the promise of Israel’s return to the Land. Pray for clear communication between the many different cultures and languages as these young men and women unite to defend the nation.

    Scripture

    Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom He has redeemed from the hand of the enemy, and gathered out of the lands, from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south.

    - Psalm 107:1–3

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  9. Ready, Set, Go for Jerusalem Marathon 2015

    by Ilse Posselt

    2014 Jerusalem Marathon Tuesday, 24 February 2015 | On 13 March, 25,000 runners are expected to embark on the 5th annual Jerusalem Marathon. Some 5,000 of these come to run from countries outside Israel. Hosted to coincide with the arrival of Spring in Israel’s capital, landmarks dotting the race course take runners on a journey through time.

    Landmarks include the Tower of David The race begins at the Knesset, Israel’s government offices, then winds past the shuk, Jerusalem’s popular outdoor market. During the first part of the race, runners experience the modern side of Jerusalem with luxury hotels and shopping malls. The course continues to the historical architecture and narrow alleyways in the Old City. Landmarks include the Tower of David, Via Dolorosa and a glimpse of the Western Wall. Before reaching the finishing line in Sacher Park, runners also experience the City of David, the Mount of Olives and Sultan’s Pool.

    “I can personally attest that there is nothing like the Jerusalem Marathon,” says Mayor of Jerusalem and veteran marathon runner, Nir Barkat.

    A "marathon you have to do once in your lifetime..." Speaking at a press conference yesterday, Barkat hailed the race as one that all long distance runners have on their short list. “This is a marathon you have to do once in your lifetime, at least to better understand the beauty of our city,” he said.

    The marathon provides a prime opportunity for runners to experience all the fascinating facets that Jerusalem has to offer. According to Barkat, these include the city’s “various communities, amazing landscape, cultural centers, history, fast-growing development, and unique touristic sites.”

    “a sporting and spiritual event
    like no other,”
    Calling the marathon “a sporting and spiritual event like no other,” the Mayor noted that the race also has social significance. Out of the 25,000 expected participants, nearly 6,000 runners take part in support of various social and charitable causes.

    The race has seven categories. They include full and half marathons for professional athletes and experienced runners. There are also 10K (6.2 mi) and 5K (3.1 mi) races, a 1.7K (1.05 mi) family fun run and an 800 meter (<.5 mi) community race. Disabled participants are invited to participate in the hand-cycle race.

    Race day also includes live music and fun activities offered throughout the day as Jerusalemites line the city’s streets, cheering runners on to the finish line in the City of Gold.

    Source: (Excerpt of an article from Bridges for Peace, February 24, 2015)

    Photo Credit: All Photos: Ashernet

    Prayer Focus

    Pray that the tens of thousands of runners and spectators alike will gain an understanding of the significance of Jerusalem, the Eternal City. Ask the LORD to open their eyes so they will see it as the city where He has chosen to place His name.

    Scripture

    Yet I have chosen Jerusalem, that My name may be there…

    - 2 Chronicles 6:6a

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  10. Highland Fruit Tree Production in Ethiopia

    Israeli expert at work during the Highland Fruit Tree
    Production Seminar
    A professional seminar dealing with production of deciduous fruit trees in the highlands is currently taking place in Debrebirhan, [Ethiopia] within the framework of the joint [Israel] Ethiopia Horticulture Project.

    The joint project is aimed at empowering small scale farmers through professional capacity building. It focuses on the development of horticultural plant propagation in Ethiopia through nursery cultivation and tissue culture propagation, and is accompanied by a MASHAV [Israel's Agency for International Development Cooperation]-CINADCO [Center for International Agricultural Development Cooperation], a long term Israeli expert resident in Ethiopia.

    Over 30 extension agents and more than 50 small holder farmers from the Basona Warana Woreda of Debrebirhan town are taking part in the training program on Highland Fruit Trees Production (February 16-23) conducted by MASHAV-CINADCO agricultural experts Shimon Antman and Asa Lin.

    Source: (Ministry of Foreign Affairs, February 23, 2015)

    Photo Credit: MASHAV

    Prayer Focus

    Praise the Almighty that Israel so willingly shares essential skills with people such as the small holder farmers in Ethiopia. Pray that the joint efforts will result in more productive, successful farming methods for the participants.

    Scripture

    Whoever is kind to the needy honors God.

    - Proverbs 14:31

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