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. How the ‘Party of Allah’ Is Preparing for Israel’s Next War
  2. Israeli Aircraft Strikes Gaza After Rocket Hits South
  3. Terror Attack at Joseph’s Tomb Thwarted
  4. Rouhani: Regardless of Resolutions, We Will Develop Weapons
  5. Travel Warnings for Israelis
  6. Realignment in the Middle East Excludes the United States
  7. UNRWA Posts Anti-Semitic Cartoons Inciting Murder of Jews
  8. Aliyah Flight Lands
  9. Israeli Start-Up Turns Organic Waste into Free Energy for Palestinians
  10. IDF Enlistment of Christian Israelis Set to Break Records
  1. How the ‘Party of Allah’ Is Preparing for Israel’s Next War

    by Brian Schrauger

    Thursday, 27 August 2015 | While Israel continues to hold Hamas at bay in Gaza; while it also fights to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, its immediate threat is imminent war with Hezbollah. In Arabic, Hezbollah means, "party of Allah."

    A well-known vassal of Iran, Hezbollah is no longer confined to its home in Lebanon. Extensive involvement in Syria's bloody theater has given it a presence there as well. From that place, as well as Lebanon, the "party of Allah" is busily preparing for war with Israel.

    What is Israel's military posture regarding Hezbollah? Virtually without exception, the "party of Allah" is regarded as the enemy in Israel's next and pending war. The only question is when?

    How, exactly, is Hezbollah preparing?

    Ronen Bergman, an Israeli investigative reporter for Yedioth Ahronoth, popularly known as YNetnews, recently filed an extensive essay addressing this question. His report is titled, "Hezbollah 3.0: How Israel's No. 1 enemy is preparing for the next Lebanon war." Based on that report, supplemented by other sources and my own analysis, Hezbollah's preparation for attacking with Israel includes these five considerations.

    1. Hezbollah is positioning itself as a protector of helpless Muslims in Syria who cannot get arms to defend themselves from ISIS. Why? Because, Hezbollah says, weapons for self-defense are being blocked by Israel and the United States. It is a posture that presents the "party of Allah" as defenders of "good" Muslims versus "bad" and the only entity able to thwart the alleged blockade of military aid to allegedly innocent and helpless Muslim civilians. Bolstered by the deaths of as many as 8,000 of its members fighting ISIS, Hezbollah is arguing that these losses prove its noble intent to defend: today from the evils of ISIS, tomorrow from Israel.

    2. The "party of Allah" regards its very existence as dependent on renewed war with Israel. Hezbollah is using Israel as both a distraction from, and cover for, losses it is incurring in bloody battles with ISIS. From Hezbollah's perspective, if it fails to fight Israel, it will lose support from disillusioned constituents, especially the families of Hezbollah combatants who have died in Syria.

    3. Hezbollah continues to build a stunning arsenal for waging war with Israel. Its sophisticated arsenal of more than 100,000 missiles are constantly upgraded and reinforced.

    One way Hezbollah is reinforcing its arsenal is by established state-of-the-art bunkers from which it can wage war against the Jewish state. According to Bergman's report in YNetnews, Hezbollah recently escorted a willingly blindfolded Lebanese reporter to one of these facilities. When the blindfold was removed, the unnamed reporter witnessed "new electricity and ventilation systems, modern encoded communication with Hezbollah's headquarters in Dahiya, and more. All this, he was explicitly told [by Hezbollah], is part of preparations ahead for the next war with Israel.

    Although there is not published evidence they exist, strategists in Israel also worry about as-yet undiscovered tunnels from Lebanon and Syria with exit points inside Israel's sovereign boundaries.

    4. Underwritten by Iran financially and technically, Hezbollah does not regard its massive depots as did the world's superpowers during the Cold War. That 20th century model regarded arsenals as a means to prevent the enemy from attacking. But that model's protagonists, the Soviet Union and the United States, were not part of today's Islamic cultures in the Middle East.

    Accordingly, Hezbollah is not building up its ordnance and operational systems as a means to prevent war. It is building them up for what it will either call a preemptive strike for self-defense or, on almost any pretext, a reactive strike for the same reason. Justification for either scenario is being established by Hezbollah's current positioning of Israel as a terrorist State and in contrast itself, standing in Israel's path, as the sole protector of helpless Muslims in Syria and Lebanon.

    5. Hassan Nasrallah, the head of Hezbollah, is using the same kind of rhetoric today as he did just before his war with Israel in 2006.

    Quoting Ronen Cohen, former director of the IDF's Terrorism Desk in its Military Intelligence Directorate, Bergman's essay explains:

    "We should pay attention to Nasrallah's statements in this context," says Cohen. "Before the Second Lebanon War he ...convened a press conference and referred to abduction [of Israeli soldiers] as 'the Truth Guaranteeing Operation'—in other words, fulfilling his [personal] commitment.

     "He is using the same words today regarding 'liberation' of the Galilee," Cohen says. When Nasrallah refers to the next war with Israel as, "the promise that won't be broken," he is using the same kind of language as in 2006. In other words, for Nasrallah, his organization's pending war with Israel "is a promise which he has to fulfill, on a personal level."

    Why has he not yet pulled the trigger to start the promised war? Two reasons. He is preoccupied with the conflict in Syria. But perhaps more importantly, he is also waiting for Iran's okay. According to Cohen, Nasrallah jumped the gun when he initiated conflict in 2006. As a result, he almost lost his leadership of Hezbollah. It's not a mistake he will likely make again.

    What then is Iran's criteria for giving "the party of Allah" a green light to fire on the Jewish state?

    According to Cohen, Tehran is waiting for two things: first, a reasonable belief that Israel will not launch a military attack against the Islamic Republic; and secondly, for money it will get from sanctions relief under pending finalization of an international treaty regarding its weapons-grade nuclear program.

    This line of thought makes an attack from Hezbollah something that could happen soon, but not just any time. On the other hand, however, there is a hair trigger on Hezbollah's cocked missiles aimed at Israel that makes the threat imminent. Under any number of scenarios by which Iran feels significantly threatened (or Hezbollah for that matter), war with Israel will be its rallying cry to all constituents to stand firm, fighting even to the death for the glory of annihilating the Jewish state for sake of their god, Allah.

    Accordingly, Israel continues to prepare. In such a time as this.

    Source: (Bridges for Peace, 27 August 2015)

    Photo Credit: yeowatzup/wikipedia.org

    Photo License: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Hezbollah,_Baalbek,_Lebanon_%285073929381%29.jpg

    Prayer Focus

    Just as King David cried out to the LORD, cry out to Him on behalf of His people whose enemies are still plotting their hurt today. Ask that the forces of Hezbollah and Iran be brought to confusion and turned back. Again this week, pray and ask God to give wisdom and understanding to Israel’s Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, IDF Chief of Staff Lt.–Gen. Gadi Eisenkott and Maj.–Gen. Aviv Kochavi, head of the IDF Northern Command. 

    Scripture

    Let those be put to shame and brought to dishonor who seek after my life; let those be turned back and brought to confusion who plot my hurt.

    - Psalm 35:4

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  2. Israeli Aircraft Strikes Gaza After Rocket Hits South

    by Yoav Zitun and Matan Tzuri

    Rocket fired from Gaza into Israel Thursday, 27 August 2015 | Israeli aircraft targeted a weapons manufacturing facility in central Gaza Strip early Thursday morning in reaction to a rocket that was fired from the Palestinian enclave and landed in an open area in the Eshkol Regional Council earlier in the night.

    No injuries or damage was reported in the rocket fire and the results of Israel's retaliation were unclear. The IDF [Israel Defense Forces] said that the targeted facility belonged to Hamas, the extremist Palestinian faction currently in control of the Strip.

    The IDF also confirmed the rocket attack, adding that one projectile had landed near the border fence and that code red sirens meant to alert residents of incoming rocket fire were not triggered.

    According to the IDF, code red sirens failed to sound because the rocket did not pose a threat to inhabited areas.

    Residents reported hearing an explosion from the rocket just after midnight. Security forces spent the night searching the field for the projectile.

    The last incident of rocket fire from Gaza occurred three weeks ago on August 7 when code red sirens also remained silent and one projectile landed inside Israel with another falling short, landing in Gaza.

    Israeli aircraft also retaliated to this incident, attacking the Gaza Strip and wounding two Hamas militants, according to the organization.

    Source: (Ynetnews originally published this article on 27 August 2015. See the original article at this link.)

    Photo Credit: paffairs_sanfrancisco/wikipedia.org

    Photo License: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:A_rocket_fired_from_a_civilian_area_in_Gaza_towards_civilian_areas_in_Southern_Israel.jpg

    Prayer Focus

    Pray for the Israeli residents, especially the children, who live within rocket range of the Gaza Strip. Offer praise and thanksgiving that the rocket did not cause any injuries or damage.

    Scripture

    The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; the God of my strength, in whom I will trust; my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge; my Savior, You save me from violence.

    - 2 Samuel 22:2–3

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  3. Terror Attack at Joseph’s Tomb Thwarted

    Joseph's tomb Friday, 28 August 2015 | It has been cleared for release that a joint operation of the IDF and the Israel Security Agency (ISA) has led to the arrest of a terror cell plotting to commit an attack against Israeli civilians. The attack was meant to be at Joseph’s Tomb, a religious site in Nablus, commonly identified with Joseph’s biblical gravesite. The site is religiously significant to Jews and Christians alike.

    The investigation uncovered that the cell planned to plant IEDs [improvised explosive devices] at Joseph’s Tomb and open fire on worshipers during prayer time. The cell received its instructions from Rafat Mohamed Darwish, a Palestinian Islamic Jihad [PIJ] operative in the Gaza Strip who is responsible for connecting the PIJ in the Gaza Strip and in Judea and Samaria. Darwish supplied the terror cell with munitions to execute the brutal attack.

    Further details revealed that each of the cell members held a specific task in order to carry out the attack. The tasks included acquisition of weapons, intelligence-gathering and execution of the attack.

    The investigation uncovered the clear and continued intent of Gaza Strip operatives to conspire, direct, lead and execute terror activities in Judea and Samaria as well as recruit other terrorists.

    The case has been transferred to the care of the Military Court in the Samaria Region for further investigation and final indictment of the four operatives.

    Members of the cell arrested:

    • Nisim Muhamad Ramdan Rashid Damiri (‘85)—Resident of Tulkarm. Previously arrested on multiple occasions for involvement in acts of terror. Associated with the “Tanzim” militant group. Was planning to execute the attack.
    • Muhamad Mufak Rakif Damiri (‘92)—Resident of the Tulkarm refugee camp. Gathered intelligence regarding worshipers’ activities at Joseph’s Tomb in preparation for the attack.
    • Yasir Gaudet Abed Zaruri (‘90)—Resident of Nablus. Hamas operative, previously arrested. Admitted to agreeing to teach Nisim Damiri how to prepare an IED in preparation for the attack.
    • Aduen Padel Hassan Nazel (‘91)—Resident of Qabatiya. Palestinian Islamic Jihad operative. Admitted to have been contacted by Darwish in order to help supply the terror cell with munitions in preparation for the attack.

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

    Prayer Focus

    Give thanks to the LORD that this horrific plan was discovered and stopped. Pray that the IDF and Israel’s security forces will continue to receive accurate intelligence concerning future acts of terror. Pray for the safety of those who risk their lives to get such information.

    Scripture

    Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.

    - Proverbs 19:21 NIV

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  4. Rouhani: Regardless of Resolutions, We Will Develop Weapons

    Fateh short-range ballistic missile (illustrative) Monday, 24 August 2015 | Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani hailed the unveiling of a new ballistic missile, saying that Iran “will not ask for permission or abide by any resolution” to procure any weapons it needs, Reuters reported Saturday. Rouhani’s declaration challenges the terms of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231, which endorsed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and required Iran to observe restrictions on its ballistic missile program.

    “The defense ministry’s unveiling of the solid-fuel missile, named Fateh 313, came little more than a month after Iran and world powers reached a deal that requires Tehran to abide by new limits on its nuclear program in return for Western governments easing economic sanctions.

    “According to that deal, any transfer to Iran of ballistic missile technology during the next eight years will be subject to the approval of the United Nations Security Council, and the United States has promised to veto any such requests. An arms embargo on conventional weapons also stays, preventing their import and export for five years.”

    The Fateh 313 is a short-range ballistic missile that can strike targets within 500 kilometers (310 miles).

    At a ceremony introducing the new weapon, Rouhani said, “We will buy, sell and develop any weapons we need and we will not ask for permission or abide by any resolution for that.”

    United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231 calls upon Iran “not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology.” In her explanation of the resolution, United States Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power said that it will “require Iran and all states to comply with legally binding restrictions on nuclear-, conventional arms-, and ballistic missile-related activities.”

    Behnam Ben Taleblu, an Iran research analyst at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, observed last week in The National Interest that Iran’s short range ballistic missiles, like the Fateh 313, can carry unconventional payloads.

    However, Iran had previously insisted that “it has not accepted or endorsed the annex, adding that none of its ballistic missiles has been designed to carry nuclear payloads, and thus, its ballistic missile program is no way related to the paragraph.”

    Reuters reported that an Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) commander reiterated a previous commitment to hold ballistic missile tests in the near future. Brigadier General Amirali Hajizadeh said, “Some wrongly think Iran has suspended its ballistic missile programs in the last two years and has made a deal on its missile program… We will have a new ballistic missile test in the near future that will be a thorn in the eyes of our enemies.” Earlier this month, another IRGC commander, Brigadier General Ahmad Reza Pourdastan, said that Iran would hold “specialized missile drilling.”

    Source: (The Israel Project, in its publication The Tower, originally published this article on 23 August 2015. Time related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)

    Photo Credit: M-ATF, from military.ir and iranmilitaryforum.net

    Photo License: http://gallery.military.ir/albums/userpics/10187/New-Fateh-TEL.jpg

    Prayer Focus

    Pray that the people of Israel will call out to the Lord as their salvation and strength in the face of a belligerent Iran which has publicly called for their destruction.

    Scripture

    The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked came against me to eat up my flesh, my enemies and foes, they stumbled and fell.

    - Psalm 27:1–2

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  5. Travel Warnings for Israelis

    by Yoav Zitun

    Taba Border Crossing between Israel and Egypt Tuesday, 25 August 2015 | According to the announcement, a series of terror attacks attributed to radical Islamic groups over the last year in Belgium, Canada, Australia, France and Denmark raises concerns over other attacks on Western targets, including specifically Israeli or Jewish ones, and especially in western and northern Europe.

     "We are not ISIS' main target, but nevertheless we see them as a threat to Israeli targets," said the Counter-Terrorism Bureau. "But we cannot tell Israelis not to go to Belgium, for example, because ISIS is active in that country."

    A similar danger, said the bureau, exists because of "Iran's and Hezbollah's global terror campaign," which it noted continues to pose a threat to Israeli and Jewish targets around the world, particularly tourist destinations and symbols of Jewish life such as rabbis, community leaders, and Chabad houses.

     The severe travel warning about the Sinai Peninsula was still valid, as it has been for a decade, because of the local ISIS affiliates who have been committing terror attacks. The Taba Border Crossing to the Sinai still sees traffic of around 2,000-3,000 people per month, 40 percent tourists and 60 percent Israelis, mostly from the Arab population.

    However, some scant dozens of Jews still cross the border to the casino adjacent to the crossing. "We are very concerned about the fates of the Israelis in the Sinai," said the Bureau. "The distance to being kidnapped by ISIS is very small."

    Israelis are increasingly travelling to tourist destination in Turkey, and the bureau issued another warning this year, suggesting that Israelis avoid nonessential travel there. "The Turks have also begun activity against ISIS," the bureau noted. "We recommend carefully considering unessential visits. Its security is unstable."

    In addition to warnings about Arab and Islamic countries (including those that have diplomatic relations with Israel), the bureau said threats against Western targets in general and Israelis in particular have grown in Africa, with an emphasis on businesspeople and Israeli companies. The bureau pointed to organizations such as Somalia's Al Shabab (also active in Kenya and other countries in the Horn of Africa), Boko Haram in Nigeria, and al-Qaeda and ISIS, which are active in north Africa and the Maghreb.

    All in all, out of 193 countries in the world, the bureau issued travel warnings for 27 countries, legally binding travel bans for six countries, and eight travel warnings for specific areas—a total of 41 warnings and bans.

    Among the dangerous regions were most of Kashmir in northern India, southern Thailand, Chechnya in Russia, and northern Nigeria.

    Roughly 30,000 Israelis are expected to fly to Uman, Ukraine to visit the grave of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov. While the bureau did not issue a travel warning for Ukraine, it has spoken to local authorities to request hundreds of police to provide security.

    Source: (Ynetnews originally published this article on 24 August 2015. Time related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)

    Photo Credit: NYC2TLV/wikipedia.org

    Photo License: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Taba_Border_Terminal_(Egypt).JPG

    Prayer Focus

    Pray for Israelis in the coming weeks as larger numbers will travel abroad during the fall holiday season. Ask the Lord to protect them from the shadow of death, from any terrorists who are planning attacks against Jewish targets. Pray that travelers will seek the Lord when deciding where to travel.

    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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  6. Realignment in the Middle East Excludes the United States

    by Brian Schrauger

    Iranian-American journalist Sohrab Ahmari Wednesday, 26 August 2015 | Three weeks ago today, US President Obama stood at the podium of American University and said that "every nation in the world that has commented publicly about [the deal with Iran regarding its weapons-grade nuclear program] ...has expressed support." Every nation, that is, "with the exception of the Israeli government."

    The assertion is problematic. Arguably, along with Israel, the President's own country opposes the deal. At this point it is a virtual certainty that Obama will have to veto Congressional rejection of the agreement. The assertion is also problematic in that it denies the emphatic, if de facto, opposition by many Middle East countries, especially Saudi Arabia.

    According to Iranian-American journalist, Sohrab Ahmari, Obama was fully aware that "Arab nerves [were] rankled by his nuclear diplomacy with Iran." Accordingly, in early May, he invited all six nation-members of the Gulf Cooperation Council to a summit in Washington DC. Only two accepted: the tiny countries of Qatar and Kuwait. In classic Middle Eastern style, disapproval of Obama's pending agreement was blatant. Nonetheless, and not surprisingly, Obama called the summit a "success."

    In last week's Wall Street Journal, Ahmari published an essay damning to Obama's implication that, privately or publicly, only Israel opposes the deal with Iran while every other country, including Middle Eastern Arab States, support it.

    The essay also argues for a new alignment in the Middle East that has little place for the United States of America.

    Ahmari titled his editorial, "The Saudis Reply to Iran’s Rising Danger." In it, he contends that, in light of Iran's threshold status as a nuclear power, Saudi Arabia is quietly aligning with Israel while strengthening ties with Russia. But, as the Kingdom considers its response to the Iranian threat, "the US doesn't figure much in [its] moral and strategic map."

    According to Ahmari, the absence of Saudi Arabia's King Salman from the President's summit "was a rare public expression of the kingdom’s anger at Mr. Obama." And "the most astonishing" result of that anger, he writes, "is the nascent alliance between Saudi Arabia and Israel."

    Evidence for this discreet alliance comes from Anwar Eshki, a retired major general in Saudi Arabia's military. Eshki "made history in June when he appeared on a panel in Washington, D.C., with Dore Gold. Gold is the newly appointed director-general of Israel’s Foreign Ministry. At the event, Gen. Eshki outlined a vision for the Middle East that included Arab-Israeli peace, regime change in Tehran, democracy in the Arab world and the creation of a Kurdish state."

    According to the event's press conference transcript, Eshki also stated that Iran's policy is "destabilization in the Gulf and the Middle East and of building a nuclear bomb."

    Ahmari notes that Eshki's claim that "his outreach to Israel is a purely private enterprise." At the same time, however, this is not the way Eshki's views are interpreted in the Middle East, "in large part because he is a prominent and well-connected figure in the Saudi security establishment."

    While Saudi Arabia technically supports the deal with Iran, its actual opposition is evidenced by Eshki's words. In an interview with him, Ahmari asked if he agreed with the Obama administration's contention that, with a deal, moderates in Iran can "outmaneuver hard-liners like Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and his Revolutionary Guards."

    Eshki's answer?

    "I believe Iran will not change its mind as long as [its current] regime is in power in Tehran," he replied. "Iran does many things that are not good. They want to revive the Persian Empire. And also they want to dominate the Middle East through destabilization."

    Saudi Arabia is not only reaching out to Israel, but Russia too. According to Eshki, Ahmari writes, "Riyadh and the Kremlin may now work together to stabilize Syria."

    "Russia is a great country,” Eshki said in the interview.

    What role then does the Kingdom see for the United States in stabilizing the Middle East?

    "The US doesn’t figure much in the moral and strategic map Gen. Eshki paints of the region," Ahmari writes.

    How then does "the birth of a nuclear-armed Iranian theocracy affect Saudi Arabia’s new strategic path?" Ahmari asks.

    The answer is that Saudi Arabia's general "doesn’t seem worried, but others might be." According to Eshki, "If Iran tries to make that atomic bomb, we would do that also."

    Source: (Bridges for Peace, 26 August 2015)

    Photo Credit: Sohrab Ahmari/wikipedia.org

    Photo License: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sohrab_Ahmari.jpg

    Prayer Focus

    Pray that the US Congress will continue to see clearly that the current agreement with Iran is dangerous both for Israel and the West and not give in to fear of a possible economic crisis. Pray that the members of Congress will take a strong stand with Israel as they vote next month.

    Scripture

    The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD shall be safe.

    - Proverbs 29:25

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  7. UNRWA Posts Anti-Semitic Cartoons Inciting Murder of Jews

    by Hillel Neuer

    Anti-Semitic caricature Monday, 24 August 2015 | ​Editor's note: UN Watch is an influential international non-profit organization that monitors the United Nations. ​Yesterday its Executive Director, Hillel Neuer, sent a letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon. Reproduced in full, this is what Neuer wrote:

    UN [United Nations] Watch is gravely concerned that the UN’s special relief agency for Palestinians, which received some $400 million from the United States last year in exchange for its signed promise to refrain from supporting terrorism and to uphold neutrality, is nevertheless disseminating crude, anti-Semitic caricatures on the Internet that incite to the murder of Jews. We respectfully demand that you take action immediately to remove the images, apply accountability to the highest levels of UNRWA [United Nations Relief and Works Agency], and apologize.

    We call your attention to two of the ten first items appearing on the UNRWA Facebook page of the Rameh school, based in the Jaramaneh camp outside Damascus, which are cartoons celebrating Palestinian car attacks against Israeli Jewish civilians.

    One of the cartoons posted by UNRWA resorts to classic anti-Semitic imagery, depicting a hook-nosed ultra-Orthodox Jew dressed in black, with a Star of David marked on his black hat.

    Another of UNRWA’s images shows cars attacking people, with the caption that translates to “Cars intifada Daes,” using the Arabic term “Daes” (Run-over), a play on the Arabic word for “Daesh” (ISIS).

    In these postings, UNRWA joins the terror-inciting social media campaign that praises the Palestinian car attacks such as the one in Jerusalem on 22 October 2014, which killed 3-month-old baby Chaya Zissel Braun, and 22-year-old Karen Jemima Mosquera of Ecuador, and wounded eight others.

    This vile campaign praises car attacks as a form of “resistance,” and incites others to perpetrate similar attacks and, as documented by the Anti-Defamation League, features violent expressions of anti-Semitism.

    Excellency, at a time when UNRWA claims to be in crisis, it is shameful that an UNRWA facility featured on a UN video asking for help for victims in Syria would be the same one engaged in incitement to racism, terrorism and murder.

    All of this follows the April report of your board of inquiry which found that UNRWA effectively turned a blind eye to Hamas rockets and other terrorist weapons being stored in its facilities.

    The UN cannot demand more and more funding for UNRWA from the United States and others while this agency aids, abets and incites to terrorism, murder and anti-Semitism.

    Accordingly, we respectfully demand that you take action immediately to remove the images, apply accountability to the highest levels of UNRWA, and apologize.

    Source: (UN Watch originally published this article on 23 August 2015. Time related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)

    Photo Credit: Rameh Unrwa School Facebook page

    Prayer Focus

    Pray that this UN agency will be held accountable for its expressions of anti-Semitism and incitement of terror over the social media. Pray that honesty and integrity will be valued at the highest levels of the UN and will have an effect on the entire body.

    Scripture

    A faithful witness does not lie, but a false witness will utter lies.

    - Proverbs 14:5

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  8. Aliyah Flight Lands

    By Itay Blumenthal

    New immigrants (illustrative) Friday, 28 August 2015 | Tears flowed freely at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport when 59 lone soldiers, 29 families, 75 children, and 86 singles looking for their true match all said goodbye to everything they know and boarded a plane for Israel and a new life.

    Jeremy Weinstock, Adina Karfoch, Michal and Obi Jacob and 229 others joined together and sang Israel's national anthem HaTikvah [the Hope] before takeoff from New York on their special 10 hour flight of new immigrants. Upon arrival some kissed the holy land.

    "I feel the need to be a part of defending the Jewish people," said Weinstock, 18, from Illinois, who will be serving in the elite Duvdevan special operations force. He says he found it hard to be on the other side of the world, when his peers were endangering their lives defending the homeland.

    There was even a Torah scroll on the aliyah flight. Harold Bornstein grabbed the scroll wrapped in a prayer shawl from the moment he entered the airport until boarding the flight, while his wife Lea stuck to his side. "This is the family's Torah scroll from which we read in the synagogue in New York," he says excitedly. "Now, we will be reading from it in the synagogue of our new neighborhood "Hadekel" in Efrat, a West Bank [Judea–Samaria] settlement south of Jerusalem.

    Elah Dahan, 18, about to join the IDF, walked around JFK airport wrapped in an Israeli flag. Elah is not the first of her family to immigrate to Israel to serve in the IDF. Her older brother served during Operation Protective Edge on the Gaza border. Elah indicated that she is proud of him and sees him as a role model.

    Yuval Harari, a son of former Israeli parents, was also on the flight planning to join the IDF, in the footsteps of his older brother, Eitan, who was released just over a year ago. "I'd trade places with him right now, and start all over again," said Eitan in New York, just before he left his brother, but not for long. Next week he'll be on a plane to do five days of reserve duty, and he is looking forward to see his combat friends, some of them wounded in the recent operation in Gaza. He intends to settle in Israel immediately after graduation.

    The olim [new immigrants] were welcomed with a festive ceremony at Terminal 1, with the participation of hundreds of family members, friends and soldiers waving Israeli flags. The olim received their immigrant certificates from Construction Minister Yoav Galant, Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky and the founders of Nefesh B'Nefesh Rabbi Yehoshua Fass and Tony Gelbart.

        One of the olim, Sari Friedman, reunited with her soldier son, Michael Salaverry, who made aliyah two years ago and is serving in the paratroopers. "Now Mom has joined me," he said emotionally. Choked with tears, Friedman said that this was the happiest day of her life. "I am very excited and am about to faint. I am very glad, happy and this is one of the most important and exciting moments of my life."

    Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky said that despite the security challenges, there has been an increase in the interest expressed by Jews to immigrate to Israel. "Jews come to Israel not because it is a shelter, but because it is a magnet for those seeking a meaningful Jewish life, liberty, personal security and satisfaction take part in Jewish history."

    Editor’s Note:  Bridges for Peace has a long history of helping new immigrants as they arrive in Israel. You can partner with us as we bless Israel’s newest residents by giving to our New Immigrant Fund. Click here to make a donation.

    Moshe Glantz and Itamar Eichner contributed to this report.

    Source: (Excerpt of an article originally published in Ynetnews on 21 August 2015. Time related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)

    Photo Credit: Eic413/Wikipedia.org

    Prayer Focus

    Offer praise to the LORD for the increasing numbers of Jews who are making aliyah. Give thanks for the desire of many young men and women who want to serve the nation of Israel in the IDF. Pray that all of the new immigrants will be firmly planted in the Land.

    Scripture

    For behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, that I will bring back from captivity My people Israel and Judah, says the LORD. And I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it.

    - Jeremiah 30:3

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  9. Israeli Start-Up Turns Organic Waste into Free Energy for Palestinians

    by Ilse Posselt

    Anaerobic digestate Tuesday, 25 August 2015 | Imagine a world where you could simply stick your organic trash into a white box conveniently located in your backyard—only to have that everyday household waste converted into cooking fuel. Thanks to cutting-edge technology from the Jewish state, that possibility is anything but imaginary for Palestinian villagers living in desolate areas in Judea-Samaria.

    As part of a pilot project, 40 portable anaerobic bio-digesters developed by Israeli start-up HomeBioGas were recently installed in the remote Palestinian village al-Awja to supply residents with a free, clean and simple energy source. Forty more units are set for installation over the next two months.

    The concept is straightforward. Residents simply feed the bio-digesters all leftover food scraps and pet manure. The gas generator then goes to work using an anaerobic process to turn the organic waste into clean biogas suitable for use in the home.

    "(In) this area ... there is no water or electricity,” said digester owner and Palestinian resident Nayef Zayid. Al-Awja, which is located in the Jordan valley, falls under the leadership and government of the Palestinian Authority. “We have no services,” he explained.

    Whereas the Western world is accustomed to the comforts of electricity and modern technology, the bulk of those in developing countries still rely on fire to cook meals and heat homes. However, according to the World Health Organization, smoke inhalation kills a staggering 4.3 million women and children who are forced to cook indoors on open fires each year.

    This horrifying statistic motivated HomeBioGas to develop the first family-sized bio-digesters available on the market. Since the biogas it produces is entirely safe for cooking and heating, it eliminates the health and safety risks of fuel sources such as wood and coal.

    According to Oshik Efrati, chief executive officer of HomeBioGas, it is the organization’s hope that the product will save lives in rural areas across the world.

    HomeBioGas designed its bio-digesters specifically to withstand exposure to the elements. In fact, the unit functions particularly well in high temperatures. Moreover, since the unit is portable, it can easily be taken along if people living in temporary huts or tents, such as local Bedouin, decide to move.

    "HomeBioGas has invented this simple digester that can easily be assembled and transported," said Palestinian engineer Amer Rabayah, who coordinates installation of the devices.

    The pilot project is but the first step for HomeBioGas, explains Efrati. The organization’s vision is to enlist various governments and aid agencies so that the digesters can be made available to needy communities across the globe.

    Source: (Bridges for Peace, 25 August 2015)

    Photo Credit: Alex Marshall, Clarke Energy Ltd/wikipedia.org

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

    Prayer Focus

    Give thanks for the heart of the people of God and their commitment to tikun olam, repairing the world. Pray that this project can be expanded to many rural areas around the globe and save the lives of many women and children.

    Scripture

    For the needy shall not always be forgotten; the expectation of the poor shall not perish forever.

    - Psalm 9:18

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  10. IDF Enlistment of Christian Israelis Set to Break Records

    by Ilse Posselt

    Thursday, 27 August 2015 | In the seventy odd years since the birth of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), the army guarding the tiny Jewish state has arguably become synonymous with a commitment to break new ground and top the status quo.

    This coming year, the IDF is set to shatter yet another record, as the number of Christian youths lining up to defend their country is expected to reach an all-time high. With numbers climbing gradually over the past years, the army predicts an unprecedented 200 new Christian recruits in the year to come, Israel National News reported.

    At first glance, 200 seems but a paltry trickle. Yet circumstances—and statistics—tell a different story.

    Just over 130,000 Christian citizens currently call Israel home, the majority of whom identify as Arabs. This translates to some 1,400 youths eligible for IDF recruitment each year, said Breaking Israel News.

    Due to consistent incitement from the Arab community against young Christians considering army service, only a dozen or so traditionally chose to face the threats and intimidation to sign up.

    Yet three years ago, the tide started turning. Last year saw 100 Christian soldiers join the army of Israel. Moreover, the number is predicted to double over the next year as 200 new Christian recruits prepare to join the ranks of the IDF.

    The increased numbers are due in part to the efforts of Christian community leaders like Greek Orthodox priest Father Gabriel Naddaf. Naddaf’s own son, Judaan, proudly enlisted for his three-year stint in the IDF last December.

    For its part, the Israeli military has also embarked on a number of avenues to ease the enlistment journey. This includes a pre-military seminar for Christian youths considering army service. Col. (res.) Pini Gonen, initiator and leader of the Gadna youth battalion project, told Walla! that 48 potential recruits, including two women, attended the four-week program, which included military preparation and leadership training as well as field trips to churches and other historic landmarks in Jerusalem and northern Israel.

    “They arrive with very high motivation for military service,” Walla! quoted Gonen as saying. “Just last week Jennifer, an Arab Christian soldier, was selected for exceptional performance in a course operating Iron Dome. She also finished basic training with exceptional ratings.”

    “I believe that the number of recruits will rise,” he added. “Already today you can see (Arab Christian) officers at the rank of major in the teleprocessing branch, navy and other units. Even more senior rankings are just a matter of time.”

    Speaking to Israel National News, another seminar participant, 20-year-old Tawfiq, explained the reason for his enlistment.  “I’m in favor of the state and want to raise it as high as possible,” he said. “I will enlist in my own name and in the name of the entire (Arab Christian) community, and I hope to be one of the best commanders.”

    Tawfiq also had a message for his peers. “I tell all the communities in Israel, you don’t have to enlist but don’t attack those who chose to contribute.

    “This is my country.”

    Source: (Bridges for Peace, 27 August 2015)

    Photo Credit: www.idfblog.com

    Prayer Focus

    Pray for these courageous young men and women who are willing to put their lives on the line to stand with Israel in spite of threats and intimidation from their own communities.

    Scripture

    How lovely are your tents, O Jacob! Your dwellings, O Israel! Blessed is he who blesses you, and cursed is he who curses you.

    - Numbers 24:5, 9

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