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Friday, April 21, 2017

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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 18,000 subscribers every Friday by e-mail. Please contact us at intl.office@bridgesforpeace.com if you would like to receive this Prayer Update by e-mail.

Moscow Meeting to Host Israel, Iran and Iraq

by Alex Fishman

Red Square in Moscow

Friday, 21 April 2017 | Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman will leave for Moscow next week for a security conference in which senior officials from countries such as Iran, Iraq, the Gulf emirates and other countries with whom Israel has no diplomatic relations will take part.

US and NATO leaders invited to the conference have not yet officially announced whether they intend to participate. Observers in Moscow know that the Americans will probably boycott the conference sponsored by the Russian leadership. The conference, which will begin on Wednesday under the title International Security Conference in Moscow, will be opened by Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

According to the schedule, the defense minister will meet with Shoygu and Lavrov outside the conference to clarify the issues involved in the arrangements the Russians are leading regarding the future of Syria. Lieberman’s meeting with the Russian defense minister will be the first meeting between the two men. It is reasonable to assume that one of the main issues that will arise during the meeting will be the collaboration between Israel and Russia in the Syrian arena in light of the Russian reprimand to Israel following the air strike in Syria a few weeks ago.

There is an open line of communication between the Russian Defense Ministry and Israel that serves as an understanding between the two sides so as to avoid friction between the air and naval forces operating in nearby arenas in Syria. In addition, the head of the Israeli Operations Branch meets his Russian counterpart once every two months in Moscow and Tel Aviv.

Also set to attend the conference are countries such as Jordan, Indonesia, Cuba, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Venezuela and Brazil. Among the issues planned for the conference are also controversial issues between Russia and the United States, such as “an up-to-date definition of the international system in a multi-polar era.”

The Russians are devoting a panel to issues of conflict resolution worldwide including Asia and the Pacific with a well timed reference to the North Korean crisis.

In a panel on the Middle East, the emphasis is on the struggle against radical movements, but not necessarily on Islamic movements. The Defense Ministry said the meetings were of paramount importance to Israel’s security.

(Translated and edited by N. Elias)

Source: (Ynetnews originally published this article on 20 April 2017. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: freeimages.com

Prayer Focus
Intercede for this conference in Moscow which addresses issues the Middle East is struggling with—radical movements and the Syrian civil war. Ask God to go before Lieberman, Israel's defense minister, and prepare the way that will be most beneficial for Israel, pray for his safety, divine wisdom and ask God to direct his speech while he is in the virtual lion’s den.

Scripture

And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.


- Deuteronomy 31:8

Iran Vows “Death to Israel” in Latest Military Parade

by Ilse Posselt

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani

Wednesday, 19 April 2017 | Yesterday the Islamic Republic of Iran celebrated its annual National Army Day. To mark the occasion, Iran chose to flaunt its military might by showcasing its newly acquired S-300 air defense missile system and a number of other state-of-the-art weapons in a series of parades through the streets of Tehran.

Yet the public display was not only for the benefit of the Iranians lining the streets of their capital. There was also a message for the Jewish state. Banners affixed to the trucks carrying the variety of weapons vowed “Death to Israel” in bright red Persian script.

According to The Times of Israel, the banners with the slogan calling for Israel’s demise also showed a picture of a fist punching through a blue Star of David.

The parade through Tehran featured missiles, tanks, armored vehicles, rifles, fighter jets, radar systems and the latest in camouflage gear, with troops from all units in the military proudly showing off their weapons.

In the midst of the display of military pomp, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told a crowd of high-ranking officials, commanders and ordinary Iranians that although the army’s purpose was to “avoid tensions and encounters,” it “remain[ed] vigilant in the face of plots hatched by the others and [sic] increase deterrent power.”

Yet despite Rouhani’s insistence that the Iranian war machine posed no threat to neighboring countries, the banners calling for the destruction of the Jewish state told a different story.

Held once per year, Tehran hosts National Army Day to celebrate the country’s latest military achievements. The Iranian powers-that-be also chose this year’s parade to showcase the highly advanced Russian-made S-300 air defense missile as well as the locally manufactured Sayyad-3 high-altitude long-range anti-aircraft missile.

Russia supplied the Islamic Republic with the S-300 system in a highly controversial arms deal. Iran had been interested in the system for years to ensure the safety of its nuclear facilities against the possibility of a pre-emptive Israeli strike. The arms system is widely considered one of the most advanced medium-range weapons in the world. In line with international sanctions imposed by the United Nations, Russia refused to supply Tehran with the system.

The playing field changed in January 2016, with the implementation of a controversial nuclear deal between Iran and the heads of the P5+1 (US, China, France, UK, Russia and Germany). The Islamic Republic’s once illegal nuclear plan became legal and Tehran and Moscow clinched an accord regarding the S-300. In April 2016, the Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Hossein Jaberi Ansari, announced that Russia had delivered the first of its advanced S-300 air defense missiles to Iran.

At the time, Israel expressed its concern over the sale. Moreover, according to The Times of Israel the Israeli Air Force (IAF) has in the past trained for the possibility of a pre-emptive strike on facilities equipped with the S-300 system. IAF commander Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel said in a 2015 interview that the Russian system was a “significant but not insurmountable challenge.”

Source: (Bridges for Peace, 19 April 2017)

Photo Credit: Meghdad Madadi/ Wikimedia

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Bring all Israel’s government officials, security and military units before God's throne and pray for wisdom to deal with and prepare for Iran's boastful warnings to Israel. Ask God for clear, sensible decisions and thank God for His promises to keep Israel.

Scripture

Behold, He who keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade at your right hand. 


- Psalm 121:4-5

Israeli Hurt in Car-ramming Terror Attack

by Elisha Ben Kimon

Aftermath of car ramming terror attack (illustrative)

Thursday, 20 April 2017 | A Palestinian driver rammed into a 70-year-old Israeli pedestrian at the Gush Etzion junction on Wednesday afternoon, lightly-to-moderately wounding him. IDF (Israel Defense Forces) troops who were at the scene shot and killed the terrorist.

A bus had been letting off passengers at the northern hitchhiker post of the Gush Etzion junction when a vehicle hit one of the passengers who was getting off the bus.

The terrorist was identified as Suheib Mashahra, 21, from the village of Sawahra, east of Jerusalem.

MDA paramedics treated the wounded man on scene and later evacuated him to the Shaare Zedek Medical Center in the capital.

“A man of about 70 was lying on the ground at the bus station conscious and confused. Civilians told us that he was hit by a vehicle while standing behind the bus,” MDA emergency medic Shmuel Daniel said.

Shlomo Ne’eman, head of the Gush Etzion Regional Council, decried the attack, saying this was “another event that demonstrates the desire of terrorism to subdue us, but they must understand that it only strengthens us.

Ne’eman praised the Israel security forces, saying “We thank the IDF and praise the soldiers who acted with determination and neutralized the terrorist.”

On Friday, British citizen Hannah Bladon was killed in a stabbing attack during a light rail ride in Jerusalem’s Tzahal Square, when the terrorist Jamil Tamimi from Ras al-Amud boarded the train with a knife and stabbed the student.

(Translated and edited by N. Elias)

Source: (Ynetnews originally published this article on 19 April 2017. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Ashernet

Prayer Focus
Implore the Lord to protect the Gush Etzion intersection as it has been the scene of many terror attacks. Cry out against those who would use cars as weapons of terror. Thank God for the IDF soldiers who are always ready to react in emergency situations and glorify God for His protection over them.

Scripture

The Lord will cause your enemies who rise against you to be defeated before your face; they shall come out against you one way and flee before you seven ways.


- Deuteronomy 28:7

One Killed in Gaza Tunnel Collapse as Hamas Rebuilds Terror Infrastructure

Arms smuggling tunnel in Gaza (illustrative)

Tuesday, 18 April 2017 | A militant belonging to the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas was killed Sunday night in a tunnel collapse underneath Gaza City, Israeli media reported. Three other militants were also injured in the cave-in.

Another member of Hamas died in a tunnel collapse this past February. Hamas, an Islamist terror group openly dedicated to Israel’s destruction, said in January that it lost 22 of its members in tunnel collapses in 2016. Also in February, a Hamas engineer was killed when a rocket he was testing exploded.

A senior IDF (Israel Defense Forces) official told Israel’s Channel 2 in February that Hamas had rebuilt its tunnel infrastructure and rocket arsenal to the levels it maintained before its 2014 war against Israel. Palestinian affairs correspondent Khaled Abu Toameh pointed out last year that Hamas has prioritized building up its terror infrastructure over rebuilding Gazan homes, writing that “the last thing Hamas cares about is the welfare of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.”

Hamas spends some $40 million of its $100 million military budget on tunnel construction, according to Israeli and Palestinian sources. An Israeli official estimated last July that Hamas digs some six miles of tunnels every month.

Hamas elected Yahya Sinwar—an influential hardliner convicted by Israel of multiple murders—to be its new Gaza-based chief in February.

Source: (This article was originally published by The Israel Project, in its publication The Tower on 17 April 2017. Time related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Isranet /IDF Spokesperson

Prayer Focus
Claim God’s protection over Israel’s border near Gaza as Hamas continues to build and strengthen their tunnel infrastructure. Pray for the endurance of the IDF soldiers serving near the Gaza Strip as they serve their country by detecting and destroying tunnels that pose a threat to Israel’s security.

Scripture

Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you. 


- Deuteronomy 31:6

Assad Militia Simulates Capturing Israeli Post

by Roi Kais

Hezbollah paramilitary wing

Tuesday, 18 April 2017 | A militia supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, called the National Defense Forces (NDF) published a video on Friday that shows its people training in Syria. The training exercise depicts a scenario in which the militia manages to commandeer an IDF (Israel Defense Forces) post. With dramatic music playing in the background, the soldiers manage to reach the Israeli post, identified by the Israeli flag. After overtaking it, the militia infantry places their own flag and the Hezbollah flag in its stead.

The NDF is a militia established by Assad during the civil war to deal with the weakness of the Syrian army. Only a few weeks ago, this militia claimed that an Israeli drone had assassinated one of its operatives, Yasser a-Sayyid, while he was driving in a car on the road between Khan Arnabeh, on the outskirts of Quneitra, and Damascus.

After the post falls into the militia’s hands, one of the commanders praises his soldiers for their performance. “It is very good that you are moving toward the post under a cover of fire. This is an achievement. ”

Later, soldiers from the militia are interviewed. They state that they feel good with their training: “The course was very good,” says one of them. “We have benefited from the knowledge of our friends, we have received new information and we have formulated a new tactic, a new method, better than what we had in the past.” At the end of the video, the soldiers who participated in the exercise yell out, “In the spirit and blood we will redeem you, Bashar” while waving their weapons.

The NDF militia includes battalions operating near the border with Israel. After the assassination of a-Sayyid, rumors began to swirl that he was taken out since he was planning to carry out attacks against Israel.

Source: (Ynetnews originally published this article on 14 April 2017. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: IDF blog

Prayer Focus
Ask God to direct Israel’s defense forces with strategies that will enable them to counter the enemy’s constant strategy that seeks Israel’s destruction. Pray for new ideas, foolproof plans and wise strategy as they steer the safety of the nation of Israel.

Scripture

You are my hiding place; You shall preserve me from trouble; You shall surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah. I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye. 


- Psalm 32:7–8

IDF Submariners: Gathering Critical Military Intelligence

by Isaac Dabush

IDF submariners on watch

Wednesday, 19 April 2017 | Hundreds of meters below the sea, between currents and far from the Israeli border, submariners operate at all times. As Israel celebrated the holiday of Passover, submarines operated in the depths of the sea providing the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) with intelligence that will decide the next war.

SSgt. ‘B,’ who serves on a submarine, explains what life is like in isolation from the outside world.

“When you go out on a mission, the submarine is constantly submerged and you don’t surface again until the mission is complete,” said SSgt. B.

“Aside from my professional training, they prepared us for the fact that we are going to be hundreds of meters underwater and disconnected from the outside world. Throughout your service, you learn to enjoy the small things in life—seeing the blue sky, the sunset, a rainbow. However, through the periscope, you can also see the enemy in front of your eyes and understand the importance of the mission.”

Israel’s submarine fleet was established in 1959 and combines sophisticated technology, quality manpower and a family atmosphere—resulting from the intimacy created when a group of people are confined in an underwater box for months on end.

“The operations are the most dominant aspect of life in the unit and we have dozens of operations a year, some of which are very complicated,” said B. “A submarine can be underwater for a very long time, and it creates a special fraternity—it’s like a second home for a lot of people. We live together around the clock, my team is my family.”

(Translated and edited by Fred Goldberg)

Source: (Ynetnews originally published this article on 12 April 2017. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: IDFblog.com

Prayer Focus
Thank God for the men who serve in Israel’s submarines, sacrificing a normal lifestyle as they remain submerged for long periods of time, gathering intelligence for the next possible war. Pray for them and their families, asking the Lord to give them sound minds, comfort in their loneliness, strength and joy.

Scripture

Let, I pray, Your merciful kindness be for my comfort, according to Your word to Your servant.


- Psalm 119:76

Breaking the Cycle of Poverty among Holocaust Survivors

by Itay Blumental

Holocaust survivors at soup kitchen

Friday, 21 April 2017 | A new piece of legislation designed to provide greater economic benefits to Holocaust survivors who immigrated to Israel after 1953, in an effort to break a prevailing cycle of poverty, was announced Wednesday.

The joint legislative proposal is being spearheaded by MKs (Yesh Atid) and Dov Khenin (Joint List) with the aim of significantly increasing the annual financial allowances of post-1953 immigrant survivors.

Approximately 78,000 Holocaust survivors currently live in Israel who made aliyah after 1953. As a result of their comparatively late arrival in Israel, they were not entitled to a number of rights granted to “Disabled Victims of Nazi persecution,” which included those who made aliyah prior to 1953.

If the legislation passes in the Knesset, the financial injection would constitute a significant difference in compensation currently awarded by the state.

While huge gaps would remain in the sums received by the two groups even after the bill passes the new legislation seeks to boost the allowance for post-1953 survivors by 1,000 shekels per month, three times the sum they currently receive.

MK Stern, who also chairs a lobby group on behalf of Holocaust survivors, said during a press conference which took place on Wednesday that “The State of Israel needs to go to the Holocaust survivors and not wait for them to go to the State.”

“In the last few years, Israel has take action for the Holocaust survivors but there are still some who have been left behind.  

Editor’s Note: The needs of Israel’s poor, including Holocaust survivors, are being met in a number of ways. Bridges for Peace, through its Food Project, purchases nutritious food locally and provides it to many in need. Please consider helping us in this effort by sending a donation.

Source: (Ynetnews originally published this article on 20 April 2017. Time related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Isranet

Prayer Focus
Offer thanksgiving for Israel's new legislation that will provide a great financial relief for Holocaust survivors who made aliyah after 1953. Ask God to bless them with emotional healing, physical help and friends. Praise Him for meeting their financial needs.

Scripture

I have been young, and now am old; yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his descendants begging bread. He is ever merciful, and lends; and his descendants are blessed.


- Psalm 37:25-26

Action
The needs of Israel’s poor, including Holocaust survivors, are being met in a number of ways. Bridges for Peace, through its Food Project, purchases nutritious food locally and provides it to many in need. Please consider helping us in this effort by sending a donation.

Israeli Students Send Satellite into Space

by Ilse Posselt

The Israeli students behind the Duchifat-2 nanosatellite (Photo Credit: Ofer Amram / www.h-space-lab.org)

Thursday, 20 April 2017 | The National Aeronautics and Space Administration launched a nanosatellite built by Israeli high school students into space to help map the earth’s atmosphere.

Named Duchifat-2 (Hoopoe) after Israel’s national bird, the Jewish state’s tiny satellite forms part of a fleet of 28 nanosatellites from 23 countries around the world participating in the European Union’s QB50 thermosphere international research program. Israel’s offering is, however, the only satellite built entirely by teenagers in high school. The remaining satellites are the handiwork of either college students or researchers.

For the past two years, more than 80 students from high schools in Herzliya, Ofakim, Yeruham, Ofra and the Bedouin town of Hura worked together on a joint initiative of the Israel Space Agency and the Herzliya Science Center to build the Duchifat-2. Academic engineers and experts from the Israel Aerospace Industries were close at hand throughout the entire process to share knowledge and offer guidance.

Fourteen pupils from Herzliya and Hura had the opportunity to travel to Cape Canaveral to watch their handiwork being launched into space.

The bevy of tiny satellites together with more than three tons of supplies blasted off aboard an Atlas V supply rocket from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida and is now heading for the International Space Station. The cargo is expected to reach its destination two days after liftoff.

In six weeks’ time, astronauts in the Japanese section of the space station will release the satellites into the atmosphere using a special robotic arm. According to The Times of Israel, the Duchifat-2 will be responsible for studying the plasma density in the lower thermosphere. The satellite will send signals directly to the Herzliya Science Center, where students involved in the project will be at hand to analyze the data received.

Hoopoe – Duchifat 2 (Photo Credit: www.h-space-lab.org)

Duchifat-2 weighs in at a mere 1.8 kg (3.96 lbs) and at 20 cm (7.87 in) tall by 10 cm (3.93 in) wide; the satellite is approximately the size of a standard milk carton. Given its tiny statute, it has no motors and relies on the earth’s magnetic field to maintain correct alignment in the atmosphere.

Duchifat-2’s predecessor, Duchifat-1, was also developed in collaboration with the Herzliya Science Center. The Duchifat-1 was sent to space in June 2014 and is still active nearly three years later.

Commenting on the launch, Israel’s Science Minister, Ofir Akunis, said in a statement, “Duchifat-2 is not only an educational venture that brings space closer to youth and lays the way for tomorrow’s generation, it is also an international research project. This is Israeli pride for the future generation, and an opportunity to increase public awareness about space.”

Source: (Bridges for Peace, 20 April 2017)

Prayer Focus
Pray for these Israeli high school kids who took a leap of faith to develop and launch a tiny satellite into space. Thank God for this learning experience and ask Him to use it to inspire the students to learn more about space.

Scripture

The heart of the prudent acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge. A man’s gift makes room for him, and brings him before great men. 


- Proverbs 18:15-16

Action
Do you have children or know any? Pray for them, the next generation of scientists, caretakers, engineers or a handyman. We can spiritually influence a better future for them if we cover their future with God’s faithfulness of His promises.

Israeli Scientists Detect Landmines Using Glow-in-the-Dark Bacteria

Minefield warning on the Golan Heights

Wednesday, 19 April 2017 | Israeli researchers have devised a way to detect buried landmines using a system of glowing bacteria and lasers.

Landmines, which kill or injured an estimated 15,000 to 20,000 people each year worldwide, emit small quantities of explosive vapors. Researchers from Hebrew University headed by Prof. Shimshon Belkin of the Alexander Silberman Institute of Life Sciences discovered that certain bacteria release a fluorescent signal when they come into contact with these vapors, The Times of Israel reported.

The researchers tested their observations by planting the bacteria in specially designed beads amidst a field of buried landmines. The field was then scanned remotely by lasers which were able to detect the mines by the bacteria’s glow.

The researchers believe that this is the first time landmines have been detected remotely.

“Our field data show that engineered biosensors may be useful in a landmine detection system,” Belkin said in a statement. However, Belkin cautioned that more work needed to be done to perfect the system, including improving the sensitivity and stability of the bacteria, increasing the speed of the scan to cover larger areas, and making the scanning apparatus smaller so that it can be fit onto unmanned vehicles or drones.

Israel has numerous areas that have been populated with landmines, including the Arava Valley, areas along the Jordan Valley, and the Golan Heights, which Israel captured from Syria during the Six Day War. While these zones have been marked off with warnings, landmine accidents still occur there every few years.

Source: (This article was originally published by The Israel Project, in its publication The Tower on 14 April 2017. Time related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: David Shay/ Wikimedia

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Praise God for His faithfulness and wisdom as Israeli researchers and Prof. Belkin have discovered a brilliant way of detecting landmines. Pray that God will grant them success to locate all hidden landmines in Israel’s Arava Valley and the Golan Heights so they can be rendered harmless.

Scripture

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.


- Psalm 119:105

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