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. UN Challenged to See Root Causes of Gaza Conflict
  2. ISIS May Have Chemical Weapons
  3. Israel’s Ebola Action Plan
  4. Symbolic Vote on Palestinian State Passes Parliament
  5. How the Donors Saved Hamas
  6. PA Leaders: Our Weapons Are for Future Wars with Israel
  7. Police Lock Muslim Rioters Inside Temple Mount Mosque
  8. Aliyah for the “Lost Tribes”
  9. Building Supplies Flow into Gaza from Israel
  10. Israel’s treatment of Palestinian Workers
  1. UN Challenged to See Root Causes of Gaza Conflict

    PM Netanyahu with
    UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon
    Following are Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s remarks at the start of his meeting in Jerusalem this afternoon (Monday, 13 October 2014) with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon: “The root cause of the violence that burst from Gaza is not Israel’s occupation in Gaza, for a simple reason: Israel doesn’t occupy Gaza.

    “Israel left Gaza to the very last centimeter, to the very last inch. We uprooted all the settlements and vacated all the settlers.

    “So there is no Israeli occupation of Gaza.

    “The root cause of this summer’s outburst of violence was Hamas’ rocketing of Israeli cities, and these rocket attacks often exploited UN neutrality, using UN facilities and UN schools as part of the Hamas machine of terror.

    “And when rockets were discovered inside UN schools, some UN officials handed them back to Hamas—that very same Hamas that was rocketing Israeli cities and Israeli civilians.

    “The root cause of Hamas’ rocket fire on Israel is Hamas’ opposition to Israel’s very existence.

    “Hamas doesn't give a hoot for the 1967 lines. For them, Israel has no right to live, in any borders. Hamas rejects our very existence. They’re committed to killing every Israeli and every Jew. You just have to read their charter—they say that very plainly.

    “So Hamas is the enemy of all of us who seek peace. And a real peace can only be achieved through bilateral negotiations with those who believe in peace.

    “I believe that unilateral steps by the Palestinians at the United Nations will not advance peace. I think they’ll do the very opposite. They’ll bring about a further deterioration in the situation—something none of us want."

    Prime Minister Netanyahu added regarding the violence on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem: "I’m committed, and Israel is committed, to maintaining the status quo exactly as it’s been for many decades.

    “What we’re seeing are Palestinian extremists who are instigating violence through incitement. The incitement is spread by false and baseless rumors that we are threatening the Muslim holy places.

    “Nothing could be further from the truth. Israel scrupulously maintains the protection of the holy sites, the right of all religions to worship in their holy places, and will continue to do so, maintaining order, maintaining freedom of worship."

    Source: (Press release by Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, October 13, 2014)

    Photo Credit: GPO/Kobi Gideon

    Prayer Focus

    Cry out to the Lord on behalf of His people who are facing many enemies who distort the truth. Pray that the eyes of the UN’s leaders would be opened to understand the true nature of Hamas and the hatred it holds for the Jewish people.

    Scripture

    But my enemies are vigorous, and they are strong; and those who hate me wrongfully have multiplied. Those also who render evil for good, they are my adversaries, because I follow what is good.

    - Psalm 38:19–20

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  2. ISIS May Have Chemical Weapons

    Soldier wearing protection from chemical weapons The ISIS terrorist group, also known as ISIL or the Islamic State (IS), may have acquired some of the world’s deadliest weapons and may have already used them. The Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal reported that Kurdish activists said ISIS used chemical weapons in July in the Kurdish region of Kobani, and photo evidence obtained by MERIA seems to back up the belief.

    Dr. Jonathan Spyer, author of the MERIA report, wrote that Israeli experts had reviewed the photos and said the burn wounds shown in them appeared to be from an agent such as mustard gas. However, they could not be certain of this.

    Dr. Spyer, an expert for the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center, wrote that ISIS may have acquired the weapons from Iraq. He cites a CIA article that mustard gas was found at a facility in the country.

    ISIS has controlled territory in two nations with a known history of chemical weapons—Syria and Iraq.

    Meanwhile, the Kobani region is currently a target of ISIS and on Wednesday [October 15] US General John Allen noted the US is using airstrikes to help out the Kurdish forces there “to give some time to the fighters to organize on the ground.”

    Gen. Allen, in comments released by the State Department, refused to assign victory to either side at this point in the broader fight with ISIS.

    “I’d be careful about assigning a winner or a loser,” said Gen. Allen, the Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL. “We had come in early along with the intention that the airstrikes were to buy white space to impede the tactical momentum of ISIL. And that in fact has occurred in some areas. They still retain some tactical momentum in other areas, and that’s to be expected. We’re only new into this strategy.”

    Source: (By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, October 16, 2014)

    Prayer Focus

    Appeal to the God of Jacob that the evil use of chemical weapons by ISIS will be totally thwarted. Pray for God’s protection of the Kurdish forces and others who are fighting for their lives against the IS, power of darkness.

    Scripture

    You are more glorious and excellent than the mountains of prey. The stouthearted were plundered; they have sunk into their sleep and none of the mighty men have found the use of their hands. At your rebuke, O God of Jacob, both the chariot and horses were cast into a dead sleep.

    - Psalm 76:4–6

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  3. Israel’s Ebola Action Plan

    Deadly Ebola virus Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, this evening (Thursday, 16 October 2014), held an additional consultation to evaluate state agencies’ readiness regarding the global spread of Ebola. Health Minister Yael German, Health Ministry Director General Prof. Arnon Afek, and Ben-Gurion International Airport Director Shmuel Zakai also participated in the consultation.

    They were briefed on Friday morning’s exercise at Ben Gurion International Airport in which the arrival of a passenger with Ebola will be simulated. The exercise will include initial questioning as well as evacuation and hospital treatment. Prime Minister Netanyahu instructed that preparations be increased at all entry points into Israel including preventive measures such as taking the temperature of passengers arriving from areas in which there is concern over the spread of Ebola.

    [Editor’s note: Israel has also met with Palestinian health officials to develop a joint action plan for protection. Hospital drills and tighter scrutiny at all border crossings have resumed in the Land. Though no actual threat has arisen, PM Netanyahu made the following statement after meeting with officials, “This is a global epidemic and we are cooperating with other countries, and in addition to protecting our borders, we are taking a series of steps to isolate patients, if they come, and of course to treat them in our healthcare systems.”]

    Source: (By the Prime Minister's Media Adviser, Government Press Office, October 16, 2014)

    Prayer Focus

    Pray for the people in West Africa, who are ill or becoming ill from the Ebola virus. May Israel and the nations seek God’s guidance in fighting the battle against this disease. Ask that many will realize true protection against the spread of this plague comes from the Almighty.

    Scripture

    Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge, even the Most High, your dwelling place, no evil shall befall you, nor shall any plague come near your dwelling. for He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways.

    - Psalm 91:9–11

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  4. Symbolic Vote on Palestinian State Passes Parliament

    Debating chamber of the British House of Commons Late Monday (Oct. 13), the House of Commons passed a symbolic, nonbinding resolution which read: "That this House believes that the Government should recognize the state of Palestine alongside the state of Israel as a contribution to securing a negotiated two-state solution."

    The vote, 274 in favor and 12 opposed, came after a lengthy, four-hour debate. The resolution was put forward by a member of the opposition Labor Party. There are a total of 650 members elected to serve in the House of Commons and more than half were absent or abstained from voting. Among those who abstained were Prime Minister David Cameron and Government ministers, members of the ruling Conservative Party.

    Britain’s official position is that it “does not designate Palestine as a state, but says it could do so at any time if it believed it would help the long-running peace process between the Palestinians and Israel” (Ynet). The recent vote will not force the Government to change its position but does indicate a growing impatience with the stalled peace process. Coupled with the recent announcement by Sweden’s new prime minister, pledging to recognize the Palestinian state, the UK vote may indicate the start of a disturbing trend.

    As reported by the New York Times, Paul Hirschson, a spokesman for Israel’s Foreign Ministry, said that moves like the British resolution and Sweden’s recent statement “make conflict resolution much more difficult” by sending Palestinians the message that “they can achieve things” outside negotiations. Israel, the United States and most of Europe have long insisted that the only path to Palestinian statehood is through bilateral negotiations.

    Source: (By Janet Aslin, Bridges for Peace, October 14, 2014)

    Photo Credit: www.wikipedia.org

    Photo License: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:House_of_Commons.jpg

    Prayer Focus

    Intercede for the leaders of the nation of Israel as they face rising opposition in the world; that they will stand firm and wait for the counsel of the Lord.

    Scripture

    The LORD brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; He makes the plans of the peoples of no effect. The counsel of the LORD stands forever, the plans of His heart to all generations.

    - Psalm 33:10–11

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  5. How the Donors Saved Hamas

    by Khaled Abu Toameh, Gatestone Institute ~

    Flag of Hamas It would be naïve to think that Hamas would not benefit from the billions of dollars that have just been promised to help with the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip, during a donor conference in Cairo.

    The Palestinians were hoping for $4 billion, but the donor states pledged $5.4 billion, half of which will be “dedicated” to the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip, according to Norwegian Foreign Minister Borge Brende. It is not yet clear how the second half will be spent.

    Donor states said they would funnel the aid only through the Palestinian Authority [PA]. But this does not mean that Hamas, which continues to maintain a tight grip on the Gaza Strip, would fail to benefit from the financial aid.

    First, the promised funds absolve Hamas of any responsibility for the catastrophe it brought upon the Palestinians during the confrontation with Israel. Now the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip will no longer be asking Hamas to compensate them for the loss of their houses and family members.

    Second….The funds promised by the donor states will help rebuild various Hamas-controlled installations in the Gaza Strip, such as ministries, security bases, universities, mosques and charities. The infrastructure in the Gaza Strip is almost entirely controlled, directly and indirectly, by Hamas.

    Third, Hamas members and supporters would be among those entitled to some of the money coming from the Western and Arab donors. The Palestinian Authority [has] already promised to take care of all Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, regardless of their political affiliations.

    Four, the financial aid has not been conditioned on Hamas laying down its weapons or even ceding control over the Gaza Strip to the Palestinian Authority. Hamas will use its own resources to smuggle in additional weapons and prepare for the next war with Israel.

    Five, there is no guarantee that the billions of dollars would have a moderating effect on Palestinians in the Gaza Strip or turn them away from Hamas. Palestinians are nevertheless willing to accept the billions of dollars. But that does not mean that they will refrain from voting for Hamas in a future election.

    The decisions made at the Cairo donor conference constitute a big victory for Hamas. Hamas can now go back to digging new tunnels and obtaining new weapons, instead of helping the Palestinians whose lives and homes were destroyed as a result of its actions. The biggest mistake the donor states made was failing to demand the disarmament of Hamas as a precondition for funneling aid to the Gaza Strip. The donors have not only saved Hamas; they have emboldened it, allowing it to stay around for many more years.

    Source: (Excerpts of article by Khaled Abu Toameh, Gatestone Institute, October 14, 2014)

    Prayer Focus

    Pray for the protection of Israel’s southern communities and that the Lord will reveal the hidden plans of Hamas. Ask for God’s intervention to ensure that building supplies will be used to rebuild and not to rearm.

    Scripture

    He lies in wait near the villages; from ambush he murders the innocent. His eyes watch in secret for his victims… Arise, LORD! Lift up your hand, O God. Do not forget the helpless.

    - Psalm 10:8, 12 NIV

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  6. PA Leaders: Our Weapons Are for Future Wars with Israel

    PA President Abbas’ NGO Advisor,
    Sultan Abu Al-Einein
    Palestinian Authority [PA] and Fatah leaders continue to assure Palestinians that participating in a peace process does not mean the end of Palestinian warfare against Israel, but only that the use of violence is on hold. This is the official position of the PA leadership.

    Palestinian Media Watch has documented that PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas himself has said a number of times that he opposes violence against Israel only because it is not currently in the Palestinian interest. First, Palestinians are not prepared militarily, and second, a war would heavily damage the infrastructure in the Palestinian areas.

    The following are some of the recent statements by Palestinian leaders about the use of violence in the future:

    Official PA TV program Personal Encounter:

    Deputy Secretary of the Fatah Central Committee Jibril Rajoub: “They [Hamas] tell you: ‘The weapon of the Resistance.’ Brother [Hamas], your weapon is sacred to us. We will not harm it, go after it, or keep track of it. But could you store it away? At the moment of truth, we will all enlist together, we will all fight together.”  [Official PA TV, Sept. 30, 2014]  

    “Deputy Secretary of the Fatah Central Committee Jibril Rajoub stressed that the Palestinian leadership had decided to close the subject of bilateral relations with the occupation (i.e., Israel)... He added that the Fatah Central Committee had decided that future relations with Israel would be as those between an occupier and a people under occupation; that is, between enemies. Rajoub stressed that the weapons of the Resistance, ‘they must remain in storage, without military demonstrations in the streets, and when there is an attack, the battle will be one in all the Palestinian territories, in which all members of the Palestinian people will participate.’” [Al-Quds, Oct. 3, 2014]

    Abbas' advisor on NGOs, Sultan Abu Al-Einein: “Our Palestinian national unity (i.e., between Fatah and Hamas) is our weapon against the Israeli enemy. We agree to the option of resistance in all its forms. It’s wrong to think that Fatah has abandoned the rifle or thrown away the rifle. We are giving peace a chance, but our rifle is still loaded with bullets...” [Official PA TV, Sept. 23, 2014] 

    Source: (By Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik, Palestinian Media Watch, October 12, 2014)

    Photo Credit: youtube.screenshot/PMW

    Prayer Focus

    Pray for those who protect Israel—the IDF and police, that they will receive accurate information regarding the enemy’s plans and be able to put a stop to them. Ask the Lord to bring confusion to the camps of Hamas and Fatah.

    Scripture

    The words of the wicked are, “Lie in wait for blood,” but the mouth of the upright will deliver them.

    - Proverbs 12:6

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  7. Police Lock Muslim Rioters Inside Temple Mount Mosque

    Al Aqsa Mosque Fed up with incessant Muslim violence atop Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, police forces on Monday [Oct. 13] surprised rioters preparing to attack visiting non-Muslims and locked them inside the Al Aqsa Mosque.

    Arab Muslims have been using the holy site as a base for attacks on Jews and Christians all week as Israel marks the biblical festival of Sukkot, one of three holidays during which the Jewish people are commanded to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem and the Temple Mount.

    Police intelligence indicated that rioters intended to escalate the violence on Monday, and in preparation had stockpiled a large number of rocks, firebombs, iron bars and other improvised weapons inside the Al Aqsa Mosque. The Muslims had also set barriers to prevent the doors of the mosque being closed on them.

    Immediately after morning prayers on Monday, a sizable police force surprised the rioters, and following a brief skirmish managed to remove the obstacles and shut the doors of the Al Aqsa Mosque, trapping the rioters within and enabling non-Muslims to visit the Temple Mount in relative peace.

    In addition to again highlighting the attempted belligerent suppression of religious freedom by the Temple Mount’s Muslim overseers, the incident demonstrated that while local Muslims will howl over any damage caused to their holy sites by Israel, they have no problem using said holy sites as bases for what amounts to terrorist violence.

    Source: (By Israel Today, October 13, 2014)

    Prayer Focus

    Thank the Lord for the success of Israel’s nonviolent plan that put an end to the violence that was prepared for Jewish and Christian visitors to the Temple Mount. Pray that any further plans against visitors to the mountain of the Lord will be stopped as well.

    Scripture

    Lord, confuse the wicked, confound their words, for I see violence and strife in the city.

    - Psalm 55:9 NIV

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  8. Aliyah for the “Lost Tribes”

    Michael Freund with Bnei Menashe children Michael Freund, founder and Chairman of Shavei Israel (Israel Returns) spoke to a gathering of Christian and Jewish people on Tuesday, October 14. His address was given in the lovely, large sukkah at the Center for Jewish & Christian Understanding & Cooperation (CJCUC) in Ephrat. 

    “Though no one is ever lost in God’s eyes,” Freund stated that Shavei Israel reaches out to assist the “Lost Tribes” in their return to Israel. He shared about the Bnei Menashe together with Zvi, a member of the tribe. Descendants of Manasseh, a tribe of the Northern Kingdom of Israel, they were exiled from Israel in 722 BCE by the Assyrians. It appears that this “Lost Tribe” found their way to China then migrated into northeast India over a period of 2500 years.

    In the 1890s, British Christian missionaries came to India. They translated Bibles from English into the native language, Zvi explained, and some of the Bnei Menashe converted to Christianity. However, as a number of them read the Tanakh  (Genesis–Malachi), the translation became a “blessing in disguise.” They discovered their Hebraic roots amongst those pages and understood more clearly their Jewish heritage..It also revealed why they had the longing to return to Zion. Zvi expressed gratitude to those 19th century Christians whose translation of the Tanakh actually helped the Bnei Menashe to become better Jews.

    Zvi spoke of those who remain in India, who hope to make aliyah to Israel.  With a smile and a gleam in his eye he said, “We are ready with the bags packed. Who is going to buy us a ticket?” 

    Approximately 2900 of the Lost Tribe of Bnei Menashe have returned to Israel; another 6500 are still waiting for the opportunity. Freund has stated, “After 2,700 years, the Bnei Menashe are returning to our people and our land, and we won’t stop until all the remaining community members still in India will be able to come here.”

    Freund, who made aliyah from the US twenty years ago is of the “Tribe of Judah.” He pointed out the fulfillment of Scripture, a “sign of the times,” as Zvi, a member of the dispersed of Israel, and himself, Michael Freund, a member of the scattered of Judah stood before the group Tuesday afternoon.

    Both men expressed deep appreciation to organizations like Bridges for Peace that have helped greatly in gathering exiles and assisting as they make aliyah to Israel.

    Click here to make a donation that will help Jewish people make aliyah.

    Source: (By Bridges for Peace, October 15, 2014)

    Photo Credit: Shavei Israel

    Prayer Focus

    Ask the Father in Heaven to help the “Lost Tribes” to be found and returned to the Land of their heritage. Ask Him to bless the work of Shavei Israel. Pray for the remaining 6500 Bnei Menashe and others, who long to return and reconnect to their heritage. Praise him for gathering his chosen from the four corners of the earth.

    Scripture

    He will…assemble the dispersed of Israel, and gather together the scattered of Judah from the four corners of the earth.

    - Isaiah 11:12

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  9. Building Supplies Flow into Gaza from Israel

    Israel loading materials for transport into Gaza Trucks loaded with construction materials entered the Gaza Strip on Tuesday [October 14], a month and a half after the end of fighting between Israel and Palestinian militants in the area.

    The office of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) reported that the shipment of the materials is to include 600 tons of cement, 50 truckloads of aggregates and 10 truckloads of iron.

    The transfer of the supplies was carried out in accordance with an oversight mechanism that will be implemented by UN representatives, in cooperation with Palestinian Authority officials, as was agreed to by the Coordinator of Government Activities in the West Bank, Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai.

    It was further reported that the mechanism is designed to ensure that the construction activities will concentrate on the renovation of homes and public buildings for the benefit of residents of the Gaza Strip, while maintaining the security of the State of Israel.

    The oversight mechanism includes a detailed plan of the construction input, professionals to whom the building materials will be transferred, as well as monitoring and UN control teams which will supervise the construction on the scene.

    The announcement from the COGAT wrote that “in addition to a series of civilian-economic steps already taken to assist the population of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, agricultural produce from the Gaza Strip will be exported from the Gaza Strip to the West Bank.

    “In the first stage, 15 tons of agricultural produce will be exported, including mostly dates and sweet potatoes. Over time, other types of agricultural produce will be exported, including fishing products,” the statement said.

    Source: (Excerpts of an article by Elior Levy, Ynetnews, October 14, 2014)

    Photo Credit: Ashernet

    Prayer Focus

    Ask the Lord to oversee the process by which building materials are transferred to the Gaza Strip. Pray for the integrity of those observers who have been entrusted with monitoring these supplies—that their final end would be as intended. Bring to light any trickery or unscrupulous behavior.

    Scripture

    Behold, He who keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep…The Lord shall preserve you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul.

    - Psalm 121: 4, 7

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  10. Israel’s treatment of Palestinian Workers

    Palestinian worker in Ramallah A positive article in the Palestinian Authority's official daily [newspaper] lauded Israel and Israeli employers of Palestinians for their positive employment ethics towards their Palestinian workers. At the same time, the article condemned Palestinian employers for taking advantage of their workers.

    The article explains that Palestinian workers get their full rights when employed by Israelis directly and that the only time they do not get their full rights is when there is a Palestinian middleman:

    “The only cases in which a Palestinian worker does not receive the salary his Israeli [employer] determined for him are those cases in which the middleman is Palestinian.” [Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Sept. 21, 2014]

    Some of the critical findings of the PA daily included:

    “Whenever Palestinian workers have the opportunity to work for Israeli employers, they are quick to quit their jobs with their Palestinian employers—for reasons having to do with salaries and other rights. The salaries of workers employed by Palestinians amount to less than half the salaries of those who work for Israeli employers in the areas of the Israel-occupied West Bank [Judea and Samaria]...”

    “The [Israeli] work conditions are very good, and include transportation, medical insurance and pensions. These things do not exist with Palestinian employers. Israel has forced its employers in the West Bank to pay [Israeli] minimum wage, which is 23 shekels an hour, to Palestinian workers. However, the PA passed a law, but does not force the employers in the PA areas to implement it, thereby exposing the worker to potential exploitation.”

    The article quotes Palestinians employed by Israelis as well as by Palestinians and compares the conditions between the two:

    “Muhammad Al-Hinnawi, a construction worker, says: ‘I receive a daily salary of 70 shekels, without pension, and I have no other choice.’ By contrast, Thaer Al-Louzi, who used to work for an Israeli concrete factory, notes: ‘I received a salary of 140 shekels a day. Now, after I was injured, I receive a salary through the insurance.’”

    To read full text of articles, click here

    Source: (Excerpts of an article by Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik, Palestinian Media Watch, September 21, 2014)

    Prayer Focus

    Give thanks for the Jewish people who do not mistreat their Palestinian workers but insist they receive equal treatment. Pray that this article, published in the Palestinian media, will bring conviction on the Palestinians who exploit their own people.

    Scripture

    You shall have the same law for the stranger and for one from your own country, for I am the Lord your God.

    - Leviticus 24:22

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