Compassion

Give the gift of hope

Friday, November 17, 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.

IDF Rolls out Iron Dome Following Islamic Jihad Threats

by Itay Blumenthal and Yoav Zitun

Iron Dome deployed during Operation Protective Edge (illustrative)

Tuesday, 14 November 2017 | The IDF upped its alertness on Monday, after already issuing a statement on Sunday, warning that the Iran-backed terror group in Gaza, Islamic Jihad, is planning to retaliate for the IDF’s blasting of the group’s terror tunnel in late October, killing 14 terrorists belonging to Islamic Jihad and Hamas. As part of this move, the IDF rolled out the Iron Dome defense system for the center of Israel.

Two weeks after Israel blew up the tunnel, which had penetrated into its territory from Gaza, Israel promised on Sunday to respond to any revenge attack with “power and determination.”

Earlier the same day, a senior Islamic Jihad official in Gaza, Khaled al-Batash, said his terror organization will have no other choice to “punish” Israel for killing its members.

Warning Islamic Jihad in Arabic that it is “playing with fire” in a video uploaded on Saturday night, Maj. Gen. Yoav (Poli) Mordechai stressed that Israel would respond to any attack against the group itself and Hamas. “We will respond with force against Hamas,” Mordechai said.

“Israel exploded a terror tunnel two weeks ago inside its territory under the sovereignty of the State of Israel. We are aware of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s plot that is being formed against Israel,” he said in Arabic.

“It is playing with fire at the expense of the residents of the Gaza Strip, at the expense of the Palestinian reconciliation agreements and the entire region.

“It should be clear: any response by Islamic Jihad, whatever it may be, will be responded to by Israel with power and determination, not only against Islamic Jihad but also against Hamas. We advise the Islamic Jihad leadership in Damascus to be careful and get things under control,” he continued.

“Leaders of Islamic Jihad in Damascus—Ramadan Shalah Ziad Nakhaleh—get your hands around this quickly because you are the ones who will be held responsible.”

Islamic Jihad, for its part, said on Sunday that the Mordechai’s promise to target its leadership in the event of any “revenge attacks” launched against Israel is tantamount to “a declaration of war.”

“We will not weaken the leadership of our people and of our land. The threat by the enemy to harm the leadership is on the border of a declaration of war and we will deal with them,” the organization said in a statement.

Source: (Excerpt of article originally published by Ynetnews on 13 November, 2017. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Ashernet

Prayer Focus
Pray for peace in the nations surrounding Israel as tensions are rapidly rising with threats of renewed terror and possible rocket attacks. Lift up the IDF as they work around the clock to prevent any terror attacks that may result because of Islamic Jihad’s Gaza tunnel that was destroyed. Ask God to be with every soldier and security official as they stand ready to act and thank Him for the protection that the Iron Dome offers.

Scripture

The LORD shall preserve you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul. The LORD shall preserve your going out and your coming in from this time forth, and even forevermore.


- Psalm 121:7-8

Syrian Ceasefire Agreement Puts Iranian Forces 5 Km from Israel Border

by Ilse Posselt

PM Netanyahu and IDF commanders on Golan Heights (illustrative)

Tuesday, 14 November, 2017 | The United States, Russia and Jordan inked a ceasefire deal over the weekend that reportedly aims to expel all non-Syrian fighters, including Iran and its terror proxy, Hezbollah, from the Syrian Golan Heights and eventually from all of Syria, a US-Russian statement announced on Saturday.

A day later, Israel signaled its grave reservations over the agreement. The reason for the Jewish state’s misgivings? According to the terms of the accord, Iranian-backed forces in Syria will be allowed to retain their current positions a mere five to seven kilometers (3.1 – 4.3 miles) from the Israeli border in certain areas, an Israeli official told Reuters.

The official, who spoke to the news agency on condition of anonymity, held that while the ceasefire agreement established a “de-escalation zone” on Syria’s southern border with the Jewish state in which Iran and its Lebanese terror proxy would be prohibited from operating, the width of the proposed zone made it an unacceptable prospect for Israel.

In some areas, the official shared, militias from Tehran would be pushed back at least 30 kilometers (18.6 mi) from the edge of the Jewish state. In others, Iranian fighting forces will be allowed to remain within the proverbial stone’s throw of the Promised Land. The final arrangements, he said, would be determined by the current positions that the forces battling Syrian President Bashar al-Assad hold in the south of the war-torn country. And while the measures are meant to put some distance between rival factions on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights, they leave Israel particularly vulnerable to the onslaught of an enemy committed to its destruction.

Commenting on the agreement yesterday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterated that the deal ignored Israeli concerns and that the Jewish state would continue to safeguard its people from Iranian aggression. The prime minister highlighted that he has “clarified to our friends in Washington and our friends in Moscow that we will operate in Syria, including southern Syria, in accordance with our understanding and in accordance with our security needs.” Israel’s policy when it comes to Syria, he said, is “the right combination of firmness and responsibility.”

Several other high-ranking Israeli politicians also spoke out against the deal. Transportation and Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz explained yesterday that although Israel welcomes the possibility of peace for its northern neighbor following six years of civil war, “the test will be on the ground, not in words but in deeds. Israel has already made it clear that it shall not accept Iran and its affiliates and proxies basing themselves in Syria, which will be a permanent threat and a constant source of tension, friction and instability.”

Israeli minister Tzachi Hanegbi echoed his colleague’s statement, highlighting that the accord did nothing to “answer Israel’s unequivocal demands that there will be no developments that bring Iranian or Hezbollah forces closer to Israel’s border with Syria in the north.”

The Jewish state has long since warned of the threat that the increasing military grip of Tehran and its terror proxy poses to Israel and the region as a whole. In July this year, Netanyahu publicly opposed a US-Russian brokered ceasefire agreement for southern Syria, as it failed to address the issue of Iran’s perpetuating presence on Israel’s doorstep. The Jewish state reportedly requested Russia to ensure that future accords stipulate that the fighting forces from Tehran withdraw to at least 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the edge of Israel.

While the exact terms of this weekend’s agreement are not yet known, Jordanian government spokesman, Mohammad Momani, told an Amman-based newspaper that this ceasefire is based on the one agreed to in July.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, 14 November, 2017)

Photo Credit: Kobi Gideon/GPO/Ashernet

Prayer Focus
Remind God that He is Israel’s true protection. Ask Him to watch over His people as they face an increased military threat in the north from Hezbollah, who is operating in Syria along with the added influence of the Iranian military. Pray that Israel’s leaders will keep their hearts and minds steadily fixed on the Lord, His promises and His instruction.

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

Israelis on Gaza Border Struggle for Normalcy amidst Terror

by Matan Tzuri

Israel/Gaza border

Thursday, 16 November 2017 | Israelis living close to the Gaza border are following recent developments in the Strip with some wariness, as they receive new security instructions almost daily in the wake of the demolition of a terror tunnel by the IDF two weeks ago in the Kissufim region, the ensuing threats of retaliation made by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and counter-warnings from the Israeli army.

“There has been a very tense atmosphere since the tunnel was blown up. We’re very concerned and are still unsure where events will lead. We hope the quiet is maintained,” Netiv HaAsara resident Yifat Ben Shoshan told Ynet.

“Personally I’ve been following reports intently. While there have been no specific instructions given to our community and life has been carrying on as usual, anxiety is absolutely heightened around here,” she added.

Israelis residing on Gaza’s perimeter have been instructed by the IDF not to congregate or traverse higher ground near the border fence so as not to create “targets” for the terrorist organizations. Daily situation assessments take place in the communities, which maintain constant communication with the IDF.

Heightened anxiety notwithstanding, the IDF has yet to provide any special defensive instruction to surrounding towns, and agricultural work along the border carries on as usual—albeit in constant coordination with the army.

Despite relative normalcy, readiness is maintained in light of PIJ [Palestinian Islamic Jihad] threats.

“There are no special instructions, but it’s clear to everyone it’s best to avoid going near the fence during a time like this. While residents are very tense in light of recent developments, daily routine remains unchanged and so things are calming down as time elapses,” said a civilian security officer at one [of] the towns around Gaza.

Tensions have also been felt in nearby Sderot. “I’m not taking any chances. I closed the window in my house’s safe room, where my two boys sleep. Who knows what can happen during the night,” said Sderot resident Ron Elitov.

“Generally speaking, the general mood is fine, but it comes and goes. I heard they deployed the Iron Dome and raised alertness, and that’s a little worrying. I really hope we aren’t dragged to escalation. It’s been quiet since (Operation) Protective Edge, and I hope it stays that way,” Elitov wished.

In light of recent security tensions, the Security Cabinet approved widespread deployment of Iron Dome batteries in the Tel Aviv metropolitan area and other regions as part of preparation for a possible Islamic Jihad retaliation.

It was further decided to communicate unequivocal message[s] to both PIJ and Hamas, stating in no uncertain terms Israel would strike back severely at any violation. The messages were carried publically, though Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories [COGAT] Maj.-Gen. Yoav Mordechai as well as international players, including Egypt.

Rising tensions also caused the closure of three tourist sites near the Gaza Strip—Givat HaPa’amonim, Givat Nizmit and the Black Arrow Memorial—following a situation assessment held at the army’s Gaza Division.

IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot consequently said, “Today’s reality forces us to face down the different challenges. IDF faces a wide range of threats, both near and far.”

The London-based Arab newspaper Al-Hayat reported Tuesday that the Iranian-backed PIJ organization has upped its readiness to its highest level as the IDF was holding a drill in the Gaza border area this week, and that it is closely monitoring Israeli citizens living in Gaza-bordering communities using binoculars and photo-taking technology. Al-Hayat’s sources further added that Islamic Jihad’s surveillance includes monitoring vehicular traffic.

Source: (Ynetnews originally published this article on 15 November 2017. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Mary Madigan/wikimedia

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Pray for the Israeli citizens living near Gaza, asking the Lord to give them peaceful hearts and minds; pray for the children who deal with their parents’ emotions; pray for the elderly who might not know what to do and where to go in a time of crisis. Ask God to bring emotional healing to those reliving terror situations. Ask Him to draw near and comfort all in distress.

Scripture

The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth. He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He also will hear their cry and save them. The LORD preserves all who love Him, but all the wicked He will destroy.


- Psalm 145:18-20

Trump Team Set to Draft Framework for Middle East Peace

by Ilse Posselt

US President Donald Trump has begun formulating a new peace plan

Monday, 13 November 2017 | After ten months of numerous trips to the Middle East, various meetings with regional leaders, and several discussions with key role-players, US President Donald Trump’s push for peace in the region has reportedly entered a new phase. According to The New York Times, the president gave his advisers the go-ahead to draft the framework of an initiative aimed at bringing the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict to a close.

The plan will reportedly be based on a two-state solution with Israel and the Palestinians living side-by-side in independent states. The scope is, however, set to go well beyond that of previous American-backed peace pushes “in pursuit of what the president calls ‘the ultimate deal,’” The New York Times explained.

The process of putting the desired concrete steps to peace on paper is only in its beginning phases and will in all likelihood “take until early next year” to complete.

The initiative is said to address several controversial topics, such as the status of Jerusalem as well as Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, head-on. There is, however, no indication yet as to what the Trump administration’s approach will be on these particular issues.

Trump’s advisors picked to serve as the architects of the framework are special advisor and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, special advisor, Jason Greenblatt, deputy national security adviser Dina H. Powell and US ambassador to Israel David Friedman. The four-person team will have the backing of several officials from the National Security Council and the State Department.

Greenblatt assured The New York Times that although Washington remains committed to facilitating peace in the Middle East, Trump would never enforce a third-party solution on Israel or the Palestinians. Moreover, he added, the plan steers clear of imposing a particular timeframe for negotiations between the two parties.

“We have spent a lot of time listening to and engaging with the Israelis, Palestinians and key regional leaders over the past few months to help reach an enduring peace deal. We are not going to put an artificial timeline on the development or presentation of any specific ideas and will also never impose a deal.”

“Our goal is to facilitate, not dictate, a lasting peace agreement to improve the lives of Israelis and Palestinians and security across the region,” he added.

According to The Times of Israel, kick-starting the plan might require certain concessions and confidence-boosting actions from both sides. “For Israel, it could include limiting settlement construction to current blocs without taking new land, recommitting to a two-state solution, and redesignating a small part of the West Bank [Judea–Samaria] to give Palestinians more control.”

As far as the Palestinians are concerned, “it could include resuming full security cooperation with Israel, holding off seeking further international recognition, and ending payments to families of Palestinians imprisoned for terrorist attacks.”

The Times of Israel held that other Arab states, particularly Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Jordan, might contribute their own incentives, “like overflights by Israeli passenger planes, visas for business people, and telecommunications links” to sweeten the deal.

Several US presidents have in the past tried and failed to broker peace between Israel and the Palestinians. However, the Trump administration believes this particular point in time to be opportune to put an end to this Middle East conflict. A number of variables contribute to the ideal circumstances.

Driven by their collective concern over the increasing stranglehold of Iranian power in the region, Saudi Arabia and a number of other moderate Arab states appear more eager than ever to consider warming ties with Israel—and playing a constructive role in a reconciliation effort. Moreover, Egypt has turned out to be a strategic advocate and ally for peace, holding up the Israel-Egypt peace treaty as example of what can be achieved.

Neither Israel nor the Palestinians have commented on the report.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, 13 November 2017)

Photo Credit: Avi Ohayon/GPO/Ashernet

Prayer Focus
Continue to pray for God’s will to be done regarding the “ultimate deal” to achieve peace in the Middle East. Thank God for the United State’s commitment to achieve this deal without dictating terms and conditions to Israel. Praise God for His eternal word and promises to the house of Israel.

Scripture

A man’s heart plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps.


- Proverbs 16:9

Israel Foils Large-scale Smuggling Attempt to Gaza

by Ilse Posselt

Gazan terrorists ordered items online, including radio control devices (illustrative)

Wednesday, 15 November 2017 | Millions around the globe have used the online retail service AliExpress to do their international shopping from the comfort of their homes. Customers can choose from a nearly limitless array of products, from costume jewelry and discount clothing, to office furniture and DIY (Do It Yourself) necessities—and have it delivered to their doorsteps. Yet Hamas, the terror group that rules the Gaza Strip, has arguably found a novel use for the popular China-based retailer: ordering prohibited products online to be used in its quest to annihilate Israel.

According to Israel’s Ministry of Defense, over the last month border crossing authorities have seized hundreds of parcels from online shopping sites like AliExpress en route to Hamas. At first glance, these packages seemed innocent enough, filled with the harmless spoils of an online shopping spree. Yet closer inspection revealed their sinister intent. The packages were found to contain, among others items, miniature drones, cameras, laser sights, telescopes, two-way radios, night vision goggles and camouflage devices—all assumed to be destined for use in the next bout of violence against Israel.

These products all fall into a category that Israel labels “dual-use,” as they can be utilized for military and civilian purposes alike. Given the Gaza-based terror groups’ express purpose of harming Israeli civilians, and based on past experience where such goods were fashioned into the weapons, importing dual-use merchandise into the coastal enclave requires a special license. “It is suspected that some of the devices seized could have been used as improvised weapons,” a statement released by the Ministry of Defense explained.

The packages were discovered at the Erez Border Crossing between Israel and the Gaza Strip. Every day, hundreds of parcels pass through this crossing before delivery to their recipients in the coastal enclave. Each of these packages is, however, screened for security purposes. According to the Ministry of Defense release, the month of October saw a sharp increase in the number of illicit items disguised as legitimate goods bought online.

Although the approach might be somewhat novel, smuggling attempts into the coastal enclave have become an almost daily threat for Israel. In January, the Office of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT)—the Israel Defense Force unit that acts as coordinator between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA)—revealed that it had foiled 1,226 smuggling attempts during 2016 at the Kerem Shalom Crossing between Israel and the Gaza Strip alone. The number marks a whopping 165% increase over the 2015 figures.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, 15 November 2017)

Photo Credit: Mgraves7452/wIkimedia

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Offer thanksgiving and praise to God for daily guiding the Israeli soldiers who protect His beloved people. In this case, give thanks for the actions that prevented goods suitable for use in terror acts from being smuggled into Gaza. Continue to pray for these officers and soldiers, asking God to give them alertness, hunches, keen eyes and intelligence tip-offs.

Scripture

He frustrates the devices of the crafty, so that their hands cannot carry out their plans. He catches the wise in their own craftiness, and the counsel of the cunning comes quickly upon them.


- Job 5:12-13

Report: Pro-Palestinian Campus Organization Believes Justice Can Be Achieved by Eliminating Israel

“Privileged Hatred”

Friday, 17 November 2017 | The international campus organization Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), which promotes the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel, views that “eliminating the Jewish nation-state is the only way to achieve ‘justice’” a new report released by a Jerusalem based think tank concluded.

The roughly 50 page report titled “SJP Unmasked” published by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs found that SJP’s founders, financers, and ideological supporters have ties to Islamic terror organizations that include Hamas, Hezbollah, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

The report has “unmasked,” as the title suggests, the truth about SJP by indicating that their primary mission is not to be a pro-Palestinian activist group, but a group that is more focused on the destruction of Israel.

The authors cited a study that indicated that there is an existing correlation between having a SJP chapter on campus and the rise of anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic incidents on campus. Such incidents include online harassment, anti-Semitic vandalism, and physical attacks against Jewish students.

SJP has been an influential voice in student governments and other university clubs to helping promote pro-BDS resolutions, refusing to engage in peace initiatives and seeking instead to “isolate, demonize, and ultimately destroy” Israel.

Several intimidation and harassment tactics utilized by SJP chapters were described in the report, including the use of mock eviction notices in student dorms, the spread of Nazi propaganda and white supremacist social media accounts. Harassment by SJP members did not stop there as Jewish students have complained of being “spat on, harassed, and assaulted on campus” by SJP members.

Drawing on previous studies and news reports, the JCPA report highlighted that SJP is linked to terror groups and has gone as far as inviting convicted terrorists to speak on campus. For instance, in 2013 SJP at American University hosted Khader Adnan Mohammed Musa—a spokesperson for Islamic Jihad—via Skype. The event was co-sponsored by Amnesty International and Jewish Voice for Peace.

The report also described the financial connections between SJP and organizations whose leaders used to be members or supporters of Palestinian and Islamic terror groups.  “Many of the leaders and top donors to these organizations were jailed, deported, or investigated for terror connections,” the report said.

Despite the fact that SJP operates under “mysterious auspices” and “regularly intimidates and harasses Jewish and pro-Israel students” it “will continue to operate unabated.”

To combat the group’s tactics and message “strategies and initiatives” must be developed “to expose SJP’s boycott of Jews, Israelis, and Zionists on campus, extremist propaganda regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as well as its illegitimate funding,” the study said in its conclusion.

One of the sources for the JCPA report, was “On Many Campuses, Hate is Spelled SJP” by Daniel Mael, which was published in October 2014 issue of The Tower Magazine, and documented SJP’s dubious origins as well as exposing its tactics of intimidation.

Source: (The Israel Project originally published this article in its publication The Tower on 16 November 2017. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: screenshot/YouTube/apeacet

Prayer Focus
Call upon the Lord, asking Him to raise up a remnant who will speak out against the enemies’ desire and plans to destroy Israel by any means, including the boycott movement. Lift up the younger generation, praying for holiness, discernment, guidance, obedience and the courage to stand up and fight for truth. Give thanks for His promises and eternal covenant with the house of Israel.

Scripture

In the day when I cried out, You answered me, and made me bold with strength in my soul.


- Psalm 138:3

Waiting for the “Former Rain”

by Janet Aslin

Friday, 17 November, 2017 | When planning an outdoor summer activity in Israel, we do not consider whether or not it will rain. With very few exceptions—and those are seen as specific acts of God—rain does not fall between May and September. When the Bible refers to the “former” and “latter” rains, the timing for the former is late October/early November while the latter rains fall in March/April.

Although Israel is a world leader in desalination and reuses approximately 80% of its wastewater for agricultural purposes, there is still a great need for rain. According to a recent article in the Jewish Press, “many years of below-average rainfall have caused a chronic drought.” Farmers in northern Israel have been faced with increasingly tough restrictions on water use from the two natural sources—underground aquifers and the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee). They are wondering what the upcoming winter will bring in the area of rainfall.

The water level of the Kinneret is one measure that all Israelis are familiar with. There are two red lines (an upper and a lower) as well as a black line, which is “the level at which water can no longer be pumped from the lake without causing severe damage to the entire water supply” (Jewish Press). Currently the water level is approximately 32.5 cm (12.8 in) above that black line.

The first rainfall of 2017 came on October 3rd, followed by a slightly more significant four days of rain that began in northern Israel a few weeks later. Typically the months of December through February are Israel’s rainiest, contributing between two-thirds and three-quarters of the annual rainfall. This is a good start but more is needed. At the beginning of this year’s rainy season, let’s pause and join our Jewish brothers and sisters in praying for an abundance of the “former” rains.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, 17 November 2017)

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Prayer Focus
Thank God for His promise that the field will yield its fruit as His people are returning to the land of their inheritance. In these times of drought, petition Him urgently to bless the land with enough rain to ensure food supply for the nation and, of course, to save the Kinneret from drying up.

Scripture

I will make them and the places all around My hill a blessing; and I will cause showers to come down in their season; there shall be showers of blessing. Then the trees of the field shall yield their fruit, and the earth shall yield her increase. They shall be safe in their land; and they shall know that I am the LORD, when I have broken the bands of their yoke and delivered them from the hand of those who enslaved them.


- Ezekiel 34:26-27

IDF Exercises Rescue Missions with Indian Commandos

by Yoav Zitun

Joint rescue exercises with IDF and Indian commando unit

Tuesday, 14 November 2017 | IDF’s Airborne Rescue and Evacuation Unit 669 and its Indian counterpart joined forces in joint search and rescue drills in the Palmachim dunes as part of the larger Blue Flag bi-annual aerial exercise, which started earlier this month and will end on Thursday, Nov. 16.

The Indian counterpart of Unit 669, the Garud Commando Force, is much younger. It was established in 2003, but managed to accumulate considerable operational experience.

The Garud arrived in Israel with minimal equipment, and the weapons for the exercises were supplied to them by Unit 669.

Fortunately for them, they were supplied with Israeli-made weapons, which are not unfamiliar to them, as they already routinely use the Tavor bull-pup assault rifle, the Negev light machine gun and the old Galil rifle.

Joint rescue exercises with IDF and Indian commando unit

After an initial demonstration by the 669 soldiers, where Garud commandos witnessed them practicing hostage rescue, a search and rescue operation took place the next day, simulating the location, treatment and evacuation of a pilot that crashed in enemy territory.

“They learned from us many things, such as escape and survival techniques, reading topographic terrain maps, navigating without tools, observing a village to learn its routine, relying on water sources in enemy territory, and more,” said 669’s First Lieutenant Tal, one of the commanders of the exercise.

“It opened them to a whole new world,” he boasted. “We introduced them to geologists who explained how to find water sources. They were thrilled about the comfort of our equipment, from the light helmet to the size-reduced combat vest.”

As in the rest of the Indian army, even in Garud, which belongs to the special forces, the units are professional and recruitment is not mandatory. A soldier enlists for 14 years and an officer for 20 years.

Still, quite a few eyebrows were raised by the soldiers of Unit 669 over the formality within Garud and the distance its commanders kept from their soldiers.

Despite the fact they were far from fresh recruits, the soldiers who stayed in Palmachim rarely displayed closeness to their commanders, and the two groups made sure to drive separately in cars as the clear hierarchical separation between them was maintained at all times.

“Our approach is different because we believe that fighters who are constantly with their commanders in a routine will function better with them on the battlefield,” said First Lieutenant Tal.

“We do not have parallel units (to ours—ed) within the IDF, so this is an opportunity for strategic cooperation and exchange of knowledge,” Unit 669 deputy commander, Major D., added. “We practice fighting while finding shelter and bringing the injured person to it, with every fighter knowing how to do everything; to treat the injured, to extract, to fight and to breach.”

Source: (Ynetnews originally published this article on 11 November 2017. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Screenshot/IDF video

Prayer Focus
Thank God that Israel does not leave any stone unturned when it comes to training for any and all kinds of battlefield rescue scenarios as the Indian unit, Garud, recently learned. Praise Him for the development of new relationships, shared knowledge and advanced Israeli military equipment. Pray that trust between these two nations will grow so that they will strengthen each other.

Scripture

As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.


- Proverbs 27:17

Netanyahu Offers Help to Iraq-Iran Earthquake Victims

by Itamar Eichner

PM Benjamin Netanyahu has offered to help recent earthquake victims

Wednesday, 15 November 2017 | Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday evening he has made offers [for] the Red Cross to transfer humanitarian aid [to] Iraqi and Iranian victims of a devastating earthquake that struck the border and killed hundreds earlier this week, insisting that Israel has “no quarrel with the people of Iran.”

“Now I just saw the pictures of the destruction in Iran and Iraq following this week’s earthquake. And I saw these heartbreaking images of men and women and children buried under the rubble. A few hours ago I directed that we offer the Red Cross medical assistance for the Iraqi and Iranian victims of this disaster,” Netanyahu said during a video speech made to a Jewish Federation of North America conference.

“Now you heard me right. I’ve said many times that we have no quarrel with the people of Iran. Our quarrel is only with the tyrannical regime that holds them hostage and threatens our destruction. But our humanity is greater than their hatred. Israel continues to be a light unto the nations,” Netanyahu said.

Speaking about the Iranian threat, Netanyahu said it had “brought us closer than ever with our neighbors.”

The death toll in Sunday’s devastating earthquake reached 530. More than 8,000 others were wounded.

A source in the Prime Minister’s Office commented on the prime minister’s offer of assistance. “As part of a set strategy, Netanyahu is communicating directly with the Iranian people and underlining the difference between the people and the country’s regime. Israel contacted the Red Cross with the intention of providing civilian humanitarian assistance but was immediately turned away, which reveals the true face of the radical regime in Iran.”

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

Photo Credit: Haim Zach/GPO/Ashernet

Prayer Focus
Give thanks to God for Israel’s heart for humanity as expressed by PM Netanyahu’s offer to help Iraq and Iran. Ask God to soften the hearts of the Iranian leaders and allow Israel to help by providing medical care for those injured during the devastating earthquake.

Scripture

If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; for so you will heap coals of fire on his head, and the LORD will reward you.


- Proverbs 25:21-22

Israeli Air Force Celebrates 70th Anniversary

by Yoav Zitun

Sherut Avir RWD-13 VQ-PAL dropping supplies at Kibbutz Yehiam, January 1948

Wednesday, 15 November 2017 | On the 70th anniversary of the founding of the first Hebrew air force, Israeli Air Force Commander Maj.-Gen. Amikam Norkin hosted Lt.-Col. (res.) Alexander Ziloni, one of the air force’s founders, in his office. Ziloni, 102, spoke to the corps commanders’ forum on the creation of the aerial force.

The modern Israeli Air Force is based on the Sherut Avir (“Air Service”), founded November 10, 1947. The Air Service Headquarters, as it was then called, recruited people for various positions within the nascent corps.

The Headquarters held weekly meetings presided over by the organization’s head. As part of an agreement with the Tel Aviv municipality, control of the Sde Dov airport was handed over to the Sherut Avir and the planes placed at its disposal were the first planes to be used by the Israeli Air Force later.

On the day the Sherut Avir was founded, then IDF Chief of Staff Yaakov Dori wrote head of the General Council for Hebrew Aviation in Israel Yehoshua Eshel to tell him, “The Haganah headquarters hereby informs you of its decision to found a standing air force starting from the date of this letter, to be called ‘Sherut Avir’. Your submitted proposal for the Service’s creation is also hereby approved. Your proposals for appointments and budget are requested without delay for immediate execution of the program.”

The Air Force’s Commander Norkin then thanked Ziloni for his visit. “I wish you good health for many years to come. Exhibiting the legacy of the air force must be increased tenfold. You simply cannot dream ahead and think up new innovations without deep roots and knowing where you started. That’s our mission as commanders. The Sherut Avir set the Israeli Air Force on the path it walks today,” Norkin told the former pilot.

Ziloni made aliyah from Poland when he was five, served in the Royal Air Force during World War II and was one of the founders of the Israeli Air Force. He served in the corps until 1960 and participated in aerial operations during the Suez Crisis. Ziloni retired holding the rank of lieutenant-colonel, after serving as a military attaché in Washington.

Source: (Ynetnews originally published this article on 10 November 2017. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Public Domain

Prayer Focus
Rejoice in the Lord as Israel has made huge progress since their declaration of statehood in 1948. Boast in the Lord who enabled Israel’s great military capability, including the air force, their heart of compassion for other nations and gave them the desire to shine their light brightly in the world. May God bless Col. (res.) Ziloni and others who are striving to build up Israel.

Scripture

My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.


- Psalm 121:2-4

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