Compassion

I will stand with Israel in difficult times

Friday, December 7, 2018

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

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.

Operation Northern Shield: What You Need to Know

by Kate Norman

Chief of the General Staff, Lt. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot (center), assesses the situation at the Lebanon border. 

Thursday, 6 December 2018 | Early Tuesday morning, the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) launched Operation Northern Shield to expose and destroy tunnels that the Lebanese terror organization Hezbollah has been digging from southern Lebanon into Israel as part of its offensive operation, “Conquering the Galilee”.

An anonymous senior IDF officer told the Times of Israel that the terror tunnels were built with dark intentions: infiltrating the northern Israeli city of Metula, just across the border from Lebanon, to cut it off from the rest of Israel and start a war.

“Conquering the Galilee” is an offensive Hezbollah operation that involves infiltrating Israel with over 5,000 fighters—likely from Hezbollah’s Radwan unit, which was established seven years ago to fight Israel—to do as much damage as possible to Israel and its civilians.

“It’s a terrible reality,” said Michael Mazeika, a resident of Metula, in an exclusive interview with the Tower. “Not a lot of people in the world have to deal with the fact that there is a terrorist group less than a hundred meters away from them trying to dig tunnels into their bedrooms.”

The first tunnel exposed—just south of Kafr Kila, a village in southern Lebanon—extended from a civilian home and went over 600 feet (183 m.) through solid rock to reach 130 feet (40 m.) into Israeli territory, the IDF said.

“The terror tunnel that was exposed [Tuesday] was built under a home in a civilian neighborhood in southern Lebanon,” Prime Minister Netanyahu said in a statement. “Now, this is just one more example of how Hezbollah is committing a double war crime. They target civilians while hiding behind civilians. And this must be condemned loudly and clearly by all nations that care about peace, freedom and human dignity.”

The IDF is using seismic sensors and other technology to expose and destroy the tunnels, a process that military leaders estimate will take a few weeks to complete.

“There are some places we know more about, and some that we know less about,” the anonymous IDF Northern Command senior officer told the Times of Israel on Wednesday. “But we have the means to see through the operation to the end—to find and destroy them all [the terror tunnels].”

He stressed that the tunnels did not pose immediate danger. “None of the tunnels was ready for war tomorrow. In some cases, it was a matter of months and in other it was a matter of years before they’d be operationally ready,” the officer said.

Hezbollah has been monitoring, photographing and publishing the IDF’s activity on the border in order to establish that the terror organization knows what the Israeli military is up to. The Iranian-backed terrorists have also taken and shared photographs of the IDF’s operations in two other locations: Ramiya—north of the Israeli community of Zarit—and Meiss al-Jabal, west of Israeli kibbutz Kfar Blum.

“These cross-border terror tunnels were built by Hezbollah with direct support and funding from Iran,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement. “They were built with one purpose in mind—to attack and murder innocent Israeli men, women and children. This is a grave violation of Israel’s sovereignty, and a gross violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701. It is an unacceptable act of wanton aggression.”

United Nations Resolution 1701, which calmed the last major conflict between Israel and Lebanon in 2006, set several stipulations in order for both sides to maintain a cease-fire, including: respecting the Blue Line (the border between Israel and Lebanon established by the UN in 2000) and prohibiting the presence of any armed personnel or weapons other than those of the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) or the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL)

“Hezbollah is armed, present and is using the civilian infrastructure, houses and other facilities that we are going to expose in southern Lebanon for their military purposes, so there is an abundance—a litany—of violations of UN Resolution 1701,” said Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus in a video statement.

The IDF asserted that Hezbollah used Israel’s withdrawal from Lebanon—another stipulation of Resolution 1701—in order to infiltrate southern Lebanon, build military compounds and weapons warehouses in the heart of the civilian population, store weapons in civilians’ homes, stockpile over 130,000 rockets and missiles, build bunkers and bases in southern Lebanon and establish a strong presence that intermingles with the Lebanese government and military.

“Like any other nation, Israel maintains the right to defend itself,” Netanyahu said. “We will continue to do all that is necessary to defend ourselves against Iran’s efforts to use Lebanon, Syria and Gaza as forward terror bases to attack Israel.”

Source: (Bridges for Peace, December 6, 2018)

Photo Credit: IDF blog/idf.il

Prayer Focus
Ask the Lord to give Israel continued success in destroying tunnels that Hezbollah has dug into the northern regions of the country. Pray that He will give Israel’s leaders divine strategies to frustrate the terror organization’s attempts to threaten Israel’s security.

Scripture

Arise, O LORD, confront him, cast him down; deliver my life from the wicked with Your sword.


- Psalm 17:13

Netanyahu: Shin Bet Prevented 500 Terror Attacks in 2018

by Yoav Zitun and Itamar Eichner

PM Netanyahu thanks the Shin Bet at a special ceremony honoring the Israeli internal security force.

Thursday, 6 December 2018 | The Shin Bet [Israeli internal security organization] prevented 500 terror attacks in 2018, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday at an award ceremony honoring six groundbreaking operations and several Shin Bet agents who excelled in 2017 and 2018.

Among the operations highlighted were an operation to develop advanced technological capabilities in the field of artificial intelligence and machine learning; an operation to prevent espionage against the State of Israel; an operation to obtain access to intelligence information; an operation to thwart dangerous terror cells; and an operation to develop covert methods and operational tools against a variety of adversaries.

“You have thwarted 500 terror attacks this year. It means that hundreds of Israeli citizens owe you their lives. I want to thank you for continuing to shine this light, and for fighting each day with discretion, ingenuity, creativity and immense dedication. I am proud of you,” Netanyahu told Shin Bet agents.

Shin Bet director Nadav Argaman added that, “We are celebrating Hanukkah [Feast of Dedication or Festival of Light] today, the holiday of heroism that glorifies decisiveness, bravery and faith in the justice of our cause, a holiday that testifies to a tradition of victories and accomplishments. The work we are celebrating today will not have been possible without the determination and aspiration for excellence inherent in you.”

“Excellence requires an element of innovation and creativity, the ability to create something from nothing, to think outside the boundaries of what is known, to believe in an idea, even if it seems crazy at first, and hold on to it. You faced this test successfully and proved to us all that the sky is the limit,” Argaman concluded.

The Prime Minister’s Award is given once every couple of years as an expression of appreciation to high-level planning of covert operations, impeccable performance of agents and an outcome that makes a significant contribution to counterterrorism efforts and state security.

Source: (Ynetnews originally published this article on December 5, 2018. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Benjamin Netanyahu@Netanyahu/twitter.com

Prayer Focus
Praise the Lord for the amazing success the Shin Bet has achieved in preventing terror. Ask Him to bless each agent and their leadership with protection, wisdom, innovation and creativity as they continue in their critical role as protectors of the nation.

Scripture

The way of the LORD is strength for the upright, but destruction will come to the workers of iniquity.


- Proverbs 10:29

Syria Claims it Downed Israeli Plane and Missiles

by Daniel Salami

The IDF deny claims that Syria has shot down an Israeli plane.

Monday, 3 December 2018 | Syrian news agency SANA reported Thursday that the regime’s air force continues to repel Israeli “aggression” over southern Syria and that its air defenses have downed several “hostile targets” that were flying over the town of al-Kiswah, home to military bases south of Damascus. The IDF [Israel Defense Forces] Spokesperson’s Unit denied this report.

Russia’s RIA news agency cited a Syrian security source as saying that the “Syrian air defense forces shot down an Israeli war plane and four missiles.” In addition, Syrian state television reported that “the Israeli attack did not achieve its goals because the hostile targets were shot down.”

The attack took place at al-Kiswah, a town south of Damascus, which is only 50 kilometers [31 miles] away from the Israeli border. Another Syrian news agency claimed that the sites belonged to Iranian militias, but this report is yet to be confirmed.

According to the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit, the Syrian reports are false and no Israeli plane was shot down. However, a surface-to-air missile was fired at an open area in the Golan Heights, and IDF forces are searching the area for additional hits.

“At this stage, it is not clear whether a missile actually landed in our territory,” the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit added.

At the time of the attack, IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot was attending Police Commissioner Roni Alsheikh’s farewell party.

This is not the first time an attack on al-Kiswah has been reported. Last May, an attack on Iranian military facilities south of Damascus, attributed to Israel, killed at least 15 people, including eight Iranians. The target at the time was medium-range rockets with relatively heavy warheads.

Six months prior, an Iranian base was bombed in the same area, three weeks after the BBC published satellite images of the site.

This is the first attack by the Syrians since the downing of the Russian plane by Syrian forces responding to an Israeli airstrike, a friendly fire incident that stoked tensions between Moscow and Jerusalem.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that even after the Russian plane incident, Israel continued to operate in Syria. However, Damascus didn’t publicly accuse Israel during that period. Indeed, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights noted Thursday that “for the first time in 75 days, Israeli missiles directly attacked targets south of Damascus.”

The attack came only a few hours after a Boeing 747 belonging to Iranian airline Fars Air Qeshm—reportedly used by the country’s Revolutionary Guards to smuggle weapons to Tehran’s allies—conducted a direct flight from the Iranian capital to Beirut for the first time. The 27-year-old jumbo jet took off on Thursday morning at 8:02 a.m. from Tehran to Beirut and landed in Lebanon at 10:19 a.m.

Last month, Fox News reported that a Fars Air Qeshm flight from Tehran to Damascus, which later continued to Beirut, was carrying weapon systems—including GPS components—intended to convert inaccurate projectiles into precision-guided missiles.

Suspicions first arose that Iran uses the cargo airline to smuggle advanced weapons two months ago after reports emerged that the Israeli Air Force (IAF) carried out an attack on targets at the Damascus airport.

“The Iranians are trying to find new ways to smuggle weapons to their allies in the Middle East…They are exploring the West’s ability to locate the smuggling sites,” said a Middle Eastern intelligence source, who chose to remain anonymous.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu revealed two months ago, during a speech at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) that over the past year, Hezbollah—guided by Iran—has attempted to build an infrastructure for the conversion of surface-to-surface missiles into precision-guided missiles near an airport in Beirut.

“I have a message for Hezbollah today: Israel also knows what you’re doing. Israel knows where you are doing it and Israel will not let you get away with it,” Netanyahu stressed during the speech.

Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published by Ynetnews on November 30, 2018. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: DAVID HOLT/wikimedia.org

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Pray that the Lord will protect every soldier and every piece of military equipment on Israel’s northern border. Beseech Him to protect Israeli citizens in the area as well, keeping them safe from rockets fired at Israel intentionally or by “accident.”

Scripture

Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; but we will remember the name of the LORD our God.


- Psalm 20:7

Satellite Images Confirm Netanyahu’s Claims about Iran’s Nuclear Warehouse

by Kate Norman

Satellite images confirm PM Netanyahu’s report that Iran has secret nuclear facilities.  

Monday, 3 November 2018 | Satellite images released in a report by weapons experts confirm Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s claims that Iran was hiding a secret nuclear warehouse in Tehran, just a short distance away from the atomic archive site he revealed in April.

The paper—written by four weapons experts, including a former United Nations weapons inspector and two former top officials at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)—corroborates specific details Netanyahu shared about the site in his September 27 speech to the United Nations General Assembly.

The site held 15 shipping containers full of nuclear-related equipment and material, Netanyahu told the General Assembly. With each container capable of holding 20 tons of material, the atomic site could have been holding as much as 300 tons of nuclear material, he asserted.

The prime minister claimed that after Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency raided the atomic archive in January, Iran had been scurrying to empty the atomic warehouse, located about five kilometers (three miles) away, and dispose of the evidence.

“They had 15 kilograms of radioactive material, they had to get it out of the site, so they took it out and they spread it around Tehran in an effort to hide the evidence,” Netanyahu said.

The recent report contains several satellite photos, taken between May 5 and September 26, showing the progressive removal of material from the site, including several containers—too many to be carrying only “documents,” as Iran claimed—that were removed from the compound or dismantled.

Iran had denied Netanyahu’s allegation, asserting the site was actually a carpet cleaning compound. The satellite images, however, show that the carpet cleaner was directly across the street from the atomic warehouse site. A close look at the landmarks and buildings in images of both sites confirm discrepancies and differences, debunking Iran’s claim that it was one and the same location—a carpet cleaning site.

Netanyahu said in his September speech to the UN General Assembly, “By the way, I hear they do a fantastic job cleaning rugs there. But by now they may be radioactive rugs.”

The authors of the report criticized the International Atomic Energy Agency for not investigating the Netanyahu’s allegation. When the Israeli prime minister revealed Israel’s findings on Iran’s nuclear activity in September, he said he had already shown the evidence to the IAEA, who did nothing in response.

“The IAEA’s lack of action or explanation of its inaction undermines its credibility and raises questions about its effectiveness in its Iran safeguards mission,” the experts asserted in the report. “This lack of action also undermines the implementation of the provisions of Section T of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).”

Advocates of the JCPOA, known commonly as the Iran deal, insisted that it would enable world powers to regulate and keep an eye on Iran and its nuclear dealings. According to the authors of the report, however, this new development proves the opposite.

“Israel has certainly brought forth actionable, credible evidence to the IAEA. Yet, nothing has happened. This failure underlines critics’ concerns about the JCPOA and its implementation and enforcement.”

Even though the IAEA, according to the report, “may have lost a remarkable opportunity” to visit the site and “find the equipment and confirm its true purpose,” the organization is still being called upon to act.

“It is urgent to learn where all nuclear-related equipment and material, and any associated documentation previously stored at the Atomic Warehouse, are presently located,” the report reads. “There is no evidence that Iran systematically destroyed all these items.”

The experts insist that the IAEA must visit the warehouse, take environmental samples and insist that Iran “produce the shipping containers removed from the site and their contents for inspection.”

“Why did Iran keep a secret atomic archive and a secret atomic warehouse?” Netanyahu asked during his speech in September. “And the answer to the question is simple. The reason Iran didn’t destroy its atomic archive and its atomic warehouse is because it hasn’t abandoned its goal to develop nuclear weapons.”

This statement still rings true as the material moved out of the site is currently missing, mostly likely spread out over Tehran, according to Netanyahu.

“In fact, it planned to use both of these sites in a few years when the time would be right to break out to the atom bomb. But, ladies and gentleman, rest assured, that won’t happen. It won’t happen because what Iran hides, Israel will find,” he concluded.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, December 3, 2018)

Photo Credit: PM of Israel@IsraeliPM/twitter.com

Prayer Focus
Implore the Lord for an end to Iranian aggression and interference in the region. Pray that their shipments of military supplies for terrorist organizations will not reach their intended destinations and that their nuclear program will be brought to an end. Pray that the IAEA will take appropriate action to alert the international community to the truth regarding Iran’s nuclear intentions.

Scripture

Do not keep silent, O God!
Do not hold Your peace,
And do not be still, O God!
For behold, Your enemies make a tumult;
And those who hate You have lifted up their head.


- Psalm 83:1–2

Report: Egypt, Saudi Arabia Seeking to Encourage Arab Economic Ties to Israel

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is encouraging other Arab leaders to normalize relations with Israel.

Friday, 30 November 2018 | The leaders of Egypt and Saudi Arabia are reportedly working together to convince Arab states to initiate a fresh start with Israel and develop economic relations with the Jewish state in accordance with the yet-to-be released peace plan of the Trump administration, the Jerusalem Post reported Thursday.

According to a report in the UK-based Arabic newspaper, Al-Arabi Al-Jadid, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who met Monday in Cairo, are trying to persuade as many Arab nations as possible to seek normalization with Israel, “or at the very least, a state of no war.”

Egyptian sources, quoted in the account reported by the Jewish Press, said the two leaders discussed the possibility “as part of a broader effort to promote acceptance of US President Donald Trump’s so-called Deal of the Century,” which the Palestinian leadership has boycotted from the outset. Sisi and bin Salman, the sources said, want to increase pressure on Palestinian Authority [PA President] Mahmoud Abbas to accept the deal.

According to the report, Egypt proposed a summit to be held with Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the Palestinian Authority to discuss the United States peace initiative. The two leaders also discussed a possible formation of a quartet of Middle Eastern Arabic states, consisting of Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the Palestinian Authority—a proposal Abbas has rejected in the past as he fears the PA would be pressured into making concessions.

The US ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, said last week that “The United States remains committed to sharing its vision for peace with Israel, the Palestinians and other regional and international stakeholders at the appropriate time.”

He added that, “Our timing, our strategy and our messaging is and will be entirely our own. We intend to release the president’s vision when the administration concludes that we have maximized its potential for acceptance, execution and implementation.”

There have been several significant developments in increased ties between Arab and Muslim states with Israel this week. On Sunday, the president of Chad, Idriss Déby, landed in Israel for a surprise visit and said he hoped for a “new chapter” in ties between the two countries. The Muslim-majority African state and Israel have not had diplomatic relations for the last 46 years.

Furthermore, Oman for the second time called on Arab states to accept Israel as a player in the region, after the sultanate first called for the recognition of the Jewish state following Netanyahu’s historic visit to Muscat in October.

Source: (This article was originally published by The Israel Project in its publication The Tower on November 29, 2018. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: The White House/wikimedia.org

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Thank the Lord for this thawing of relations between Israel and various Arab countries. Pray that these relationships will strengthen and others will develop. Ask the Lord to give Israel’s leaders great wisdom as they enter into agreements with nations that have been enemies in the very recent past.

Scripture

“For I am with you to save you and deliver you,” says the LORD. “I will deliver you from the hand of the wicked, and I will redeem you from the grip of the terrible.”


- Jeremiah 15:20b–21

UN Passes 6 More Anti-Israel Resolutions, Including 2 Denying Jewish Ties to Jerusalem

The UN has again passed anti-Israel resolutions with the US, Israel, Canada, and Australia among the few who opposed them. (Illustrative)

Tuesday, 4 December 2018 | The United Nations [UN] General Assembly in New York on Friday approved six anti-Israel resolutions, including two that reject Jewish ties to the Temple Mount and Jerusalem, the Times of Israel reported.

One resolution on Jerusalem, which passed 148 to 11 with 14 abstentions, refers to the Temple Mount only by its Arab name of Haram al-Sharif and disavows Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem. Other resolutions addressed “the Syrian Golan,” “Division for Palestinian Rights of the Secretariat,” and “Peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine.” They passed by equally wide margins.

Apart from the United States and Israel, all six resolutions were opposed by Canada, Australia, Marshall Islands, Micronesia and Nauru. The remaining “no” votes came from Guatemala (3 resolutions) and Britain, Honduras, Hungary, Moldova and Palau (1 resolution each), as well as from Kiribati (opposed 4 of the 6 resolutions) and Solomon Islands (2 resolutions).

The UN General Assembly by the end of the year is expected to have adopted a total of 20 resolutions singling out the Jewish state for condemnation.

“The international community must stop participating in such a blatant denial of history. You must not permit these blatant attempts to delegitimize Israel,” said Israeli deputy permanent representative Noa Furman.

Her concerns were shared by US representative Leslie Ordeman, who said, “We are disappointed that despite messages of support for reform, member states continue to single out Israel with these resolutions.”

The US envoy added that, “Again, we see resolutions that are quick to condemn all manner of Israeli actions but say almost nothing about Palestinian terrorist attacks against innocent civilians. This is particularly acute now, when the rocket attacks on November 12 saw more projectiles fired on a single day than on any day since 2014.”

David Friedman, the US ambassador to Israel, took to Twitter to condemn anti-Israel bias at the UN. “More than 2000 years ago, Jewish patriots (Maccabees) captured Jerusalem, purified the Holy Temple and rededicated it as a house of Jewish worship,”

Friedman said. “The UN can’t vote away the facts: Jerusalem is the ancient and modern capital of Israel.”

The Algemeiner reported on Sunday that Israel reopened the archaeological site of the ancient palaces of the Maccabees to tourists in honor of Hanukkah (The Feast of Dedication).

Source: (This article was originally published by The Israel Project, in its publication The Tower on December 3, 2018. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: US Mission to the UN@USUN/twitter.com

Prayer Focus
Pray that the cries of the Israeli and American representatives to the UN will be heeded by this international body. Ask the Lord that these outrageous resolutions will be rescinded and that increasing numbers of nations will have the courage to stand against the Arab bloc and support Israel. Pray that Israel’s growing relationships within the Arab bloc will result in additional support for Israel.

Scripture

Arise, O LORD, do not let man prevail; let the nations be judged in Your sight. Put them in fear, O LORD, that the nations may know themselves to be but men.


- Psalm 9:19–20

Chag Hanukkah Sameach (Happy Hanukkah) from Jerusalem

by Ilse Strauss

For every night of Hanukkah, one more candle is lit on the hanukkiah. 

Monday, 3 December 2018 | Since yesterday, streets in Israel have been resounding with the joyful phrase, “Chag Hanukkah Sameach!” as loved ones and perfect strangers wish each other a happy feast of Hanukkah (Feast of Dedication or Festival of Lights).

Last night, in homes across the Promised Land and in Jewish communities across the world, families and friends gathered for the first night of this eight-day festival to light the first of eight candles on the hanukkiah—the special Hanukkah lampstand with nine candleholders, feast on treats traditional to the festival and remember the great miracle that Hanukkah commemorates.

The story behind Hanukkah reads like the ultimate epic tale. All the ingredients are there: a small band of faithful warriors taking a stand for what is right instead of settling for what is comfortable, a tyrant determined to bend his subjects to his iron will, miraculous victory in the face of overwhelming odds and the God of the universe showing up for those who wait on Him.

The events took place some twenty-one centuries ago, when the Land of Israel was ruled by the mighty Syrian king, Antiochus IV Epiphanes. His reign was characterized by severe oppression and frequent massacres. Antiochus prohibited the people of Israel from practicing Judaism, set up altars and idols for the forced worship of Greek gods, desecrated the Second Temple in Jerusalem by sacrificing a pig on the altar and placed a Greek priest in charge of the God of Israel’s dwelling place. He offered the Jews only two choices: convert or die.

Many converted, opting for a life of comfort and subjugation over conviction and freedom. Yet a handful of Jews, known as the Maccabees, revolted and waged a three-year guerrilla campaign against the overwhelming force of the Syrian empire. Against all odds, the tiny band of Jews defeated one of the world’s mightiest armies at the time and drove the oppressors from Jerusalem.

Immediately after their miraculous victory, the Maccabees sought to purify and rededicate the Temple by rebuilding the altar and relighting the menorah, the golden lampstand with seven branches, which was meant to be kept burning day and night. There was, however, a problem: only one vessel of consecrated anointing oil could be found to light the menorah, enough to keep the lampstand aglow for one night only. Yet according to tradition, the miraculous happened. The flames of the menorah continued flickering for eight nights, the exact time it took to prepare a fresh supply of consecrated oil. From there comes the name of the feast Hanukkah, which means “dedication” in both Hebrew and Aramaic.

Today, the descendants of the ancient Maccabees celebrate this miracle of light and oil through the eight-day celebration of Hanukkah. On each night of the eight days, families and friends gather to light the candles of the hanukkiah—one candle on the first night, two on the second and so forth, until all eight candles of the hanukkiah are alight. For eight days, tables are laden with traditional Hanukkah treats, like sufganiyot (sweet donuts), latkes (potato pancakes) and other deep-fried delicacies to mark the miracle of oil. And for eight nights, the fragile glow spilling from thousands of candles in Israel and in Jewish homes across the world reminds those who witness it of the tremendous significance of something as seemingly ordinary as light.

This year, the first candle on the hanukkiah was lit at sunset last night. And on the evening of Sunday, December 9, all the candles on the candelabrum will be burning brightly.

In his Hanukkah message released yesterday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu highlighted that the bravery that stirred the ancient Maccabees to stand against the injustices of a formidable enemy thousands of years ago remain a driving force in their descendants today.

“The spirit of the Maccabees beats in us. It beats in the soldiers of the IDF [Israel Defense Forces] and in us, the citizens of Israel,” Netanyahu said. “By it we have established a strong, prosperous and advanced state.”

While Hanukkah usually shares December with Christmas, the two feasts rarely coincide. The variance in timing is due to the use of two different calendars. Each year, the Jewish people continue to celebrate the feasts according to the biblical calendar, which is based on a lunar cycle. The eight-day festival of Hanukkah starts on the 25th of the ninth month, called Kislev. The date for Christmas, on the other hand, is determined according to the solar-based Gregorian calendar. Since these two calendars do not line up, the two feasts seldom start together.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, December 3, 2018)

Photo Credit: EvgeniT/pixabay.com

Prayer Focus
Praise the Lord for this wonderful holiday that brings to mind the courage and perseverance of the Maccabees in defeating Israel’s enemies. Thank Him for His hand of protection and empowerment on them and others throughout Israel’s history. Pray for peace and protection as the Jewish people in Israel and around the world celebrate the miracles of Hanukkah.

Scripture

In God is my salvation and my glory; the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God. Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us.


- Psalm 62:7–8

IDF Soldier Recycles Bottles to Help Holocaust Survivors

by Israel Moskowitz

IDF soldier Omer Adar has recycled over 24,000 plastic bottles to raise money for Holocaust survivors.

Thursday, 6 December 2018 | Omer Adar, a Merkava tank driver in the 74th battalion of the 188th Armored Brigade, made it his life project to recycle plastic bottles to help Holocaust survivors.

“It began in the 12th grade, when I was collecting cans to pay for my year’s Purim [Feast of Esther] party. I made NIS 5,000 [approximately US $ 1,340) in eight months,” recalled Omer, 20, from Kibbutz Ein Dor.

“I continued collecting cans and bottles during my basic and advanced training in the army, and when I arrived at my company, I was made in charge of recycling, which I also do on the weekends at home,” he added.

Omer has so far managed to collect more than 24,000 bottles for recycling.

“Two years ago, Omer came back home from the army looking sad and withdrawn,” Shaul Adar, Omer’s father, said.

“Since I was worried, I asked him what had happened, to which he replied that we are not doing enough for the Holocaust survivors. Since then, Omer made (recycling bottles to help Holocaust survivors) his life mission,” Shaul continued.

Now, Omer is looking for needy Holocaust survivors to give the money deposit he had received for the bottles to. “I want to reach out to them in person, not through NGOs,” he explained.

“I want to meet them, hear their personal story and give them what they need, whether it’s food or home appliances,” he went on to say.

Eyal Betzer, the head of the Jezreel Valley Regional Council, where Omer resides, praised the 20-year-old soldier for his work.

“Social engagement and contribution to the community are the values representing our valley,” he stated.

Source: (Ynetnews originally published this article on November 30, 2018. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Israel Defense Forces@IDF/twitter.com

Prayer Focus
Ask the Lord to bless Omer Adar and the wonderful work he is doing. Pray that he will have continued success in bringing comfort to survivors of the Holocaust. Pray that his work, and the programs of Bridges for Peace and others that touch survivors, will bring them encouragement and true peace, alleviating their loneliness as well as meeting their physical needs.

Scripture

LORD, You have heard the desire of the humble; You will prepare their heart; You will cause Your ear to hear, to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, that the man of the earth may oppress no more.


- Psalm 10:17–18

Action
In 2016, there were an estimated 186,500 Holocaust survivors living in Israel. After enduring so many horrors before coming to the Promised Land, these survivors are elderly and often unable to leave their apartments. Many live in poverty, and putting food on the table every day is a struggle. Bridges for Peace is committed to reaching out a hand of love and assistance to these survivors through monthly food parcels and regular visits from our volunteers. One woman, Maya, lost most of her family in a massacre in Ukraine and came to Israel with her mother, husband and daughter, the former two now deceased. She told our volunteers who bring her food each month, "Tell the people that I say thank you for not forgetting me! Thank you that you didn't just forget me." We believe it is our call and privilege as Christians to carry sunshine with our food parcels into the survivors' small, meager apartments to show them unconditional love, comfort and companionship. If you want to help us show these beautiful people who have been through so much hardship that they haven't been forgotten, please donate to our Food program. Your gift will make it possible for us to put food on more survivors' tables—and bring sunshine, encouragement and love into their lives.

Free Weekly Israel Prayer Update & News



Prayer Updates