Compassion

Yes, I will help bring the Jewish people home.

Friday, June 14, 2019

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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.

Weekly Gaza Protests to Focus on US Ambassador Friedman

by Elior Levy, Matan Tzuri, Attila Somfalvi and Alexandra Lukash

Gaza border protests this Friday will target comments made by US Ambassador to Israel Friedman.

Tuesdsay, 11 June 2019 | After a one-week respite, sources in Gaza announced that the weekly Friday protests at the border will be renewed this Friday and will focus on protesting a statement made by US Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, that Israel has a right to annex sections of the West Bank [Judea and Samaria].

Those behind the weekly border protests announced that the slogan for this week’s protests will be “No annexing the West Bank, Friedman shut up.” Last Friday, when Muslims celebrated Eid al-Fitr to mark the end of Ramadan [one of the Five Pillars of Islam when stringent disciplines are observed], there were no protests at the border.

Meanwhile, the balloon terror continues. On Monday, JNF [Jewish National Fund] officials and park rangers said that there were several fires, assumed to be a result of incendiary balloons launched from Gaza, in the Kisufim, Magen and Simchoni woodlands, as well as in a wheat field near Kibbutz Kfar Azza [all within a few miles of the Gaza border], where more than 100 dunam [25 acres] of wheat were destroyed.

Last week, Israeli security officials told the Wall Street Journal that Hamas and other militant groups in Gaza have replenished their weapons stockpiles to the amount they possessed before the latest flare-up with Israel—some 10,000 mostly low and medium range rockets—and that they have done so by means of smuggling and local manufacturing.

Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published in Ynetnews on June 10, 2019. Time related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.) 

Photo Credit: U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv/wikimedia.org

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Cry out to God to protect His chosen people and Land from the arson terror launched from Gaza. Pray His supernatural hedge of protection around Israel and its people and that He will frustrate the plans of the enemy for harm.

Scripture

When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you. For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.


- Isaiah 43:2b–3a

Netanyahu: Iran Working toward “Arsenal of Nuclear Bombs”

PM Netanyahu meets with former IAEA official Heinonen to discuss Iran’s nuclear activities.

Tuesday, 11 June 2019 | Iran is lying about its nuclear work and is trying to obtain an “arsenal of nuclear bombs,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday, following a meeting with the former deputy head of the UN’s atomic agency at his Jerusalem office.

Olli Heinonen, who previously held a senior position at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and now serves as a fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, warned Wednesday that Iran’s nuclear scientists—who he described as “the best of the best”—could produce enough fissile material for an atomic bomb in six to eight months.

Netanyahu said, “It’s very clear Iran is lying. Iran is continuing to work toward an arsenal of nuclear bombs, and we’re committed to stop it.” He praised Heinonen for his “forthright analysis” and “clear-cut conclusion.”

The nuclear scientist thanked Israel for revealing information about Iran’s secret nuclear archive last year. “Thank you for this brave action of taking them out (the nuclear archive documents) because this gives the material for the international community to think about and it’s a good place on how to talk with the Iranians, how to stop it,” he said.

Heinonen said at a time of the extraction that some of the information in the Israeli intelligence trove was already known, but there was “also new information.” He characterized the intelligence as a “jackpot.”

Documents in the Iranian nuclear archive showed that Iran built an underground facility, which was likely used for the development of nuclear warheads.

The files Israel recovered didn’t document all the equipment in the facility or the expected annual production of weapons-grade uranium the facility could produce. However, Heinonen and a team of experts in nuclear weapons technology estimated that the facility could produce enough enriched uranium for 2.5 to 3.3 nuclear weapons annually.

According to them, the site has never been inspected, nor has Iran been known to have discussed it with the IAEA.

Source: (This article was originally published by The Israel Project in its publication The Tower on June 6, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)

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

Prayer Focus
Ask God to expose Iran’s lies and open the eyes of the international community to the danger it poses, not just to Israel but to the world. Pray that the Lord will put a stop to Islamic regime’s development of nuclear weapons and its plans to harm its enemies.

Scripture

He frustrates the devices of the crafty, so that their hands cannot carry out their plans.


- Job 5:12

Israeli Army Trains for Future War with Hezbollah 

The IDF during a training simulation for a war against Hezbollah

Thursday, 13 June 2019 | In a cooperative training exercise last week, army cadets at the IDF’s [Israel Defense Forces] Officer Training School drilled for a takeover of a Lebanese village held by Hezbollah in a potential future war with the Iranian-backed terrorist group.

The exercise, dubbed “The Combined Combat Workshop,” brought together the armored corps, infantry, air force and intelligence-gathering troops. The cadets also trained for underground combat in tunnels and bunkers, as well as battles against missile-launching cells.

In a future war with Hezbollah, “we will not enter every village,” explained Lt. Gen. Benny Aharon. “We will choose the targets we need to conquer and hit those places we know will help us defeat the enemy—the places that are its center of gravity.”

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah warned last month that the Iranian-backed terrorist group would “annihilate and destroy” the Israeli military if it entered Lebanon in a future war. In January, the terror chief said that in a future war, all of Israel “will be struck by our rockets.”

Reflecting on the situation in the north, Maj. Gen. Yoel Strick, a former chief of the IDF’s Northern Command, told Ynetnews, “Hezbollah still has plans to invade the Galilee.”

Hezbollah has repeatedly stated that it intends to attack the Galilee in its next war with Israel and to kidnap or kill Israeli civilians and soldiers.

Israel is preparing to defend itself against a specific Hezbollah unit, Radwan, which was formed eight years ago with the purpose of infiltrating into Israel and carrying out terrorist attacks there. The goal wouldn’t just be the actual destruction the unit would cause but also the symbolism of having terrorists carry out attacks inside Israel.

In December of last year, Israel launched Operation Northern Shield to seek and destroy attack tunnels built by Hezbollah, the terrorist group which exercises complete political and military control over Lebanon. Nasrallah dismissed Israel’s success in destroying the attack tunnels. “The uncovering of the tunnels does not affect by 10% our plans to take over the Galilee,” he said in January.

Source: (This article was originally published by The Israel Project in its publication The Tower on June 12, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Israel Defense Forces Blog/IDF.il

Prayer Focus
Thank God for the IDF soldiers who put their lives on the line every day to protect the nation of Israel. Pray that He will bless their hard work, training and preparation and that He will protect them in battle. Ask Him to come alongside them to ensure the safety of the Jewish state.

Scripture

The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; the God of my strength, in whom I will trust; my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge; my Savior, You save me from violence. I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised; so shall I be saved from my enemies.


- 2 Samuel 22:2–4

How Palestinian Leaders Butcher the Truth

by Bassam Tawil

Israeli police scattered a riot inside a mosque on the Temple Mount a few days after a stabbing attack in the Old City.

Wednesday, 12 June 2019 | The Palestinian Authority (PA) is up in arms because Israeli policemen killed a Palestinian who stabbed two Jews in the Old City of Jerusalem. The terrorist, 19-year-old Yusef Wajih, from the West Bank [Judea and Samaria] village of Abwain, near Ramallah, stabbed one of the men in the neck and head near the Old City’s Damascus Gate, leaving him in serious condition.

The second victim was a 16-year-old who was stabbed by the terrorist in the back a few hundred meters away from the scene of the first attack. The teenager sustained light to moderate injuries. Police officers shot and killed the terrorist, thus preventing him from harming more Jews.

Such stabbing attacks are not uncommon on the streets of Jerusalem. In the past few years, Palestinian terrorists have carried out several stabbing and shooting attacks against Israeli police officers and civilians, particularly ultra-Orthodox Jews who were on their way to or from prayer at the Western Wall.

The wave of terrorist attacks began shortly after Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said in 2015 that the Palestinians will not allow Jews “with their filthy feet to defile our Al-Aqsa Mosque.” Abbas was referring to the Israeli authorities’ decision to resume Jewish visits to the Temple Mount. The visits were temporarily suspended for security reasons after the eruption of the Second Intifada in September 2000.

Abbas, who was speaking during a meeting with Arab residents of Jerusalem in his Ramallah office, added:

“We bless every drop of blood that has been spilled for Jerusalem, which is clean and pure blood, blood spilled for Allah, Allah willing. Every martyr will reach paradise, and everyone wounded will be rewarded by Allah. The Al-Aqsa [Mosque] is ours, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher is ours, and they have no right to defile them with their filthy feet. We will not allow them, and we will do everything in our power to protect Jerusalem.”

Since Abbas’s statement, the Palestinian media has been waging a campaign of incitement against Jewish visits to the Temple Mount. Abbas’s official news agency, Wafa, regularly describes the peaceful visits by Jews as violent incidents by “settlers” and “extremists.” Almost every week, Wafa publishes a report under the headline: “Jewish settlers storm Al-Aqsa Mosque.”

Such reports are intended to send a message to the Palestinians that the Jews are launching some kind of a violent “incursion” into one of Islam’s holiest shrines.

The truth is that the Jews touring the Temple Mount have never entered any of the mosques at the site or were involved in any form of violent attack against Muslim worshipers.

Abbas and his PA, however, are careful not to be confused by the facts. The terrorist who stabbed the two Jews in the Old City of Jerusalem was undoubtedly influenced by the ongoing incitement by Palestinian leaders regarding the Jewish visits to the Temple Mount. It is this type of incitement that prompts Palestinians to grab a knife and set out to stab the first Jew they meet.

Yet, instead of condemning the terrorist for attacking Jews on the last Friday of the holy month of Ramadan [one of the Five Pillars of Islam when stringent disciplines are observed]—hours before hundreds of thousands of Muslim worshipers converged on the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound for prayer—the PA chose to denounce Israel for killing him.

Despite the terrorist attack, Israeli authorities did not prevent hundreds of thousands of Muslim worshipers from the West Bank from entering Jerusalem for the Friday prayer. Israel could have used the terrorist attack as an excuse to impose restrictions on the entry of Muslim worshipers to Jerusalem, but instead chose not to do so.

Yusef Wajih, the terrorist, came to Jerusalem armed with a knife to kill Jews. That was his only goal. He could have taken advantage of Israel’s easing of restrictions during Ramadan—a move that saw hundreds of thousands of Muslims enter Jerusalem every Friday to pray at the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

The Palestinian Authority is not worried that the terrorist’s action could have affected the Muslim worshipers who wanted to pray at the holy site on the last Friday of Ramadan. The PA is also not concerned that two innocent Jews were stabbed by the terrorist. What the PA is disturbed about is the killing of the terrorist.

“The Palestinian Foreign Ministry condemns the crime of extra-judicial killing carried out by the occupation forces in Jerusalem,” Abbas’s ministry said in a statement shortly after Israeli policemen shot dead the terrorist. The ministry called on the International Criminal Court (ICC) to launch an investigation “into this crime and hold to account the perpetrators of such crimes.”

According to the logic of the PA, the police officers who killed the terrorist are the real criminals. As far as the Palestinians are concerned, the police officers should be held accountable for preventing the terrorist from continuing his stabbing spree. The officers should even be brought to trial before the ICC for foiling the terrorist’s plan. As is its habit in [its] many previous condemnations of stopping terrorists in their tracks, the Palestinian Foreign Ministry made no mention of the two Jews who were stabbed by the terrorist.

By calling the shooting of the terrorist an “extra-judicial killing,” the PA is seeking to create the impression that Israeli policemen drag innocent Palestinians to the street and publicly execute them for no reason. This is the type of blood libel that also propels Palestinians to carry out terrorist attacks against Israelis.

It is, therefore, precisely the PA leadership—who continue to lie and incite their people against Israel and Jews—that ought to be put on trial by the ICC.

If the ICC ever looks into this incident, it should begin its inquiry by investigating the vicious incitement of Palestinian leaders, who use Jewish visits to a holy site in Jerusalem to butcher the truth, just as it whips up Palestinians such as Yusef Wajih to wake up in the morning and butcher the first Jew he meets. The blood of Wajih is on the hands of Palestinian leaders, and not the police officers who stopped a terrorist from stabbing yet more Jews.

Bassam Tawil is a Muslim Arab based on the Middle East.

Source: (This article was originally published by the Gatestone Institute on June 10, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Israel Police@IL_police/Twitter.com

Prayer Focus
Ask God to shine a light in the darkness of the Palestinian leadership’s lies. Pray that He will reveal the truth to the Palestinian people and to the international community. Intercede for the Jewish people and ask the Lord to hedge them in His protection from incitement.

Scripture

You shall destroy those who speak falsehood; the LORD abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man…For You, O LORD, will bless the righteous; with favor You will surround him as with a shield.


- Psalm 5:6, 12

Israel Scores against BDS

by Joshua Spurlock

Israeli Minister of Strategic Affairs Erdan: Our efforts have drastically undermined the boycott campaign.

Tuesday, 11 June 2019 | Organizations in the “Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions” (BDS) movement against Israel are trying to harm the Jewish state financially in an effort to achieve anti-Israel political goals. Recently, Israel’s government and partner groups have turned the tables on them, exposing the links between dozens of those groups to terrorists and pushing financial entities to close their accounts. So far, 30 financial accounts of such anti-Israel organizations have been shut down, according to an Israeli press release.

Israeli Minister of Strategic Affairs Gilad Erdan, in a press release by his ministry on Monday, said, “boycott promoters” raised tens of millions of euros from Western countries by disguising themselves as “human rights activists.” Now, the truth comes out.

“We have revealed that the supposed ‘human rights’ NGOs are, in reality, filled with anti-Semitic operatives with deep ties to terrorist groups fixated on destroying the State of Israel,” Erdan was quoted as saying. “As a result of our actions, countries and financial institutions are now distancing themselves from these organizations. Our efforts have drastically undermined the boycott campaign, leading to it having much less finances to operate, and barred from receiving financial services.”

The press release said the Israeli campaign to close financial accounts of such groups has been ongoing for the past two years, leading to the closing of 10 accounts in the United States and twenty in Europe. Earlier this year, the Ministry of Strategic Affairs released their “Terrorists in Suits” report that disclosed links between terror groups such as Hamas the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and BDS-promoting organizations.

One example in Monday’s press release was Samidoun [Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network], which had three accounts—including one with Paypal—closed thanks to work by The International Legal Forum. The Terrorists in Suits report revealed not only that Samidoun had links to the PFLP, but that their two representatives in Europe were PFLP members. One of them had even been released from an Israeli prison, where he had been serving time for, among other things, receiving training from the Hezbollah terror group.

The Ministry of Strategic Affairs noted in the press release that “the closure of the accounts has disrupted Samidoun’s ability to carry out its activities and has significantly harmed their fundraising efforts.”

The press release listed other examples, including one in which the BDS National Committee not only had their DonorBox account shut down due to terrorist connections, but when the group tried to open a new account on Charityweb, that account was also closed within hours.

Source: (The Mideast Update originally published this article on June 10, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today.)

Photo Credit: MathKnight/wikimedia.org

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Praise the Lord for his favor and mercy in exposing the lies of the BDS movement and thwarting their schemes. Ask him to continue to expose the deceit behind the anti-Semitic movement to the international community and to continue to frustrate their plans.

Scripture

For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.


- Ecclesiastes 12:14

Secret PA Pay Raise Angers Ordinary Palestinians Facing Economic Hardship

While ordinary Palestinians teeter on the verge of an economic and humanitarian crisis, PA President Abbas and other leaders gave themselves a raise. (Illustrative)

Monday, 10 June 2019 | Palestinian leaders are facing outrage from their own constituents after leaked documents revealed that members of the Palestinian Authority (PA) Cabinet gave themselves a secret retroactive pay raise in 2017, resulting in a 67% salary hike.

The Associated Press reported Tuesday that the lavish payouts came at a time of economic hardship, which to this day persists in the Palestinian territories. In 2017, the PA cut the salaries of 50,000 ordinary workers in Gaza by a third, arguing the government was lacking the funds to pay them.

The news broke after a series of confidential documents were posted anonymously to social media and showed that the prime minister’s monthly salary was raised to [US] $6,000, while the salaries for cabinet ministers spiked from [US] $3,000 to [US] $5,000.

The decision was approved by PA President Mahmoud Abbas and kept secret from the public, overriding a 2004 law that fixed salaries of ministers.

The report provoked outrage among the Palestinian people, who have long seen their leadership as corrupt and out of touch. “The cabinet members behaved as if the government is their private shop and they can take as much as they want without being held accountable,” said political commentator Ehab Jareri.

In March, the PA penalized law-abiding employees to avoid cutting salaries of Palestinian terrorists and their families under the so-called “Pay-for-Slay” scheme, which led the United States and Israel to cut aid until the PA stops inciting terror.

PA Deputy Prime Minister Nabil Abu Rudeina said that “non-payment of the public employees” was less significant for the Palestinian leadership “than subtracting one penny from the family of a martyr or prisoner, who sacrificed his life and freedom for Palestine and its heroic people.”

A public poll released in April by the Jerusalem Media and Communication Center found that the overwhelming majority of Palestinians in the West Bank [Judea and Samaria] and the Gaza Strip have no faith in their political leadership and are desperate for elections.

Only a small percentage of Palestinians surveyed, about 11%, said that they trust PA President Mahmoud Abbas, the leader of Fatah [leading secular Palestinian political party]. The leader of Hamas, Ismael Haniyeh, received an approval rate of only 6%.

Source: (This article was originally published by The Israel Project in its publication The Tower on June 7, 2019. Tme-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: World Economic Forum/wikimedia.org

Photo License: wikimedia.org

Prayer Focus
Pray for justice for the Palestinian people. Ask God to open their eyes to the true cause of their suffering: their own leaders, not Israel. Pray that God will ease their suffering and provide for their needs.

Scripture

Turn away from evil and do good; so shall you dwell forever. For the Lord loves justice; he will not forsake his saints. They are preserved forever, but the children of the wicked shall be cut off.


- Psalm 37:27–28

Guest List for Bahrain Economic Conference Grows as Egypt, Jordan and Morocco Confirm Attendance

by Jo Sarah Stanford

Manama, Bahrain, where world leaders will attend a US-led peace conference later this month.

Wednesday, 12 June 2019 | Support is growing for a US-led economic forum in Bahrain later this month, with Jordan, Egypt and Morocco officially accepting the invitation. The Palestinian Authority (PA) has condemned the conference and is calling on other Arab nations to boycott the event. Participants in the “Peace to Prosperity” forum, scheduled for June 25–26, are expected to discuss predominately regional economic issues as well as security and the Israeli–Palestinian conflict.

Attending the conference with be representatives from the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. Jordan, Egypt and Morocco are the latest countries to confirm their attendance. According to Ynetnews, representatives from the World Bank and International Monetary Fund will also be there. Lebanon has rejected the forum, although it is unclear whether they were actually invited. Israel has not yet received an invitation, but it is believed that the US is waiting for more Arab nations to accept the invitation before extending it to the Jewish state.

The PA has spoken out against the event and against those who are attending. PA Spokesperson Ibrahim Melhim said the PA “deeply regrets the declaration of Cairo and Amman about its participat[ion] in the workshop and call on them and all brotherly and friendly countries to withdraw from participating in the workshop,” reported the Times of Israel.

Officials from the US and host Bahrain said the aim of the gathering is to “facilitate discussions on an ambitious, achievable vision and framework for a prosperous future for the Palestinian people and the region, including enhancements to economic governance, development of human capital, and facilitation of rapid private sector growth.”

Senior White House Advisor Jared Kushner announced the forum on May 19. Kushner and Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt have since been in the Middle East to meet with regional leaders and garner support for the event.

Following a meeting with Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu, the latter said, “I’m tremendously encouraged by how the United States, under President Trump, is working to bring allies together in this region against common challenges, but also to seize common opportunities,” reported Al Jazeera.

It is expected that certain economic aspects of US President Trump’s yet-to-be-revealed Israeli–Palestinian peace plan dubbed the “Deal of the Century” will be discussed. The political aspects, however, will remain under wraps. The plan has been delayed numerous times. It will reportedly offer a new solution to the Middle East conflict, but has already been outright rejected by Palestinian leaders, despite details being unknown.

The forum is a positive step forward in relations for the US, Middle East and Israel. With Egypt and Jordan the only two Arab nations in the Middle East to have diplomatic ties with Israel, their attendance might motivate other Arab countries to attend the forum.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, June 12, 2019)

Photo Credit: Francisco Anzola/flickr.com

Photo License: flickr.com

Prayer Focus
Praise God for the willingness of these nations to come together. Beseech the Lord to bestow His wisdom and discernment upon these world leaders as they discuss important issues and solutions.

Scripture

A wise man will hear and increase learning, and a man of understanding will attain wise counsel…The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.


- Proverbs 1:5, 7

France Busts Neo-Nazi Cell over Plot to Hit Jewish, Muslim Institutions

French police (Illustrative)

Wednesday, 12 June 2019 | Authorities in France have busted a neo-Nazi cell accused of plotting terrorist attacks against Jewish and Muslim institutions, officials said Tuesday. The suspects had named their group L’Oiseau Noir (Black Bird) and were said to be “close in ideology to the neo-Nazi movement.”

Five members of the group were charged between September and May over the alleged plot, which was still in the early stages of planning, a source close to the investigation revealed. Among the suspects are two minors and an assistant volunteer constable.

Authorities seized a batch of Kalashnikovs, explosives, a Glock pistol and a rifle at the group’s home in Grenoble. The cell was planning terrorist attacks against several targets, including the annual dinner of the Representative Council of French Jewish Institutions (CRIF) and Muslim places of worship.

The suspects were all charged with terror offenses, including conspiracy to murder.

While France has suffered a series of devastating Islamist terrorist attacks since 2015, authorities have also foiled several far-right terrorist plots against Jewish and Muslim communities.

In June 2018, Action des Forces Operationnelles (Operational Forces Action), a far-right vigilante group with cells all over France, had planned to kill Muslim civilians. Although it was unclear if an attack was imminent, authorities seized at their homes 14 handguns, 22 rifles, thousands of cartridges and explosive materials, as well as a guide for “homemade napalm [flammable gel often used in bombs].”

The website of the group listed as enemies “upholders of the Islamic system,” as well as “sub-Saharan Africans.” The Jewish community was listed as “targets if the War of France breaks out.”

In December 2018, six people linked to an extreme right movement were detained on suspicions that they were preparing a “violent” plot against minority groups and French President Emmanuel Macron. The suspects reportedly wanted to “kill Macron, Muslims, blacks, Jews and homosexuals.”

Source: (This article was originally published by The Israel Project in its publication The Tower on June 11, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Kristoffer Trolle/wikimedia.org

Photo License: wikimedia.org

Prayer Focus
Thank the Lord and rejoice that He exposed the plans of these evil people to kill and destroy. Pray that He will continue to expose the plots of the wicked before they can steal innocent lives.

Scripture

Who will rise up for me against the evildoers? Who will stand up for me against the workers of iniquity? But the LORD has been my defense, and my God the rock of my refuge. He has brought on them their own iniquity, and shall cut them off in their own wickedness; the LORD our God shall cut them off.


- Psalm 94:16, 22–23

Unsung Hero: The Mossad Agent Who Led Ethiopian Jews to the Promised Land

by Attila Somfalvi, Alexandra Lukash

Ferede Aklum, the Mossad agent who led the first group of Ethiopian Jews into Sudan on their way to the Holy Land, pictured here in 1982.

Wednesday, 12 June 2019 | Israel’s Ethiopian community is commemorating the 40th anniversary for the journey on foot to the Holy Land and remembers one of its most important hidden heroes—Ferede Aklum.

Aklum, who passed away in 2009, was a Mossad [Israeli intelligence agency] agent who led the first group of Ethiopian Jews through the desert and paved the way for Operation Moses and Operation Solomon. Despite being widely known in the Ethiopian community, his is an obscure name to other Israelis, and Ferede’s brother, Amram, is determined to change this.

“People often talk about Israeli security forces when they discuss the immigration story, but those who actually walked through the desert and buried the dead along the way were the activists, like my brother,” says Amram Aklum.

Amram describes his brother as an inspiring and brave man, headmaster of a local school and of their regional council in Ethiopia, whose biggest dream was “to make it to Jerusalem.”

“You grow up with it,” Amram says, “you live in this environment and family that constantly talks about Jerusalem.”

This was what pushed Ferede back in 1976 to move to the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa and reach out to the Israeli embassy in order to make the journey to Israel.

In 1977, Ferede met with an Israeli security official who asked him to organize a few families and plan the journey to Zion.

“There was already an agreement between the two countries then (about the permit to immigrate to Israel),” says Amram, “Israel supplied Ethiopia with arms in exchange.”

But after just two flights successfully brought several Ethiopian Jews into Israel, news of the secret arms deal emerged, causing a worldwide commotion, and Ethiopia backed out of the agreement.

Ethiopia cancelling the arms deal marked the start of a dark period for Ethiopian Jews.

“Political persecution began of Zionist activists who were involved in the immigration process,” says Amram.

“People’s lives were under threat. Ethiopia was a murderous dictatorship back them,” Amram says. “Anyone who was suspected of cooperating (with Israel) could be shot in the head.”

Ferede became a wanted person and was able to flee to Sudan by the skin of his teeth. He arrived there penniless, and after begging in the streets, contacted Mossad.

“He only kept three addresses (during the turmoil of fleeing the country),” says his brother. “One was of an American aid organization, a Nairobi address and details of an Israeli security official he knew. But he had no money to send a letter, so he had to sell his gold wedding band to pay for it, and it slowly made its way into the hands of the Mossad.”

When the Mossad got word of Ferede, an agent went to Sudan to find him. He then joined Mossad himself, educating them about the journey he had made from Ethiopia to Sudan. The paths he had discovered then became the prototype for Israeli intelligence agencies that used them to lay the infrastructure for Operation Moses.

Ferede was the one who led the first group of Ethiopian Jews into Sudan.

“But it’s not just Ferede,” says Amram. “It’s our mothers who made this incredible journey and deserve respect and acknowledgment for that.”

Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published by Ynetnews on June 7, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: עמרם אקלום/wikimedia.org

Photo License: wikimedia.org

Prayer Focus
Thank God for people like Ferede Aklum whom He uses as His shepherds on earth to bring His people home to the Promised Land. Pray for the rest of the Jewish people in the Diaspora who are longing to return to their ancient homeland. Remind the Lord of his promises to bring them home.

Scripture

“For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land.”


- Ezekiel 36:24

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