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Help us bless the people of Israel.

Friday, December 13, 2019

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Every week, we post 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.

Out of Time: Israel to Head to the Polls for the Third Time in a Year

The Knesset/Parliament building in Jerusalem

Thursday, 12 December 2019 | The Knesset [Parliament] was officially dissolved last night at midnight as the deadline to form a new government passed, almost three months after Israel last went to the polls.

Members of Knesset were to vote overnight on the agreed date for a snap election, which was expected to take place on March 2, 2020.

Earlier yesterday, the Knesset passed the first reading of a bill to dissolve itself with the rest of the required readings set to be fast-tracked through Parliament overnight.

But time ran out and Israel was automatically launched into its third election cycle within 12 months. All that was left for MKs [Members of Knesset] was to determine the date of Election Day.

Israeli law states that should no government be formed within the allotted period after an election, Parliament is dissolved and a fresh ballot will take place after 90 days. But that would clash with Purim [the Feast of Esther], forcing lawmakers to change the date.

The speedy movement on the legislation came after the Knesset Arrangements Committee agreed Wednesday morning to waive the usual period for passing a bill.

Blue and White MK Avi Nissenkorn presented the draft legislation, expressing his regret at the current political stalemate that led to this point.

“My heart aches today and I think that is true of all Knesset members. I thought, or at least hoped, that the laws I would pass would be social legislation and not proposals for the dissolution of the Knesset, but this is what is happening now,” he said.

“It’s a hard day for the Israeli public, each side thinks the other is to blame and I ask that we behave in a statesmanlike manner and that we see better days.”

Barring a near impossible breakthrough in coalition efforts, the bill is expected to pass and set March 2, 2020 as the date of the unprecedented third round of elections within a 12-month period.

The move prolongs a political stalemate that has paralyzed the government and undermined many citizens’ faith in the democratic process.

Both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Likud and his chief rival Benny Gantz of the Blue and White party have for weeks insisted they want to avoid another costly election campaign that is expected to produce similar results.

But neither has been willing to compromise on their core demands for a power-sharing agreement. Netanyahu’s recent indictment on corruption charges has added a murky legal imbroglio to the saga.

Following the September elections, both men failed during their officially mandated time to form a governing coalition on their own. Then, in a final three-week window, they could not join forces to avoid another vote.

Both sides said they were working until the last minute to find some way out of the deadlock. However, a breakthrough seemed highly unlikely.

Given Israel’s divided state, and the deep mistrust between the opposing camps, there is no guarantee that another vote will break the loop of elections and instability that has rocked the country for the past year.

Recent opinion polls forecast a similar deadlock after the next elections.

Another campaign, and the national holiday of Election Day, will cost the economy billions.

Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published by Ynetnews on December 12, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Zeev Barkan/flickr.com

Photo License: flickr.com

Prayer Focus
Pray that the people of Israel will not lose faith in their system of government or in the Lord that has established them, as they face this discouraging situation. Pray that God will intervene, putting in place the leadership of His choosing.

Scripture

That He will set you high above all nations which He has made, in praise, in name, and in honor, and that you may be a holy people to the LORD your God, just as He has spoken.


- Deuteronomy 26:19

Iran Building Weapons Storage Tunnel in Syria, Satellite Images Reveal

by Yoav Zitun

Semalka Border Crossing over the Tigris at the Syria–Iraq border

Wednesday, 11 December 2019 | Iran-backed militias are constructing an underground tunnel believed to be used to smuggle arms and military equipment, images taken by intelligence satellites revealed yesterday.

An intelligence report published by ImageSat International (ISI) provided footage documenting larger scale excavation works along the Syria–Iraq border, apparently conducted by pro-Iran militias in the area.

It is estimated that the tunnel is dug in order to bypass the Abu Kamal border crossing between Syria and Iraq, an area which was the target of a number of Israeli strikes in recent weeks. The latest aerial attack in the area occurred on Sunday, with at least five men belonging to pro-Iran militias reported to have been killed in a pre-dawn raid.

The tunnel is believed to be constructed in order to store and smuggle weapons, including missiles, as well as equipment and militia soldiers.

According to Fox News, the digging of the tunnel is overseen by the Al-Quds Brigade of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps.

The first image of the construction was taken on October 5, but some two weeks later a thatch roof appears to have been built above the site, possibly to cover up the activities there.

Huge mounds of earth were seen at the other end of the tunnel.

Al-Quds forces have over the past months intensified their efforts to smuggle advanced weaponry into Syria and Lebanon.

Security officials worry the weapons and equipment will be moved along the northern end of the Syria–Iraq border, where US troops had been stationed before the Trump administration made an abrupt decision to withdraw the forces several months ago.

Israeli officials estimate the Iranians will not turn a blind eye on further Israeli strikes in the area and might retaliate through their proxies in Syria by firing rockets or launching explosive drones, similar to the attack on Saudi refineries last September, allegedly carried out by Iran, 300 kilometers [186 mi] from the Saudi–Iranian border.

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

Photo Credit: AntonSamuel/wikimedia.org

Photo License: wikimedia.org

Prayer Focus
Beseech the Lord for great wisdom for the leaders of Israel as they determine the best course of action to prevent Iran from completing tunnels that would allow them to smuggle weapons into the hands of Israel’s enemies. Plead for the safety of Israel’s northern borders.

Scripture

Deliver me, O LORD, from evil men; preserve me from violent men, who plan evil things in their hearts; they continually gather together for war.


- Psalm 140:1–2

A Non-Aggression Agreement between Israel and the Arab Countries

by Yoni Ben Menachem

Israel is pursuing diplomatic relations with Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Morocco.

Friday, 06 December 2019 | According to senior diplomatic sources in Jerusalem, Israel is trying to advance a non-aggression agreement with four Arab countries that do not currently have diplomatic relations with Israel. These countries are Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Morocco.

This agreement would be a stepping-stone toward full normalization between Israel and these four countries, who are already conducting ties behind the scenes.

The agreement includes maintaining friendly ties between Israel and these Arab countries based on UN [United Nations] treaties and international law and the adoption of steps required to prevent hostile actions, such as the threat of war or terror activities, violence or incitement between both sides.

The agreement prohibits the signatories from joining or assisting alliances or organizations with a third party with a military nature.

The United States is trying to help Israel with this process. American sources state that Victoria Coates, Deputy Adviser for National Security at the White House, met with the ambassadors of the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Oman and Morocco in Washington. She explained to them the new Israeli initiative and asked for their response. The ambassadors told her that they would convey the message to the political leadership in their countries, and they would respond as soon as possible.

None of the four countries mentioned above denied the media reports on this issue.

Israeli Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz initiated the process in coordination with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in September 2019, when Minister Katz met with Oman Foreign Minister Yusuf Bin Alawi and Anwar Karkash, Foreign Minister of United Arab Emirates, and raised the initiative with them.

An Israeli delegation, comprised of representatives from the foreign ministry, the National Security Council, the defense ministry and the justice ministry, set off for Washington for talks to try to advance the initiative and achieve a non-aggression agreement between Israel and the Arab countries.

United States President Donald Trump’s “Deal of the Century” is currently in a deep freeze because of the political situation in Israel. Currently, Israel has a transitional government, and it may well need to conduct a third round of elections. However, foreign policy does not exist in a vacuum, and Foreign Minister Katz is still attempting to advance his initiative.

Everything connected to Israel’s relations with the Gulf States has a “window of opportunity” right now and shared interests while Iran continues to pose a danger, as seen recently by the Iranian attack on Saudi oil installations on September 14, 2019.

Israel is not concealing its efforts to achieve normalization with Arab countries. Prime Minister Netanyahu announced in November 2019 that Israel conducts ties with at least six Arab countries. On December 1, 2019, the foreign ministry issued an official announcement that a delegation would pay an official visit to Dubai to arrange Israel’s participation in the “Expo 2020” international exhibition.

An additional path to normalization with the Gulf States is via discussions on security and freedom of transit in the Persian/Arabian Gulf.

Arab sources report that Saudi Arabia is supporting Bahrain on the diplomatic and media fronts regarding this issue. On October 21, 2019, Bahrain held a committee meeting on the issue of freedom of transit in the Gulf, attended by an Israeli delegation.

This committee meeting took place following the “Warsaw Committee to Promote Peace and Security in the Middle East” in February 2019, which was led by the United States and attended by 60 countries, including Israel, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Egypt, Yemen, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco and Oman. The meetings’ agenda was listed as “terrorism and extremism, missile development and proliferation, maritime trade and security, and threats posed by proxy groups across the region.”

Anger in Palestinian Authority

The Palestinian Authority [PA] is very angry about Gulf States’ policy of establishing relations with Israel before a permanent settlement has been reached between Israel and the Palestinians.  PA sources claim that this is a violation of decisions reached by the Arab Summit and the Arab League.

The Gulf States, which fear Iran and want closer ties with the United States and Israel, are ignoring Palestinian anger and are slowly moving toward normalization with Israel without giving it an official or public stamp so as not to anger the Palestinians further.

Senior PA sources state that the Gulf States should open their eyes after the attacks on the Saudi oil installations and understand that no good will come from the Trump administration after it failed to protect Saudi Arabia from Iran.

According to them, the United States did not protect the Arab regimes from the “Arab Spring” either, which is why, for example, President Hosni Mubarak’s government fell in Egypt.

Yet, the Gulf States do not accept the Palestinian claims; their fear of Iran is overriding. They believe Trump’s hands are tied by his desire to run in the next presidential elections. Some of them believe that if he wins the elections, he will change his stance over protecting them from Iran.

At the same time, secret and public visits continue between Israeli and Arab representatives. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited Oman in October 2018, and Foreign Minister Katz visited the United Arab Emirates in June 2019.

According to reports in some Arab media outlets that have not been confirmed, Prime Minister Netanyahu met secretly with Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman.

Similarly, some Gulf States have hosted Israeli sports teams and even played the Hatikva anthem when Israel’s teams won.

Israel’s attempt to advance a non-aggression agreement with four Arab countries is significant. This message should filter through to the Arab world and to the Palestinians who seek to block the normalization of relations with Israel.

Israeli policy to break the linkage presented by the Palestinians of normalizing relations with Israel only after reaching a diplomatic agreement is correct. The Palestinian problem no longer leads the Arab countries’ list of priorities. The Iranian danger has overtaken it, and in any case, the Palestinian arena is divided between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank [Judea and Samaria], where Palestinian leadership is unable to reach a national agreement that would allow serious negotiations with Israel, and where the results would be binding upon all the Palestinians.

The moderate Arab countries are following Israel’s offensive policy to attack Iranian entrenchment in Syria and the military attacks ascribed to Israel against Iranian targets. There is no doubt that this affects their relationship with Israel, seeing it as a critical regional force in the Middle East that does not fear to confront Iran. It is worthwhile for them to ally with Israel even in secret and to coordinate efforts to halt Iranian influence.

Source: (The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs originally published this article on December 5, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Duisenberg/wikimedia.org

Photo License: Wikimedia.org

Prayer Focus
Implore the Lord for His clear direction as Israel enters into agreements with moderate Arab states. At this time of political confusion in Israel, pray that He will guide all parties involved, placing Israel in a position of strength which will help to bring stability to the entire region.

Scripture

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress; my God, in Him I will trust.


- Psalm 91:1–2

Following Rocket Fire, Netanyahu Threatens to “Defeat” Gaza Terrorists “Once and for All”

by Joshua Spurlock

PM Netanyahu speaking with Israeli soldiers

Monday, 9 December 2019 | More Gaza rockets were fired at Israel over the weekend, leading Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to issue a hypothetical but emphatic ultimatum. “We are dealing with the threat from Gaza, and if necessary we will carry out a major operation to defeat this terrorism once and for all,” said Netanyahu on Sunday in comments released by his office.

“They received a sample several weeks ago [in the last round of fighting]. I do not suggest that they wait for the next portion. It will come if they continue.”

The comments from Netanyahu come as Israel and Gaza have reportedly been discussing a long-term ceasefire with Egyptian mediation. The Jerusalem Post reported Egypt believes real progress to such a ceasefire has been made, while Hamas issued a statement demanding Israel takes steps to improve the situation in Gaza, including lifting the Israeli blockade on the territory. Netanyahu has his own demands.

“There will be no arrangement if the firing does not stop for good,” said the Israeli leader. “If it does not stop for good, in the end there will be a decisive operation.”

So far, it hasn’t stopped. On Saturday, the IDF [Israel Defense Forces] Twitter feed reported that three more rockets had been fired at Israeli civilians from Gaza. Two were intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system.

In a follow-up tweet, the IDF noted their reaction to the attack: “3 rockets were fired from #Gaza at Israeli towns and cities earlier tonight. In response, IDF fighter jets & attack helicopters just struck a number of Hamas terror targets in Gaza.”

Jason Greenblatt, former United States envoy to the Middle East, on Twitter pointed the blame at the ongoing conflict at Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad [PIJ]. “Egypt is working hard to keep ceasefire & General Abbas Kamel is doing everything he can, but ultimately it’s up to the terrorists Hamas/PIJ to help Gaza. Until then Israel will defend itself – as it should & Gaza will continue to suffer because of Hamas/PIJ.”

In separate comments to the Israeli cabinet on Sunday, Netanyahu said that if the Gaza attacks continue, “the terrorists in Gaza will yet feel blows from our arm.” “What they absorbed three weeks ago in Operation Black Belt, in which we targeted the leader of Islamic Jihad and dozens of militants from the organization, was just for starters,” said Netanyahu, referencing the November assassination of senior terror commander Abu Al-Ata.

“I have instructed the Defense Minister and the IDF to prepare accordingly. I will not go into details about our plans. We will continue to guard the security of Israel.”

Source: (The Mideast Update originally published this article on December 8, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today.)

Photo Credit: IsraeliPM/YouTube/screenshot

Prayer Focus
Pray for the safety of those who are under constant threat from Gazan terrorists. Beseech the Lord that those who are attacking Israel will take PM Netanyahu’s comments seriously and cease such activities. Pray that Israel will have the resolve to follow through as necessary to protect her citizens from further harm.

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. They have taken crafty counsel against Your people, and consulted together against Your sheltered ones. They have said, “Come, let us cut them off from being a nation, that the name of Israel may be remembered no more.”


- Psalm 83:1–4

UK, France and Germany Raise Alarm about Iranian Nuclear Missiles

The E3 is comprised of the UK, Germany and France (flags pictured alongside the flag of Europe).

Monday, 9 December 2019 | What happened: France, Germany and the UK, (the so-called E3) have warned the United Nations [UN] that Iran is developing nuclear-capable ballistic missiles. In a letter to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, the E3 alleged that Iran tested a Shahab-3 missile variant “equipped with a maneuverable re-entry vehicle” that could deliver a nuclear weapon. According to the Missile Technology Control Regime, such a system could deliver a payload weighing at least 500 kg [1,100 lb].

  • The letter claims such activity is “inconsistent” with UN Security Council resolution 2231 that restricts Iranian ballistic missiles.
  • Iran denied the allegation, with Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif writing on Twitter that the letter was a “desperate falsehood” designed “to cover up their miserable incompetence in fulfilling” the “bare minimum of their own JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action] obligations.”
  • The letter also cited three other examples of Iranian activities the E3 viewed as “inconsistent” with the resolution: the launch of a ballistic missile on July 24, the launch on August 2 of a Borkan-3 liquid-propelled medium-range ballistic missile by Houthi rebels in Yemen and the unsuccessful launch of a Safir satellite launch vehicle on August 29.

Context: UN Security Council Resolution 2231 requires Iran not to “undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using ballistic missile technology.”

  • The UK, France and Germany have gradually been shifting towards the US position as Iran has violated the restrictions in the 2015 JCPOA nuclear deal regarding uranium enrichment, use of advanced centrifuges, uranium stockpiles and use of the enrichment facility at Fordow. In September, the E3 said: “The time has come for Iran to accept negotiation on a long-term framework for its nuclear program as well as on issues related to regional security, including its missiles program and other means of delivery.”
  • On November 12, the E3 criticized Iran for failing to cooperate with IAEA inspectors and said it would consider use of the dispute mechanism within the JCPOA if Iran did not return to full compliance with its commitments in the nuclear deal.

Looking ahead: Iran is pursuing a strategy of applying pressure on the remaining signatories of the JCPOA to facilitate trade to assist the Iranian economy, which is struggling under US sanctions. The political conditions don’t appear to exist for progress towards a new grand bargain with Iran and Iranian leaders have repeatedly said they will only enter such talks if the US lifts sanctions.

  • The Iranian regime has faced waves of domestic unrest in protest at the increased cost of fuel and cracked down hard by killing protestors and shutting off the internet. At the same time Iranian influence is under threat in Lebanon and Iraq as its key allies have been forced to resign in the face of large domestic protests.
  • On December 19 a UN Security Council meeting is expected to discuss Iran. Israel’s Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz welcomed the E3 letter and has instructed Israeli diplomats to prepare a “complete list of Iranian violations of the nuclear agreement” for the meeting.

Source: (BICOM originally published this article on December 6, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Hans/pixabay.com

Prayer Focus
Thank God for those European nations that are recognizing the very real nuclear threat posed by Iran. Pray for the efforts of Israeli diplomats as they prepare for the meeting on December 19, and beseech the Lord that a clear, international strategy for crippling Iran’s efforts will emerge.

Scripture

Consider and hear me, O LORD my God; enlighten my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death; lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed against him”; lest those who trouble me rejoice when I am moved.


- Psalm 13:3–4

European Nation Wants Recognition of Palestinian State without Peace Deal

by Joshua Spurlock

Jean Asselborn, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Luxembourg

Tuesday, 10 December 2019 | The Foreign Minister of Luxembourg has recently called for the rest of Europe to discuss unilaterally recognizing a Palestinian state outside of a Middle East peace accord, although the new foreign policy chief of the European Union [EU] on Monday called the topic a “very much dividing” issue for the EU. Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn sent a letter to the EU’s new top foreign policy official, Josep Borrell, in which he says it’s time to discuss the matter and claims such a move would not be a “blank check” to the Palestinians, according to the Times of Israel, citing a Channel 13 report. The report said the issue is expected to be brought up during the next meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council in January.

However, despite Luxembourg being inclined in that direction, Borrell noted it’s not a position Europe even talks about very often—much less agrees upon. “Among European Member States, the recognition of the Palestinian state or the situation in [the] Middle East is something, which is very much dividing,” said Borrell to reporters in comments posted to the EU External Affairs website. “Maybe because of that [it] is not an issue which is often taken into consideration on the agenda of the Council.”

Borrell noted that recognizing a Palestinian state is not something the EU does as an entity, rather it would be up to individual member states to determine their own approach. He confirmed that Middle East peace would be on the Foreign Affairs Council’s agenda next month.

The Times of Israel noted that so far key players in Europe such as the United Kingdom, France and Germany have withheld their blessing on recognizing a Palestinian state.

The issue is a hot topic after the United States leadership announced last month they would reverse course and no longer consider Israeli civilian communities in the biblical heartland of Judea and Samaria to be inherently illegal. This move drew the ire of Luxembourg’s Asselborn, who in a press release on his country’s Foreign Ministry website called the American move “very worrisome.”

However, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the time said that their decision not to consider Israeli settlements illegal would actually help the Middle East peace process. “Calling the establishment of civilian settlements inconsistent with international law hasn’t worked. It hasn’t advanced the cause of peace,” said Pompeo on November 18 in comments published by the State Department.

“The hard truth is there will never be a judicial resolution to the conflict, and arguments about who is right and wrong as a matter of international law will not bring peace. This is a complex political problem that can only be solved by negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians.”

Judea and Samaria—territory the Palestinians also claim and call the “West Bank”—are home to a number of biblical sites, including the Jordan Valley, Bethlehem, Jericho, Hebron and Shechem.

On Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterated that the US decision reflected “historical fact,” according to a press release from his office summarizing his comments to various foreign officials.

The press release said Netanyahu stated Israelis are “not conquerors of a foreign country, declared that this has been our homeland since the patriarch Abraham came here 3,500 years ago and reminded the parliamentarians that the word ‘Jew’ comes from ‘Judea.’”

The summary said Netanyahu went on to say that Israel is “not trying to expel anyone, neither will anyone expel us.”

He called US President Donald Trump’s determination that Israeli settlements are not illegal to be a “very important contribution to the truth” while asking the visiting officials of more than two dozen nations to “stand alongside Israel and the truth.”

Source: (The Mideast Update originally published this article on December 9, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today.)

Photo Credit: UN Photo/Pierre Albouy/flickr.com

Photo License: flickr.com

Prayer Focus
Pray that the European Union will continue in its current position of avoiding any recognition of a Palestinian state. Pray that the leaders of individual states will be moved by the Lord to maintain a similar position.

Scripture

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you.


- Psalm 32:8 ESV

Netanyahu Addresses Lawmakers from 25 Countries

by Kate Norman

PM Netanyahu addressing lawmakers from 25 countries at a gathering yesterday in Jerusalem

Tuesday, 10 December 2019 | “Never again will nations stand silent in the face of boycotts against the Jewish people.”

Representatives from 25 nations on Monday stood behind a banner-sized declaration bearing those words, proclaiming their support for the Jewish state in the wake of a recent European Union court ruling that products coming from contested territory in Israel must be labeled.

“There are two kinds of friends—friends of interest and friends of values,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the delegation at his residence in Jerusalem yesterday. “Sometimes they intersect as well. What is important about this group is that it is, first of all, based on common values.”

The group comprised lawmakers and government leaders from around the world under the Israel Allies Foundation (IAF), an organization that garners faith-based support in international governments for the Jewish state. The delegation—many of them evangelical Christians—focused on combating anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism, specifically in the form of the BDS (Boycott, Divest, Sanctions) movement that seeks to delegitimize the Jewish state.

“Even though Israel is denigrated and vilified, you know the truth,” Netanyahu added. “There is no substitute for speaking the truth in the face of lies.”

While attending the IAF’s annual conference, the international delegation visited the biblical heartland of Judea and Samaria, including a visit with the family of a terror victim murdered last year. These lawmakers will take what they have seen and heard during their time in Israel back to their home countries and join the fight against anti-Semitism and anti-Israel legislation.

“We are not occupiers in a foreign land,” Netanyahu declared. “This is our homeland since Abraham the patriarch came here 3,500 years ago. The word ‘Jew’ comes from ‘Judea.’”

A delegation from Bridges for Peace joined the group visiting the Prime Minister’s Residence on Monday. Bridges for Peace International President and CEO Rebecca Brimmer said Netanyahu spent a relaxed hour answering questions.

“He charmed us with stories from his childhood, sobered us with information regarding the worldwide threat from Iran, and exuded confidence and strength,” Brimmer recalled.

“Personally I was most blessed to hear him say that he reads the Torah [Gen.–Deut.] portion every week,” she added. “A leader who studies the Bible is a leader who will receive wisdom from on High.”

Source: (Bridges for Peace, December 10, 2019)

Photo Credit: Knesset Christian Allies Caucus/Facebook/screenshot

Prayer Focus
Thank God for the Israel Allies Foundation and its member nations. Pray that the Lord will protect them and bless them as they continue to stand in support of Israel, bringing the truth to the world. Also praise God for the leadership of PM Netanyahu as he reads the Bible on a constant and regular basis, looking to the Lord for wisdom and instruction.

Scripture

For the LORD gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding; He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk uprightly; He guards the paths of justice, and preserves the way of His saints.


- Proverbs 2:6–8

Israeli Winter Announces Itself with Rain, Thunderstorms

Rainfall in Jerusalem yesterday

Monday, 9 December 2019 | After the hottest November in years, Israelis finally got to enjoy a whiff of rainfall that spread all across the country yesterday.

Throughout the day yesterday, the temperatures dipped to the coldest this season so far and the rain intensified and spread from the northern parts of the country all the way to the Negev Desert. In some parts of the country, showers were accompanied by lightning and thunder.

There are fears of flooding in eastern and southern rivers as well as the coastal plain.

According to the Meteo-Tech meteorological company, winds in the southwest to the southwest Mediterranean Sea reached speeds of up to 50 kph [31 mph], while the waves reached heights of up to 160 cm [5 ft].

Tomorrow and Wednesday the weather will not change significantly, with temperatures remaining within the same range. The rainfall will continue in most parts of the country and will be accompanied by thunderstorms.

On Wednesday the temperatures are expected to warm up and it is expected to be mostly sunny.

Just three weeks ago, Israel was still in the midst of a record heatwave, which saw temperatures rise above 30°C [86°F].

Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published by Ynetnews on December 8, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Michio Nagata/bridgesforpeace.com

Prayer Focus
Praise God for the blessing of rain! Pray that the rain will continue to fall, watering His precious land, but seek Him for the safety of the nation, asking Him to protect them from flooding or damaging storms.

Scripture

God thunders marvelously with His voice; He does great things which we cannot comprehend. For He says to the snow, “Fall on the earth”; likewise to the gentle rain and the heavy rain of His strength.


- Job 37:5–6

Israel Steps in to Help Samoa Tackle Deadly Measles Outbreak

by Edgar Asher

The response team at Ben-Gurion Airport prior to their flight to Samoa

Wednesday, 11 December 2019 | A team of medical experts from Israel’s Sheba Medical Center at Tel HaShomer is currently en route to Samoa following an urgent request from the World Health Organization [WHO], as the tiny Pacific island nation battles a deadly outbreak of measles, which has killed nearly 70 people, including many children and pregnant women.

The emergency deployment of doctors and nurses from Sheba’s Israel Center for Disaster Medicine & Humanitarian Response unit, which is led by Prof. Elhanan Bar-On, came after Samoan authorities informed the WHO that the sheer number of patients requiring high dependency and intensive care treatment has overwhelmed the capacity of Samoa’s hospital wards and staff.

Sheba’s medical team to Samoa will be led by Dr. Itai Pessach, the head of Sheba’s Edmond and Lily Safra Children’s Hospital and Assaf Luttinger, RN, who is the Deputy Director of Sheba’s Israel Center for Disaster Medicine and Humanitarian Response unit.

“In this particular mission, we will not need to deploy our field hospital or need to bring measles inoculations to Samoa, because the Samoan healthcare system has been simply overwhelmed by the sheer number of cases. We have been asked to bring hands and heads to the affected areas,” said Prof. Elhanan Bar-On. “Once our team lands in the capital city of Apia, they will be deployed to Tupua Tamaese Meaole Hospital where they can be of the most assistance and help save lives.”

Just prior to leaving Ben Gurion Airport, Prof. Yitshak Kreiss, Director-General of Sheba Medical Center, told the team, “Our goal is to help the people of Samoa and represent the State of Israel. This is part of Sheba’s global impact, where we have a role to play in the world extending a hand to anyone in need. We are privileged to extend assistance to the people of Samoa. I’m proud of all of you, as you embark on this important mission.” The Sheba team will be in Samoa for two weeks.

Source: (Ashernet, December 10, 2019)

Photo Credit: Ashernet

Prayer Focus
Pray for Israel’s medical team that has been dispatched to help the people of Samoa. Pray for their success as they assist the local medical community in dealing with an overwhelming measles outbreak. Beseech the Lord that their presence there will bring His blessing to Samoa and leave a legacy of warmth and friendship with the Samoan people.

Scripture

I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.


- Genesis 12:3

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