Compassion

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Friday, August 16, 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.

Hamas Threatens to Shower Israeli Cities with Hundreds of Missiles

by Ilse Strauss

Hamas continually threatens to attack Israel (illustrative).

Thursday, 15 August 2019 | According to Yahya Sinwar, Hamas is well able to crush the Jewish state’s army and make rockets fall like rain on Israeli cities.

Speaking at an event in his hometown of Khan Younis in honor of the Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha over the weekend, the second-in-command of the terror group ruling the Gaza Strip slated the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) as a nearly conquered foe, with Hamas standing ready to deliver the deathblow during a future conflict. “We are not joking,” he added to erase any lingering doubts the audience might have had regarding the balance of power.

“We will break the defeated…army if it crosses into the Gaza Strip, if Allah, the ruler of the universe, wills,” Sinwar raged. “We know what we say and mean what we say.”

Sinwar did make an attempt to temper his inflammatory rhetoric by stressing that Hamas did not want war, but at the same time said that the terror group’s “heroic fighters and operatives” were “gathering strength” and “digging tunnels.”

Apart from decimating the IDF in a future conflict, Yahya also vowed that Israeli civilians would bear the brunt of Hamas’s military prowess. “We will shower their [Israel’s] cities with hundreds of missiles in a single barrage.”

Sinwar continued to sing the praises of a fighter in the terror group’s military wing who breached the Israel–Gaza border at the beginning of the month. Wearing a uniform and armed with a Kalashnikov assault rifle and hand grenades, the terrorist injured an IDF officer and two soldiers before being neutralized by the army.

The Hamas chief—who minutes before emphasized that the terror group was not interested in a violent confrontation with Israel—hailed the attack as “a sacrificial and heroic operation” and called on young Palestinians to “follow in the footsteps of the holy martyrs.”

Never one to miss an opportunity to regale his audience with the gory details of the damage Hamas’s fighting force will supposedly inflict on the IDF should the two face each other on the battlefield, Sinwar’s big boasts are still to be realized.

Since seizing control of Gaza in a violent coup in 2007, Hamas has fought three major conflicts with Israel. Although the terror group claimed a conquest in all three rounds, none of the wars ended well for Hamas. In fact, Hamas’s claims of victory echoed through a coastal enclave that lay in ruins after the terror entity embedded its fighters and ammunition in schools, apartments, hospitals and mosques, turning civilian structures into bloody battlefields. All three wars drew to a close with Hamas’s weapons caches vastly depleted, much of its military infrastructure decimated and the ranks of its fighters severely diminished.

Israel does, however, pay head to the terror group’s threats. Hamas serves as Iran’s terror proxy on the Jewish state’s southern border and works hand-in-hand with the Islamic Republic to fulfill its shared ambition of annihilating Israel.

During a recent trip to Tehran, Hamas deputy chief Saleh al-Arouri proudly declared: “Hamas is Iran’s first line of defense.” The Islamic Republic, in turn, boasted that its terror proxy is equipped and able to act against Israel independently. Moreover, according to reports, Iran cut a deal with Hamas to up the terror group’s monthly funding from US $6 million to a whopping US $30 million in exchange for Hamas feeding the mullahs [Muslim trained in religious law] intel on Israel.

The additional income will, of course, leave the terror group with roughly US $24 million in spare cash every month to spend on missiles, terror tunnels and the other essential military infrastructure it needs to make good on its threat to crush the Jewish state’s army and make rockets fall like rain on Israeli cities.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, August 15, 2019)

Photo Credit: Ruptly/YouTube/screenshot

Prayer Focus
Ask the Lord to reveal to the Palestinian people the outrageous and inflammatory nature of Sinwar’s remarks at the Eid al-Adha event. Pray that the Lord will somehow touch the hearts of young Palestinians, drawing them toward Him and keeping them from senselessly sacrificing their lives, and shielding them from the lies of their own leadership.

Scripture

“And like their bow they have bent their tongues for lies. They are not valiant for the truth on the earth. For they proceed from evil to evil, and they do not know Me,” says the LORD.


- Jeremiah 9:3

Remembering Dvir Sorek: Christians Stand with Mourning Israeli Family

by Ilse Strauss

Yoav and Rachel Sorek, Dvir’s parents, tell the Bridges for Peace team about their son.

Wednesday, 14 August 2019 | “Whoever saves a life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world,” the Talmud (rabbinic commentary on Jewish tradition and the Hebrew Scriptures) teaches. Sadly, the reverse is equally true. Taking a life is considered tantamount to destroying an entire world.

I pondered these words as a team from Bridges for Peace headed for Ofra, a community tucked into the rolling hills of Samaria, to visit the parents of Dvir Sorek, the Israeli teen stabbed to death in a terror attack last week as he walked to school.

When a loved one passes away, Jewish tradition calls for a seven-day mourning period called the shiva (literally “seven” in Hebrew), a time when the community rallies around the mourning family to offer comfort and support. Yesterday, Bridges for Peace joined hands with the people of Israel to visit the Soreks’ home to pay a shiva call. We made the call representing Christians who love and support Israel to bring a message to the grieving parents: “Your son’s murder did not go unnoticed outside Israel. Millions of Christians around the world mourn with you. Israel is not alone.”

We struggled to find a parking spot amid the teeming tide of traffic in the Sorek family’s street. Israel is a tiny country; its population one extended family. When tragedy strikes, the ripple effect of mourning and coming together as one to comfort those affected is vast. The Soreks’ living room proved much too small for the steady stream of family members, loved ones, friends, acquaintances and perfect strangers from all over Israel coming by, and clusters of chairs transformed the garden into a make-shift living room to accommodate the overflow.

Ohr Torah Stone’s Center for Jewish–Christian Understanding and Cooperation (CJCUC) helped arrange our visit. At the time of his murder, Dvir was a student of Ohr Torah Stone’s Robert M. Beren Machanaim Hesder Yeshivah (school for religious soldiers) in Migdal Oz. Executive Director of CJCUC David Nekrutman led us through the throng of people to where Dvir’s grieving parents sat.

The Soreks would have celebrated Dvir’s 19th birthday yesterday. Yet instead of welcoming well-wishers and merry-makers to their home for a party, Yoav and Rachel were surrounded by those who came to mourn their oldest son who would never come home again.

“The story is very simple,” Yoav began. “There is nothing complicated about it.” His son was sensitive, kind-hearted, tender and trusting. “We worried sometimes,” he added with a broken smile, hands spread wide, upward, “that he was too trusting, too good.” The pure and innocent are, after all, preyed on. “The other side,” he said with a shrug, “are taught hatred and death.”

In Dvir’s case, the contrast played out tragically in his brutal murder. Last Wednesday, the teen left Migdal Oz for Jerusalem to purchase books as gifts for his rabbis, telling friends to expect him back that evening. He never made it. Dvir’s body, riddled with stab wounds, was discovered in the predawn hours of Thursday morning near the road leading up to the school. He was reportedly still clutching the books he bought for his teachers.

His murderers came from behind, sneaking up on their prey, Yoav shared. “This is a consolation to us. He didn’t see it coming. He didn’t see their faces. They told us it was over in seconds. He didn’t know. Our son never lost his purity.”

Media reports incorrectly described Dvir as a soldier, Yoav pointed out. “That is a misconception.” While he was part of a program to both study and serve in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), his service had not started yet. “Dvir had no training, no weapon, no uniform, no nothing.” At the time of his murder, his son was a Torah student, carrying books he had bought as gifts for his rabbis, walking by himself on a lonely road after dark.

Yoav paused, his eyes dry but bruised from grief. “We are not sad for him. We rejoice for Dvir. We are mourning for us. We will miss him. Maybe in a few years we will know how to go on without him. But not today. Not now.”

After paying our condolences we left the Sorek’s living room, stepping into sunshine so brilliant it seemed out of place on a day of such grief. The Jewish people have suffered millennia of persecution, bloodshed and attempted genocides before returning to the land of their forefathers. Once home, they faced a recurring cycle of war, terror and delegitimization. How do people subjected to such sorrow and uncertainty continue to look to the future with joy and expectation?

“We are stronger,” said politician and rabbi Yehudah Glick. “Light is stronger than all the darkness. Life is stronger than all the killing, and love is stronger than all hate. We will continue.”

“It’s tikvah—hope,” explained Nekrutman. “It’s built into the Jewish DNA that we struggle and we fight and there’s tragedy. But we believe, we hope for peace, that our enemies’ hearts will turn and understand that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is a God of love, that all we are interested in is living in our land as a sovereign nation in partnership with the world and promoting peace.”

Nekrutman described Christian solidarity for the Jewish people in their grief as “a profound experience.” Bridges for Peace’s shiva call, he continued, was one of the ways in which Christians are taking responsibility for the past and working to forge a new path of reconciliation for the future.

Nekrutman is right. Yesterday we witnessed yet another chapter in the seemingly endless chronicles of hardship and tragedy in the history of the Jewish people. Yet in this time, in this age, the Jews will not stand alone. Their Christian brothers and sisters will speak up, speak out and if need be, mourn with them.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, August 14, 2019)

Photo Credit: Michio Nagata/bridgesforpeace.com

Prayer Focus
Pray that God’s presence will be real and tangible to the Sorek family and friends as they mourn the loss of Dvir. Ask the Lord to comfort them in every way and beseech Him that Dvir’s murderers be punished to the full extent of the law.

Scripture

I cry out to the LORD with my voice; with my voice to the LORD I make my supplication. When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, then You knew my path.


- Psalm 142:1, 3a

World Leaders to Attend International Holocaust Remembrance Day in Jerusalem

by Itamar Eichner

The Hall of Remembrance at Yad Vashem

Thursday, 15 August 2019 | World leaders will travel to Israel for the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz and International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center, said Wednesday.

The event—jointly organized by Yad Vashem and the World Holocaust Forum Foundation—will take place amid a rise in hateful and violent expressions of anti-Semitism, especially in Europe, Yad Vashem said.

Given this alarming situation, efforts to educate the public about the dangers of anti-Semitism, racism and xenophobia and foster Holocaust commemoration and research have made this event more crucial and relevant than ever, the remembrance center added.

[Israeli] President Reuven Rivlin, under whose patronage the event will be held, invited the world leaders to attend what he called a sacred moment of memory and commitment.

“I am delighted by the number of responses, which is growing every day,” the president said.

Presidents Emmanuel Macron of France, Frank-Walter Steinmeier of Germany, Sergio Mattarella of Italy and Alexander Van der Bellen of Austria have already confirmed their attendance.

The president of the World Holocaust Forum Foundation, Dr. Moshe Kantor, who is co-hosting the event with Yad Vashem, said it will provide “a unique opportunity for world leaders to stand up and call ‘enough’ to anti-Semitism.”

“This event is especially important because as the Holocaust recedes further into the past, some of its memory is being forgotten and its lessons are no longer being learned,” Kantor said. “‘Never Again’ is an action plan, one that we must reclaim as a call to protect the future while remembering the past.”

Rivlin expressed the hope that the event will leave “a real mark on the struggle against anti-Semitism and for the education of the next generation.”

Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev said that the universal principles, enacted by the international community in the aftermath of World War II, were instituted with the express purpose of averting future crimes against humanity.

“The ways in which anti-Semitism has persisted and proliferated over recent years must be identified, studied and understood,” Shalev said.

It is the responsibility of everyone—especially world leaders—to fight anti-Semitism, racism and xenophobia, he said.

Source: (Ynetnews originally published this article on August 14, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: David Shankbone/wikimedia.org

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Pray that this event will be well attended with many world leaders making a statement against anti-Semitism by their participation. Pray that it will have far-reaching effects in the global fight against anti-Semitism and racism.

Scripture

“And they will fight against you, but they shall not prevail against you; 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

Iranian Navy Chief Threatens: Israel’s Presence in the Gulf Will “Spark War”

by Kate Norman

The Strait of Hormuz (center) links the Persian Gulf (left) with the Gulf of Oman (right).

Tuesday, 13 August 2019 | After the news broke last week that Israel will participate in a US-led military security coalition in the Persian Gulf, the commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s navy warned that the Jewish state’s involvement will spark war.

“Any kind of presence of the Zionist regime in Persian Gulf is illegal as it may trigger war and conflict in the region,” Iranian navy commander Alireza Tangsiri asserted while speaking to Hezbollah-affiliated Lebanese news Al Mayadeen on Sunday.

Israel’s foreign minister announced in a closed-door meeting last week that the Jewish state will participate in “Operation Sentinel” to safeguard Western ships passing through the volatile Gulf region along with the United Kingdom, according to a Hebrew language Ynetnews report. Foreign Minister Israel Katz did not elaborate on the specifics of Israel’s involvement, though it will likely include intelligence.

The Persian Gulf has been a hotbed of tensions between Iran and Western nations—specifically the US and the UK. More than a year after the US pulled out of the 2015 nuclear deal and re-imposed sanctions on Iran, friction between the two nations are coming to a boiling point in the oil passageway in tit-for-tat tanker skirmishes. Iran seized a British-flagged oil tanker in July, drawing the ire of the kingdom and catalyzing its involvement in the naval operation.

Tangsiri declared of Iran’s looming presence in the waterway, “We safeguard the security of the Persian Gulf as long as our security is met,” adding, “whenever our commanders wish so, they are able to detain any ship, even if it is accompanied by American and British forces.”

The Iranian naval commander added that Tehran will not allow international interference with its oil shipping through the vital waterway. Washington blamed Iran for the attack of several Western oil tankers in the Gulf over the summer, which the Islamic regime denied.

The hotspot for tensions in the Persian Gulf pinpoint at the Strait of Hormuz. This 24-mile (39-km) wide waterway is the most important oil passageway in the world—even more so now as the setting of the naval tensions between Iran and Western nations. With Iran to the north and Oman to the south, the waterway connects the Persian Gulf to the Gulf of Oman. The strait is the only link for the Persian Gulf to the rest of the world—and more than one-sixth of the world’s oil passes through the route.

According to the Iranian naval commander, Israel dipping its toe in the water is a step too far.

“The US and the UK should take the responsibility for the presence of the Zionist regime in Persian Gulf waters,” he declared.

As friction between Tehran and Washington comes to a head, the Islamic regime continually threatens to place the Jewish state in the crosshairs. An aid to the president of the Islamic Parliament took to Twitter last week to threaten against Israel’s involvement in the oil waterways.

“Iran has vital role in security of Hormuz Strait,” he wrote. “Any US-led military coalition in the [Hormus Strait] is repetition of Iraq/Afghanistan occupation & escalation of insecurity in the region. If Israel enters [Hormuz Strait], it will be engulfed in wrath of the region & smoke will rise from Tel Aviv.”

Source: (Bridges for Peace, August 13, 2019)

Photo Credit: European Space Agency/wikimedia.org

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Pray that Operation Sentinel will be successful in safe-guarding Western ships as they travel through the Gulf region. Praise the Lord that Israel is joining with other nations in this endeavor and beseech Him that Iran’s saber rattling will remain just that: empty threats.

Scripture

Deliver me from my enemies, O my God; defend me from those who rise up against me. Deliver me from the workers of iniquity, and save me from bloodthirsty men. For look, they lie in wait for my life.


- Psalm 59:1–3a

Israeli Navy Leads International Drill for Major Earthquake

by Yoav Zitun

Navy vessels participating in the earthquake drill.

Tuesday, 13 August 2019 | Israel’s navy has been training for a massive earthquake and ensuing tsunami that would lay waste to much of the country’s infrastructure and cause tens of thousands of casualties in a multinational drill involving 11 countries.

According to data, there is a significant earthquake in the region every 100 years, and the last one in Israel occurred in 1927.

“This is the largest international exercise the Israeli navy has led to date,” said the commander of the navy’s Haifa base, Brig. Gen. Gil Aginsky of the week-long exercise.

The drill practiced for a humanitarian crisis sparked by a magnitude 7.0 temblor and subsequent huge tsunami hitting the coastal plain of Israel. Troops trained to quickly assess the damage and select a port to bring in assistance as the maritime gateway to the country.

The navies of Greece, France and the United States participated in the main exercise at Haifa Port, while other countries including Germany, Italy, Canada, Chile and Cyprus focused on coordinating real-time assistance and providing information based on their own experiences.

As two of its neighbors (Syria and Lebanon) are enemy states and assuming that Egypt and Jordan would also be hit by such an earthquake, Israel would in fact essentially become an island in such a catastrophic event. As such, most of the international aid would arrive by sea and only a minority of the assistance would be delivered by air.

“A small aircraft carrier can deliver in one go what a C17 transport plane could bring in 54 sorties,” Aginsky said Monday.

“We also practiced bringing assistance by air, but in such a situation we would have to deliver items that could be brought by sea, such as heavy engineering equipment, including cranes and bulldozers for evacuation and treatment at multiple sites of destruction.”

The planners of the exercise did not start from scratch, instead using as a basis the lessons learned from the IDF [Israel Defense Forces] assistance to the 2010 Haiti earthquake, which killed 200,000 people, affected 3 million others and destroyed hundreds of thousands of buildings.

“Then too, they used the naval presence as an independent aid center, with a naval hospital that did not depend on infrastructure on land and created a logistics base at sea,” the navy said.

“During our exercise we also practiced our response to the damage to the roads from Haifa southwards. When you act in such a coalition, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and could also be applied to scenarios such as major fires or boats sinking.

“We practiced inter-organizational cooperation with the National Emergency Authority at the Defense Ministry, Haifa Port, Rambam Hospital (in Haifa), the IDF Technology and Logistics Directorate and the Foreign Ministry—each playing their own part.”

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

Photo Credit: Israel Defense Forces

Prayer Focus
Praise the Lord for Israel’s commitment to be prepared for whatever catastrophe might strike the nation, whether it is war or an earthquake. Thank Him for this wonderful example of international cooperation and pray for His blessing on those nations that have committed to assist Israel in the event of such a disaster.

Scripture

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with my eye.


- Psalm 32:8

IDF Thwarts Major Terror Attack from Gaza

by Yoav Zitun and Elior Levy

Weapons seized from Palestinians in a failed terrorist infiltration attempt from Gaza

Monday, 12 August 2019 | The Israel Defense Forces [IDF] said Saturday that it foiled a major terror attack in the area of the Gaza border in the early hours of the day, placing responsibility for an attempted infiltration by four Palestinians on Hamas.

Troops from the Golani Brigade killed the four infiltrators—who were armed with Kalashnikov rifles, hand grenades and rocket-propelled grenade launchers—as they tried to enter Israeli territory from Gaza early Saturday morning.

“The incident began around 4:00 a.m., when observers from the Gaza Division identified a group of four suspects creeping together towards the fence,” the IDF said.

“Fighters from the 12th Battalion positioned themselves in front of the squad, opposite (the town of) Deir el Balah in central Gaza.

“An exchange of fire ensued, and a grenade was thrown and guns fired, while three were directly at the border fence… and one had already crossed.

“The four terrorists wore makeshift uniforms, were armed with Kalashnikov rifles and were carrying a medical bag (and) pipe bombs,” the army said.

“At the same time, a tank opened fire in order to remove a threat in the area of operations.”

There were no casualties among the soldiers.

Hamas rejected any responsibility for the pre-dawn incident, saying that it was a direct result of the land and sea blockade Israel has placed on the Strip. Israel says the blockade is necessary to prevent terror attacks on its population.

But IDF spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus said Israel holds Gaza’s ruling Hamas authorities “responsible and accountable for any acts of violence emanating from the Gaza Strip,” regardless of whether Hamas ordered the attack.

Sources in the Gaza Strip initially said that three of the dead Palestinians were members of Hamas’s unit responsible for preventing infiltration into Israel near the perimeter fence.

The same sources named the three Hamas men as Abdullah Hamaida, aged 21, Abdullah a-Ghari, aged 19, and Ahmed Adini, aged 20.

The troops involved in thwarting the attack were from the 12th Battalion, which nine days ago were involved in an infiltration from Gaza a little south of the scene of the Saturday morning incident.

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

Photo Credit: IDF Spokesperson's Unit

Prayer Focus
Thank God for Israel’s ability to thwart this major terrorist attack and pray for His on-going protection of those who are tasked with protecting the country, particularly those along the Gaza border. Pray that the Lord will continue to guide them, alerting them to danger before terrorists are able to enter Israel and cause death and destruction.

Scripture

Hear my cry, O God; attend to my prayer. From the ends of the earth I will cry to You, when my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For You have been a shelter for me, a strong tower from the enemy.


- Psalm 61:1–3

IDF Faced with Post-trauma in Recruits from Gaza Border Communities

by Matan Tzuri

Soldiers severely plagued by post-traumatic stress disorder are unable to carry out their duties in the demanding combat units (illustrative).

Thursday, 15 August 2019 | Military and health authorities are now having to accept that a new generation of soldiers from communities bordering the Hamas-controlled enclave, who grew up under a constant threat from Gaza, is plagued by post-trauma even before they’ve began their military service.

Eighteen-year-old Israelis, residents of the Gaza border communities, who are enlisting in military service carry with them the weight of a lifetime under rocket fire.

Some are so severely affected that they are unable to carry out their duties as soldiers, mostly in the demanding combat units.

The scope of the problem has just now begun to come to light as parents of new recruits turned to mental health services with reports of their children’s difficulties.

“My son wanted to be a combat soldier,” said one mother. “Those are the values we instilled in him growing up.” Throughout his childhood, signs of his trauma were noticeable but not severe, she says. “A door slamming would make him tense up. An ambulance siren would startle him.”

But when he joined his fighting unit he was overwhelmed. His childhood and youth under fire caused too many problems. Only after being moved to a non-combat position could he begin to serve effectively.

Community leaders say they are aware of the issue.

“We see the signs a year before they begin their service. During high school they still manage to keep their feelings bottled up,” said Nuki Goldfisher, who runs the support for young inductees in the Kibbutz Movement. “But as they begin to deal with the challenges of the military, we often see they cannot carry out their duties and often drop out.”

Now the IDF [Israel Defense Forces] and the government are being called on to address the problem and find a way to help the first generation of soldiers who were born into a reality of shelling, shelters and fear, which has had a lasting effect on their entire lives.

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

Photo Credit: Israel Defense Forces

Prayer Focus
Beseech the Lord for His supernatural intervention in the lives of these young soldiers—and other children in the area—who are suffering from PTSD. Pray that He would deliver them from the fear that affects their entire lives. Also pray that the IDF and the Israeli government will address these problems effectively, establishing clear guidelines and programs that will help them as they heal from the pain of the past.

Scripture

Be exalted, O God, above the heavens, and Your glory above all the earth; that Your beloved may be delivered, save with Your right hand, and hear me.


- Psalm 108:5–6

Israel Rewards Palestinian Man for Saving Family of Murdered Rabbi

by Ilse Strauss

The aftermath of the shooting attack that killed Rabbi Miki Mark

Friday, 9 August 2019 | Any normal society would have lauded him as a hero. A person who risks his life to rush to the aid of the survivors of a brutal attack is, after all, a hero by most definitions. However, the situation—and the society—can hardly be considered normal. The victims of the bloody attack were Jewish; the perpetrators Palestinian—and so too was the man who helped those who survived the carnage. The result? Instead of being lauded as a hero, the Palestinian rescuer was forced to flee for his life—and has found a safe haven in Israel.

On July 1, 2016, the 28-year-old Palestinian man who requested to remain anonymous was traveling with his wife near their hometown of Hebron when the couple happened on a horrific find: an overturned car that crashed after being riddled with bullets in a bloody terror attack. The Jewish victims clearly needed help, and despite the repercussions of a Palestinian coming to the aid of Jews, the couple pulled over to do what they could.

The driver, Rabbi Miki Mark, had died in the hail of bullets. His wife, Chava, was seriously injured. Two children—a boy and a girl—were trapped in the backseat, bleeding and petrified after seeing their father murdered.

The Palestinian couple pulled the children from the car, administered first aid and remained by their side until first responders arrived on the scene.

“I took the boy and I hugged him,” the man recalled. “I gave him some water and applied iodine, and just kept telling him that everything was going to be OK.”

“The girl told me, ‘God sent an Arab to help us,’” he continued.

The situation soon took a turn for the worse. Other Palestinians arrived on the scene, threatening to finish what the terrorists started. The Palestinian rescuer intervened, warning the mob that if they dared touch his charges, they would “see what I am capable of. They are under my protection,” Breaking Israel News reported.

The Palestinian man faced a terrible backlash for his heroism. Denounced as a traitor and a collaborator, he was fired from his job and received death threats. Fearing for his life, he fled to Israel, while his wife and young child remained near Hebron.

Israel’s Channel 12 news recently shared the story of the heroic Palestinian man’s plight, prompting a number of Jewish leaders to rally behind him in a push for Israeli residency.

Their efforts paid off. This week, the Palestinian hero, his wife and child received their official identity papers as Israeli residents from Interior Minister Aryeh Deri. Enfolding him in a hug, Deri lauded him as “selfless” and “noble.” Head of the Samaria Regional Council Yossi Dagan, who led the campaign to obtain their residency, echoed Deri’s praise, calling the cause a “moral and righteous thing to do for a man who risked his life to save Jews.”

It took nearly three years, but finally, in Israel, the man who risked his life to rush to the aid of the survivors of a brutal attack is being lauded as the hero he is.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, August 9, 2019)

Photo Credit: Israel Defense Forces

Prayer Focus
Praise the Lord for the heroic efforts of this Palestinian couple who saved the lives of Israeli Jews. Pray for God’s richest blessings on their new lives as Israeli residents and pray that the story of their stand for righteousness at their own peril will touch many Israelis and Palestinians alike.

Scripture

Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious oil upon the head, running down on the beard, the beard of Aaron, running down on the edge of his garments. It is like the dew of Hermon, descending upon the mountains of Zion; for there the LORD commanded the blessing—life forevermore.


- Psalm 133:1–3

Can Gazans Revolt Against Hamas?

by Khaled Abu Toameh ~ Gatestone Institute

Large numbers of Palestinians are detained and arrested for speaking out against Hamas (illustrative).

Wednesday, 14 August 2019 | Hamas leaders are scared. Of what? That Palestinians will return to the streets of the Gaza Strip to demand that their leaders govern rather than tyrannize. The living conditions of Palestinians in Gaza have gone from abysmal to worse.

That is why the leaders of Hamas recently ordered their security forces to detain several Palestinian activists for allegedly planning another wave of protests similar to those that swept the Gaza Strip earlier this year.

Last March, Hamas security forces used excessive force to break up demonstrations held in various parts of the Gaza Strip under the banner “We Want to Live!”

The demonstrations were organized by Palestinians to protest the longstanding economic crisis, including soaring unemployment and increased taxes imposed by Hamas on the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. Dozens of Palestinians were injured and arrested during the demonstrations, including human rights activists and journalists.

Hamas managed to crush the March protests, thereby drawing strong condemnations from many Palestinians who accused the rulers of the Gaza Strip of acting like ruthless dictators against peaceful demonstrators.

Palestinian journalist and political analyst Hamadeh Faraneh said Hamas has shown that it is not capable of ruling its people. “By resorting to repression and brutal force, Hamas has emerged as the loser,” he said.

Palestinian professor Abdel Sattar Qassam denounced the Hamas crackdown on the peaceful demonstrations as “disgraceful,” while several commentators in the Arab world lashed out at Hamas’s “policy of breaking the bones” of its critics.

Hamas’s rivals in Fatah, the West Bank [Judea and Samaria]-based ruling faction headed by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, also joined the chorus of critics. Osama Qawassmeh, a senior Fatah official, described the protests in the Gaza Strip as a “revolution of the hungry” against Hamas’s corrupt and failed administration.

Since then, the situation in the Gaza Strip has seen no improvement, mainly because Hamas cares a great deal more about investing millions of dollars in amassing weapons and preparing for war against Israel than about its own people.

Hamas’s leaders have nothing to offer their people other than fiery anti-Israel rhetoric and empty promises, such as the pledge to “thwart” US President Donald Trump’s upcoming Middle East peace plan, also known as the “Deal of the Century.”

Aware of their embarrassing failure to alleviate the economic crisis or offer their people any kind of hope, Hamas leaders, once again, appear to be wary of the possibility that another wave of protests could erupt in the Gaza Strip.

As experience has shown, when the Hamas leaders are feeling unsettled, they issue instructions to their security forces and militiamen to act quickly against potential “troublemakers.”

Several Palestinian political activists have been taken into custody by Hamas security officers in the past few days.

The detainees, known as outspoken critics of Hamas, are currently being interrogated by Hamas security forces on suspicion they were planning fresh protests against extreme economic hardship.

Last week, reports surfaced that a Palestinian activist detained by Hamas had been rushed to hospital in critical condition. He had apparently tried to commit suicide while in Hamas detention. Palestinians who have spent time in Hamas detention say they were subjected to various types of physical and psychological torture.

A human rights group in the Gaza Strip called for setting up a commission of inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the detainee’s purported attempt to take his own life. The appeal, however, is unlikely to leave an impression on the rulers of Hamas, whose only concern seems to be to ensure that no Palestinian dares to raise his or her voice against the corruption and repressive measures.

Commenting on Hamas’s growing predicament and paranoia, former Palestinian Authority minister Hassan Asfour concluded:

“Hamas is well aware that its isolation in the Gaza Strip is increasing, and that it has become a burden on the people there. Hamas has totally failed in ruling and administering the Gaza Strip. Were it not for its security force, Hamas would have been uprooted without mercy.”

The voices emerging from the Gaza Strip are anguished and reflect the Palestinians’ growing sense of disillusionment with Hamas. These voices, however, are still small in numbers. Hamas’s brutal methods of suppression and torture have deterred a large number of Palestinians from speaking out.

These voices will grow only if the international community heeds them and calls out Hamas for its brutal crackdown on Palestinians. This opposition, though, would require a shift in perspective: from obsession with the faults of Israel—whether real or imagined —to an interest in the real and deadly world of Hamas.

Unless Hamas’s violent repression of its own people sparks some concern among the international community, the prospects of Palestinians revolting against their Hamas leaders are slim. Hamas is carrying out its current crackdown against Palestinian activists because it knows full well that the world will probably not utter a word. Why would it? Bashing Israel is much more rewarding than identifying Palestinian leaders as the champion violators of human rights that they are.

Khaled Abu Toameh, an award-winning journalist based in Jerusalem, is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at Gatestone Institute.

Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published by Gatestone Institute on August 13, 2019. Time related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.) 

Photo Credit: ramzi hashish/freeimages.com

Prayer Focus
Pray for a move of God’s spirit among global leaders, awakening them to the reality of Hamas’s oppression of and human rights violations against their own people. Pray that the nations of the world will act accordingly, vehemently opposing Hamas’s actions and empowering the Palestinian people to effect real, positive change.

Scripture

A poor man who oppresses the poor is like a driving rain which leaves no food. Those who forsake the law praise the wicked, but such as keep the law contend with them. Evil men do not understand justice, but those who seek the LORD understand all. Better is the poor who walks in his integrity.


- Proverbs 28:3–6a

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