Help us bless the people of Israel.

Friday, May 14, 2021

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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.

Israel under Attack: The Past 24 Hours in Review

by Ilse Strauss

Thursday, 13 May 2021 | Another Israeli—this time a 5-year-old boy—was killed as barrages of Hamas rockets and mortars continued to pummel south and central Israel throughout the night. This brings the death toll over the past 72 hours since the terror group ruling the Gaza Strip unleashed its first salvo on Monday night to seven people, including an 80-year-old grandmother and her caregiver—who failed to make it to the safety of a shelter on time, a 21-year-old soldier and an Arab Israeli father and his 16-year-old daughter.

Five-year-old Ido Avigal became the latest victim of Hamas’s most recent wave of terror when the terrorists—making good on their promise of continuing the rainstorm of rockets to avenge the “martyrdom” of four of their terror chiefs killed in Israeli strikes earlier in the day—scored a direct hit on a home in the Gaza border community of Sderot. Although Avigal and his mother were tucked inside the safety of a fortified room when the rocket struck, rocket shrapnel punctured the shelter window, critically injuring him and his mother. Young Avigal died of his wounds several hours later.

Hours after his death, Hebrew media circulated a picture of Avigal, dressed for Purim (Feast of Esther) in a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle outfit, his large, dark eyes sparkling with delight.

Last night’s barrage also injured another 20 Israelis, bringing the total wounded to more than 220.

According to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), the rocket count over the past 24 hours now tops 180, which brings the total tally for the last three days to more than 1,500 projectiles fired on Israeli cities, including Ashdod, Ashkelon, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Lod, Dimona and Rishon LeZion, targeting civilians and hitting schools, hospitals and family homes. Roughly a fifth of the rockets fell short and landed in the coastal enclave, striking densely populated areas and killing Gazan civilians, including children.

The Iron Dome aerial defense system has proven its mettle, intercepting between 85–90% of the rocket fire. Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the second largest terror group in the Strip, have, however, improved their launching capabilities, firing massive waves at one target simultaneously, flooding the Iron Dome with more targets than it can shoot down. These rockets, supplied and funded by Iran, are also larger and more accurate than ever.

The coastal city of Ashkelon took some of last night’s heaviest fire, with the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) confining residents to their bomb shelters as air raid sirens screamed throughout the night and into the early morning hours.

Sunrise this morning brought a brief lull in the bombardment, but after two hours of quiet, the dreaded air raid sirens screamed through communities on the Gaza border yet again, warning of more incoming rockets.

The latest bout of fighting between Israel and Hamas broke out on Monday evening as Israelis celebrated Jerusalem Day following weeks of spiraling tensions and violent riots in Jerusalem throughout Ramadan (one of the Five Pillars of Islam when stringent disciplines are observed), as Palestinians clashed with Israeli security forces on the Temple Mount, at the Damascus Gate and in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of eastern Jerusalem.

In an attempt to stem the rain of rockets, restore calm and protect its citizens, Israel launched Operation Guardian of the Walls late Monday night. Since then, the IDF has struck more than 600 terror targets in Gaza in what is described as the heaviest Israeli retaliation since the 2014 Operation Protective Edge. According to the army, the strikes targeted the Hamas headquarters and military intelligence center, the terror group’s bank and treasury, weapons depots, terror tunnels and other infrastructure. The strikes also neutralized two Hamas high-level commanders, three military intelligence heads and a team of Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorists preparing to launch rockets on Israel.

Gaza’s Hamas-run Health Ministry said this morning that the death toll in the coastal enclave now stands at 72 people, including 17 minors. According to the IDF, dozens of those killed were terrorists. Moreover, a number of Palestinian fatalities resulted from Hamas rockets falling short and striking its own people in the Strip.

Israel has always met calm with calm. The flip side is equally true. Any attempt to harm Israelis will be answered with great force. The IDF has deployed additional ground troops to the Gaza border and called up 5,000 reservists ahead of a potential escalation. Footage of tanks being moved down south has flooded social media. Moreover, according to IDF Spokesperson Hidai Zilberman, plans for a possible ground invasion of the coastal enclave will be presented to army and political leadership today for consideration and approval.

At present, the pertinent question appears to be: are Israel and Hamas about to face each other on the battlefield for the fourth war since 2006? The ball is in Hamas’s court.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, May 13, 2021)

Photo Credit: Micky Rosenfeld/Israel police foreign press spokesman

Prayer Focus
Cry out to the Lord for His protection over all of His people as this conflict rages. Pray that there will be no further loss of life, and ask Him to comfort those who have been injured and the loved ones of those who have been killed. Pray that this conflict will at last bring an end to the constant threat of terror from Gaza that has crippled southern Israel for decades, and ask the Lord to bless Israel’s leaders with great wisdom as they determine their next steps. Beseech Him that all Israel will cry out to Him, remembering that He is the Mighty One of Israel, the Lord of Hosts, who is their Shield and Defender.

Scripture

Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me! For my soul trusts in You; and in the shadow of Your wings I will make my refuge, until these calamities have passed by. I will cry out to God Most High, to God who performs all things for me. He shall send from heaven and save me.


- Psalm 57:1–3a

Angry Mobs, Violent Riots Wreak Havoc across Israel

by Israel Kasnett~JNS

Israeli police on scene in the central city of Lod

Thursday, 13 May 2021 | The Israel Police instituted a blanket curfew on the central Israeli town of Lod on Wednesday night after Arab rioters destroyed cars, businesses and synagogues the day before. Arabs continued to riot into the evening in other towns with large Arab populations, including Akko, Jaffa, Bat Yam, Haifa and Tiberias.

In a video posted online on Wednesday, Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin came down hard on the Arab rioters.

“The sight of the pogrom in Lod and the disturbances across the country by an incited and bloodthirsty Arab mob, injuring people, damaging property and even attacking sacred Jewish spaces is unforgivable,” he declared.

“Tearing down the Israeli flag by Arab rioters and replacing it with the Palestinian flag is a brutal assault on shared existence in the State of Israel,” he added.

Rivlin also turned to Arab community leaders, chastising them for their failure to rein in their followers and community members.

“The silence of the Arab leadership about these disturbances is shameful, giving support to terrorism and rioting, and encouraging the rupture of the society in which we live and in which we will continue to live once all this has passed,” he said.

He called on authorities to quell the violence, saying “the Israeli government must pursue the rioters with a firm hand, restore security and order while fighting terrorism from Gaza without compromise.”

In one rare incident on Wednesday evening, a group of Jewish rioters attacked an Arab driver in Bat Yam, pulling him from his car and beating him on the street. He was taken to the hospital in moderate condition.

That incident drew outrage across the Israeli political spectrum, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu calling it “intolerable.”

“I don’t care if your blood is boiling. So it’s boiling. It’s irrelevant. You can’t take the law into your own hands,” he said. “You can’t come to an Arab civilian and try to lynch him, just as we can’t see Arab citizens do so to Jewish citizens. This will not stand.”

Since the beginning of the Muslim month of Ramadan [one of the Five Pillars of Islam when stringent disciplines are observed] in mid-April, Israeli Arabs and the Palestinians have engaged in public misconduct.

Massive riots broke out on the Temple Mount on Sunday, when Israeli Border Police officers were forced to enter the compound to quell the riots that endangered both those on the Temple Mount and Israeli worshippers on the other side of the Western Wall.

Events escalated on Monday with the end of Ramadan, which coincided with Israel’s Jerusalem Day celebrating Israel’s victory in the Six Day War in June 1967, during which Israel captured and unified Jerusalem.

Tensions rose as well in connection to a pending ruling by Israel’s Supreme Court that is expected to decide on a case in which Jewish owners of property in the eastern Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah seek to remove Palestinian squatters who have occupied their homes for decades.

“A Lot Has Changed in a Dramatic Manner”

Three experts who spoke with JNS all agreed that the Arab rioters do not represent the larger Israeli–Arab population, which they say is mostly peaceful and intent on integrating into Israeli society.

Meir Elran, a senior research fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies, told JNS [that] Arab society in Israel has been “undergoing major transformative changes over the last 20 years.”

“A lot has changed in a dramatic manner,” he said, including a “new forward integration of Arabs into Israel in terms of social and economic transformation, and in the last two years, political transformation” as well.

However, Elran said that the events over the last few days are “a game-changer in the trajectory of the last two years.”

“We are right now at a crossroads between being able to enable the process to continue ‘Israelization’ at the expense of ‘Palestinization’ of the Arab community in Israel,” he said.

According to Elran, major social and economic progress in the Arab community means Israeli Arabs are now “less conservative, more academic and even more well-to-do, despite the huge economic gaps between Jews and Arabs.”

There is “no doubt,” he said, that Arabs in Israel live better lives than in most parts of the Arab world.

“Most Arabs in Israel do not see what is happening in their midst positively,” he said of the incitement and rioting. “They want it to stop, and they want to continue with the process” of integrating further into Israeli society—and enjoying the benefits that come with that.

Hillel Frisch, an Israeli political scientist and professor of Political Science and Middle Eastern History at Bar-Ilan University in Ramat Gan, explained that “the rallying point for Muslims here is Al-Aqsa [mosque on the Temple Mount]. It’s what brought them together to join in a war against Israel in 2000. Palestinian or Arab nationalism wasn’t sufficient to galvanize mass support. It was Al-Aqsa that did.”

He told JNS he believes that the Arab rioters are “a small percentage” and that there may be “lots of economic ramifications” because people will be afraid to shop in Arab stores, not because of racism, but out of fear.

According to Frisch, there is an “emotional, irrational [side] in every person,” and it is these emotions that have overcome Arab youth.

“What triggers it is Al-Aqsa,” he said.

On the other hand, Frisch applauded the integration of eastern Jerusalem Arabs in the Israeli economy, especially in the medical field, where they make up a significant portion of Israel’s doctors, nurses and pharmacists.

Even with the rioting, Hirsch said “given the tremendous differences between Jews and Arabs, the basic tenor of the relationship is still pretty good.”

“Greater Integration into the Broader Jerusalem Envelope”

David Koren, an expert on Jerusalem and Israeli Arabs at the Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security, spoke specifically about Arabs living in eastern Jerusalem and told JNS that “the level of boiling tensions in Jerusalem at any given time is a function of several factors.”

“First,” he said, “is the religious and political struggle over sovereignty in the city.”

The second factor that leads to tensions, according to Koren, “is the significant societal changes underway among eastern Jerusalem Arabs. The moderating influences of clan and community belonging are weakening, giving way to more nationalistic movements,” he said.

A third cause of growing tension, according to Koren, “is the intervention in eastern Jerusalem affairs of foreign anti-Israel actors, like the Palestinian Authority, Hamas, the Turkish government, radical Islamic movements in Israel, etc. They expressly seek to undermine Israel’s control of the city,” and “they gladly rode the recent wave of violence and sought to inflame the situation further.”

Finally, he said, mass media and social media “have played an important and dangerous role in driving eastern Jerusalem Arabs into nationalist activity and violence.”

Regardless, Koren said, most eastern Jerusalem Arabs “still seek greater integration into the broader [Israeli–Jewish] Jerusalem envelope of higher education and gainful employment. For this purpose, they generally are willing to behave moderately. More eastern Jerusalemite Arabs are studying Hebrew because they realize that this is critical for successful employment.”

According to Koren, “none of these youths want a criminal record that would end their chances of going to university in Israel.”

Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on May 12, 2021. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Yossi Aloni/Flash90/jns.org

Prayer Focus
Pray that Israeli security forces will be successful in quelling the riots in cities across Israel and pray that those who are guilty of incitement will be prosecuted. Pray that Arab leadership will heed President Rivlin’s words and help to bring the violence to an end.

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. They sharpen their tongues like a serpent; the poison of asps is under their lips. Keep me, O LORD, from the hands of the wicked; preserve me from violent men, who have purposed to make my steps stumble.


- Psalm 140:1–4

World Leaders Condemn Rocket Attacks as “Unacceptable Escalation,” Supports Israel’s Self-defense

by JNS

US State Department spokesperson Ned Price

Tuesday, 11 May 2021 | World leaders condemned the ongoing rocket fire from the Gaza Strip into Israel, while also urging calm amid escalating tensions in Jerusalem.

“We unequivocally condemn rocket attacks from Gaza towards southern and central Israel, including Jerusalem. This is unacceptable,” said Jonathan Shrier, chargé d’affaires at the US embassy in Jerusalem.

Additionally, US State Department spokesman Ned Price said the Gaza rocket fire was an “unacceptable escalation,” adding that Washington recognizes Israel’s right to defend itself. Earlier, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said that US President Joe Biden was closely monitoring the situation in Israel.

In light of the rocket fire and tensions on the Temple Mount, the US embassy put out an alert that the Old City of Jerusalem is off-limits to its personnel until May 16.

The European Union’s Ambassador to Israel Emanuele Giaufret said he was “extremely concerned” about the violence in eastern Jerusalem, while also saying that the firing of rockets from Gaza to Israel is “totally unacceptable” and needs to end.

“We need immediate de-escalation to step back from the brink and protect civilians,” he said.

Similarly, the British foreign secretary condemned the rocket firing and called for “immediate de-escalation on all sides.”

“The UK condemns the firing of rockets at Jerusalem and locations within Israel. The ongoing violence in Jerusalem and Gaza must stop,” tweeted Dominic Raab.

At least seven rockets were fired by Palestinian terrorists from Gaza towards Jerusalem on Monday evening, while several rocket barrages were fired at southern Israel. As usual, sirens were triggered right away in Sderot, adjacent to the border, sending residents to bomb shelters.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel those who attack Israel “will pay a heavy price.”

“Israel will respond with great force. We will not tolerate attacks on our territory, our capital, our citizens or our soldiers,” he said, adding that the renewed round of fighting may last for “some time.”

Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on May 10, 2021. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Freddie Everett/ Public Domain/jns.org

Prayer Focus
Pray that the international community will recognize the truth of this situation and truly stand in support of Israel’s right to self-defense. Pray that global leaders will demand an end to Palestinian terror and cease any financial support until there is absolute compliance.

Scripture

Save me, O God, by Your name, and vindicate me by Your strength. Hear my prayer, O God; give ear to the words of my mouth. For strangers have risen up against me, and oppressors have sought after my life; they have not set God before them. Behold, God is my helper; the Lord is with those who uphold my life. He will repay my enemies for their evil. Cut them off in Your truth.


- Psalm 54:1–5

Netanyahu “Emphatically” Rejects US, European Call to Stop Building in Jerusalem

by Joshua Spurlock

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Monday, 10 May 2021 | On Friday, the United States State Department mentioned building homes in Israel’s biblical heartland in the same breath as terrorism, and on Sunday, Israel had a firm response.

“We emphatically reject the pressures not to build in Jerusalem,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in comments released by his office. “Unfortunately, these pressures have been increasing of late. I say to our best friends as well: Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. Just as every people builds its capital and in its capital, so too do we reserve the right to build Jerusalem and in Jerusalem. This is what we have done and what we will continue to do.”

The rebuttal to Israeli allies followed statements from the US and major European nations opposing construction in “settlements”—referring to lands claimed by the Palestinians that traditionally includes eastern Jerusalem—with the Europeans in their joint statement last Thursday specifically mentioning locations such as the Givat HaMatos community in the Israeli capital. Meanwhile, the strong but diplomatically-worded American comments came in response to Palestinian riots in Jerusalem on Friday that left 18 Israeli police officers injured and resulted in a non-lethal confrontation atop the Temple Mount.

While the US tried to appear balanced by calling on “all sides” to “exercise restraint” and condemned an attack on Israeli soldiers, spokesperson Ned Price’s words also highlighted the dramatic shift in tone towards Israel by the Biden administration from the previously friendly Trump government.

“As we have consistently said, it is critical to avoid steps that exacerbate tensions or take us farther away from peace,” said Price in comments released by the State Department. “This includes evictions in East Jerusalem, settlement activity, home demolitions and acts of terrorism.”

The surprising equivocation between murder and building homes in locations such as Israel’s capital comes after Palestinian riots reached a boiling point on Friday. The Israeli police Twitter feed reported that on Friday night “hundreds of rioters threw stones and fired fireworks at police forces near the Temple Mount. Following the disturbances, the district commander ordered the forces to enter and act to restore order. Some of the rioters were fortified in mosques and later evacuated. During the clashes, 18 policemen were injured, some of whom were evacuated to the hospital for treatment.”

The series of Twitter posts, written in Hebrew and translated by Google, went on to include a quote from the police that emphasized “that the right to protest will be preserved, but riots will be answered firmly and with zero tolerance” and called upon “everyone to act responsibly and with restraint.”

Prior to Friday’s escalation, ongoing Palestinian riots in Jerusalem and back-and-forth fighting between terrorists in Gaza and the IDF [Israel Defense Forces] had already heated up the Palestinian conflict with Israel. In the midst of that, the Foreign Ministries of France, Germany, Spain, Italy and the United Kingdom decided to issue a one-sided statement condemning Israeli “settlement advancement” in the communities of Har Homa—which lies between Jerusalem and Bethlehem—and Givat HaMatos. The European diplomats also called for a Jerusalem that is the capital of both Israel and a yet-to-be-formed Palestinian state.

Included in the European comments and highlighted at length by the American words was the ongoing Israeli court case on a potential eviction of Palestinians from the Shimon Hatzaddik neighborhood in Jerusalem, which the US and Europe referred to by its Arab name of Sheikh Jarrah. The Times of Israel reported that the ongoing court case, which has been used as motivation for Palestinian violence, has been delayed as long as June 8 for further review by the Israeli Attorney General.

The case focuses on an Israeli law that seeks to return lands to Jews that was taken by Arabs during the Jordanian occupation of Jerusalem in 1948.

The joint comments by the European states made no explicit mention of Palestinian violence, although it did “call on both sides to refrain from any unilateral action and resume a credible and meaningful dialogue, to advance efforts for the two-state solution and an end to the conflict.”

The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in a series of Twitter posts on Saturday, summed up recent Palestinian violence not referenced by the Europeans and only lightly noted by the Americans.

“Numerous incidences of violence and terrorism in recent days are the result of incitement by the [Palestinian Authority] and terrorist organizations. The reckless incitement has led to disruptions to public order, riots, an attempted terrorist attack at the Salem checkpoint, a shooting at Tapuach junction, violence at Damascus Gate and arson balloon launches from Gaza,” said the Israeli tweets.

“Israel maintains freedom of worship in Jerusalem for all groups and religions and will ensure that Muslims, Jews and Christians are able to continue to worship during the upcoming holidays. Israel will continue to protect Jerusalem’s residents and visitors and will not allow clashes and disruptions in the city.”

Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published by the Mideast Update on May 9, 2021. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today.)

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

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Pray that Israel will stand strong in exercising its right as a free nation to designate its own capital and to maintain, build and beautify that capital as they see fit. Pray that the Lord will open the eyes of the nations to the fact that Jerusalem is His city where He has chosen to place His name forever.

Scripture

In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem: “Do not fear; Zion, let not your hands be weak. The LORD your God in your midst, the Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”


- Zephaniah 3:16–17

Lapid and Bennett Officially on the Clock to End Netanyahu’s Tenure

by Alex Traiman~JNS

Knesset Member Yair Lapid (right) and Education Minister Naftali Bennett

Friday, 7 May 2021 | For the second time in a little more than a year, incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s mandate to form a government has passed to his political rivals. Unable to form a stable right-wing majority government, Netanyahu informed President Reuven Rivlin late Tuesday night on deadline that he was returning the mandate.

After consulting with representatives of each party, Rivlin has tasked current opposition leader Yair Lapid with the opportunity to form an alternative government that can withstand an initial no-confidence motion. He now has 28 days to do so.

Netanyahu, who has held on to the prime minister’s chair for 12 consecutive years—the last three at the head of either transitional or unstable governments—may now be just days away from the end of an era.

His problem doesn’t stem from a lack of mandates on the right side of the Israeli political map. Including his own 30-member Likud party—the largest by far of any political faction—traditionally aligned right-wing parties account for 72 seats in the 120-member parliament.

The problem for Netanyahu is that too many of his former right-wing allies have defected, all but refusing to sit alongside the longest-serving prime minister in Israel’s history. It is a lengthy list of popular and talented politicians. Were they all to commit to supporting another Netanyahu term, the country could have a strong right-wing government.

The problem for Lapid—and all of Israel—is that he lacks the experience needed to lead a country fraught with security threats, diplomatic hazards and economic challenges. Similarly, his secular, left-wing ideology is at odds with the overwhelming majority of Israeli voters.

Even with the mandate, Lapid could never gain the political support necessary to form a government on his own. As such, Lapid has been aggressively courting former Netanyahu ally Naftali Bennett to take the reins for the first two years of a prime ministerial rotation arrangement. Lapid would then become prime minister for the duration of the government’s term.

Bennett’s acquiescence is required to bring fellow right-wing party leader and former Likud member Gideon Sa’ar to join the political alignment with his small six-seat New Hope Party. Together the right-wing parties bring Lapid and company close to the required 61-member majority. Even with that, the alignment falls three mandates short. Additional support will be necessary either from Israel’s staunchly religious Orthodox parties who have been loyal Netanyahu supporters or from Israel’s self-proclaimed “anti-Zionist” Arab parties, which to date have never joined any Israeli coalition led by either the right or the left.

Meanwhile, Bennett had explicitly pledged throughout the campaign and during Netanyahu’s brief mandate that he would not sit in any government with Lapid, “not with a rotation and not without a rotation,” because “he [Bennett] is right while Lapid is left.”

Bennett even went as far as to sign a paper in front of cameras, live during one of Israel’s national evening news programs, saying that he would not sit with Lapid. It is clear to all now that even while vowing one thing—in public and in writing—that he was negotiating the terms of a rotation the entire time.

It’s not the first time that the right-wing Bennett and left-wing Lapid have worked together to foil Netanyahu’s coalition plans. Back in 2013, Netanyahu could have formed a government with his preferred right-wing and religious partners. But Bennett, who at the time received 12 seats, and Lapid, who received an impressive 19 seats in his first campaign, banded together to force Netanyahu to sit together with Lapid and send his preferred religious coalition partners into the opposition.

Lapid, a television host who never graduated high school or went to college, was named finance minister. The government was unstable (as unity alignments tend to be), and in 2015, Lapid was fired, sending the nation back to the polls.

Now, Bennett, who received only seven mandates in the recent election, and Lapid are plotting to share the chair of Israel’s top job. Such an alignment will include the entire left-wing of the Israeli political spectrum, including the Labor and far-left Meretz parties.

Meretz members have been encouraging the United States to re-enter the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and claim an International Criminal Court investigation into Israeli war crimes is “justified,” positions not held by any other party.

A government headed by Bennett and Lapid will be forced to contend with a financially empowered and belligerent Islamic Republic of Iran, a refunded Palestinian Authority and a new diplomatic onslaught in international forums.

Whether Lapid and Bennett will form such an alignment remains to be seen. Just one year ago, Netanyahu’s election mandate expired without a government and was handed by Rivlin to political rival Benny Gantz of the Blue and White Party. Gantz, too, failed to form a government. Ultimately, Netanyahu succeeded in bringing him into a unity alignment that barely lasted 12 months.

Should Lapid and Bennett fail, Netanyahu may have yet another chance to form a government and further extend the longest tenure in Israel’s history. Should Lapid and Bennett succeed, Netanyahu’s tenure will quickly come to an unclimactic finish, with Israel’s ruling Likud limping into the opposition.

Alex Traiman is managing director and Jerusalem bureau chief of Jewish News Syndicate.

Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on May 6, 2021. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Gershon Elinson/Flash90/jns.org

Prayer Focus
Beseech the Lord for an end to political posturing at this critical moment in Israel’s history. Cry out to Him for godly leadership that will lead Israel through this current crisis into a future of strength and prosperity.

Scripture

“Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, for wisdom and might are His. And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding.”


- Daniel 2:20–21

Israel Launches Largest-ever Multi-front War Exercise

by JNS

IDF soldiers from the new Multi-Dimensional Unit conduct a training exercise in July 2020.

Monday, 10 May 2021 | The Israel Defense Forces launched a month-long war exercise on Sunday—the largest in its history—simulating a multi-front conflict.

The wargames, dubbed “Chariots of Fire,” will see the IDF [Israel Defense Forces] test its responses to combat scenarios in northern and southern Israel, as well as in Judea and Samaria, Kan reported on Sunday.

After consultations on Saturday, in light of heightened tensions in Jerusalem, the West Bank [Judea and Samara] and Gaza, IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi decided to proceed with the exercise, the report said.

This exercise, which involves large-scale drills, will be undertaken by conscripted and reserve units, with the participation of the ministries of defense and foreign affairs, as well as all security agencies, the report added.

In response to the launch of the exercise, Hezbollah has raised its level of alert in southern Lebanon and Syria to heights “not seen since the Second Lebanon War,” Lebanon’s El-Neshra newspaper reported.

During a televised speech on Friday to mark “International Quds (Jerusalem) Day”—an annual Iran-initiated anti-Israel event held on the last Friday of Ramadan (one of the Five Pillars of Islam when stringent disciplines are observed)—Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah warned Israel, “Any folly or any attempt to change rules of engagement won’t go unanswered. We are ready to defend our country…If the Israeli army were strong enough, it would not need all these maneuvers.”

Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on May 9, 2021. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: IDF Spokesperson's Unit/jns.org

Prayer Focus
Pray that Gen. Kochavi will determine wisely whether or not to continue such exercises in the midst of the current crisis. But pray that any exercises that are conducted will serve as a strong deterrent to Hezbollah.

Scripture

The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.


- Proverbs 18:10

Israel Uncovers Palestinian Scheme Stealing Millions from European NGO

by JNS

Palestinians participating in a rally in 2019 organized by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine

Friday, 7 May 2021 | Israel’s Shin Bet [Israeli internal security organization] announced that it has uncovered a financing network for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) where the terror group stole millions of euros from European aid organizations and governments to fund terrorist activities.

“PFLP institutions deceived aid organizations in Europe through a number of methods—reporting on fictitious projects, transferring false documents, forging and inflating invoices, diverting tenders, forging documents and bank signatures, reporting inflated salaries and more,” the Shin Bet said in a statement.

The money, operating under the guide of humanitarian assistance under a “Health Committee,” was used to pay families of slain terrorists, recruit new operatives and spread its messaging throughout the West Bank [Judea and Samarai], the Gaza Strip and eastern Jerusalem, according to the Shin Bet.

Professor Gerald Steinberg, president of NGO Monitor, said his group has been tracking the close links between several European-funded NGOs and the PFLP.

“For 20 years, European officials have been providing millions of euros to the Palestinian network of terror-linked groups under the facades of human rights and civil society. Employing heavy secrecy, the Europeans continued to turn a blind eye to the clear terror links, claiming ‘there was no evidence’ or ‘we only fund projects, not NGOs,’” said Steinberg.

According to NGO Monitor, between 2014 and 2021, the governments of Netherlands, Spain, Belgium, Italy, Sweden, Denmark, Ireland Germany, France, Norway, Switzerland and the European Union provided more than €200 million (more than US $240 million) to the PFLP NGO network, including to the Health Work Committees.

The PFLP is designated as a terror group by the United States, European Union, Canada, Israel and others.

As a result of the investigation, the Israeli Foreign Ministry [MFA] said it has summoned the ambassadors of several European countries to present the findings, including evidence that European governmental funds went to the PFLP terrorist organization.

The Israeli officials “demanded that funding transfers be frozen immediately to those institutions which, acting under the guise of humanitarian organizations, recruit funds for the terrorist organization. The MFA emphasized the need for close supervision, which will prevent the continuation of funding for this organization.”

They also insisted that “European countries establish a dialogue, intended to improve control measures and supervision of the funds transferred to Palestinian non-governmental organizations, in order to ensure that these funds do not end up in the hands of terrorists.”

Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on May 6, 2021. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Hassan Jedi/Flash90/jns.org

Prayer Focus
Thank God that Shin Bet has uncovered PFLP’s deceptive tactics, which allowed them to steal millions of euros from governments under the guise of humanitarian assistance, using the money to further terrorist activities. Pray that these governments will cease turning a blind eye to such deception and put in place measures to ensure that such funds no longer end up in the hands of terrorists.

Scripture

For there is no faithfulness in their mouth; their inward part is destruction; their throat is an open tomb; they flatter with their tongue. Pronounce them guilty, O God! Let them fall by their own counsels; cast them out in the multitude of their transgressions, for they have rebelled against You.


- Psalm 5:9–10

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