Compassion

Yes, I will help Israel rebuild the lives that terror has torn apart.

Friday, May 17, 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.

Years of Gaza Rocket Strikes Leave Dark Mark on the South’s Psyche

by Rotem Elizera

An Israeli woman injured in Beersheva when a rocket was fired from Gaza in 2009.

Monday, 13 May 2019 | A week after the last round of escalation between Israel and Gaza during which 700 rockets were fired at southern communities, a special report shows just how terrible the toll that the repeated rocket and missiles strikes are having on the Israeli psyche, in particular in the South.

In the three days of escalated violence alone, more than 1,000 people contacted the NATAL [Israel Trauma and Resiliency Center] NGO, which deals with trauma related to wartime and terrorism, about stress and anxiety.

According to NATAL, in 2018 the organization’s helpline received calls from more than 4,000 people across Israel who were coping with symptoms of post-trauma—a 25% increase from the previous year. One quarter of the applicants were children or young people living in the south of Israel.

In fact, in the last five years since the end of Operation Protective Edge [the month-long conflict between Israel and Hamas in 2014], there has been a steady increase in the number of residents of the confrontation line seeking assistance and support for themselves or their children.

Following the wave of tensions with the Gaza Strip and the fighting in 2018, there was a 40% increase in helpline requests from residents of the southern region compared to the previous year—1,300 in 2018 as opposed to 780 in 2017. That number is expected to grow, following the latest round.

The rounds of fighting in the South, the fear generated by airborne explosive devices and the regular clashes at the Gaza–Israel border fence have all led to a dramatic increase in the number of calls to the hotline by civilians.

The data shows a clear spike in calls to [the] hotline around certain key dates in 2018.

For example, there were an average of 200 new callers per day in the run-up to the Great March of Return on March 30, whose preparations were punctuated by mortar fire and airborne explosive devices.

Anxiety among Israelis also climbed around June 5, when nine fires were started in the south by firebombs attached to balloons and sent from Gaza. In that period, NATAL was averaging 180 new calls per day.

According to NATAL, 45% of all those who call are discharged IDF [Israel Defense Forces] combatants aged 21–34, 10% are combat veterans and 45% are civilians.

In terms of geographical location, 65% of the applicants are from the South, 10% are from the center of the country, 12% live in the North, 8% are from the Jerusalem area and 5% live in West Bank [Judea and Samaria] settlements.

The NATAL data also shows that a quarter of the requests received by the helpline in 2018 were regarding care and assistance for children and young people in the South. The referrals were usually made by parents seeking support and assistance for children suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

According to the data, 27% of those seeking assistance did so following a war or military operation, 24% called over their military service, 13% due to security escalations and 9% due to terrorism.

Ninety percent of the discharged combatants that receive help from NATAL are not recognized as post-trauma by the Ministry of Defense.

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

Photo Credit: Edi Israel/wikimedia.org

Photo License: wikimedia.org

Prayer Focus
Pray that a supernatural calm and mantle of trust will cover the people of Israel, especially those who are living in the south, as they deal with constant anxiety. Pray for the children who are being traumatized by ongoing rocket attacks, many suffering from PTSD. May the joy of the Lord fill their hearts in the midst of the chaos and truly be their strength.

Scripture

If I say, “My foot slips,” Your mercy, O LORD, will hold me up. In the multitude of my anxieties within me, Your comforts delight my soul.


- Psalm 94:18–19

Netanyahu Asks for Extension to Form Coalition

by Jo Sarah Stanford

PM Netanyahu and President Rivlin hold the document providing Netanyahu with a 14-day extension to form a coalition.

Tuesday, 14 May 2019 | Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked President Reuven Rivlin for more time to form a parliamentary coalition on Sunday, as he approached the initial 28-day deadline on Tuesday.

Netanyahu’s Likud political party claimed victory in the April 9 elections, but he has yet to officially form a majority coalition. On Sunday, Netanyahu wrote to the president, “The negotiating team and I have had contacts with the parties that recommended me to you, and we’ve made significant progress toward forming a government,” reported Haaretz. However, no party has yet signed an official agreement.

When the prime minister asked for more time, he cited the many Jewish holidays and tensions on the Gaza border as his reason. Within the original 28-day timeframe, there were four major events on the Jewish calendar: Pesach (Passover), Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day), Yom HaZikaron (Memorial Day) and Yom HaAtzmaut (Independence Day). On top of this, over 700 rockets were fired from Gaza into southern Israel in less than two days, in the worst border attack seen since Operation Protective Edge, the month-long conflict between Israel and Hamas in 2014. During this time, Netanyahu had little chance for political negations.

The president granted Netanyahu’s request for more time, giving him until May 28 to officially form a government.

The Israeli parliamentary system has three distinct phases. The first is the general elections, where citizens vote for the party of their choice. The second entails the presidential appointment, with the president selecting a candidate for prime minister. The third and final phase is the formation of a majority coalition.

There are 120 seats in the Knesset (Parliament), therefore a majority coalition of 61 is needed.

Netanyahu’s Likud party won 36 seats in the Knesset, while the main rival, Benny Gantz’s Blue and White party, won 35 seats. President Rivlin heard recommendations from Knesset members for whom they would support as prime minister. Netanyahu received 65 recommendations while Gantz received 55. Rivlin then chose Netanyahu as candidate for prime minister, giving him 28 days to form a majority coalition, with the possibility of a 14-day extension.

The first deadline expired on May 14, and over the weekend, the prime minister formally asked the president for an extension, which was granted. Though unlikely, if Netanyahu is still unable to form a coalition after the extension has passed, Rivlin will ask Gantz to form a coalition instead.

Netanyahu is expected to form a coalition—totaling 65 seats—within the allotted time. Thirty-six of these seats come from his own party, Likud. The rest are derived from smaller parties. Ultra-Orthodox parties Shas and United Torah bring eight seats each, Union of Right-Wing Parties brings five, as does Yisrael Beytenu—led by former Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman—and finally, centrist party Kulanu brings four seats.

These parties have already pledged their support to Netanyahu. All that remains is for him to negotiate who will fill the cabinet positions. This is a complicated task, as Netanyahu must balance the demands of the religious ultra-Orthodox against that of the secular Yisrael Beytanu party—all of which hold vastly opposing views on certain issues.

In order to help the process, the Knesset is expected to pass a law allowing for more cabinet positions to be appointed, a number currently capped at 19.

If Netanyahu succeeds in forming a majority government, in July he will become Israel’s longest serving prime minister, surpassing Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion.

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

Photo Credit: Haim Zach, GPO

Prayer Focus
Pray for God’s intervention in this process, assuring that His will is done in the selection of prime minister. If Benjamin Netanyahu is indeed His choice, beseech the Lord for a strong coalition to be formed quickly, uniting the nation as they face the challenges of the future.

Scripture

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! 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

BDS Supporters Confronted with “Beautiful, Diverse, Sensational” Israel

by Itamar Eichner

Screenshot from a video appearing on the website highlighting the beauty and diversity of Israel.

Tuesday, 14 May 2019 | As the Eurovision song contest begins and BDS [Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions] activists [are] calling for a boycott of the event being held in Israel, the Ministry of Strategic Affairs has launched a campaign against supporters of the boycott. Web users searching for information regarding BDS came upon a website seemingly supporting the boycott movement—only to discover that it is actually a cleverly designed pro-Israeli website.

The website shows all that is beautiful about Israel by using the BDS initials: Beautiful, Diverse, Sensational. More than 30,000 internet users visited the website in less than a week and got the Israeli response to the misinformation and hypocrisy being spread by boycott organizations.

The Ministry for Strategic Affairs, headed by Gilad Erdan, looked for a creative way to contradict the narrative behind the boycott campaign of the BDS movement. In order [to] not expand the BDS brand, the ministry launched a campaign [on Google] aimed at internet users looking to support the boycott, including banners and adds that “follow” the users to other, unrelated sites.

The website includes photos of Israel’s landscape and short publicity film clips about the diversity of Israeli society. “Israel—a country where openness, freedom of expression and the freedom to live and let live have become its main characteristics. A mixture of cultures and traditions that have made Israel an island of tolerance,” the website wrote. The website postcards photographed by participants of the Eurovision show the breathtaking landscape and colorful culture.

“After we exposed the anti-Semitism and terror ties of the BDS organizations and discovered dozens of internet bots and fake accounts aimed at pressuring musicians to boycott the contest, we have launched a website aimed at exposing their lies and presenting Israel as a truly: diverse, beautiful and astonishing country,” said Minister Erdan.

Source: (Ynetnews originally published this article on May 13, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: כאן דיגיטל - KAN DIGITAL/YouTube/screenshot

Prayer Focus
Thank the Lord for this incredibly clever initiative by the Ministry for Strategic Affairs. Pray that it will be successful in refuting the lies and ugly propaganda being put forth by the BDS movement. Pray that the truth about Israel will become so evident that the tongues of Israel’s enemies will be silenced.

Scripture

No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment you shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is from Me, says the LORD.


- Isaiah 54:17

Simmering Tensions between US and Iran; the Implications for Israel

by Jo Sarah Stanford

Sailors aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln, part of the strike group deployed in the Mideast, deliberate after a flight operation.

Thursday, 16 May 2019 | As tensions in the Middle East continue to simmer between the US and Iran and speculations rise over a possible military confrontation, Tehran made its intentions clear: “We are on the cusp of a full-scale confrontation with the enemy.”

Iranian Major General Hossein Salami—recently appointed as the Chief of the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps-Quds Force (IRGC-QF)—made the comments on Wednesday, saying “This moment in history…is the most decisive moment of the Islamic revolution,” reported the Times of Israel.

 Tensions have been high since Iran began its withdrawal from the nuclear deal. Moreover, the US designated the IRGC a terrorist organization last month, and now Iran is suspected of using its own terror proxies to attack Saudi oil interests in the Gulf of Oman. Four oil tankers—two Saudi, one Norwegian and one Emirati—were sabotaged on Sunday. The US suspects Iranian-sponsored Houthi rebels from Yemen were responsible for the attack.

Also on Sunday, the US announced the deployment of an aircraft carrier and bomber task force to the region to address what National Security Adviser John Bolton termed a “credible threat” from Iran. The US is also withdrawing all nonessential personnel from neighboring Iraq in anticipation of further attacks.

Salami wasn’t the only high-ranking Iranian making threats. On Wednesday, President Hassan Rouhani referred to the US sanctions implemented following the US pullout of the nuclear deal, as an “economic war” and “crimes against humanity.”

Rouhani’s comments come a day after his close adviser Hesameddin Ashena took to Twitter to tell US President Trump: “You wanted a better deal with Iran. Looks like you are going to get a war instead.”

As the rumors of war in Israel’s backyard rage, many wonder how any potential conflict will affect the Jewish state. Prime Minister Netanyahu has said that Israel will do everything it can to stay out of the conflict.

Netanyahu met with the chiefs of Israel’s defense forces this week, instructing them “to take steps to separate Israel from these developments,” reported the Times of Israel, and to do all they can to steer clear of the fray. At the same time, they discussed precautions if war was to break out, as Israel would inevitably be affected.

Not only would Israel experience fallout, but may become the target of attacks itself. Some likely scenarios are the firing of Iranian missiles from Iraq or Syria on Israeli communities, attacks from Iran’s terror-proxies—particularly Hezbollah—along Israel’s northern borders or an onslaught from the Islamic Jihad terror group in the Gaza Strip.

Israel is closely monitoring the situation and keeping in contact with the US over any further developments, but with neither side backing down, fears are that tensions may escalate into a full-scale conflict.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, May 16, 2019)

Photo Credit: Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jeremiah Bartelt/US Navy/flickr

Photo License: Flickr.com

Prayer Focus
Pray that the Spirit of the Lord will hover over Israel, bringing calm and confidence regardless of the circumstances forced upon them. Pray that the Lord will intervene and bring swift victory over any who would target His nation and people. Beseech the Lord that Iran, the bully of the neighborhood, will end its reign of terror once and for all.

Scripture

A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; but it shall not come near you. Only with your eyes shall you look and see the reward of the wicked.


- Psalm 91:7–8

EU to Examine Hate in Palestinian Textbooks

by Itamar Eichner

A student writes in a workbook at the USAID-funded Saffa Girls School in Ramallah. (Illustrative)

Thursday, 16 May 2019 | Federica Mogherini, the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, announced Wednesday that the body will scrutinize the new Palestinian textbooks for content that incites hate and violence, out of concern that EU aid funds are being used to promote hatred.

The announcement follows an investigation and campaign by IMPACT-SE (Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education). They found that the new Palestinian textbooks, released in September 2018, are even more radical than previous editions, with hundreds of examples of extremism encouraging jihad [Islamic war with unbelievers], violence, demonization and incitement against Israel and Jews.

The hateful content was found to be methodical and appeared in all subjects, including mathematics, physics, biology, etc. One book for first graders features an image of a child smiling alongside “apostates” burning in hell.

The results of IMPACT-SE’s investigation were shown to senior European officials and delegates at the EU Parliament.

In response to an official inquiry from a delegate, Mogherini confirmed that the EU will carry out an academic study of Palestinian learning materials and that funds were allocated for that purpose in the 2019 budget. The scrutiny is to be conducted by an independent internationally respected research institution.

The purpose of the investigation is to “identify possible incitement to hate and violence and non-compliance with UNESCO [United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization] standards regarding peace and tolerance in education,” Mogherini said. “Incitement to violence is incompatible with the promotion of the two-state solution, and greatly exacerbates the lack of trust between the communities.”

The announcement of the study follows feedback from across the continent to the IMPACT-SE campaign as well as increased awareness among European lawmakers.

In March, Britain announced its participation in the EU research effort. In January, the British Parliament passed legislation preventing tax money from being used to promote hate. The German government also announced last December that it would launch an independent investigation into the contents of the new Palestinian textbooks.

According to the investigation by IMPACT-SE, the new textbooks deliberately omitted past peace negotiations with Israel, including the Roadmap, the Wye Agreement and even the peace treaty with Jordan. In addition, sections of study that taught about Jewish historical presence in Jerusalem and the Land of Israel were omitted. The word “Israel,” which appeared on several maps in the past, has been completely erased from maps in the new books.

“The European Union is the largest financial donor to the Palestinian Ministry of Education. But European taxpayers’ money and goodwill have been abused for years, with generations of young Palestinians systematically undergoing radicalization,” said Marcus Sheff, CEO of the institute. “There is no excuse and no justification. The PA takes hundreds of millions of euros and in return educates millions of children to violence, hatred and jihad. We hope that the EU’s in-depth examination of this issue will help put an end to this abuse of children and will finally enable young Palestinians to finally receive a meaningful education for peace and tolerance.”

Following IMPACT-SE’s campaign, the EU Parliament passed legislation in April 2018 intended to prevent European aid funds to the Palestinian Authority from being used to teach hate. In September, the EU’s finance committee froze 15 million euros destined for the Palestinian Education Ministry. Following a vote, the EU hosted a discussion on the matter and invited a representative from IMPACT-SE to debate the Palestinian deputy education minister.

“After the upcoming European Parliament elections, the Institute will brief new members of the European Commission and other senior officials of the European Commission on the new curriculum of the Palestinian Authority and will work to ensure that the EU publishes a fair and meticulous report on the content of the Palestinian books in line with European values,” Sheff added.

Most European Union aid funds, some 360 million euros, are for the Palestinian Education Ministry. The EU also donated [US] $178 million to UNRWA [United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East], and much of that is used to fund their schools, which also teach the PA curriculum.

Source: (Ynetnews originally published this article on May 15, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Bobby Neptune/USAID/flickr

Photo License: Flickr.com

Prayer Focus
Thank God that international attention is finally being paid to the child abuse perpetrated by Palestinian leadership through their educational materials. Pray that this independent study will bring an end to the radicalization of children through hate-filled school books. Cry out to the Lord that we will soon see a generation of Palestinian children who know the truth about Israel and are prepared to live in peace.

Scripture

It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.


- Luke 17:2

Germany Decries “Painful” Anti-Israel Bias at United Nations

by Joshua Spurlock

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas says Germany will stand with Israel and its right to exist. (Illustrative)

Monday, 13 May 2019 | German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas on Saturday marked the 70th anniversary of the admittance of Israel to the United Nations [UN] by offering his nation’s ongoing support for the Jewish state and by criticizing the UN for continuing to act in a biased manner against Israel. “Germany stands, also in the UN, shoulder to shoulder with Israel, whose security and right to exist must never be called into question by anyone anywhere,” said Maas in a press release from the Federal Foreign Office.

“Nevertheless, Israel is still being denounced, treated in a biased manner and marginalized inappropriately in UN bodies to this day. This state of affairs is painful and unsatisfactory, and especially since the UN is at the heart of the multilateral, rules-based order and vital to international security and peace.”

The European nation currently holds a special place of honor at the UN as a member of the highly powerful Security Council, a role they intend to wield with Israel’s interests in mind. “We will continue, including as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, to support Israel’s legitimate interests, to help strengthen its representation in the UN and to do our utmost to oppose any attempt to isolate or delegitimize Israel,” said Maas.

Germany has long held a special relationship with Israel in the wake of the Holocaust carried out by the Nazi German regime. In a separate but related press release from the Federal Foreign Office, Berlin noted that “Germany’s historic responsibility for the Jewish and democratic State of Israel and its security is part of our raison d’être [reason of existence]. Germany will always work, including in the UN, to ensure that Israel’s right to exist is never called into question.”

Ironically, the Federal Republic of Germany did not enter the UN until 24 years after Israel. Yet in that time, Germany [became] a firm believer in the UN, even for the Israel–Palestinian conflict that has so far remained unresolved despite decades of efforts by the UN to effect change.

The German press statement didn’t address the failures at the UN in this regard, but instead highlighted their ongoing faith in the UN for this role—a bit ironic given Berlin’s critique of the UN.

“We firmly believe that only a strong rules-based order can guarantee lasting security and peace. This is also true of the unresolved Middle East conflict,” said the German press release. “The UN resolutions constitute the international framework in which the parties should work to achieve a permanent and just solution. Until then, the UN will play a crucial role in stabilizing the situation via its institutions and organs.”

While the UN has not been a very good friend of Israel, Germany on Saturday made a point of standing with not only the Jewish state, but with Jews in general.

Said the press release, “In its profound solidarity with the Jewish people and the State of Israel, Germany will continue to do its part in strengthening Israel’s representation in the UN.”

Source: (The Mideast Update originally published this article on May 12, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today.)

Photo Credit: Olaf Kosinsky/wikimedia.org

Photo License: wikimedia.org

Prayer Focus
Praise the Lord for Germany’s strong commitment to stand with Israel and for their stated support of Israel’s legitimate interests, their pledge to help strengthen Israel’s representation in the UN and for doing their utmost to oppose any attempt to isolate and delegitimize Israel. Pray that Germany will become an example for other nations to follow.

Scripture

“The nations also will know that I, the LORD, sanctify Israel when My sanctuary is in their midst forevermore.”


- Ezekiel 37:28

BBC Slammed for Censoring Anti-Semitism in Gaza Documentary

Rioter at the Gaza–Israel border. (Illustrative)

Wednesday, 15 May 2019 | The BBC [British Broadcasting Corporation] has come under fire for censoring virulent anti-Jewish sentiments in a documentary about violent Hamas-orchestrated border riots, which aired Monday evening on BBC Two.

In the English subtitles of the 60-minute film, One Day in Gaza, the BBC translated the Arabic word for “Jew” (Yahud) to “Israeli” in an apparent attempt to play down expressions of anti-Semitism in the documentary.

One of the Palestinian rioters remarked in Arabic: “The revolutionary songs, they excite you, they encourage you to rip a Jew’s head off.” But the English translation of Bader Saleh’s remarks offered by the BBC referred to an “Israeli,” not a “Jew.”

The rioter also said: “I was really close to the fence and I could see this Jewish soldier with his gun. I could even see the gun he was carrying.”

The interview with Saleh was just one of at least five instances of the Arabic word for “Jew” being purposely mistranslated to “Israeli” to overtly censor anti-Semitic sentiments in the documentary.

The BBC similarly quoted another rioter, Hanan Abu Jamee’a, as saying: “Some of us distracted the Israelis with stones and Molotov cocktails,” when in fact, she employed the Arabic word for “Jews” to refer to IDF [Israel Defense Forces] soldiers.

In another instance, interviewee Reem Abu Ermana noted: “They would pull the car tires with a wire to act as a cover for the young people, so the smoke would protect them from the Jews.” But according to the BBC subtitles, the woman referred to IDF soldiers as “Israelis.”

Board of Deputies [of British Jews] Senior Vice President Sheila Gewolb sharply condemned the BBC for the censorship.

“The anti-Jewish racism in the phrase ‘rip a Jew’s head off’ is there for all to see. The BBC should explain why viewers were given a subtitle in which the word Jew was substituted for Israeli,” Gewolb said.

“Does the BBC believe that its job is to protect the perpetrators from their own racism?”

Source: (This article was originally published by The Israel Project in its publication The Tower on May 14, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: hosny_salah/pixabay.com

Photo License: Pixabay.com

Prayer Focus
Pray that the anti-Jewish racism in this documentary is exposed and publicly denounced. Pray that this attempt to sway public opinion against Israelis while hiding the deeper anti-Semitic nature of the content will be doomed to failure.

Scripture

Why do the nations rage, and the people plot a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying “Let us break Their bonds in pieces and cast away their cords from us.” He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; the Lord shall hold them in derision.


- Psalm 2:1–4

Poland Nixes Israeli Delegation Visit in Row over Holocaust Compensation

by Itamar Eichner

Polish people protesting the restitution of property taken from Polish Jews during the Holocaust.

Wednesday, 15 May 2019 | Poland has canceled the visit of a delegation of Israeli officials from the Ministry of Social Equality, which was due to take place Monday to discuss restitution for property confiscated from Jews during the Holocaust.

In a tweet Sunday, the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs claimed last-minute changes to the composition of the delegation, [suggesting] talks would primarily focus on property restitution, something the Polish government has no interest in doing.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said in a political gathering Saturday that his country will not pay compensation for property lost in the Second World War and that Poland itself was a victim of the Nazis.

In what was described as the largest anti-Jewish demonstration in years, Polish nationalists marched to the American embassy in Warsaw in protest of the so-called JUST Act, signed into law by President Donald Trump last year, requiring the State Department [to] report to Congress on the state of restitution of property stolen in the Holocaust in dozens of countries.

Protesters carried banners saying Poland has no commitment and that the US is hypocritical in its efforts to benefit Jews.

The question of restitution has become a major campaign issue in advance of the European Union elections due later this month and the Polish general elections to take place by November 2019.

Polish nationalists claim if restitution is approved, the Polish economy stands to lose up to [US] $300 billion.

Poland was once home to 3.3 million Jews, but most were murdered by Nazi Germany during the Holocaust. Their properties were often looted by Germans and later nationalized by the communist regime. Some Jewish organizations have been seeking restitution of the properties.

According to the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (The Claims Conference), Poland is the only EU member that has not passed any laws regulating restitution for Jewish Holocaust survivors and their families.

Source: (Ynetnews originally published this story on May 13, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: euronews (in English)/YouTube/screenshot

Prayer Focus
Pray against rising anti-Semitism in Poland and the government’s refusal to accept responsibility and deal justly with victims of the Holocaust. Pray for true repentance to sweep the nation.

Scripture

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…For they have consulted together with one consent; they form a confederacy against You.


- Psalm 83:2–3, 5

Independence Day 2019—A Party for More than 9 Million Israelis

by Gad Lior

PM Netanyahu celebrates Israel’s Independence Day with IDF soldiers.

Friday, 10 May 2019 | In 1948, it had a population of 806,000 people. Seventy-one years later, for the first time, there are more than nine million Israelis—9,021,000 to be exact.

In preparation for Independence Day, the Central Bureau of Statistics [CBS] published a wealth of data on Israel and its residents. As of today, there are 6.697 million Jews living in the country, 1.890 million Arabs—20.9% of the population of Israel, and 434,000 defined as “others”—4.8% of the country’s population. The illegal immigrants and foreign workers living in Israel, an estimated 166,000 people, are not included in the data.

Israel’s population has grown by 177,000 since last year’s Independence Day, an increase of 2%, in line with the annual growth of recent years. Some 188,000 babies were born in Israel over the past 12 months, 31,000 new immigrants arrived and 47,000 people passed away.

Since the [creation] of the state, Israel has absorbed 3,000,000 immigrants, 43% of whom immigrated to Israel after 1990. Of the current Jewish population, 75% are native Israelis. The average Israeli family has 3.11 children.

On the 100th Independence Day in 2048, the CBS predicts that Israel will be home to 15.2 million people. While this is a reason to celebrate, it is also a cause for concern, given how crowded the country will be—and how enormous the traffic jams [will be].

The number of vehicles in the country stands at 3,495,412, for Israel’s 4,358,402 licensed drivers.

The data also shows that Israel has a relatively high number of octogenarians [people aged 80–89], with 48,000 people aged 90 and over. The life expectancy for men in Israel is 80.7 years, while Israeli women are expected to live longer with an average lifespan of 84.6 years.

The average monthly income of an Israeli household was NIS 16,518 (approx. [US] $4,600) per month in 2017, a real increase of 4.6% compared to the year before. The average wage per employee was NIS 10,473 (approx. [US] $2,900).

Over the past 12 months, Israel has welcomed 4.4 million visitors (and this is still without the upcoming Eurovision song contest!). Ben Gurion International Airport also recorded 8.5 million departures abroad by Israelis.

And the happiest figure of all—88.9% of Israelis are satisfied with life in the country.

Source: (Ynetnews originally published this article on May 8, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Kobi Gideon/GPO

Prayer Focus
Praise the Lord for His blessings poured out on Israel and their miraculous progress in just 71 years! Thank Him for fulfilling His ancient promises to bring His people home and establish them in their land. Pray that the nations will turn their eyes and see the loving and merciful God that He is through His faithfulness to His chosen people.

Scripture

The LORD will establish you as a holy people to Himself, just as He has sworn to you, if you keep the commandments of the LORD your God and walk in His ways. Then all peoples of the earth shall see that you are called by the name of the LORD and they shall be afraid of you.


- Deuteronomy 28:9–10

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