Help us bless the people of Israel.

Friday, November 20, 2020

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

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.

Report: Trump Considering Strike on Iranian Nuclear Site

by Ilse Strauss

President Trump convened top advisers to determine his options for launching an offensive strike on Iran’s primary nuclear site. (illustrative)

Tuesday, 17 November 2020 | US President Donald Trump is reportedly considering drastic action that could radically deescalate Iran’s threat level in the Middle East and put a long-term pause on the mullahs’ (clerics’) nuclear ambitions.

According to the New York Times, President Trump convened top advisers in the Oval Office on Thursday to determine his options for launching offensive strikes on Iran’s primary nuclear site: the heavily fortified Natanz nuclear center.

However, the national security aides—including Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Acting Defense Secretary Christopher C. Miller and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley—allegedly cautioned the US president against a major strike, either with missiles or a cyberattack, warning that it could ignite a wider conflict engulfing the entire volatile region, the Times said, citing four current and former US security officials.

The meeting came a day after the United Nations nuclear watchdog announced that Iran has increased its stockpile of enriched uranium to 12 times the 447-pound (203-kg) limit stipulated by the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action—and President Trump appears loath to let the umpteenth infringement of the accord go unchecked.

The aides reportedly left the Oval Office convinced that President Trump had been dissuaded from launching a missile attack on Iranian soil, but is still mulling a more measured course of action.

President Trump has remained resolute that he will not allow Iran to go nuclear. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the man at the helm of the US’s closest ally in the Middle East—and possibly the country with the most to lose should the mullahs get their hands on the bomb—echoed President Trump’s vow.

Those in the know have been speculating for some weeks whether President Trump and Netanyahu may make good on their promise, with President Trump launching US military action against Tehran, giving Israel the green light to go it alone or Israel and the US joining forces to set the Iranian nuclear ambitions back a few decades.

This is not the first time a strike on Iran seemed more like an option than the last resort. Experts predicted that Israel—with US support, approval or both—was on the verge of attack in both 2008 and 2012, the Jerusalem Post reports. In fact, an Israeli cabinet minister divulged that Netanyahu pushed for a strike in 2012, but failed to get the necessary government approval.

Israel is no stranger to taking out the nuclear sites of those who threaten the Jewish state with destruction. In 1981, an Israeli air strike destroyed then Iraqi President Saddam Hussein’s Osirak nuclear reactor, and in 2007, Jerusalem struck a nuclear reactor in Syria.

Israel—and the US—is more cautious when it comes to such military action against Iran. For one thing, several logistical aspects render the course of action nearly impossible. Moreover, the Iranian site is heavily fortified, raising the question whether an Israeli strike would do sufficient damage. Then there’s the very real threat of severe retribution, with missiles raining down on Israeli cities as soon as the Israeli fighter jets clear Iranian airspace. All these factors and more mean that Israel considers the strike a last resort.

The US has also considered the option of military action. In fact, the Pentagon has developed multiple strike options to suit various scenarios, including military, cyber and combination strategies—with Israel playing a leading role in some.

In the meantime, neither the US nor Israel has sat by idly as Iran builds the bomb. 2020 started off on a bad note for the Islamic Republic when top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani was killed in a US drone strike in Baghdad on January 3. Iran’s vows of bloody revenge over the death of its terror master largely remained just that: threats.

The ensuing months showed no sign of improvement. The crippling sanctions applied by the Trump administration sent the already teetering Iranian economy into freefall, while a series of mysterious explosions, fires and other disasters plagued security and government sites across Iran.

The most notable disaster occurred when an explosion tore through an advanced centrifuge development and assembly plant at Natanz in July, reportedly setting back Iran’s nuclear progress by months, if not years. The Iranians cried foul, ascribing the explosion to sabotage, probably perpetrated by the Israelis.

Over the weekend, the New York Times announced that Israeli agents operating at the behest of the US neutralized Al-Qaeda second-in-command Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah on a Tehran street in August.

Could these small scale, often covert attempts at dismantling Iran’s nuclear program escalate into full-fledged military action? Perhaps, argues Jerusalem Post editor-in-chief Yaakov Katz, but not likely. “It is just that the threat is not yet at the point to warrant a military strike,” Katz writes.

However, not likely is a far cry from impossible, Katz concedes. And in the Middle East, anything is possible.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, 17 November, 2020)

Photo Credit: Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead/flickr.com

Photo License: Flickr

Prayer Focus
Beseech the Lord for His wisdom in this very dangerous situation. Pray that He will speak clearly to US and Israeli leaders as they plan and implement strategies intended to hinder Iran’s ability to become a nuclear power player and a threat to the world. Ask the Lord for His strategies to be revealed and for His supernatural protection for Israel as it seems they will play a key role in whatever action might be taken.

Scripture

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


- Proverbs 2:6–8

Israel Strikes Iranian Forces in Syria

by Ilse Strauss

Israel struck Iranian Quds Force targets in Syria. (illustrative)

Wednesday, 18 November 2020 | Israeli fighter jets carried out a series of air strikes on military targets belonging to the elite Iranian Quds Force and the Syrian army throughout Syria in the early hours of Wednesday morning, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said.

The retaliatory attack comes in answer to an Iranian-led terror effort to plant and set off several anti-personnel mines against IDF troops in an Israeli-controlled buffer zone along the Syrian border, the spot where Israel used to operate a clinic for Syrian civilians fleeing the brutal civil war as part of the humanitarian program “Operation Good Neighbor.” The IDF uncovered and disarmed the explosives on Tuesday morning.

According to IDF Spokesperson Hidai Zilberman, this morning’s strikes targeted eight sites in Syria—half near Damascus and the other half on the Syrian Golan Heights. The targets included the Iranian military headquarters in Syria, located next to the Damascus International Airport; secret military barracks that top Iranian commanders in Syria call home; and the command post of the Syrian army’s 7th Division, which works hand-in-hand with Iran’s Quds Force.

Syria’s state news agency SANA claimed that three soldiers died in the strike, while the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights puts the number of fatalities at 10. It remains unclear whether the casualties are Syrian army soldiers or members of Iran’s Quds Force.

Israel has repeatedly warned that it will not allow Iran to gain a military foothold on its doorstep in Syria or use the war-torn country as a distribution channel to funnel advanced weapons to Hezbollah in Lebanon. In fact, top Israeli military and political leaders have admitted to conducting hundreds of strikes in Syria to thwart Iran’s ambitions of regional hegemony.

This morning’s strike was, however, different. Israel’s standard policy is to remain mum on any alleged operations conducted on foreign soil—or in foreign airspace—seeking to minimize the threat of honor-driven retaliation attacks.

The admission of Jerusalem conducting hundreds of strikes in Syria came as a bulk acknowledgment, an unspecified owning up, well after the fact. Yet this morning, the IDF claimed responsibility as the eight sites in Syria still lay smoldering, which means the attack was meant to send a message to the mullahs in Tehran and the Syrian powers-that-be.

“We won’t allow Iran to continue to embed themselves in Syria and especially along the border, and we won’t let the Syrians continue to let them,” Zilberman told reporters. “We are attacking against the host and the visitor who is really not wanted.”

This morning’s strike follows hot on the heels of a New York Times report that President Donald Trump convened top advisers last week to determine his options for launching offensive strikes on Iran’s primary nuclear site: the heavily fortified Natanz nuclear center. The meeting occurred a day after the United Nations nuclear watchdog announced that Tehran has increased its stockpile of enriched uranium to 12 times the 447-pound (203-kg) limit stipulated by the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

According to the Times, the national security aides allegedly cautioned the US president against a major strike, either with missiles or a cyberattack, warning that it could ignite a wider conflict engulfing the entire volatile region. The aides reportedly left the Oval Office convinced that President Trump had dismissed the option, but is still mulling a more measured course of action.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, November 18, 2020)

Photo Credit: Mohammad Sadegh Heydari/wikimedia.org

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Beseech the Lord again for His wisdom and strategy as Israel deals with Iran on another level: the Iranian presence in Syria and attempts to establish a power base in Israel’s backyard. Pray that Iran’s leadership will heed these very clear messages sent in the form of hundreds of Israeli air strikes.

Scripture

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


- Psalm 32:8

Israeli Produce on Sale in the UAE

by Ilse Strauss

In yet another historic first, a leading Dubai supermarket now offers Israeli produce for sale. (illustrative)

Thursday, 19 November 2020 | In what Israeli media hailed as the “fruit of peace,” the first display of Israeli produce—including mounds of farm-fresh fruit and vegetables harvested from the Promised Land arranged proudly under the blue and white flag of Israel—appeared on the shelves of a leading United Arab Emirates (UAE) supermarket over the weekend.

The Fresh Market in Dubai’s Ras Al Khor marked the historic introduction of Israeli products into the UAE market on Sunday with an official opening ceremony at the wholesale and retail market. The event was attended by high-ranking UAE dignitaries as well as Shlomi Fogel, Chairman of Carmel Agrexco, Israel’s largest exporters of agricultural produce and the contact point on the Israeli side that enables local farmers to export their produce to the Gulf state.

“We are excited to be part of the growing ties between Israel and the UAE,” Fogel said. “Together with our colleagues in Dubai, we are beginning to see the ‘fruits of peace’ today.”

The UAE is one of the world’s foremost importers of fresh produce. In 2015 alone, Dubai imported a record 21,000 tons of fruit and vegetables per day. The Fresh Market is at the heart of the thriving fresh produce trade in Dubai, with countless customers streaming through its doors to purchase thousands of tons of local and imported agricultural produce.

To date, the bulk of the UAE’s fresh fruit and vegetables came from South Asia and Australia. Israel does, however, present a much more attractive option given the proximity of the Jewish state and speed with which the products can be transported from farm to shelf.

“Within few hours of picking, the fresh produce can reach points of sale,” Fogel pointed out. “It’s a fact that Israeli agriculture is highly advanced and we are confident that everyone will enjoy our produce.”

He added that Israel is eager to share its know-how and expertise with the Gulf state, with Carmel Agrexco investing in agricultural farms in the UAE, incorporating the latest innovations in agricultural technology.

The Israeli products proudly arranged under an Israeli flag in one of the UAE’s top supermarkets—particularly while world bodies and Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) bend over backward to convince humanity to shun Israeli products—is but one of the “fruits” of the normalization of relations between former foes Israel and the UAE.

Dubai’s decision to embrace Israel’s outstretched hand of peace following decades of animosity made the UAE the third Arab country after Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994 to recognize Israel.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, November 19, 2020)

Photo Credit: Julien Menichini from Paris, France/wikimedia.org

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Thank the Lord for the progress being made in the relationship between Israel and the UAE, for the “fruits of peace” that are visible as a result of the landmark Abraham Accords. Pray that the Lord will guard and direct the ongoing developments between the two countries, assuring that both nations are blessed. Pray that the glory and the faithfulness of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob will be revealed as Emiratis increasingly come to know and understand the nation of Israel.

Scripture

Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!


- Psalm 46:10

Anti-Semitic Hate Crimes Reached Record High in 2019, FBI Warns

by Kate Norman

Some 25,000 people participate in a march across Brooklyn Bridge to protest anti-Semitism.

Tuesday, 17 November 2020 | The year 2019 saw yet another increase in anti-Semitic hate crimes, according to an FBI report, in a year that saw three fatal attacks targeting American Jewish people.

The number of religious hate crimes increased in 2019, according to the FBI’s annual hate crime statistics report, most of them targeting American Jews—at least 62%, an increase from the 58% reported in 2017 and 2018. The 953 anti-Semitic hate crimes throughout the year represented a 14% spike compared to 2018.

Last year saw multiple vicious attacks on Jewish communities in the US, including an April shooting on the last day of Passover at a synagogue in Poway, California that killed one person and injured three others.

Jewish community leaders were quick to react to the data, condemning the trend of anti-Jewish hatred and calling on the nation’s leaders to step up.

“Once again, the FBI hate crime statistics confirm what the Jewish community knows all too well: that violent anti-Semitism is a daily reality,” Executive Director of the American Jewish Congress Joel Rubin told the Free Beacon.

The American Jewish Committee chief advocacy officer also responded to the FBI report, adding that the AJC three weeks earlier released its own report on anti-Semitism that revealed worrying trends.

“American Jews are worried about anti-Semitism in this country, and the release of the FBI’s Hate Crimes report will provide them with little comfort,” Daniel Elbaum said in a statement. “Our nation’s failure to internalize this fact, as evidenced by AJC’s groundbreaking surveys on anti-Semitism in America, harms not only the Jewish community, but it threatens the essence of our democracy and pluralistic society.”

The AJC report revealed that 76% of American Jews said they experience anti-Semitism that they do not report and that 88% of American Jews believe anti-Semitism in the US is a very serious problem.

The FBI data is likely the tip of the iceberg, however, as municipal law enforcement agencies are not required to submit hate crime data to the FBI and only do it on a voluntary basis—meaning the real numbers are likely much grimmer.

Nonetheless, a ray of light in the anti-Semitic darkness occurred on January 5, 2020, when an estimated 25,000 people from multiple states gathered in New York City to march across the Brooklyn Bridge, demonstrating solidarity with their Jewish neighbors who had experienced a dramatic spike of anti-Semitic attacks in December 2019.

The horrible spate of December attacks included a mass shooting outside a kosher supermarket in New Jersey that killed four people—including two Jewish people, and the violent stabbing of five people during a Hanukkah (Festival of Light) celebration in Monsey, New York that ended in the death of one man.

Top US politicians, including New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, led the march behind the event’s official banner bearing the words: “No hate. No fear.”

“What has happened in…Monsey, New York, was an attack on every New Yorker and every New Yorker has felt the pain,” Cuomo declared at the event. “Racism and anti-Semitism is anti-American and we have to remember that.”

Source: (Bridges for Peace, November 17, 2020)

Photo Credit: Beyond My Ken/wikimedia.org

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Cry out to the Lord on behalf of His people, beseeching Him for His protection to surround Jewish communities the world over. Thank Him for the 25,000 people who marched in support of their Jewish friends and neighbors in the US last year, and plead for more and more people, particularly Christians, to rise up against the evil of anti-Semitism in all its forms.

Scripture

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. Then He shall speak to them in His wrath, and distress them in His deep displeasure.


- Psalm 2:2–5

The Palestinian Authority Resumes Security Cooperation with Israel

by Elior Levy, Itamar Eichner

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas

Wednesday, 18 November 2020 | The Palestinian Authority (PA) resumed security and civil coordination with Israel on Tuesday, six months after PA President Mahmoud Abbas announced the cessation of ties with the Jewish state over its now-deferred intentions to apply sovereignty over West Bank [Judea and Samaria] territories.

Hussein al-Sheikh, who has been serving as the head of the PA’s General Authority of Civil Affairs since 2013, said that ties were reignited once Israel signaled to the Palestinians it was willing to return to the status quo ante.

Israel and the Palestinians resumed contacts to relaunch relations in recent weeks, the Israeli side led by the military liaison to the Palestinians, Maj.–Gen. Kamil Abu Rokon, and the Palestinian side led by Hussein a-Sheikh and other senior officials.

The Palestinians have launched a letter to Israel regarding their renewed commitment to the previous agreements, and Maj.–Gen. Abu Rokon will continue to lead the talks until the parties put ink on an official agreement.

Since the PA broke off contacts with the Jewish state in May, Ramallah has refused to accept taxes Jerusalem collected on its behalf, bleeding the authority’s coffers dry and warranting painful pay cuts for tens of thousands of Palestinian government officials.

In addition, the PA refused to accept any Israeli assistance in dealing with its battle with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The move comes as the main Palestinian factions—the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), which rules the West Bank, and the hardline Islamist Hamas terror group, which rules the Gaza Strip—hold reconciliation talks in Cairo, Egypt, and could lead to the breakdown of negotiations.

Israeli officials welcomed the PA’s announcement and said that representatives from both sides will meet soon.

“We have been working on this for several weeks now,” they said. “Defense Minister Benny Gantz sent very clear messages to the Palestinians during his meetings with EU ambassadors that he wants the coordination to resume. There were also covert ties between COGAT [Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories] and his Palestinian counterparts.”

Hamas strongly denounced the announcement, saying that “The [Palestinian] Authority has with this step thrown aside all its values and national principles, and the result of the historical meeting between Hamas and Fatah’s leadership.”

The terror group also called on Ramallah to go back on its announcement, saying that “the only thing that will liberate our lands, defend our rights and expel the occupation is true national solidarity.”

Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published by Ynetnews on November 17, 2020. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: www.kremlin.ru./wikimedia.org

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Thank the Lord that relations between the PA and Israel are being reestablished. Pray that security cooperation will be restored, helping to reduce the number of terror attacks and ensuring the capture of perpetrators going forward. Pray that these measures will be the beginning of a new era marked by the cessation of violence and a Palestinian willingness to come to the negotiating table.

Scripture

Our soul waits for the LORD; He is our help and our shield. For our heart shall rejoice in Him, because we have trusted in His holy name. Let Your mercy, O LORD, be upon us, just as we hope in You.


- Psalm 33:20–22

Netanyahu Warns “Even During Coronavirus, Don’t Try Us” After Gaza Attack

by Joshua Spurlock

Prime Minister Netanyahu warned Gazan terrorists not to test Israel. (illustrative)

Monday, 16 November 2020 | The recent quiet with Gaza was shattered over the weekend, and it could get louder still if militants don’t resume the calm.

After Gaza terrorists fired a round of two rockets at Israel, the IDF [Israel Defense Forces] responded by hitting Hamas “underground infrastructure & military posts in Gaza,” the Israeli military reported in their official Twitter feed. Afterwards, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Gaza militants that further attacks would trigger a strong response.

“I warn the terrorist organizations in Gaza, even during the coronavirus crisis, do not try us,” said Netanyahu in comments released by his office. “I will never go into detail about our operational plans but I tell them, the price of continued aggression will be heavy, very heavy.”

The IDF Twitter post sent a similar message. The Israeli military tweeted that they are “conducting an ongoing situational assessment & remains prepared to operate against any terror activity.”

The rocket attacks came just days after the one-year anniversary of Israel’s assassination of senior Islamic Jihad terrorist Baha Abu al-Ata as part of Operation Black Belt. The IDF website noted that the November 12, 2019 targeted killing was to neutralize a terrorist considered to be a “ticking time bomb.” In response, Gaza terrorists fired hundreds of rockets.

The recent conflict with Gaza has been markedly calmer. The last weekend’s rocket launches followed back-to-back months of declining attacks. After 25 rockets were fired at Israel in August—the most in six months—September saw just 15 attacks and October just five, according to data on the Shin Bet website.

But as this weekend showed, any number of rockets is more than enough.

As Netanyahu said on Sunday, “We will not tolerate any attacks against the State of Israel and the citizens of Israel.”

Source: (This article was originally published by the Mideast Update on November 15, 2020. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today.)

Photo Credit: Kremlin.ru/wikimedia.org

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Pray that calm will be restored in southern Israel and thank the Lord for a respite for the Israeli citizens who live under the constant threat of rocket attacks. Pray that Israel’s policy of zero tolerance will, in fact, be a deterrent to those who would attack the Jewish state.

Scripture

Redeem Israel, O God, out of all their troubles!


- Psalm 25:22

WHO Meeting Deviates from Coronavirus to Lambaste Israel

The flag of the World Health Organization

Friday, 13 November 2020 | Deviating from its focus on the global response to the coronavirus pandemic, the annual assembly of the UN’s [United Nations] World Health Organization [WHO] held a four-hour session focused on Israel, which saw itself condemned in speeches by some 30 delegations, including Iran, Syria, North Korea, Cuba, Malaysia, Lebanon and Venezuela, for allegedly violating the health rights of Palestinians and Syrians in the Golan Heights.

The session concluded with a vote of 78 to 14, with 32 abstentions, to adopt a resolution, co-sponsored by Syria, Cuba, Turkey, Qatar and the Palestinian delegation, requiring the WHO to hold the same debate at next year’s assembly, and to prepare another report on the “Health conditions in the occupied Palestinian territory, including east Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan.”

Hillel Neuer, executive director of the Geneva-based United Nations Watch, an independent non-governmental organization that monitors the UN, condemned the “cynical politicization of the world’s top health agency at the expense of focusing on the COVID-19 pandemic and other vital global health priorities and emergencies.”

WHO Singles Out Israel, Ignores Syria, Yemen, Venezuela

“Out of 23 items on the current world health assembly’s Agenda, only one, Item 17 targeting Israel, focused on a specific country. There was no agenda item or resolution on any other country, conflict, civil war or political impasse—not on Syria, where hospitals and other medical infrastructure are repeatedly and deliberately bombed by Syrian and Russian forces; not on war-torn Yemen, where 14 million are in dire need of health assistance; and not on Venezuela, where the health system is in a state of collapse and 7 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance,” said Neuer.

Session Falsely Accused Israel of Violating Palestinian & Syrian Health Rights

“Today’s four-hour assault on Israel at the WHO promoted the lie that Israel is harming Palestinian health rights,” said Neuer. “The opposite is true.”

“Despite the conflict, Israel grants entry to tens of thousands of Palestinians who receive top-level medical care at Israeli hospitals. Even the UN’s own Middle East peace envoy hailed Israel’s ‘excellent’ coordination and cooperation with Palestinians amid the coronavirus pandemic,” said Neuer.

“Israeli medical teams coordinate with Palestinian medical professionals to provide training and assistance. Israel transfers medical equipment and has trained dozens of Palestinian doctors, nurses and medical personnel from Gaza,” Neuer added.

“Moreover, it’s particularly absurd for the WHO to enact a resolution effectively accusing Israel of violating the health rights of Syrians in the Golan, when in reality Israeli hospitals have provided life-saving treatment to Syrians fleeing to the Golan from the Assad regime’s barbaric attacks,” he said.

France in EU Minority That Supported Biased Resolution

The vote was 78 to 14 on the resolution, with 32 abstentions and 56 absent.

UN Watch applauded numerous countries which this year shifted their votes from Yes to Abstain, including Sweden, Norway, Cyprus, Finland, Greece, Iceland, and Uruguay. Norway explained that the WHO was not a forum for political matters. There were 32 abstentions this year, 11 more than in 2019.

“However, amid a global pandemic, the minority of EU member states and other democracies who voted for the resolution should be ashamed, including France, Spain, Belgium, Switzerland, Ireland, Poland, Portugal, Japan, India, New Zealand, Luxembourg and Monaco.”

“These countries have now encouraged the continued hijacking of the world’s health priorities, and the diversion of precious time, money, and resources to fight global disease, in order to wage a political prosecution of Israel.”

“Anyone who has ever walked into an Israeli hospital or clinic knows that they provide world-class health care to thousands of Palestinian Arabs—including over the past month to Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat—as well as to Syrians fleeing Assad,” Neuer added.

In addition to voting against the resolution, the US, the UK and Canada took the floor to object to the politicization of the forum.

Resolution Mandates Renewed Report & Debate on Israel

The resolution mandates the WHO director-general to prepare another report next year, to be submitted to the 74th World Health Assembly in 2021, thereby ensuring another day devoted to vitriolic accusations against Israel by Iran, Syria, Venezuela and others.

By enacting the resolution, the assembly also adopted a WHO report which claims that “Palestinians living under chronic occupation are exposed to high levels of violence.” Hamas and Islamic Jihad were nowhere mentioned.

The report accused Israel of “violence towards demonstrators,” yet completely ignored the role of Hamas and other terrorist groups in orchestrating violence and encouraging demonstrators to approach the hostile area of the Gaza-Israel border.

Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published by UN Watch on November 12, 2020. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Leif Jørgensen/wikimedia.org

Photo License: wikimedia.org

Prayer Focus
Pray that the World Health Organization’s ludicrous accusations against Israel will fall on deaf ears around the world. Pray that the truth of Israel’s significant and sometimes sacrificial contributions to the health of its neighbors, before and during the pandemic, will actually be told worldwide.

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

Gantz Visits Cyprus to Strengthen Trilateral Ties with Greece

A map showing the location of Greece (orange) and Cyprus (green)

Tuesday, 17 November 2020 | What happened: Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz visited Nicosia last week and agreed to set up military cooperation with Greece and Cyprus.

  • Following the third meeting of the Trilateral Defense Dialogue between the three countries, Gantz said: “We have agreed to advance our military-to-military partnership, solidified our work plan for collaboration in 2021, which will include our fourth annual trilateral summit, this time in Israel. We’ve also promoted large scale industry cooperation that will bolster our defense abilities and create thousands of jobs for all three economies.”
  • He added: “I am personally committed to promoting our defense and state ties even further. I believe that our advanced technologies, fast testing and good relations can help us quickly restart the regular thriving tourism and economic cooperation between our countries. I intend to allocate the resources needed to put our collaboration back on track.”
  • Greek Defense Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos stressed that Greece condemns “Turkey’s illegal, provocative and unilateral actions in Greece’s and Cyprus’s maritime zones that comprise blatant violations of international law and of good neighborhood relations.”
  • Gantz also expressed his sympathies to the families and countries of the victims of the helicopter crash involving UN peacekeepers in the Sinai desert earlier in the day. Seven people, including five Americans, were killed in the crash. One wounded US service member was airlifted to a hospital in Israel by Israeli Defense Forces [IDF].
  • Israeli and Lebanese negotiators have concluded the second round of indirect talks over the maritime border dispute. The US and UN are mediating the negotiations and said in a joint statement that the talks had been “productive.”

Context: Israel is forging closer ties with Greece and Cyprus in the East Mediterranean amid growing tensions over offshore gas drilling rights, and the three countries are partners in the East Med pipeline project, which seeks to bring Israeli gas to Europe.

  • Last week’s meeting followed several other ones earlier this year. Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi met his Greek and Cypriot counterparts in Greece in late October, in which Ashkenazi said he considered regional cooperation to be “a central strategic component for ensuring peace, stability and economic prosperity.’’
  • In June, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis visited Jerusalem and met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. It was the fourth government-to-government meeting between Israel and Greece, in which the two countries signed three memorandums of understanding on cyber issues, agriculture and tourism.
  • The IDF [is] also collaborating with Greece and Cyprus in several frameworks, including the Blue Flag exercise with Poland and the US in 2017 and 2019. In 2017 and 2019, the Israeli air force also participated in the joint exercise Iniohos in Greece, together with the UAE, Italy and the US.
  • The IDF also recently announced a new class of weapon ships to defend its gas exploration sites in the East Med. Israel will receive the first of four Sa’ar 6 ships in December.
  • The IDF [has] said that many of the systems on the ship are brand new, including a radar with a range exceeding 100 kilometers [62 mi], and its weapons and defense systems can react to high-trajectory rockets and missiles. The Sa’ar 6 is reported to have stealth capabilities, which makes it more difficult to be detected by enemy radar.

Looking ahead: Greece and Cyprus’s dispute with Turkey over territorial rights in the East Med could disrupt plans for the pipeline to eventually reach Europe.

  • Turkey has increased tensions by sending gas prospecting vessels into waters claimed by Greece and drilling ships into an area where Cyprus claims exclusive rights.
  • With US energy giant Chevron recently purchasing Noble Energy, which holds a 40% stake in the Israeli Leviathan gas field, Israel is keen to ensure its oil fields are protected.
  • Israeli and Lebanese negotiators are set to reconvene on December 2 for a third round of talks.

Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published by BICOM on November 13, 2020. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Turkish Flame/wikimedia.org

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Thank the Lord for the growing regional cooperation and its potential for ensuring peace, stability and economic prosperity in the region. Pray that disputes with Turkey will not interfere with plans that will benefit Israel and the rest of the area. Beseech the Lord for protection for Israel’s oil fields and success in the border negotiations with Lebanon.

Scripture

For I will not trust in my bow, nor shall my sword save me. But You have saved us from our enemies, and have put to shame those who hated us.


- Psalm 44:6–7

Israel Faces Flooding Danger as Heavy Rains Subside

by Danny Rup

The IDF rescuing civilians from flooded areas earlier this year.

Monday, 16 November 2020 | Occasional rains were forecast for Sunday morning from northern Israel to the northern Negev in the south accompanied by lightning and thunder with danger of flooding.

The rain was expected to weaken as the day went on.

Rescue workers extracted several drivers whose vehicles got stuck in floods in the southern city of Ashkelon on Sunday. Firefighters also rescued civilians in Ashdod and Kiryat Malachi in the south. No casualties were reported.

The Israel Nature and Parks Authority announced that due to flood warnings, all hiking and abseiling routes in the Judean Desert would be close to hikers.

Brief local rains were forecast for Monday, and the weather will stabilize and warm up a bit gradually by the end of the week.

Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published by Ynetnews on November 15, 2020. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: IDF Spokesperson's Unit / CC BY-SA 3.0/wikimedia.org

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Praise the Lord for these winter rains. Thank Him that the rains are falling while the danger of flooding is lessening. Pray that all Israel will thank Him for His loving provision and the blessing of water.

Scripture

Be glad then, you children of Zion, and rejoice in the LORD your God; for He has given you the former rain faithfully, and He will cause the rain to come down for you—the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month.


- Joel 2:23

Free Weekly Israel Prayer Update & News



Prayer Updates