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A Year of Crisis

Friday, December 2, 2022

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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.

Israeli Security Forces Nab Suspects in Deadly Jerusalem Bombings

by Haim Goldich ~ Ynetnews

Police forces in Jerusalem (illustrative)

Thursday, 1 December 2022 | Israeli security forces said Wednesday they apprehended a number of individuals suspected of involvement in the deadly bombing attacks in Jerusalem last week.

Two Israelis, Aryeh Shchupak, 16, and Tadesa Tashuma, 50, were killed when two explosive devices placed at bus stops in the capital were detonated from afar. At least 25 others were wounded in the blasts.

The suspects, residents of eastern Jerusalem, were the first to be detained since the bombing shook the capital last Wednesday, after security forces conducted a massive manhunt for the perpetrators.

Searches relied on intelligence gathering and were mired by concern that more attacks were imminent as the terrorists attempted to flee.

After a deadly attack on a check point in Jerusalem last month, the gunman, a resident of the Shuafat refugee camp in Jerusalem, was in the wind for 12 days before attempting another attack which led troops to him.

Surveillance camera footage was collected from dozens of areas in Jerusalem in an effort to detect the escape rout of the bombers.

A war room was established by the Shin Bet [Israeli internal security organization], dedicated specifically to the manhunt, with an expectation that as intelligence was being gathered, the terrorists might make a mistake which would facilitate their capture.

Israel’s security forces believed the terrorists were not directly affiliated with any known organization, but were familiar with the chosen locations. They awaited large crowds at the bus stops before detonating their bombs.

The devices were small in size and most injuries were caused by their shrapnel, which included nails.

Source: (This article was originally published by Ynetnews on November 30, 2022. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Dickelbers/commons.wikimedia.org

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Pray for the loved ones of those who have lost their lives in last week’s bombings and for swift healing for those who were injured. Cry out to the Lord for the apprehension of all who were involved in these deadly attacks, and beseech Him for an end to the violence.

Scripture

The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry. The face of the LORD is against those who do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth. The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles.


- Psalm 34:15–17

Israeli, US Air Forces Simulate Strikes on Iranian Nuclear Sites

by JNS

Israeli and American F-35 fighter jets during a joint training exercise

Tuesday, 29 November 2022 | The Israeli and United States air forces launched a two-day drill on Tuesday simulating strikes on Iranian nuclear facilities, Israeli media reported.

The drills will be conducted over parts of Israel and the Mediterranean Sea, and include long-range flights such as those Israeli pilots would be required to undertake to reach Iran, located some 1,200 miles [1,931 km.] from the Jewish state.

Advanced fighter jets and refueling tankers from both militaries are participating in the exercises, according to the reports.

A London-based Saudi news site reported in August that Israel and America had simulated air strikes on Iran and the seizure of Iranian warships in the Persian Gulf. It also said Israel had flown aircraft in Iranian airspace in the preceding months.

Iran recently began enriching uranium to 60% at its underground Fordow nuclear site and, as of October 22, had amassed 137 pounds [62 kg.] of the substance, more than enough to produce a bomb if enriched to 90%, or weapons-grade.

Israel Defense Forces Military Intelligence Directorate chief Maj. Gen. Aharon Haliva said last week that Iran would soon start enriching at least a “symbolic” amount of uranium to 90%, although he added that it was unlikely to make a dash for the bomb.

Haliva warned that Tehran had made “significant progress” on its nuclear program, and that the international community would soon face its “greatest test” in preventing the Islamic Republic from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

Source: (This article was originally published by Jewish News Syndicate on November 29, 2022. 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
Cry out to the Lord for His wisdom as the nations draw ever closer to their “greatest test” as Iran continues it march toward nuclear capability. Thank the Lord for these joint exercises with the IDF and the US military and pray that they will be effective in preparing for every eventuality.

Scripture

Deliver me from my enemies, O my God; defend me from those who rise up against me. Deliver me from the workers of iniquity, and save me from bloodthirsty men.


- Psalm 59:1–2

Gazan Child Gets Life-saving Heart Surgery in Israel

by Meir Turgeman ~ Ynetnews

Surgeons perform life-saving surgery (illustrative).

Friday, 25 November 2022 | A five-year-old child from the Gaza Strip has recently undergone a life-saving surgery at a hospital in Israel, it was revealed Monday.

Amir Yahya Mabukh from the city of Jabalia was suffering from a congenital heart defect that could have led to heart failure.

According to his family, the child contracted the flu when he was two months old. His mother, Maha, took him to the family doctor, who diagnosed the baby with a birth defect due to a blockage in one of the arteries of the heart.

The doctor told Amir’s parents about the Save a Child’s Heart foundation, which facilitates the transfer of children from the Gaza Strip and the West Bank [Judea and Samaria] to Israel to have life-saving procedures.

“We were happy to hear about that option,” his mother said. “Everybody in Gaza says Israeli doctors are the most professional in the world and can be counted on. The doctor helped us contact the foundation and we began the process.”

The procedure was conducted on Sunday, which coincided with the World Children’s Day. The open-heart operation took place at Wolfson Medical Center in Holon, with Amir escorted by his grandmother.

Incidentally, this wasn’t Amir’s first time in Israel. “He was in Israel once for a diagnosis,” his mother said. “He loved the games he could play at the hospital and told me he didn’t want to go back to Gaza.”

Since its inception in 1995, the Save a Child’s Heart foundation has flown over 6,000 children to Israel for similar procedures from all over the globe, including some third world countries with no official ties with Israel.

Director of the Cardiothoracic Surgery Department at Edith Wolfson Medical Center Dr. Hagai Dekel said: “The surgery was designed to remove the blockage from the left ventricle. Untreated, it could compromise the heart valve and be life threatening. We attached the child to a heart and lung machine, opened the aorta, and removed the blockage, which was thick tissue, via access to the heart valve.

“The operation lasted three hours and the child is currently recuperating in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit.”

Amir’s grandmother was overjoyed. “My grandson gets a new life with the help of people I never thought would help him. Borders and politics are irrelevant. The child’s health comes first. He has a new life now.”

Source: (This article was originally published by Ynetnews on November 21, 2022. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: commons.wikimedia.org

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Thank God for this opportunity for Israeli doctors to use their skills to save a child’s life but also to serve in a diplomatic role: helping little Amir and his family to see that Israel is not their enemy. Pray that Amir will experience complete healing and grow to be an outspoken advocate for peace.

Scripture

Deceit is in the heart of those who devise evil, but counselors of peace have joy.


- Proverbs 12:20

The IDF’s Judea and Samaria Challenge: A Spike in Attacks and Anti-terror Raids

by Yaakov Lappin ~ JNS

Palestinian gunmen in Jenin

Wednesday, 30 November 2022 | The figures released by the Israel Defense Forces [IDF] on Monday left little room for doubt: 2022 was one of the most challenging periods for the Israeli military in Judea and Samaria, commonly known as the West Bank, in 15 years.

The IDF launched “Operation Break the Wave” on March 31 in response to a burst of deadly terror attacks in Israeli cities that emanated from the northern parts of Samaria—a combined effort by the military, the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet), the Border Police and its Yamam Counter-Terrorism Unit and the Israel Police. [This] powerful, intensive response [took] the form of nightly raids targeting terrorist plots, guided by precise intelligence.

The Israeli operations focus on (though are certainly not limited to) the geographical hub of the current terrorism spike, Samaria, and specifically the sectors of Jenin and Nablus, which spawned local terror outfits such as Lions’ Den. Meanwhile, established terror factions such as Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad [PIJ] offer large sums of cash to any Palestinian in the area willing to attack Israelis.

The Palestinian Authority [PA], meanwhile, has experienced a breakdown in its ability to govern these areas, as the Fatah [leading secular Palestinian political] party that dominates the PA began fracturing into competing camps, each eyeing its chances to take power on the day after PA head Mahmoud Abbas departs the scene.

The new figures show that 281 terrorist incidents were recorded in January–October 2022, compared with 91 recorded in all of 2021.

Shooting attacks on Israeli military forces in Judea and Samaria have also risen sharply, with 110 recorded since January 2022, up from 25 in 2021.

Thirty-one Israelis—both civilians and security personnel—have been killed in Palestinian attacks this year.

More than 130 Palestinians, most of them assailants, were killed in clashes and security incidents this year.

Since the start of 2022, and particularly since the launch of Operation Break the Wave, the IDF has arrested more than 3,000 security suspects, most of them in Samaria, seized around 250 illegal weapons—some smuggled in from places like Jordan, some manufactured in local workshops—and confiscated terrorist funds worth over NIS 2.7 million (around [US] $785,000).

The fact that an M-16 rifle today costs between NIS 80,000 and NIS 90,000 [around US $23,300 and US $26,200] on the black market in Judea and Samaria—up NIS 10,000 [around US $2,900]  from 2021—shows that such weapons are harder to obtain. A locally produced Carlo submachine gun, in contrast, sells for between NIS 2,000 and NIS 5,000 [around US $580 and US $1,450]. Still, machine guns, submachine guns and handguns are in wide circulation.

The IDF, Shin Bet and Israel Police prevented more than 500 terrorist attacks in the past year, according to Military Intelligence assessments.

Eleven additional battalions were sent to reinforce the security barrier on the seam line and sectors within Judea and Samaria, bringing the total active in the area to 26.

A new task force was established to manage the seam-line security barrier. The Defense Ministry strengthened 16 kilometers [9.9 mi.] of the barrier and began building a 45-kilometer-long [27.9-miles-long] new section.

The number of Palestinians illegally infiltrating Green Line Israel from Judea and Samaria went from tens of thousands per week in 2021 to a few hundred per week currently, according to the new figures.

Around 25% of the population in Jenin is affiliated with the PIJ terror group, and PIJ leaders in Gaza and Syria invest significant efforts to get weapons, funding and military training to its operatives in Jenin. Some 20% of the population in Jenin is affiliated with Hamas, which also works to boost its terrorist capabilities in the city while working around the clock to incite attacks.

Both Hamas and PIJ seek to set the West Bank ablaze and view Jenin as the ideal ignition point for that effort.

All the while, the Israeli defense establishment has worked to also maintain carrots on offer to the civilian population in the form of work permits for 150,000 Palestinians who contribute 30% of the PA’s GDP. By contrast, the roughly 150,000 Palestinians working within the PA produce 8% of the area’s GDP.

A further 18% of the GDP comes from large numbers of Israeli Arabs moving through the Jalame and Salem crossings to Samaria for business and shopping—movement that has been encouraged by the IDF Civil Administration.

GDP per capita in Judea and Samaria is US $4,410, US $200 higher than in Jordan.

‘A Synergy of Explosive Factors Can Produce a New Intifada’

 According to Col. (res.) David Hacham, a senior research associate at the MirYam Institute and a former adviser on Arab affairs to seven Israeli defense ministers, the dramatic rise in terrorist incidents is linked to a number of factors.

He detailed the first two as follows: “A rise in violent clashes between the IDF, as well as Israelis in Judea and Samaria, and Palestinians, often leading to casualties. A rise in tensions surrounding the Temple Mount and ongoing Palestinian incitement encouraging violent passions around this issue based on claims that Israel is changing the status quo. This can form a big potential for escalation because it plays on very sensitive strings.”

Terror factions led by Hamas have been promoting murderous incitement on social media using the Temple Mount issue as a key theme to call for attacks on Israelis.

A third factor, said Hacham, is the ongoing and escalating succession battle within Fatah over who will succeed Abbas. “The combination of these elements leads to an atmosphere filled with gasoline fumes, and can lead to an explosion and a new intifada, he warned.

“Other factors include the sense among Palestinians of a lack of any progress in the diplomatic process with Israel and the sense that the PA is unable to make Israel budge here. The Palestinians fear the formation of a new right-wing Israeli coalition that will promote the building of settlements, legalize outposts, build new bypass roads and create an obstacle to the establishment of a future Palestinian state,” said Hacham.

“They fear the next government will not take the Palestinians into account at all. On the Palestinian side, Abbas, 87, is tired and sick. He is trying to prepare the ground for his chosen successor, Hussein al-Sheikh, whom he appointed as PLO [Palestinian Liberation Organization] Executive Committee secretary-general in May 2022,” he continued.

Israel has to keep its finger “closely on the pulse of every event in Judea and Samaria, which is at the gates, inside our home. It has to be able to detect and move to prevent negative events such as a Hamas takeover,” Hacham stressed.

Al-Sheikh, unpopular on the Palestinian street, would only acquire legitimacy if he won elections like Abbas did in 2005 to become PA president. “Here, there is an Israeli, Jordanian and Egyptian interest to prevent a civil war between Palestinians and to avoid a scenario in which the militias of the candidates fight each other, which could be dangerous for us,” Hacham added.

Source: (This article was originally published by Jewish News Syndicate on November 29, 2022. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Nasser Ishtayeh/Flash90/jns.org

Prayer Focus
Pray that the Lord will bless the IDF and other security forces with wisdom and strength as they deal with this dramatic rise in terrorist incidents in Samaria. Pray specifically for the three factors listed in the article and that Israel will continue to prevent negative events such as a Hamas takeover.

Scripture

Arise, O LORD, confront him, cast him down; deliver my life from the wicked with Your sword.


- Psalm 17:13

‘We Encounter Mostly Hate’: Israeli Reporters’ Notebook from Qatar

by Raz Shechnik, Oz Mualem ~ Ynetnews

The opening ceremony of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar

Monday, 28 November 2022 | As reporters, we never thought we were the story, certainly not in a major event such as the soccer World Cup, but after more than a week in Qatar’s capital of Doha, we cannot avoid sharing with our readers our experiences here.

We feel hated, surrounded by hostility and unwanted. A nice Qatari, who asked us if we were from Israel, said he would have liked to welcome us, but we, in fact, were not welcome.

“Get yourselves out of here, the sooner the better,” he said without hesitation. And this from someone representing the host country, not some random tourist from Lebanon or wherever else.

Don’t get us wrong. Covering this sporting event, second only to the Olympics, is an experience. We were lucky to be here to cover the sport that we love. This is a dream come true, and yes, it’s hard work, but we would have agreed to sleep on the sidewalk and embrace Mexican fans to keep warm—if Qatari law had permitted.

But this experience is definitely not “fun.” Far from it.

Whenever we report, we are being followed at all times by Palestinians, Iranians, Qataris, Moroccans, Jordanians, Syrians, Egyptians and Lebanese—all giving us looks full of hate. Weirdly, the Saudi Arabian fans were different, and they greeted us with smiles.

At first, we explained that we come in peace. We identified as Israelis. But by reaching out, we only end up entangled in arguments with Arabs, including abuse in a language we somewhat understand.

After a while, we decided to claim we were Ecuadorian when someone would ask us where we were from. That enabled us to spend a week covering a group of Iranian women after we were assured that as Israelis, we would not be given the chance to do so.

We found out that much like Israelis, Muslims are fans of Brazil’s national team. After one game, we approached the Brazilians who were celebrating to snap some photos. But at every attempt, Palestinian flags appeared in our frames and barrages of abuse were directed towards us. Once, the anti-Israel brigade even surrounded a fan from the Arab Israeli city of Kafr Qasi, who came up to talk to us, scaring him away.

When the Iranian women caught on that we were Israelis, we insisted on our Ecuadorian origins in order to avoid what would have become a violent incident.

But our efforts were caught on film and became viral on Arab social media as a way to show how cowardly the Israeli journalists are.

Despite believing, as open-minded liberals that we are, that the conflict with the Arab world is between governments and not the people, Qatar has taught us that hate exists first and foremost in the minds of the man on the street.

They would truly like to see us wiped off the face of the earth, and any notion of Israel evokes their complete disgust.

From Qatar, the bickering in Israel seems silly. If we don’t find a way to unite, if we continue to fight with each other, we will not be able to withstand the hatred directed toward us.

We are very much looking forward to return home to our beloved country.

Source: (This article was originally published by Ynetnews on November 27, 2022. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: U.S. Department of State/commons.wikimedia.org

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Pray for these reporters who have had such a negative experience. Thank the Lord for their safety and pray that He will bring them back to Israel without incident. But also pray that they will be able to use their experiences in Qatar to educate others as to the hatred that exists in the minds and hearts of many Arabs.

Scripture

Trouble and anguish have overtaken me, yet Your commandments are my delights.


- Psalm 119:143

Lapid Rallies World Leaders to Thwart UN Push for ICJ Opinion on Israeli ‘Occupation’

by JNS

Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid

Tuesday, 29 November 2022 | Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid sent a letter on Monday to more than 50 world leaders calling on them to prevent a vote next month in the United Nations General Assembly [UNGA] on whether to task the International Court of Justice [ICJ] with issuing an advisory opinion on the legality of Israel’s military presence in Judea and Samaria.

In the letter, Lapid emphasized that should the vote go ahead, he expects Israel’s allies to stand alongside Jerusalem and vote against the resolution.

“This resolution is the outcome of a concerted effort to single out Israel, to discredit our legitimate security concerns, and to delegitimize our very existence,” wrote Lapid, according to a statement from his office.

He added that the status of the disputed territory should be subject to negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority [PA], and that bringing the matter before the ICJ would contravene the principle of direct talks accepted by the international community, while playing into the hands of extremists.

The letter was sent to world leaders from, among other countries, the United Kingdom, France, Croatia, Romania, Bulgaria, The Netherlands, Slovakia, Latvia, Georgia, Brazil, Uruguay, Peru and Vietnam.

Lapid earlier this month condemned the UNGA Fourth Committee’s adoption of an anti-Israel motion calling for the urgent rendering of an “advisory opinion” on Israel’s “prolonged occupation, settlement and annexation of Palestinian territory.”

At the time, Lapid said in a statement that “Israel strongly rejects the Palestinian resolution at the United Nations,” describing it as “another unilateral Palestinian move which undermines the basic principles for resolving the conflict and may harm any possibility for a future process. The Palestinians want to replace negotiations with unilateral steps. They are again using the United Nations to attack Israel.”

Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on November 28, 2022. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: GPO/jns.org

Prayer Focus
Beseech the Lord to touch the hearts of world leaders as they read this impassioned plea from Lapid. Pray that Israel’s friends will indeed behave as such and stand in their support, doing whatever they can to keep this resolution from passing.

Scripture

They have said, “Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation, that the name of Israel may be remembered no more.”


- Psalm 83:4

UN Refuses to Scrap One-sided Anti-Israel Exhibition

by Daniel Edelson ~ Ynetnews

The Security Council Chamber of the United Nations

Monday, 28 November 2022 | The United Nations [UN] is under fire for continuing to host an exhibition at its headquarters in New York that presents the Palestinian–Israeli conflict in an apparent, one-sided manner.

The Question of Palestine and the United Nations opened in 2020 and has become part of a tour taken by tourists visiting the headquarters. It expands on the UN’s history and some of the major issues facing the world today, including world hunger, weapons of mass destruction, climate change, genocide and more.

The part of the exhibition placed in front of the Security Council Chamber explains the history of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. However, it has no mention of the United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine (which recommended a partition of Mandatory Palestine but was refused by the Palestinians), 1948 Arab–Israeli War and terror attacks which took the lives of thousands of Israelis, including the intifadas  [uprisings] and the rocket attacks from Gaza.

The exhibition does include, however, images of Palestinian women faced with armed IDF [Israel Defense Forces] soldiers in the West Bank [Judea and Samaria], Palestinian children in Gaza heading to school with heavily-damaged buildings in the background, a crowded street in a Palestinian refugee camp and dozens of people leaning on the West Bank separation barrier.

The images are presented in tandem with the ruling of the International Court of Justice, saying, “The construction of the wall being built by Israel, the occupying power in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around east[ern] Jerusalem, is against international law.”

Alongside pictures of Palestinian refugees fleeing their homes during the aftermath of the War of Independence, a sign is placed, reading, “The State of Israel was founded in 1948. The Arab state—Palestine—wasn’t founded,” without adding further context or explanations.

A large tourist group stood in front of the exhibition this week and listened to the guide’s explanation. “Why won’t Israel allow the Palestinians to have a state?” A woman asked. The guide shrugged in response.

“Why don’t we get the same representation in the UN headquarters?” A woman from Taiwan asked, referring to the state’s conflict with China. The guide said the reason is likely due to the UN “seeing Palestine as a unique issue.”

The guide added that the exhibition is not a mandatory part of the tour, but that “most guides think it’s important.” According to him, he is careful every time he stops there due to the issue being controversial. “I knew people would remark on the exhibition, so I studied it at home ahead of time, and I’m ready for people’s charged emotions on the subject.”

Another, more seasoned guide said that you can’t pass by the exhibition due to its central location. “It’ll be weird to pass by such a large exhibition without saying something about it.”

The decision to stage the exhibit was taken at the UN General Assembly in 2020, as part of the “information plan on the Palestinian question.” Its location was allegedly chosen due to many discussions on the conflict being held at the Security Council Chamber.

The exhibit is the only one in the headquarters presenting a political conflict, and since it was approved in the General Assembly, it cannot be removed with the same ease as other exhibits, despite countless appeals to do so.

“It irks me too, even as someone who isn’t an Israeli,” an official at the headquarters said. “The only way to scrap the exhibition is via a vote in the General Assembly.”

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) is also mentioned in the exhibit as a body acting for “1.6 million Palestinians, 33% of people in the occupied territories, are food insecure. Most of them lack water, with the worst crisis being in Gaza.”

The exhibition also mentioned Israel’s military operations in Gaza, without any explanations as to why these campaigns were needed in the first place.

Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan said: “Nothing shows the discrimination against Israel in the UN more than this skewed exhibition. Its placement near the Security Council Chamber is done to—allegedly—showcase an issue of worldly importance, despite the fact that many other more worrying issues exist in the world.”

”The exhibit’s placement next to one dedicated to the Holocaust proves it.”

In response to Ynet’s inquiry on the exhibit, the UN said: “The location for the exhibition was chosen due to its connection to the Security Council Chamber, where the issue is often debated on. The decision to present the exhibit was taken by the UN General Assembly as part of an information initiative on the Palestinian question.”

It added: “The exhibit is one of many seen during the tour, which includes exhibitions on the Holocaust and the Declaration of the Rights of Man. The exhibition isn’t mandatory. We receive praise and complaints about the exhibitions, as we do with every other exhibit at the headquarters.

Source: (This article originally published by Ynetnews on November 27, 2022. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Ron Cogswell/commons.wikimedia.org

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Cry out to the Lord for the removal of this outrageously prejudicial exhibition at the UN. Pray that there will be continuing pressure from all quarters until the exhibition is dismantled. Also pray that more and more guides will make the decision to simply skip it since it isn’t mandatory.

Scripture

As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the LORD is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him.


- Psalm 18:30

Herzog Meets Latvian Counterpart, Hails Three Decades of Bilateral Ties

by JNS

Israeli President Isaac Herzog hosts his Latvian counterpart Egils Levits at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem.

Tuesday, 29 November 2022 | Israeli President Isaac Herzog on Monday met with his Latvian counterpart, Egils Levits, at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem.

Speaking at a press conference, Herzog hailed the “shared values” and “common interests” underpinning bilateral ties between the two countries, which he said were “natural allies.”

“We are extremely happy to have you, because we are two natural allies, Mr. President. In the 30 years since our two nations established bilateral relations, we have built a warm partnership based on shared values and common interests,” said Herzog.

Herzog noted that Israel is home to many Jews of Latvian descent, some of whom, he said, had left “an incredible mark” on Latvian history.

“Israel places great importance on continuing to enhance and deepen our bilateral relations with Latvia as well as all three Baltic states,” he continued. “We look forward to using this visit as an opportunity to discuss avenues to increase our partnership, with a focus on trade and commerce, joint scientific research and academic collaboration.”

Herzog also noted the passing by the parliament in Riga in February of a bill seeking to provide compensation for unrecovered Jewish property lost during the Holocaust, and funding for the country’s Jewish community.

The Law on the Compensation of Goodwill to the Latvian Jewish Community approved US $40 million over the course of 10 years in support for Latvia’s Jewish institutions and cultural projects, and for social and material assistance to Holocaust survivors.

Levits thanked the Israeli president for receiving him on his first official visit to the Jewish state, noting the significance of the timing of his visit.

“Thank you, Mr. President, for organizing and receiving me for my first official visit in Israel. It is very important to have this state visit for our bilateral relations, because this year is the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between our states,” he said. However, he continued, “Of course the ties between our nations are much historically deeper and longer.”

The Israeli president along with First Lady Michal Herzog were scheduled to host a state dinner on Monday evening in honor of Levits and his wife.

Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on November 28, 2022. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Amos Ben-Gershom/GPO/jns.org

Prayer Focus
Praise the Lord for the wonderful relations that exist between these two countries. Pray that President Levitz and his wife will return to Latvia having had an excellent visit. Also ask the Lord to bless this nation that has actually passed legislation securing restitution for unrecovered Jewish property lost during the Holocaust.

Scripture

And you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you.


- Genesis 12:2b–3a

Iran Sentences Four to Death for Cooperating with the ‘Zionist Regime’

by JNS

Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei delivers an address.

Thursday, 1 December 2022 | Four Iranians on Wednesday were sentenced to death for allegedly cooperating with Israel’s Mossad [Israeli intelligence agency] spy agency, according to a Reuters report citing Iran’s semi-official Mehr News Agency.

Those accused were punished “for the crime of cooperating with the intelligence services of the Zionist regime and for kidnapping,” said the report.

“With guidance from the Zionist intelligence service, this network of thugs was stealing and destroying private and public property, kidnapping people and obtaining fake confessions,” it added.

In October, Tehran announced it had arrested 10 persons accused of working for Israel, Reuters reported at the time.

Also last month, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei accused Israel and the United States of orchestrating the protests taking place throughout the country.

Khamenei strongly backed the regime’s security forces, which are repressing the demonstrations, and claimed that the unrest, sparked by the death on September 16 of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini while in the custody of Iran’s morality police, was not being caused by “ordinary Iranians.”

Iranian police together with the Basij security forces have killed more than 400 Iranians and arrested thousands of others, according to rights groups.

Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on November 30, 2022. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Channel 1 (Iran) via MEMRI/jns.org

Prayer Focus
Pray for strength and courage for those who are being falsely accused and arrested by Iran’s repressive government and plead with the Lord for a regime change. Pray that the protests taking place across the country will actually be successful in fomenting change. Also pray for international pressure that will bring an end to Iran’s reign of terror.

Scripture

Do justice to the afflicted and needy. Deliver the poor and needy; free them from the hand of the wicked.


- Psalm 82:3b–4

Israeli Flag in Space as NASA Shoots for the Moon

by Yaron Drukman ~ Ynetnews

The suits of the mannequins on the Artemis I show the flags of Germany, Israel and the US.

Tuesday, 29 November 2022 | The deep-space flight via Orion spacecraft in the mission called Artemis I, which was launched just less than two weeks ago from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, is currently orbiting the moon with two mannequins aboard—both sporting an Israeli flag.

If successful, the experiment may lay the foundation for sending astronauts to the moon within the next few years, and even contribute to studies on humans’ long-term presence in space.

The crew aboard the spacecraft consists of mannequins Zohar and Helga. Zohar is wearing an AstroRad radiation protection vest developed by the Israeli company StemRad. The vest is meant to protect astronauts from harmful radiation and cosmic rays in space.

On Monday, NASA published photos of Zohar and Helga in space. In the picture, Helga’s suit shows the flags of Germany, Israel, and the US.

On the Israel Space Agency account, Zohar tweeted in Hebrew: “Hi Helga and Commander Moonikin Campos. I already see the Moon. Come for a selfie?”

“Are you ready? Smile and say hello!” the NASA Artemis Mission account replied, after which the official account of the German space agency DLR replied, “Hallo, shalom!”

“This is my favorite moment so far,” Zohar replied, including a cartoon of the three taking a selfie with the Moon in the background.

SpaceIL, the Israeli organization that was part of the Beresheet lunar probe launch, addressed the chain conversation: “Hi Zohar, Helga and Moonikin—we took a selfie on the Moon first!” Attached to the Hebrew Tweet was the famous image of the Beresheet probe.

The NASA Artemis Mission account replied, “We’re having a lot of fun here. Wait until you see our pictures from the orbit around the Moon!”

SpaceIL answered: “We hope you reserved a parking spot for us, we’ll be on our way soon. In 2025, two Beresheet 2 landers will land on both sides of the Moon!”

Source: (This article was originally published by Ynetnews on November 28, 2022. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: NASA/Frank Michaux/commons.wikimedia.org

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Pray for the success of this mission and thank God for Israel’s involvement. Pray that it will strengthen ties between all the three countries involved.

Scripture

“Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out.”


- Deuteronomy 28:6

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