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Fearing Holiday Season Terror Attacks, Israeli Police Bolster Presence
by Meir Turgeman ~ Ynetnews
Tuesday, 19 September 2023 | Israel Police and security forces bolstered their presence around the country as law enforcement reported on Monday that warnings of imminent terrorist attacks preceding the tense holidays have increased by 15% compared to the previous couple of months.
There have been three attempted attacks since Tuesday morning: two shootings targeting an IDF [Israel Defense Forces] position in the West Bank [Judea and Samaria] and a military patrol vehicle in the HaGilboa region, as well as an attempted stabbing near greater Jerusalem that was successfully thwarted.
Deputy Commissioner Sigal Bar-Zvi, chief of the police’s Operations Division said the police are collaborating with other security agencies, including Shin Bet [Israeli internal security organization] and the IDF, to conduct joint assessments of the current security situation to address the recent spike in alerts leading up to the Jewish holiday season.
Bar-Zvi clarified that the uptick in incitement to terror and attack warnings has led the police to work closely with Border Police. The focus is on increasing security in areas particularly vulnerable to attacks—including places of worship and recreational centers across the country—to ensure a safe and peaceful holiday season.
The police are calling on civilians who hold a firearm permit to carry their weapons at all times during the holiday season for self-defense purposes. “A large number of people tend to attend prayers at synagogues and organized prayer centers. We anticipate an increase in the number of warnings leading up to Yom Kippur [Day of Atonement]…Therefore, we urge worshippers who possess a licensed firearm to bring it with them to prayers.”
The police are increasingly concerned about the growing efforts of terrorist organizations to manipulate and encourage Palestinian youth to carry out attacks in Israel and the West Bank. To that end, terror groups are using social media to spread disinformation and incite violence. Bar-Zvi clarified that the police closely monitors online posts and actively track instances of incitement.
Since the beginning of the year, there have been over 130 attacks and attempted attacks, resulting in the loss of 31 lives. This marks a significant increase compared to the same period in 2022, when the number of incidents was only half of the current figure, despite that year also experiencing notable terrorist activity.
On the morning before Rosh HaShanah [Jewish New Year] last Friday, an explosive device was set off in Tel Aviv’s Yarkon Park. There were no reports of injuries or property damage. After the holiday, a senior police official informed Ynet and its sister publication Yedioth Ahronoth that they had received numerous warnings about potential attacks. Highlighting the need for heightened awareness, the official assured that law enforcement would maintain the utmost level of preparedness, extending beyond Jerusalem to the entire country.
The official further highlighted that the motivation to carry out attacks within Israel was evident on the eve of the holiday. It is the working assumption of the police that those who seek to undermine the sense of security and disrupt the holiday will persist in their attempts, even if they were unsuccessful on Rosh HaShanah.
Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published by Ynetnews on September 18, 2023. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)
Photo Credit: Mendel Geisinsky/wikimedia.org
Photo License: Wikimedia
Ask the Lord for His protection to surround the nation of Israel and Jewish people everywhere during this, the holiest season of the year. Pray for the security forces as they work to protect the country from increasing terrorist activity, and cry out to Him that every attempt to disrupt the holiday will be thwarted. Also pray that God will comfort His people who have been injured or are mourning the loss of loved ones during this season.
Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.
Iran–Russia Ties Strengthen: The Implications for Israel
by Yaakov Lappin ~ JNS
Tuesday, 19 September 2023 | Russia’s growing dependence on Iran for firepower in its war against Ukraine has broken the boundaries on cooperation between the two countries, according to a former Israel Defense Forces [IDF] Military Intelligence officer.
Danny (Dennis) Citrinowicz, a senior research fellow at the Tel Aviv-based Institute for National Security Studies, told JNS that in recent years Russia and Iran had developed “significant” relations, which intensified due to their joint military actions in Syria to save Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. Still, he added, there were unspoken limits to these relations, mainly rooted in the two countries’ opposing interests in some areas, but also due to historical baggage. The war in Ukraine “broke the glass ceiling,” he said, “and today we see unprecedented cooperation between the two countries.”
Citrinowicz spoke a few days after Mossad [Israeli intelligence agency] Director David Barnea warned on Sunday at the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism’s World Summit, held at Reichman University in Herzliya, that “the first factor feeding Iran’s over-inflated ego is the assistance it has been giving Russia through the sale of UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles].”
In an extraordinary statement, Barnea then added, “We know that the Iranians were planning to sell Russia short-range and long-range missiles too, but this deal has been interdicted. I have a feeling that more deals will be interdicted soon. We are concerned that the Russians will meet Iran’s demands to supply it with weapons and raw materials that will put Israel at risk.”
While Citrinowicz cautioned against calling Russia–Iran ties a “”real military alliance,” he said that there was “no doubt” that cooperation between the two countries had risen “very significantly” following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
So much so, he said, that “Russia is developing a dependence on Iran, which will only deepen due to the ongoing situation in Ukraine.”
This, he noted, could lead Iran to increase its demands of Russia in various fields, including the military field. “In light of this, we are likely to see a deepening of this relationship, advancing issues we haven’t seen discussed between the two countries before,” said Citrinowicz, who served for 25 years in a variety of command positions in the IDF’s Military Intelligence Directorate.
Noting that the Iranian government under President Ebrahim Raisi is oriented to the East, tightening cooperation with Russia aligns with this policy, said Citrinowicz.
“It should be emphasized that the collaboration is not just military, but also political–economic,” he stated, noting that Russia is helping Iran join BRICS (a grouping of the world economies of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa). “Unfortunately, this will only deepen,” he assessed.
In the Syrian context, the US government has publicly accused Russia of acting against the American presence in the country due to Moscow’s desire to please Tehran, he said.
It is possible that Russia may try to limit Israel’s actions in Syria, where it targets Iranian entrenchment efforts, to please Iran as well, he warned.
While Israel focuses on the Iranian aspect of the Tehran–Moscow relationship, Washington has also drawn attention to the Russian side.
“The question is how much longer Israel can continue its current policy and focus only on Iran, while also maintaining its relations with Moscow,” said Citrinowicz. “The stronger the relationship between Iran and Russia becomes, the harder it will be for Israel to maintain its stance,” he added.
Commenting on Barnea’s speech, he added that generally, “Intelligence exposures are meant to signal to relevant players that we know exactly what’s happening behind the scenes, so they’d better stop their actions.”
The West and particularly the United States have been doing this with regard to the war in Ukraine as well, he added, in the hope that releasing information will be enough to make Russia and Iran rethink their steps.
“The problem is that the message is not always received, as evidenced by the fact that in July 2022, [US National Security Advisor Jake] Sullivan exposed the military cooperation between Russia and Iran in the context of UAVs,” he said. “Did it influence the depth of Iranian assistance to Russia? I’m not sure,” he added.
During Sunday’s speech, Barnea noted that in October, the surface-to-surface missile embargo on Iran, agreed upon as part of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action nuclear agreement, will be lifted, although Iran is actually already breaching it.
“It is clear that Iran will take advantage of this to rapidly and inexpensively procure everything it needs to manufacture ever larger quantities of increasingly high quality missiles and UAVs,” he cautioned.
Barnea called for the creation of a united front, as extensive as possible, of countries willing to enact their own legislation based on the principles of the missile embargo.
“The international community must stand firm against Iran, refuse to remain silent in the face of its negative conduct, and act to restrain it. We must use a variety of tools and methods against its nuclear program, its regional policies, and its terror activity,” he stated.
Nevertheless, the fact that Iran has been able to deliver over 1,000 UAVs to Russia, as well as other military equipment, means it will be impossible to fully isolate the Islamic Republic at this stage.
In addition to the likely technological knowledge and experience that Russia is likely to share with Iran, Tehran will receive Russian backing in the United Nations Security Council through veto backing in any vote that targets Iran.
Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on September 19, 2023. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)
Photo Credit: Mehr News Agency/jns.org
Cry out to the Lord for His intervention to destroy the growing relationship between Russia and Iran. Pray that Russia will continue to turn a blind eye as Israel battles to destroy Iran’s growing entrenchment in Syria, and that Moscow will simply be unable to meet Tehran’s demands for weapons and “raw materials that will put Israel at risk.”
“…Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which He will accomplish for you today…The LORD will fight for you.”
Israeli Aid Team in Morocco Saves Lives
by Pesach Benson ~ JNS
Tuesday, 19 September 2023 | Israeli United Hatzalah volunteers working in earthquake-stricken Morocco have pivoted from search and rescue to treating victims.
In a phone call with the Tazpit Press Service from the rural Moroccan village of Askouen, Hatzalah’s director of French operations, Samuel Arrouas, said, “Now we’re treating people who, for example…can’t get the medicines they need.”
United Hatzalah is an Israeli non-profit emergency medical services organization.
At least 3,000 people have died since a 6.8 magnitude earthquake struck Morocco on September 8. The quake, whose epicenter was near Marrakech, devastated rural villages where thousands of homes collapsed, trapping people in the rubble.
Within 24 hours, a Hatzalah delegation was on the ground, involved in search and rescue operations.
Arrouas said the delegation has been traveling around rural Morocco, setting up a field clinic in small communities and treating people. Locations were chosen in consultation with local community leaders.
“We’re seeing people who didn’t have a lot, [and] who lost everything,” said Arrouas. “People with diabetes or high blood pressure who lost their medicine. People who broke a leg and now it’s infected, or they’re dehydrated. We’re treating on average 150–200 people a day.”
Arrouas said that when there’s free time, the volunteers spend time with Moroccan children, drawing pictures, passing out balloons and distributing toys.
“It’s like they’ve never seen toys in rural areas,” said Arrouas. “Most of the kids don’t go to school. They start working at a young age, and now they’ve lost their parents, and Israelis are passing out bread and playing with them.”
He told TPS about one eight-year-old boy who received a piece of candy from another humanitarian delegation and shared the treat with the Israelis “as a thank you” gesture.
“The Moroccans love Israel. They’re happy we’re there,” he said.
The aid work also meant spending Rosh HaShanah, the Jewish New Year, in the Atlas Mountains, away from families back in Israel. But saving lives “comes before everything,” Arrouas stressed.
Asked how the situation compares to other disaster areas he’s worked in, Arrouas said Morocco’s earthquake was “different” from the quake in February that killed more than 67,000 people in Turkey and Syria.
“In Turkey, buildings were higher and people were buried in the rubble for a long time,” he said. “Here, the buildings aren’t as solid, but it was easier to get people out because the homes were simpler.”
Israel and Morocco normalized relations in December 2020 as part of the US-brokered Abraham Accords. An estimated one million Israelis are either from Morocco or are of Moroccan descent. Approximately 3,000 Jews currently live in the North African country.
Source: (This article was originally published by Jewish News Syndicate on September 19, 2023. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)
Photo Credit: Yoav Dudkevitch/TPS/jns.org
Pray for Morocco as they deal with the aftermath of the devastating earthquake that struck earlier this month. Thank God for the Israeli emergency medical volunteers that were some of the first aid workers on the ground, doing search and rescue operations. Pray that they will be able to continue the overwhelming task of treating 150–200 people a day, and that by their presence, Moroccans whose lives have been shattered—particularly the children—will find a sense of peace and recognition that God is their hope.
Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me; You will stretch out Your hand…The LORD will perfect that which concerns me; Your mercy, O LORD, endures forever; do not forsake the works of Your hands.
Saudi Crown Prince: ‘Every Day We Get Closer to an Agreement with Israel’
by Itamar Eichner and Moran Azoulay ~ Ynetnews
Thursday, 21 September 2023 | The tripartite agreement between the US, Saudi Arabia and Israel is getting closer, and for the first time everyone is saying so publicly.
“Every day we are getting closer to an agreement with Israel,” Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said Wednesday in an interview with Fox News. According to him, addressing the Palestinian issue is important for reaching normalization. He also mentioned the nuclear issue, saying: “If Iran has nuclear weapons, we must have them too.”
The interview, which will be broadcast in its entirety later on Wednesday night, was filmed before the statements of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President of the United States Joe Biden during their meeting in New York. In an unusual move, Netanyahu linked the normalization with Saudi Arabia to “peace with the Palestinians” in the statement.
“For us, the Palestinian issue is very important. We need to solve that part,” the crown prince said when asked during the Fox interview what it would take to get a normalization agreement.
“We got to see where we go. We hope that will reach a place that it will ease the life of the Palestinians, get Israel as a player in the Middle East,” he said, speaking in English.
In the conversation between Biden and Netanyahu, the prime minister said that Israel and the US see eye to eye on the Saudi nuclear issue, that there is opposition to giving Saudi Arabia the ability to enrich uranium independently, but they will allow it to have a civilian nuclear program.
According to a senior political official, the main point of the meeting between Biden and Netanyahu “dealt with the question of how to advance the normalization and peace agreement with Saudi Arabia. Not if, but how. We went into a lot of details. There is a desire to overcome the obstacles and we do it by working together. There is no other way.”
He added that “there is an absolute identity between the positions of Israel and the US in relation to the issue of civilian nuclear power in Saudi Arabia.”
Regarding the Palestinians’ connection to the agreement, the source said that “Netanyahu told Biden that the Palestinians are part of the process, but they will not have a veto over it,” and expanded that Israel strives for “an agreement that both countries can live with and pass the threshold of maintaining Israeli security.”
Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published by Ynetnews on September 20, 2023. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)
Photo Credit: The Presidential Press and Information Office./wikimedia.org
Photo License: Wikimedia
Continue to pray for the ongoing three-way negotiations between Israel, Saudi Arabia and the US. Pray that Israel’s leaders will have great wisdom and courage as they deal with extremely sensitive issues. Cry out to the Lord that Israel will be unyielding in its demand for "an agreement that both countries can live with and pass the threshold of maintaining Israeli security."
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”
Netanyahu to UN: Halt ‘Baseless’ Criticism of Israel
Thursday, 21 September 2023 | Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and António Guterres, secretary-general of the United Nations, met on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly on Wednesday in New York City.
The Israeli leader stressed Iran’s role in destabilizing the Middle East and the world. He also said that he hopes normalization efforts with Saudi Arabia will succeed and predicted that the economic corridor from India to Europe, which passes through Israel, will “contribute to strengthening the global economy,” per a readout from Netanyahu’s office.
Netanyahu also “demanded” that Guterres “change the attitude of the organization’s institutions towards the State of Israel,” according to the readout, “and said that it was untenable that while major changes for the better were taking place in the entire world and in the Middle East that the UN was unaffected and remained steadfast in its hostility to Israel.”
Netanyahu told Guterres that “the time has come for the UN to condemn Iranian subversion and Palestinian terrorism against innocent civilians, and to refrain from its baseless criticism of Israel,” the readout added.
Photo Credit: Avi Ohayon (GPO)./jns.org
Photo License: JNS
Pray that Prime Minister Netanyahu’s remarks to the leader of the UN will not fall on deaf ears. Pray that UN Secretary-general Guterres will indeed “change the attitude of the organization’s institutions towards the State of Israel.” Pray for an awakening at the UN that will bring an end to that body’s outrageous anti-Semitism and ongoing hostility toward Israel.
“Cursed be everyone who curses you, and blessed be those who bless you!”
Israel Seizes 16 Tons of Gaza-bound Rocket-making Material
by Pesach Benson ~ JNS
Monday, 18 September 2023 | Customs inspectors at Ashdod Port impounded 16 tons of rocket-making material in July, it was cleared for publication on Thursday.
Ashdod Customs and the National Cargo Inspection Center at Customs detained for inspection two containers weighing 54 tons that were supposed to contain sacks of gypsum. The containers, which arrived from Turkey, were intended to continue on to the Gaza Strip.
During the inspection, customs inspectors became suspicious that some of the material in the containers was not gypsum.
The material was taken to a laboratory for testing. It was then determined that 16 tons of ammonium chloride had been hidden among the gypsum.
Gaza terrorist groups use ammonium chloride, a dual-use substance, to manufacture rockets. Ammonium chloride mixed with fuel can be used as a rocket propellant.
Sixteen tons of ammonium chloride would produce enough propellant for thousands of rockets.
Since Hamas seized control of Gaza in 2007, Israel and Egypt have enforced a blockade of the Strip to prevent weapons smuggling. As a result, terrorist groups such as Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad have turned to producing their own rockets with Iranian assistance.
Earlier this month, the IDF [Israel Defense Forces] foiled an attempt to smuggle “high-quality” explosives from the Gaza Strip into Israel in a shipment of clothing.
The smuggling attempt was made at the Kerem Shalom crossing, which is located at the southeastern corner of the Strip, close to the Egyptian border.
And last week, Israeli security forces thwarted an attempt to smuggle explosives in the Jordan Valley area.
Soldiers from the IDF’s Bekaa and Valleys Brigade worked in cooperation with the Israel Police to locate a bag that contained six standard explosive charges.
The IDF said the explosives were found as part of its ongoing activity to prevent the smuggling of weapons for the use of terrorists into the State of Israel.
Source: (This article was originally published by Jewish News Syndicate on September 14, 2023. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)
Photo Credit: Israeli Tax Authority/jns.org
Praise God that the Israeli authorities discovered and impounded these tons of rocket-making material. Thank Him that the material never reached the hands of those whose intention it was to build rockets that would be used to murder and maim Israelis. Pray for Israel’s ongoing efforts to prevent the smuggling of weapons, explosives and raw materials into the hands of terrorists.
The God of my strength, in whom I will trust; my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge; my Savior, You save me from violence.
UNESCO: Jericho Ruins a ‘World Heritage Site in Palestine’
Monday, 18 September 2023 | The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) voted on Sunday to recognize ancient ruins near Jericho as a “World Heritage Site in Palestine.”
The Tell es-Sultan site contains prehistoric ruins, including evidence of one of humanity’s first-known villages.
Jericho, one of the oldest continually inhabited cities in the world, is located in an area of Judea currently under full Palestinian Authority [PA] control.
Israel’s Foreign Ministry said the move constituted “another sign of the Palestinians’ cynical use of UNESCO and politicization of the organization,” and vowed “to change the distorted decisions that have been made.”
The PA, which gained non-member observer state status at the United Nations in 2012, welcomed the designation, with PA leader Mahmoud Abbas stating that the decision “testifies to the authenticity and history of the Palestinian people.
“The State of Palestine is committed to preserving this unique site for the benefit of mankind,” he added.
The vote came as an Israeli delegation attended the UN World Heritage Committee meeting, marking the first-ever public appearance by Israeli officials in Saudi Arabia.
Prof. Eugene Kontorovich, director of international law at the Jerusalem-based Kohelet Policy Forum, said the UNESCO move “ethnically cleanses Jews from the history of ancient Jericho, even as the Jews worldwide were busy celebrating Rosh HoShanah [Jewish New Year], one of the holiest days of the year.
“[UNESCO] also turned a blind eye to the PA’s ongoing destruction of Second Temple-era antiquities in the area. The United States had quit the organization over its chronic antisemitism and rejoined just a few months ago, which is obviously a mistake,” Kontorovich added.
The Biden administration in June decided to rejoin UNESCO, after President Donald Trump withdrew Washington from the agency citing its anti-Israel bias.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced in October 2017 that Israel would withdraw its membership in the organization at the same time as the US
Dan Illouz, a Likud parliamentarian and member of the Knesset’s [Parliament’s] Land of Israel Caucus, earlier this month sent a letter to UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay asking her to prevent the development.
“The Palestinian Authority works systematically to erase all ties of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel,” Illouz wrote.
A decision to assign Jericho to “Palestine” would “constitute a blatant interference by UNESCO in a conflict in which it is not its role to intervene. Jericho is first and foremost a city of biblical significance. Blurring this fact is an insult to millions of Jews and Christians all over the world. It is our duty to stop the PA’s subversion and insist on our right to our land,” he continued.
In 2016, the UNESCO World Heritage Committee registered the Tomb of the Patriarchs, located in Hebron, in the name of the “State of Palestine” on its “List of World Heritage in Danger.”
UNESCO passed 47 resolutions in 2009–2014, 46 of which were directed against Israel and one of which criticized Syria.
Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on September 18, 2023. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)
Photo Credit: Regavim/jns.org
Pray that UNESCO would somehow be stopped in its campaign to “ethnically cleanse” the Jewish people from their own history as “the Palestinian Authority works systematically to erase all ties of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel.” Pray that Israel’s Foreign Ministry will be successful in its attempts to change the distorted decisions that UNESCO has made.
“The LORD will cause your enemies who rise against you to be defeated before your face; they shall come out against you one way and flee before you seven ways.”
Paraguayan Leader ‘Very Proud’ to Move Embassy Back to Jerusalem ‘As Soon as Possible’
by Joshua Spurlock ~ The Middle East Update
Wednesday, 20 September 2023 | Paraguay President Santiago Peña on Tuesday publicly reconfirmed a desire he’s had for years: to move the Paraguayan Embassy to Israel back to Jerusalem. And he wants to do it soon.
“Almost three years ago I visited Jerusalem,” Peña said during a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the United Nations in New York. “I was just a politician dreaming about a different Paraguay. I said to yourself in that meeting that Paraguay will reopen and will put the embassy where it belongs, in the city of Jerusalem.
“So I’m very proud, Mr. Prime Minister, to make this announcement and make it possible as soon as possible.”
The South American nation had previously informed Israel of the move, which comes five years after Paraguay undid a prior embassy move to Jerusalem by relocating it back to Tel Aviv. In response, Israel closed its embassy in Paraguay’s capital, a move Netanyahu said they would be reversing this year as well.
“The most important thing we’re going to do right away is to reopen the Paraguayan Embassy in Jerusalem and to reopen the Israeli Embassy in Asuncion,” said Netanyahu in a press release. Once the move occurs, Paraguay will be the sixth nation to have its embassy in Jerusalem, joining the United States, Guatemala, Honduras, Kosovo and Papua New Guinea.
On Tuesday, Netanyahu added the embassy move would be “alongside a general plan to lift up our relations in many ways.”
One key way Paraguay can express its “friendly relations” with Israel is by showing support for Israel in international forums, Netanyahu said. While he didn’t specify which forums, the UN—where he was speaking with Peña—would be a notable place to start. In turn, Netanyahu said Israel would be “pleased” to assist Paraguay in other fields, particularly the cyber realm.
The embassy discussion came as the two nations are celebrating the 75th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between them. In the Israeli summary of Netanyahu’s comments with Peña, he said he would “continue to lead a strategic change in Israel’s relations with the countries of Latin America” and added he plans to lead Israel–Paraguay relations “to new heights.”
Peña also has plans to advance relations between the countries. “Our history brought us together; the present brings us together; but the future will have us closer [than] we’ve been ever before,” the South American leader said.
Source: (This article was originally published by The Middle East Update on September 19, 2023. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today.)
Photo Credit: Professorsolo2015/Wikimedia.org
Photo License: Wikimedia
Praise the Lord for Paraguay’s decision to return its embassy to Jerusalem. Pray that the decision will be implemented soon and will be the impetus for other nations to do the same. Pray that Paraguay will become a true friend of Israel, particularly in the international arena, by showing its support at the UN. Also ask the Lord to bless that nation as they bless Israel.
“I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
Israeli Woman Who Grew up on Gaza Border Returns as Soldier to Defend It
by Matan Tzuri ~ Ynetnews
Wednesday, 20 September 2023 | The years before the Iron Dome era were challenging and complex on the border with Gaza. Residents in southern Israel endured relentless rocket fire and mortar attacks, making their lives unbearable. The incessant bombardments from the Gaza Strip, coupled with the lack of adequate defense measures forced many residents, especially families with young children, to abandon their homes in the south.
Shahar Meirovich from Kibbutz Miflasim was only in the second grade when her parents made the difficult decision to leave due to the dire security situation. “It was a very painful move, but the reality was just terrible. We felt like sitting ducks. It was only a matter of time before we would be hit,” recalls Niva, Shahar’s mother.
“Shahar was born into this reality, and even after moving to a new home, she still carries the scars. It’s essential to understand that during that time, there were no fortified structures, no peaceful days and there were no shelters even in schools. Nowadays, things are different in many ways, but unfortunately the security situation hasn’t improved,” she adds.
In January 2008, during the peak of the security tension in the Gaza Strip, Shahar participated in a photography project by Yedioth Ahronoth. As part of the project, residents of Sderot and the Gaza periphery documented their daily lives. Shahar was photographed in her family’s bomb shelter, just six months before the family decided to leave the kibbutz [collective community] and move to the Hula Valley.
“Shahar loved the place where she was born, and the transition was tough for us. We have family and friends in the Gaza enclave, and we never truly detached,” adds Niva. “Shahar’s initial response was, ‘Mom, we’re leaving the Gaza enclave, but Gaza won’t leave us.'”
Indeed, like a fulfilled prophecy, 22-year-old Shahar returned to the Gaza periphery this week. However, she did so wearing the rank of lieutenant after completing the Israeli Navy Captain course. She now serves as the commander of the Dvora, a fast patrol boat in the Israeli Navy, tasked with safeguarding the maritime border with the Gaza Strip.
“I always dreamed of having a role on the maritime border with Gaza. I have vivid memories of my childhood in the Gaza periphery, and there were tough moments due to the security situation. For example, they used to tell us in kindergarten to hug the wall if there was a siren because there were no bomb shelters,” she recalls. “I promised I would come back, and I’m glad to protect the home that will always be mine, my friends, and my family. The Gaza periphery and its residents are a part of me.”
Photo Credit: Israel Defense Forces /wikimedia.org
Photo License: Wikimedia
Thank God for the story of Shahar Meirovich. May her courage and dedication be an inspiration to people throughout Israel and the world. Pray that her career as a commander in the Israeli navy will be exemplary and her efforts on behalf of the Gaza area that she loves, successful in building toward peace and security for its residents.
You are my hiding place; You shall preserve me from trouble; You shall surround me with songs of deliverance.
Mahmoud Abbas, ‘You Are a Liar, a Hypocrite and Guilty of Genocide’
by Rabbi Leo Dee ~ Ynetnews
Thursday, 21 September 2023 | Mahmoud Abbas is the president of the Palestinian Authority that sponsored the brutal murder of my wife and daughters in April in the name of “Palestinian nationalism.”
In a recent speech, Mr. Abbas stated that Ashkenazi Jews are not descended from ancient Israelites but rather from an ancient Turkish people known as the Khazars.
I would like to applaud Mr. Abbas for this untruth, which can be easily disproved today by genetic analysis and reams of historical evidence.
But what interests me more is this question: “Why did he feel it necessary to make this statement at all?”
He stated this—as he did many other hateful lies in the past—for one reason and one reason only: Islam is at odds with Palestinian nationalism. Yes, he’s spent his life fighting an unwinnable theological battle with the Jewish people and this statement is a beautiful demonstration of the contradiction that his terror regime, and his close allies Hamas and Islamic Jihad, are proliferating every day.
The Quran states that the Children of Israel “settled in a blessed land (Israel)…” (10:93), thereby identifying Israel as the eternal ancestral homeland of the Jewish people.
The Quran then commands the Jewish people to follow the Torah [Gen.–Deut.] strictly, stating, “O Children of Israel, remember My blessing which I bestowed upon you, and fulfil My covenant that I may fulfil your covenant, and be in awe of Me [alone].” (2:40).
Interestingly, since over 30% of the 613 Torah commandments are connected to Temple worship, the Quran is effectively imploring Jews to rebuild the Temple. In fact, the Quran explicitly mentions the original building of the Temple by King Solomon: “They made for him whatever he wished of sanctuaries (of the Temple), and statues, and basins as [large as] great watering—troughs, and cauldrons firmly anchored,” (34:13) demonstrating its understanding of this critical element of how we Jews fulfil our covenant with God.
The Quran finally promises that Jews will return to the land of Israel in the “latter days” (17:104).
To Abbas, if modern Israelis really were the original “Children of Israel” mentioned in the Quran, then they would clearly have every right, under Islamic law, to reclaim their land and rebuild their Temple. His only challenge to this truth appears to be his assertion that Ashkenazi Jews—approximately one third of the Israeli population—do not derive from the original Israelite bloodstock. His claims are laughable to any basic, non-Palestinian analysis, but serve to draw our attention to the real issue: Abbas’s holy book defends the right of the Jewish people to return to our land and to rebuild our Temple.
Thank you, Mahmoud, for this enlightening insight, which your bizarre accusation has drawn our attention to. The Quran is supportive of religious Zionism and even condemns the killing of Jews. In a direct quote from the Mishnah [first postbiblical written recording of Jewish oral tradition] in Sanhedrin, the Quran states: “Whoever kills a person it is considered as if he killed all of mankind” (5:32). By your own religion, Mahmoud, you are a liar, a hypocrite and guilty of genocide.
So, Mr. Abbas, where do you go from here?
Photo Credit: Kremlin.ru/wikimedia.org
Photo License: Wikimedia
Pray for Rabbi Dee as he continues to mourn the loss of his wife and daughters. Pray also that millions around the world will read his open letter to Abbas and that the truth of his words will be revealed to the nations. Pray that Abbas’s hypocrisy will be exposed and that he will be held accountable for his words and actions that are responsible for inciting terror that has resulted in countless deaths and injuries during his years in office.
“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.
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