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Friday, July 30, 2021

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Every week, we post seven to ten news stories from Israel with a suggested prayer focus and scripture for each one, guiding readers how to pray for Israel’s most urgent needs. This Prayer Update is also sent to over 18,000 subscribers every Friday by e-mail. Please contact us at intl.office@bridgesforpeace.com if you would like to receive this Prayer Update by e-mail.

Deceptive Nature of Current Quiet in Judea and Samaria

by Yaakov Lappin ~ JNS

IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi visits Tapuach Junction, south of Nablus, on May 3, 2021.

Thursday, 29 July 2021 | A recent mass arrest of Hamas members in the West Bank [Judea and Samaria] offers a glimpse into the deceptive nature of the ongoing quiet in the area and how hard the terror organization based in the Gaza Strip is working to puncture the relative calm.

At any given time, Hamas is trying to set up tens of terror cells, and only the determined efforts by the Israeli defense establishment prevents these efforts from maturing into waves of shootings and bombings against Israelis.

Earlier this month, the Israel Defense Forces [IDF] and Shin Bet intelligence agency announced the arrest of dozens of Hamas operatives in the village of Turmus Aya, north of Ramallah [the de facto capital of the Palestinian Authority]. Assisted by the Border Police, the arrest operation enabled Israel to break up a Hamas student cell at Birzeit University near Ramallah.

Some of those apprehended “were directly involved in terror activities, including money transfers, incitement and the organization of Hamas activities,” the IDF said in a statement. The suspects were taken into custody for questioning.

These results were made possible by high-quality intelligence, operational preparations and tight cooperation between multiple Israeli security organizations in the West Bank. The arrests are merely the tip of the iceberg.

A broad campaign by the Israeli security forces against Hamas occurs around the clock, mostly behind the scenes, and it is the central factor behind the relative quiet. The Palestinian Authority [PA], which is directly threatened by Hamas’s activities, has an interest in the coordination it conducts with the IDF; the official resumption of this coordination in November 2020 means more effective repression of Hamas’s terror activities in the area.

Student cells in Palestinian universities form fertile ground for Hamas to spread its radical Islamist ideology and recruit ideological young people to the organization.

Hamas often disguises such recruitment programs as social-welfare activities. The Islamic student organizations, known locally as a Kutla [“bloc”], form a strategic recruitment mechanism for Hamas. The organization’s Gaza headquarters, as well as operatives in its overseas branches in Turkey and Lebanon, are often behind attempts to remotely set up West Bank terror cells, fund them, recruit more members, and eventually, activate them to conduct attacks against Israeli targets, including plots to conduct mass-casualty shootings and bombings in Israeli cities.

‘Paradigm Shift in Public Attitudes against the PA’

While Hamas is continually working “under the radar” to undermine stability in the West Bank [Judea and Samaria], the current timing of the arrests is of particular interest since the terror faction clearly recognizes a potential to improve its foothold in the West Bank due to the growing unpopularity of and ongoing power struggles within the Fatah-led PA. Hamas is committed to eventually toppling and replacing Fatah [leading secular Palestinian political party] as a ruling movement, as it did in Gaza in 2005. It remains “flexible” on how to do this—whether via ballot, elections or bullet, as occurred during the bloody Gaza coup against Fatah.

It is this objective of weakening Fatah that led Hamas to fire rockets at Jerusalem and southern Israel on May 10, sparking a destructive 11-day conflict with Israel. One of the key considerations behind Hamas’s choice to risk war was the idea that marketing itself as Jerusalem’s “genuine” defender would strengthen Hamas’s status at the expense of the PA in Palestinian public perception.

A recent opinion poll among Palestinians by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research found that Hamas made considerable progress towards this goal in its war with Fatah for Palestinian hearts and minds. The center stated that its report found a “semi-consensus that Hamas has won the May 2021 confrontation with Israel,” adding that this represents “a paradigm shift in public attitudes against the PA and its leadership and in favor of Hamas and armed struggle.”

The poll also found a two-third majority rejecting the decision by PA chief Mahmoud Abbas to postpone the Palestinian elections—a decision driven by the knowledge that a splintered Fatah was on its way to election defeat and that Hamas was en route to victory.

Meanwhile, Hamas’s efforts on the ground are occurring around the clock. In 2020, 430 significant terror attacks were thwarted by Israel in Jerusalem and the West Bank; in 2019, that number topped 500. The drop in attempts last year represents a temporary slowdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The current year shows no sign of letting up, and Hamas is encouraged by the weakness it identifies in the rival Palestinian ruling entity it wishes to replace.

These factors lead to the conclusion that the calm in the West Bank is highly deceptive. At the surface level, the quiet seems to be secure, but it rests on the ongoing ability of the Israeli defense establishment to successfully thwart Hamas terrorism recruitment and orchestration efforts, using top intelligence.

Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on July 28, 2021. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Sraya Diamant/Flash90/jns.org

Prayer Focus
Cry out to the Lord for the Israeli defense establishment. Pray that they will have strength, courage, clarity and discernment as they work to maintain quiet in Judea and Samaria, and that they will be successful in thwarting Hamas’s activities on every level. Pray that Hamas will not succeed in manipulating public opinion in their favor.

Scripture

The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; 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. I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised; so shall I be saved from my enemies.


- 2 Samuel 22:2–4

Report: Jordanian Intelligence Foils ISIS attack on IDF troops

by Neta Bar ~ Israel Hayom via JNS

Naharayim in northern Israel on the border with Jordan

Wednesday, 28 July 2021 | Jordanian intelligence agents have thwarted a potential Islamic State attack on Israeli troops on the border the two countries share, Jordanian daily Al Ra’i reported on Tuesday.

According to the report, Jordanian intelligence agents uncovered the plot in February, and after a lengthy investigation, arrested four ISIS operatives implicated in the plan.

The four are suspected of planning to ambush Jordanian Border Police forces near the border, seize their vehicles and weapons, and use them to ambush Israel Defense Forces [IDF] soldiers operating along the Israeli side of the border.

The report noted that the four, all residents of Kerak, some 140 kilometers (87 miles) south of Amman, were radicalized after being exposed to ISIS propaganda on social media.

They were also planning to attack what Al Ra’i described as “Jewish targets” in Jordan.

The four were indicted for and convicted of membership in a terrorist group and planning acts of terrorism. The report did not note what kind of sentence they may face.

In 1994, Jordan became the second Arab country to sign a peace deal with Israel, following Egypt in 1979. Jerusalem and Amman consider each other strategic partners in the effort to maintain regional stability and maintain close security ties as part of the war on terror.

Israel’s border with Jordan is the longest among the Jewish state’s frontiers, stretching across some 309 kilometers (192 miles). The border has three crossings: the Yitzhak Rabin Terminal/Wadi Araba crossing, the King Hussein [Allenby] Bridge crossing and the Jordan River/Sheikh Hussein Crossing.

Source: (This article was originally published by Israel Hayom and republished by JNS on July 27, 2021. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Anat Hermony/Flash90/JNS.org

Prayer Focus
Praise the Lord that Jordanian intelligence was able to thwart a planned attack on both Jordanian Border Police and the IDF. Pray that the relationship between Israel and Jordan remains strong as the two countries work together to maintain regional stability and partner in the war against terror.

Scripture

Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; but we will remember the name of the LORD our God.


- Psalm 20:7

Israeli Aid NGO Dispatches Team to Flood-afflicted Western Germany

by Naama Barak ~ Israel21c via JNS

An IsraAid response team assists in relief efforts for flood-stricken German communities.

Thursday, 29 July 2021 | Following the floods that recently devastated communities in western Germany, the Israeli NGO [non-governmental organization] IsraAID sent out a response team to help with relief distribution, clean-up efforts and psychological first aid.

The floods, which hit Germany earlier in July, have left at least 160 dead in the states of North Rhine–Westphalia and Rhineland–Palatinate. Dozens of people are still missing, and great damage was caused to property and infrastructure. Many more people in neighboring Belgium were also killed in the flooding.

The IsraAID delegation includes international staff, as well as refugee team members and volunteers from IsraAID Germany, which was started in 2015 to help refugees.

“IsraAID’s emergency-response team includes volunteers and staff members from our long-term work supporting refugee integration across the country,” said Ethan Schwartz, IsraAID’s media and communications manager. “Among the volunteers are participants in IsraAID Germany’s Navigators program, which trains young refugees in team-building, leadership skills and community service.”

These refugee leaders now have an opportunity to bring hands-on support to flood-affected German communities at their time of greatest need, noted Schwartz.

The organization has partnered up with ZWST, the central welfare organization of the Jewish community in Germany, for the emergency response effort, which is also being supported by the American Jewish Committee and medical device company BD.

Earlier this year, IsraAID responded to flooding in the wake of Cyclone Eloise in Mozambique, and last year it launched an emergency response in Guatemala, following Tropical Storm Eta, which killed more than 150 people and affected another 200,000 in the Central American country.

Source: (This article was originally published by Israel21c and republished by the Jewish News Syndicate on July 28, 2021. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: IsraAID/Magnus Terhorst/jns.org

Prayer Focus
Thank God for His blessings which allow Israel to use their skills, technology and experience to come to the aid of countries around the world who are dealing with tragedy. Pray for the people of Germany as they mourn the loss of life and attempt to clean up and rebuild after devastating floods, and pray that Israel’s presence will bring with it the comfort and hope of the God of Israel.

Scripture

Oh, how great is Your goodness, which You have laid up for those who fear You, which You have prepared for those who trust in You in the presence of the sons of men!


- Psalm 31:19

Gaza Balloons Spark Fires, Prompt IDF Retaliatory Strikes

by Janet Aslin

Iron Dome intercepts rockets from Gaza (illustrative)

Monday, 26 July 2021 | There had been no incendiary balloons launched from the Gaza Strip for several weeks—until yesterday, when Hamas’s acts of terror arson resumed and three small fires were sparked in Israel’s Eshkol region along the Gaza border. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) responded quickly with attacks on “a Hamas military base containing infrastructure and means used for terror activity,” according to a statement on the IDF’s Twitter account.

In addition to the military strikes, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), Maj.–Gen. Ghassan Alian, announced that “Israel would restrict the Gazan fishing zone from 12 nautical miles to six.” Prior to the outbreak of hostilities in May, the limit had been set at 15 nautical miles.

Israeli actions confirmed, once again, the government’s position of responding forcefully to attacks from the coastal enclave. In his remarks at the beginning of the weekly security cabinet meeting on July 4, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said, “Israel is interested in calm and has no interest in harming Gaza residents, but violence…will be met with a strong response.”

During the 11-day conflict in May, the IDF wiped out much of Hamas’s military strength. Over 1,500 terror targets were hit, according to the IDF website, including launch sites, weapon storage sites and many miles of Hamas’s extensive tunnel system.

Operation Guardian of the Walls, as the May conflict was named, ended in a shaky cease-fire negotiated by Egypt. Indirect talks between Hamas and Israel are continuing. For its part, Israel conditioned final acceptance of the cease-fire and reconstruction of Gaza on the return of two Israelis who wandered into Gaza, and the bodies of IDF soldiers, Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, who died in the 2014 fighting.

In the nearly two months since the fighting ended, Israel has continued to stand firm and has opposed efforts by Hamas to bypass the return of the two men and the soldiers’ bodies. One of the ways Israel has angered Hamas is by preventing the delivery of Qatari funds to Gaza. Israel believes that, if received directly in cash, the money will not be used for reconstruction of Gaza or humanitarian purposes but to rebuild Hamas’s terror infrastructure.

Hamas has chosen incendiary balloons and terror arson as a means of “resistance.” For its part, the IDF has stated that it “will respond strongly to the continuation of terrorist attempts from the Gaza Strip.”

Source: (Bridges for Peace, July 26, 2021)

Photo Credit: Israel Defense Forces/flickr.com

Photo License: flickr.com

Prayer Focus
Pray that Israel’s continued strong response to incendiary balloons and terror arson will be successful in bringing this form of “resistance” to an end. Also ask the Lord for His miraculous restoration of the many acres of Israeli farmland and nature reserves that have been destroyed.

Scripture

[It is] a land for which the LORD your God cares; the eyes of the LORD your God are always on it, from the beginning of the year to the very end of the year.


- Deuteronomy 11:12

Iranian Dissident Delegation Visits Israel in Historic First

by David Isaac ~ JNS

Members of the Iranian delegation to Israel in July 2021: (from left) Ahmad Batebi, Ellie Cohanim, Amir Hamidi, Foad Pashai and Ben Tabatabaei

Tuesday, 27 July 2021 | It was billed as the first Iranian delegation to Israel since the fall of the shah [Persian title; king or emperor] 42 years earlier. Six Iranian Muslim dissidents, forced to leave their homeland decades ago and who made their way to the United States, came on a three-day solidarity mission last week to show support for the Jewish state following the May clash between Israel and Palestinian terror groups in the Gaza Strip—namely, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad—that have long been backed by Iran.

Accompanying the group were four former Trump administration officials, including Ellie Cohanim, former US deputy special envoy to monitor and combat anti-Semitism at the US State Department, who described the visit as “historic.” Cohanim was born in Tehran and escaped with her family shortly after the Iranian Revolution in 1979.

“They know that Hamas, which rained down these rockets on Israel, is an Iranian proxy, and they know that Hezbollah on the Lebanese border is an Iranian proxy,” Cohanim told JNS. “And they wanted to show the Israeli people, but also the world, that they support Israel in its right to a country and its right to self-defense, and they really just stand against the Iranian regime.”

The mission was organized by the Institute for Voices of Liberty (IVOL), a US-based nonprofit that seeks to “counter the false narratives propagated by the Islamic Republic and its apologists” and to act as a voice for the “freedom-seeking people of Iran.”

The group’s whirlwind tour of Israel included stops at the northern border with Lebanon and Syria, and at the southern border with the Gaza Strip. They also met with officials at Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The ministry tweeted on Sunday: “It was an honor to meet these brave individuals.”

Israel and Iran enjoyed close relations for 30 years under the Pahlavi regime until Iran’s shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, was forced into exile, making way for the rise of the Islamic Republic of Iran, whose hostility to Israel is a centerpiece of its ideology.

Members of the delegation would like to see ties restored and spoke of an alliance going back millennia to Cyrus the Great (circa 590–530 [BC]), who allowed Jews exiled by the Babylonians to return to the Land of Israel. Delegation members talked of advancing a “Cyrus Accords,” a renewed friendship between the Iranian and Israeli peoples along the lines of the Abraham Accords, recently signed between Israel and four Muslim states.

‘The Iranian Regime is at War with Persian Culture’

Ben Tabatabaei, a member of the delegation who is an international business and political economist, was 10 when his family fled Tehran in 1984, several years after the revolution. He told JNS before that, Israel and Iran enjoyed cooperation in a host of areas, including military programs, water conservation and agriculture. He suggested that the friendship between the Jews and Persians (Iran was known as Persia for millennia) is the natural state of things, and the current theocratic regime in Iran is an anomaly.

“The regime in Iran is at war with Persian culture, civilization and, most importantly, our Persian values,” he said.

He warned against the current effort by the US administration to reenter the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the 2015 nuclear deal the Trump administration withdrew from in May 2018.

“This regime is determined to get nuclear weapons. It throws them a huge lifeline because they need to have at least [US] $60 billion” to fund their various supporters to stay in power, he said. “Now they’re struggling mightily because they’re not able to provide the funds.”

He said it had been his “lifelong dream” to visit Israel and that he couldn’t help comparing hopeful Israeli youth with the youth of Iran, who don’t have the opportunity to succeed.

Amir Hamidi, another member of the delegation who sits on the board of directors of the Institute for Voices of Liberty, escaped Tehran in 1980. He said his family lost everything; some were even executed. Hamidi became an expert on global terrorism, a high-ranking official in the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), serving as country attaché at the US embassy in the United Arab Emirates.

“Drug traffic—that’s my expertise,” he told JNS. “And the Islamic Republic rules as a mafia network. They deal in drugs, guns, prostitution. They’re a cartel-type organization.”

“Iran has 15 million drug addicts,” noted Hamidi, saying he has seen videos of Iranian children as young as four using opioids. “It’s disgusting.”

He said that Ebrahim Raisi, Iran’s former chief justice and its recently elected president, only has a sixth-grade education. “He was head of a death squad,” he noted, referring to Raisi’s role in the mass execution of thousands of political prisoners in 1988 when he was deputy prosecutor of Tehran. The United States sanctioned Raisi for his role in the executions in 2019.

Hamidi said that before his trip, he tweeted, “‘I’m going to Israel’ and I received an outpouring of support from people inside Iran, people I didn’t know, saying, ‘Give our regards to Israel,’ ‘Tell them we love you.’”

‘You Are Talking about a Criminal Cult’

One of the most impressive members of the delegation was Ahmad Batebi, who served 10 years in an Iranian prison. He was arrested at 22 for his involvement in activities against the regime at his university. When he suffered a mini-stroke in prison, he was taken to a hospital where an Iranian–Kurdish group helped him get away.

His family still lives in Tehran. “My sister was a member of Iran’s national karate team. She has 52 international medals. She is a champion, but you never hear her name because she’s my sister. They count her medals but never say her name,” said Batebi.

The Iranian regime is facing a number of serious threats currently from water shortages in its oil-rich Khuzestan province and severe drought conditions elsewhere. The country is in economic freefall as a result of gross mismanagement, strong US sanctions put in place by the Trump administration, as well as record-high COVID-19 cases. Protests in Iran have escalated in recent days, spreading to Tehran, where demonstrators have called for “death to the dictator.”

Asked by JNS if the recent riots that have spread to more than 90 Iranian cities could spell the end of the regime, Batebi said: “Yesterday, we were talking to a soldier on the Golan [Heights]. He said, ‘We believe that the revolution is coming soon. I said, ‘We’re already in revolution right now.’”

The Iranian economy has collapsed, and there’s no trust in the government among Iranians. The government’s brutality keeps it in power, he said, but “every day, [Islamic] Revolutionary Guard [Corps] members, police refuse to kill people.”

Batebi is a strong supporter of continued sanctions on the Iranian regime. “Those sanctions cut off the Revolutionary Guards’ hands from money; it’s a legitimate sanction…And right now, it works.”

He said that “when you talk about the Iranian regime, you don’t talk about a government that is representative of the nation. You are talking about a criminal cult with an ideology that says directly ‘we’re going to export our revolution to other countries.’”

Referring to the Biden administration’s current talks with Iran to return to the Obama administration’s nuclear deal, Batebi said “if you want to repeat that mistake, go back to them [the Islamic Republic’s rulers], but don’t say afterwards that you didn’t have any information—that you didn’t know.”

Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on July 26, 2021. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: : David Isaac/jns.org

Prayer Focus
Thank the Lord for this historic solidarity mission. Pray that the voices of these six Iranian dissidents will be heard and heeded by the international community, especially by the US as they anticipate a return to the JCPOA.

Scripture

Deliver me, O LORD, from evil men; preserve me from violent men, who plan evil things in their hearts; they continually gather together for war. They sharpen their tongues like a serpent; the poison of asps is under their lips. Keep me, O LORD, from the hands of the wicked; preserve me from violent men,


- Psalm 140:1–4

Israel Logs 1,438 New Cases of Coronavirus on Wednesday

by Yaron Druckman, Adir Yanko

COVID-19 test (illustrative)

Thursday, 29 July 2021 | The Health Ministry reported on Wednesday that 1,438 Israelis have tested positive for coronavirus out of some 61,000 tests carried out since midnight, putting the country’s infection rate at 2.36%.

There were 263 coronavirus patients hospitalized across the country. The number of patients in serious condition slightly dropped to 149. Twenty-nine of them were connected to ventilators. Twenty-five patients were admitted to the hospital in serious condition, compared to 44 on Tuesday. 

Two patients succumbed to complications of COVID-19, bringing the national death toll to 6,462 fatalities.

Earlier Wednesday, the head of Israel’s national coronavirus task force warned that in order to curb the recent surge in infections, the government would have to bring back the Green Pass mandate in its original format and start vaccinating children at schools.

The government last week voted to reinstate the Green Pass mandate, which requires people to present a certificate of vaccination or recovery upon entering public facilities. However, unlike the previous times the order was implemented, this time it only applies to locations hosting over 100 people.

Prof. Ran Balicer told Ynet that bringing back the mandate in its initial format will not hurt businesses, as was argued by the Finance Ministry during cabinet discussions on the matter.

“[Green Pass] does not restrict occupancy, it does not restrict activity. It just means that people who enter confined spaces must be vaccinated or recovered. If they have chosen not to get vaccinated, then they should do a test so they do not get infected,” he said.

“This policy should be applied to all relevant businesses, not just those who host more than 100 people. An unvaccinated person can infect others even in a place that hosts 90 people.”

Israel started vaccinating 12–15-year-olds last month, and this week HMOs [health maintenance organizations] were instructed to vaccinate under 12s in exceptional circumstances.

Balicer added that ensuring a safe reopening of schools on September 1 is crucial to maintaining a daily routine for the rest of the country, since schools serve as hotspots for virus outbreaks.

Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published by Ynetnews on July 28, 2021. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Marco Verch Professional Photographer/flickr.com

Photo License: flickr.com

Prayer Focus
Beseech the Lord for an end to the spread of the virus. Pray that all Israelis will comply with whatever restrictions the government deems necessary to control the current outbreak; pray for healing and restoration for all who have been infected and protection for those who haven’t. Pray that all Israel will remember that the Lord—the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob—is their healer.

Scripture

Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: who forgives all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from destruction, who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,


- Psalm 103:2–4

Israeli Airlines Launch First Direct Flights to Morocco

by Janet Aslin

El Al Israeli airlines (illustrative)

Tuesday, 27 July 2021 | Sunday marked the beginning of a new era as two Israeli airlines introduced direct commercial flights to the Moroccan city of Marrakesh. Israir, the country’s third largest airline, launched its new service with a flight that took off at 8:15 a.m. followed several hours later by a flight operated by the nation’s flagship carrier, El Al.

This was all made possible when, in December 2020, Morocco became the fourth Arab country to resume diplomatic relations with Israel as a result of the US-brokered Abraham Accords. Regular flights between the two nations were part of that agreement.

Israeli Tourism Minister Yoel Razvozov addressed those present at a ceremony held shortly before the El Al flight departed, saying that the new route “will help promote tourism, trade and fruitful economic and political cooperation between the two countries.” Morocco’s ambassador to Israel also participated in the ceremony.

Both airlines will operate regular weekly flights between Tel Aviv and Marrakesh, a UNESCO World Heritage site and popular tourist destination. El Al has indicated that it will also fly to the Moroccan port city of Casablanca on a regularly scheduled basis. Israel’s second largest airline, Arkia, and Morocco’s Royal Air Maroc plan to begin flights between the two countries in August.

Israelis are well-known global travelers. However, in the case of Morocco, Israelis are looking forward to more than just the opportunity to visit a new place. When Israel was reestablished as a modern state in 1948, there were approximately a quarter of a million Jews living in Morocco. Today there is a sizeable chunk of the Israeli population with Moroccan roots as well as a small number of Jews who remained in Morocco.

Although tourism to Israel has been shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic, Razvozov is looking to the future and promises that the Tourism Ministry will “continue to build infrastructure and create tourism anchors that will promote tourism to Israel when we defeat the coronavirus.” He concluded by saying that “the Israel–Morocco route is an important and significant line.”

May these flights bring many opportunities for renewed ties between the two countries and a friendlier Middle East!

Source: (Bridges for Peace, July 27, 2021)

Photo Credit: Magic Aviation/commons.wikimedia.org

Photo License: wikimedia.org

Prayer Focus
Thank God for the relationships Israel is building in the region, bringing stability and the hope for a better, safer Middle East. Pray that the partnership with Morocco will bring blessing to both countries and will allow many Israelis the opportunity to reconnect with their history.

Scripture

I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; for You alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.


- Psalm 4:8

Israelis Murdered at 1972 Munich Olympics Honored in Moment of Silence in Tokyo

Members of the Israel team at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics

Monday, 26 July 2021 | Israeli Olympic team members who were slaughtered by Palestinian terrorists at the 1972 Munich Olympics were remembered with a moment of silence during the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics on Friday.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett welcomed the gesture, which represents the first time that their murders have been publicly recognized at the world sports competition.

“I welcome this important and historic moment. May their memory be blessed,” he tweeted.

The families of the 11 killed have been asking the International Olympic Committee for this gesture for decades, but until now have been turned down.

“We, the Olympic community, also remember all the Olympians and members of our community who have so sadly left us, in particular, we remember those who lost their lives during the Olympic Games,” said an announcer during the opening ceremony, reported Reuters.

“One group still holds a strong place in all our memories and stands for all those we have lost at the games—the members of the Israeli delegation at the Olympic Games Munich 1972,” the announcer added as the stadium darkened and soft blue light illuminated parts of the arena.

In a statement, widows Ilana Romano and Ankie Spitzer, who watched the ceremony in the stadium along with members of the other families, said: “Justice has finally been done for the husbands, fathers and sons who were murdered in Munich.”

On September 5, 1972, Palestinian gunmen from the Black September terror group took members of the Israeli team hostage at the athletes’ village. Eleven Israelis and one German policeman were eventually killed.

Israel’s minister of culture and sport, Chili Tropper, called the moment [of commemoration at the opening ceremony] a “historic justice.”

“The Tokyo Olympics have just opened, but they are already a historic Olympics—after 49 years, on the main stage, at the opening ceremony, the 11 heroes, the victims of the Munich Olympics, were mentioned,” he said. “Better late than never.”

In related news, Olympics opening ceremony director Kentaro Kobayashi was let go on Thursday after disparaging jokes about the Holocaust from his past went viral online. He said them in the 1990s when he worked as a comedian and children’s entertainer.

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga described the comments as “outrageous and unacceptable.”

Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on July 23, 2021. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Olympics/Twitter/jns.org

Prayer Focus
Praise the Lord for the historic moment when the Israeli Olympians murdered by terrorists at the Munich Olympics were finally remembered and memorialized. Thank Him for the impact this act had on the loved ones of those victims and the acknowledgement on the world stage of the horror of anti-Semitism.

Scripture

LORD, how they have increased who trouble me! Many are they who rise up against me. But You, O LORD, are a shield for me, my glory and the One who lifts up my head.


- Psalm 3:1,3

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