Debit/Credit Payment

Credit/Debit/Bank Transfer

Hope in Difficult Times

Friday, July 19, 2024

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

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

Israel Braces for ICJ Advisory Opinion on “Prolonged Occupation”

by Ilse Strauss

A Christian supporter of Israel blows the shofar in front of the ICJ building in the Hauge.

Thursday, 18 July 2024 | At 3:00 p.m. local time tomorrow, Justice Nawaf Salam, the former Lebanese diplomat who presides over the International Court of Justice [ICJ], will take to the podium in the Hague to deliver the world court’s ruling on whether it regards Israel’s military and civilian presence in eastern Jerusalem as well as Judea and Samaria as illegal “occupation” under international law.

Experts warn that Israel should “prepare for the worst.”

According to Andrew Tucker, director-general of the Hague Initiative for International Cooperation (thinc.), a global network of international law academics, practitioners and experts that advocates for the fair interpretation and application of international law for peace and security between the Jewish state and her neighbors, Israel’s legitimacy is consistently under attack, with Jerusalem’s adversaries often wielding the misuse of international law as a weapon of choice. However, tomorrow’s ruling could very well prove the pinnacle of abuse, Tucker warns.

Tomorrow’s verdict, he says, is expected to see the court acceding to the Palestinian demand to rule as illegal the so-called Israeli occupation of eastern Jerusalem as well as Judea and Samaria—also known as the biblical heartland. The court is also likely to demand an immediate end to the alleged occupation and a swift removal of all Jewish communities from the area.

The verdict constitutes an advisory opinion, Tucker concedes, thus not binding or enforceable. Regardless, the impact will be devastating. Israel fears that it could trigger a wave of sanctions against Jerusalem and prompt governments to cut ties with the Jewish state under the pretense of doing the right thing. It will also fuel the fires of anti-Semitism, lend a sense of legitimacy to the widespread anti-Israel sentiment sweeping the globe, serve as the proverbial rubberstamp for crowds chanting “From the River to the Sea” and incentivize violence against Jewish people. Moreover, the ruling can also prompt the ICJ to call on the International Criminal Court to initiate criminal proceedings against individual senior Israeli officials in charge of administering Judea and Samaria.

Yet Israel and the Jewish people are not the only parties standing to lose. Ultimately, says Tucker, a verdict of “illegal” tomorrow will undermine the ICJ’s own legitimacy, tarnishing the purpose for which the court was instituted.

Tomorrow’s ruling has been a long time coming. In December 2022, the United Nations (UN) issued Resolution 77/247, requesting the ICJ to clarify the legality of Israel’s “occupation, settlement, and annexation of the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967.”

According to Tucker, the ICJ was presented with a one-sided narrative that ignores the complexities of the complexity of the conflict and misrepresent the legal, historical and political context. “For example, the historical connection of the Jewish people with the land are totally ignored, as are the strong legal claims that Israel had to sovereignty over the ‘occupied territories’ prior to regaining them from Jordan and Egypt in 1967.”

Andrew Tucker, director of the director-general of The Hague Initiative for International Cooperation (thinc.)

Tucker warns that tomorrow’s ruling could circumvent the current internationally sanctioned and legally binding framework for resolving the Israel–Palestine conflict. “All Security Council resolutions on this topic, as well as the Oslo Accords that are still binding, require a negotiated solution to the conflict. An Advisory Opinion declaring, for example, that the Palestinians have sovereign rights to the ‘occupied territory’, or that Israel must withdraw unconditionally, would totally undermine Israel’s legal and security rights in such negotiations,” he explained.

The approach boils down to the Palestinians “mobilizing anti-Western and particularly anti-Israeli UN member states to undermine Israel’s security and achieve international recognition of an independent Palestinian state on the strategically sensitive territory of the West Bank [Judea and Samaria] and the old city of Jerusalem and its environs,” Tucker said. “Such a state would aim at nothing less than the eradication of the State of Israel. That is unacceptable, and UN member states have a duty to ensure this does not happen.”

Earlier this month, thinc. hosted a summit in the Hague aimed at unpacking the consequences of tomorrow’s ruling. Nearly a thousand Christians from 45 nations attended to show their support for the Jewish people’s biblical connection to the Land.

The attendees—including Bridges for Peace International CEO Rev. Peter J. Fast—drafted a direct appeal to the ICJ, which the court registrar hand-delivered to each of the 15 justices.

A portion of the decree reads, “We, Christian representatives of our nations from all over the world, declare and testify that the Land of Israel includes East Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria. These areas belong indisputably to Israel and are ultimately the inheritance of the Jewish people. Dividing the Land is in conflict with the Bible and the will of the Lord God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of Israel.”

As the clock ticks to 3:00 p.m. tomorrow, we call on all Christians around the world to cover Israel and her people in prayer.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, July 18, 2024)

Photo Credit: thetrial2024.org

Photo License: thetrial2024.org

Prayer Focus
The advisory decision contemplated by the International Court of Justice is completely opposed to the Word of God. Pray for strength and steadfastness among the people of Israel, that they will not lose sight of the promise of God to “build them” again—in Judea and Samaria, the biblical heartland of Israel.


Again I will build you, and you shall be rebuilt, O virgin of Israel! You shall yet plant vines on the mountains of Samaria; the planters shall plant and eat them as ordinary food.

- Jeremiah 31:4a, 5

Deif’s Elimination Would be a Major Blow to Hamas

by Yaakov Lappin ~ JNS

A photo of Hamas terrorist Mohammed Deif (right) found on a laptop during Gaza operations and released by the IDF

Monday, 15 July 2024 | The elimination of Mohammad Deif, head of Hamas’s military wing, represents a significant blow to both Hamas’s morale and operational capabilities.

Deif, whose death in an Israeli airstrike on Saturday has not yet been confirmed, was the mastermind behind three decades of jihadist [“struggle,” “holy” war waged against those who do not follow Islam] terrorism against Israel. He was also a key catalyst in Hamas’s ongoing efforts to team up with Iran and mortally wound Israel through a war of jihadist attrition from Gaza, Judea and Samaria and Lebanon.

He played a crucial role in transforming Hamas from a guerilla force into a full-blown terror army within Gaza, complete with command and control, a major rocket arsenal and an unprecedented network of combat tunnels. A terror army that would go on to unleash the deadliest attack on the Jewish people since the Holocaust.

Israeli officials reported on Saturday that the Israel Defense Forces [IDF] had carried out a targeted strike near Gaza’s Al-Mawasi humanitarian zone, close to Khan Younis. The two targets were Deif, the commander of Hamas’s military wing, and Rafa Salama, the commander of Hamas’s Khan Younis Brigade. Both were responsible for planning and carrying out Hamas’s October 7 massacre, according to the officials.

The strike was a coordinated joint effort by the IDF Southern Command and the Israeli Air Force, with significant participation by IDF Military Intelligence and the Israel Security Agency [ISA]. According to Israeli intelligence, most of the other casualties from the strike were also terrorists.

The targeted area was described as an open space surrounded by trees, several buildings and sheds, that functioned as an operational compound. At this time, there is no indication that any Israeli hostages were present in the vicinity of the strike.

The strategic significance of this operation cannot be overstated. Deif’s elimination will disrupt Hamas’s military hierarchy and operational planning, dealing a severe blow to its command structure.

Over the years, Deif had become synonymous with Hamas’s military strategy. His expertise and leadership in guerilla warfare and mass-casualty terrorism, and his ability to adapt and transform Hamas’s military capabilities made him an invaluable asset to the organization. Symbolically as well, he gained cult-like status among Palestinians and his name was chanted by radical Islamists in Judea and Samaria and on the Temple Mount as well.

A military official noted that high-ranking Hamas officials deliberately chose Al-Mawasi for their operational activities, to avoid detection and complicate military action against them. The official stressed that Israel makes every effort to avoid harm to noncombatants, adding that Hamas’s human shielding is failing to protect its senior terrorists.

“We are attacking the most high-ranking Hamas commanders, who are masterminds of the October 7 [attacks] and…conducted terror against Israel for years,” said the official.

By eliminating figures like Deif and Salama, Israel not only dismantles the leadership framework of Hamas, but also helps crush Hamas’s future hopes to rebuild an effective terror army, a key war goal.

The strike is also an indication of the quality of Israel’s intelligence regarding Gaza. The collaboration between the IDF and ISA and the ability to locate and eliminate such high-profile targets is a testament to an increasingly tight intelligence grip on an area that was once Hamas’s comfortable home turf.

As such, the strike is a pivotal moment in Israel’s long-term war against the “ring of fire” with which Iran has attempted to surround the Jewish state. Hamas and its allies in Tehran and Beirut are bearing witness to Israel’s determination and ability to remove jihadist commanders and to continuously degrade their hopes to force Israel into surrender.

Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on July 14, 2024. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: IDF/jns.org

Prayer Focus
Pray for the Israel Security Agency in its role as the “unseen shield,” safeguarding the State of Israel. Give thanks for the intelligence that led to Saturday’s strike against high-level Hamas military leaders. Pray for the confirmed elimination of Mohammed Deif, which in turn, will help Israel to accomplish its goal of the elimination of Hamas itself.


I have found My servant David; with My holy oil I have anointed him, with whom My hand shall be established; also My arm shall strengthen him. The enemy shall not outwit him, nor the son of wickedness afflict him.

- Psalm 89:20–22

Ingathering of the Exiles

by Janet Aslin

Smiles adorn the faces of new immigrants as they arrive at Ben-Gurion International Airport (illustrative)

Wednesday, 17 July 2024 | The Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel includes the following invitation: “THE STATE OF ISRAEL will be open for Jewish immigration and for the Ingathering of the Exiles…” When David Ben Gurion read these words on the night of May 14, 1948, Israel was at war. At its birth, the fledgling nation opened wide its doors for aliyah (immigration to Israel) as it struggled for survival in a hostile neighborhood. Many immigrants came during that time, primarily from surrounding Arab countries.

Seventy-six years later, three things are the same: Israel’s doors remain open for immigration, the surrounding countries are still hostile and the ingathering of the exiles continues. In light of the danger and uncertainty in Israel, are Jewish people living in the Diaspora (outside Israel) still making aliyah? Yes, they are.

In one sense, as anti-Semitism increases and it becomes dangerous to be outwardly Jewish, aliyah becomes more attractive. Golda Meir, Israel’s fourth prime minister, once said: “Above all, this country is our own. Nobody has to get up in the morning and worry what his neighbors think of him. Being a Jew is no problem here.”

Over the years, the numbers of people making aliyah have varied widely. The decade of the nineties saw more than one million new Israelis while generally immigration figures have ranged between 17,000 and 30,000 per year. So, yesterday when the Jewish Agency announced that 22,000 olim (immigrants) have arrived in Israel since October 7, this year’s figure is already looking higher than normal.

Along with those who have come, many are considering aliyah, especially from countries with rising anti-Semitism. Based on figures from the Jewish Agency, the Times of Israel reported “a 510% increase in the number of case files opened in France alone since the outbreak of the Israel–Hamas war, totaling 6,440 people, compared to 1,057 people during the same period a year ago.”

According to the Jerusalem Post, another 2,000 new immigrants will be arriving this summer from the US and Canada. Similar to the situation in France, Nefesh b’Nefesh (non-profit organization that facilitates aliyah from North America) has also experienced an increase in applications and said 10,300 requests have been received since the start of the war.

In the nations of the world, lines are being drawn in the sand when it comes to Israel. As anti-Semitism escalates, many Jewish people find themselves faced with the need to decide whether or not to leave countries where they have lived comfortably for generations. Is it safer to remain in an increasingly hostile environment or move to the Jewish state which is currently in the throes of battle?

In the eminently practical and wise words of Golda Meir, “To be or not to be is not a question of compromise. Either you be or you don’t be.” The State of Israel is still open for the ingathering of the exiles—and is welcoming them with open arms.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, July 17, 2024)

Photo Credit: photographer unknown/bridgesforpeace.com

Prayer Focus
Give thanks that the Lord is fulfilling His promise to gather the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth! Pray that this would indeed be a record-breaking year for the number of immigrants who come home to Israel.


He will set up a banner for the nations, and will assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.

- Isaiah 11:12

Hostage Talks to Continue Despite Strike Targeting Deif

by JNS

Dizengoff Square Fountain in Tel Aviv colored red overnight to remember the Israelis held kidnapped by Hamas terrorists in Gaza

Tuesday, 16 July 2024 | Israeli diplomatic sources estimate that despite the strike targeting Hamas military commander Mohammed Deif on Saturday, negotiations for a ceasefire and the release of hostages will continue, Israel National News reported on Monday.

The diplomatic sources based the assessment on the response from Hamas officials following the airstrike.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Saturday night that it was not clear whether Deif, the architect of the October 7 massacre, was killed in the strike. In contrast, security forces on Sunday did confirm that Deif’s deputy, Rafa’a Salameh, the commander of Hamas’s Khan Younis Brigade, was killed.

Sources in Hamas confirmed to the Hezbollah-affiliated Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar on Monday that indirect ceasefire talks are continuing.

“The negotiations are continuing despite the massacre, in order to prevent Israel from accusing Hamas of obstructing them,” the sources said, adding that a new round of talks is supposed to take place in Doha this week.

Mossad [Israeli intelligence agency] chief David Barnea is expected to head to Qatar this week for talks regarding the hostages, Kan News reported.

According to the Al-Akhbar report, Israeli negotiators told the Egyptians that Jerusalem would not stop military operations in Gaza while there is no agreement and that “the targeting of Hamas leaders inside Gaza will continue even while negotiations continue.”

Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on July 15, 2024. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90/jns.org

Prayer Focus
Cry out on behalf of those who have been held captive in horrific conditions for over nine months. Ask the Lord to give wisdom to Israel’s negotiating team and a clear strategy to the government which will result in the return of the hostages as well as the defeat of the terrorist organization Hamas.


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.

- 2 Samuel 22:2b–3

Hezbollah Threatens to Attack Additional Parts of Israel

by JNS

Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah delivers a televised speech.

Thursday, 18 July 2024 | Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah threatened to attack Israeli communities that have not come under fire yet if the Israel Defense Forces [IDF] continues to, in his words, “attack civilians” in southern Lebanon.

The Iran-backed terrorist army “will continue to launch missiles at settlements that were not attacked before,” Nasrallah said in a speech that was broadcast on Lebanese television. He made the statement after noting an alleged increase in the number of “non-involved” casualties in Lebanon in recent days.

Hezbollah took responsibility for firing around 100 rockets at the Galilee on Tuesday night and into the overnight hours, saying that it was in response to the alleged killing of three Syrian children in an Israeli strike in Southern Lebanon.

Lebanese state media reported that two Syrians were killed in an Israeli strike earlier on Tuesday.

Nasrallah also referred to the IDF saying in a court filing on Monday that it was short on tanks and munitions after me than nine months of war.

“Israel is not only short on soldiers to fight the war, now it is suffering from a shortage of tanks and munitions,” the terrorist leader said.

He reiterated that Hezbollah would not stop firing at northern Israel until there is a cease-fire with Hamas in Gaza and boasted that the port of Eilat was bankrupt due to Houthi attacks stifling maritime traffic on the Red Sea.

“No vessels are arriving and Israel’s economy is failing, thanks to our pressure,” Nasrallah claimed.

He called on Palestinians around the world to join in supporting the war against Israel.

“We also call on the Palestinian people to unite today among the resistance shaping the fate of Palestine, the region and the people,” Nasrallah said.

Source: (Excerpt of an article originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on July 17, 2024. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Anwar Amro/AFP via Getty Images/jns.org

Prayer Focus
Pray that Israel’s leaders will remain steadfast and determined to defeat the terrorist armies on both the southern and northern borders. Pray for residents of the northern communities who have silently endured rocket barrages for many months without letup. Lord, arise! Let Your enemies be scattered!


To the chief musician, a psalm of David, a song: Let God arise, let His enemies be scattered; let those also who hate Him flee before Him.

- Psalm 68:1

Israel Convenes ‘Strategic Dialogue’ on Iran Threat in DC

by JNS

Israeli National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi (third on the right) meeting with US National Security Advisor Jake Sulivan (second on the left) last year. Sullivan

Monday, 15 July 2024 | Israeli National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi and Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer will hold high-level meetings on the Iranian threat at the White House this week, the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem confirmed on Saturday night.

The US–Israel Strategic Consultative Group (SCG) has not convened since March 2023, most recently having been postponed after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused the Biden administration of withholding arms from Jerusalem amid Israel’s ongoing war against Hamas in Gaza.

The “strategic dialogue” is led on the US side by National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and includes officials from the State Department, Pentagon and intelligence agencies.

The development comes amid growing concern in Israel over Iran’s efforts to weaponize components of its nuclear program.

Late last month, Axios reported that Jerusalem was reestablishing working groups in various government bodies to discuss the Iran nuclear threat after they were frozen some 18 months ago.

The initiative, overseen by Hanegbi, restarts six groups in the Mossad [Israeli intelligence agency], the Israel Security Agency [ISA] and in the intelligence and cyber fields, according to the report. The Mossad groups will focus on the nuclear program and weaponization, while the ISA will focus on combating Iranian influence campaigns in Israel. The other teams will combat cyber threats vis-à-vis Hezbollah and the Houthis.

The International Atomic Energy Agency’s [IAEA] latest report showed Iran holding 30 times the stockpile of uranium allowed under the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), commonly known as the Iran nuclear deal, and has enriched it to near weapons grade.

The Washington Post recently reported that an expansion underway at Iran’s Fordow enrichment plant could allow the regime to accumulate several bombs’ worth of nuclear fuel every month.

After a leaked draft of the plan was reported by Reuters on June 13, US State Department spokesman Matthew Miller charged the Islamic Republic with “expanding its nuclear program in ways that have no credible peaceful purpose” and vowed to “respond accordingly.”

Iran’s stockpile of 60%-enriched uranium has increased by 20.6 kilograms [45.5 lb.] since February, AFP reported on May 27, citing an IAEA report. The confidential document, which was also seen by the Associated Press, revealed that Tehran had accumulated 142.1 kilograms [313.2 lb.] of uranium enriched up to 60%. This level of enrichment is just a technical step from 90% enrichment, considered weapons grade.

According to the IAEA definition, it is technically possible to create an atomic bomb with roughly 42 kilograms [92.5 lb.] of uranium enriched to 60% if the material is further enriched to 90%.

Last week, Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz urged the international community to increase the pressure on the mullahs in Iran, after Masoud Pezeshkian won the Islamic Republic’s second-round presidential vote

“The people of Iran have sent a clear message of demand for change and opposition to the ayatollah [honorary title bestowed on high-ranking Shiite Muslim clerics in Iran] regime through the elections,” said Katz.

“Now the world must designate the [Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps] as a terrorist organization and demand the cancellation of the nuclear program and the cessation of support for terrorist organizations. This is the only chance to realize the change,” he added.

Pezeshkian, a former heart surgeon born in 1954 to an Iranian Azerbaijani father and Iranian Kurdish mother, said that he would “try to have friendly relations with all countries except Israel.”

He is not expected to produce any major policy shift in Tehran’s nuclear program or support for Hamas in Gaza, Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Houthis in Yemen or the various militias in Iraq and Syria.

On Tuesday, Katz called for action against Iran in meetings with international leaders at the opening of the NATO summit in Washington. The minister met with his US counterpart Antony Blinken, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, Canadian Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly and Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský, among others.

“Our enemy is also your enemy. The Iranian missiles and UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles] that threaten us are being sent to Russia and threaten you too. Crippling sanctions must be imposed on Iran and the [Islamic] Revolutionary Guards must be declared a terrorist organization,” said Katz.

Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on July 12, 2024. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: US Embassy Jerusalem/Flickr.com

Photo License: Flickr

Prayer Focus
Pray for good working relationships between Israel and the United States, especially when it comes to thwarting Iran’s nuclear plans. Pray for creative strategizing and correct interpretation of intelligence information on Iran’s nuclear achievements.


For You, O LORD, will bless the righteous; with favor You will surround him as with a shield.

- Psalm 5:12

Study: High Levels of Anti-Semitism in Europe Precedes October 7

by JNS

People attend a demonstration against anti-Semitism in Lyon, France

Friday, 12 July 2024 | A whopping 96% of respondents to a new survey on Jew-hatred said that it experienced anti-Semitism in the year prior to the study, which was conducted between January and June 2023.

The overwhelming majority of that 96%—representing 90% of the respondents to the survey question—encountered that Jew-hatred online, per the survey which the European Union’s [EU] Fundamental Rights Agency published on Thursday.

More than 8,000 Jews older than 16 from 13 EU countries, including Germany and France, were interviewed in the survey, which probed anti-Semitism prior to Hamas’s October 7 terror attack.

The report also collected data post-October 7 from 12 umbrella Jewish organizations, some of which reported increases of 400% or more in anti-Semitic incidents after October.

“Europe is witnessing a wave of anti-Semitism, partly driven by the conflict in the Middle East,” stated Sirpa Rautio, director of the Fundamental Rights Agency. “We need to build on existing laws and strategies to protect communities from all forms of hate and intolerance, online as well as offline.”

“In an increasingly polarized society, we urgently need to spread the message of tolerance and ensure respect for the fundamental rights and freedoms of all,” Rautio added.

Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on July 11, 2024. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Matthieu Delaty/Hans Lucas/AFP via Getty Images/jns.org

Prayer Focus
Intercede on behalf of the Jewish population in Europe and North America, praying that the increasing hatred on social media platforms will cause many to consider aliyah (immigration to Israel).


Save us, O LORD our God, and gather us from among the Gentiles, to give thanks to Your holy name, to triumph in Your praise.

- Psalm 106:47

CIA: Sinwar Under Increasing Internal Pressure to End War

by Joshua Marks ~ JNS

Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar holds the son of an Al-Qassam Brigades terrorist who was killed in recent fighting with Israel, during a rally in Gaza City, May 24, 2021.

Wednesday, 17 July 2024 | Hamas leader in Gaza Yayha Sinwar is being pressed by the terror group’s military commanders to accept a cease-fire deal and end the war with Israel, according to US intelligence.

CIA Director Bill Burns conveyed this message to attendees of a closed-door conference in Sun Valley, Idaho on Saturday, a source present at the meeting said to CNN.

According to the source, the architect of the October 7 attacks and Israel’s top target is not “concerned with his own mortality” but is facing calls for Hamas to lay down its arms because it will be blamed for the growing suffering in Gaza after more than nine months of fighting.

American intelligence officials believe that Sinwar, 61, is hiding in the tunnels underneath his birth city of Khan Younis in southern Gaza, according to the report.

An Israeli airstrike on July 13 targeted Hamas’s second-in-command, Mohammed Deif, leader of the terror group’s armed wing, the Qassam Brigades and the Israeli military and intelligence have their sights set on Sinwar.

Israel Defense Forces [IDF] Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi on Sunday said that targeted strikes on Hamas leadership were a key part of a military pressure campaign that would result in the return of Israeli hostages.

The increasing pressure comes as negotiators continue to discuss the framework of a cease-fire and hostage release deal that is acceptable to both Israel and Hamas. It was initially reported that Hamas called off cease-fire talks due to the Deif strike, but it was later clarified by both the terror group and its patron Qatar that negotiations would continue.

An Israeli official told Ynet on Monday that a delegation led by Mossad chief David Barnea was scheduled to depart for Doha this week but was waiting for the Qatari invitation. The source also suggested that Barnea might not lead the delegation and that the talks might take place at a different location.

Furthermore, the official said that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insists on continuing the military pressure on Hamas and is sticking to his red lines in the talks, stressing that it was the “money time” to bring as many live hostages back to Israel as possible at the lowest cost and risk to Israel’s security.

“Whether Deif was killed or not, Hamas suffered a severe blow. They did not say talks would be stalled and have not responded to the assassination attempt by attacking Israel with rockets,” the official said.

Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on July 16, 2024. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Mahmud Hams/AFP via Getty Images/jns.org

Prayer Focus
Pray for the IDF forces who are fighting in Gaza, that they will have accurate intelligence to continue putting pressure on Hamas’s leadership. Pray that all tunnel locations will be disclosed so there is no possibility for Hamas to rearm itself. Pray that Sinwar will recognize the futility of continuing to fight.


A Psalm of David. Plead my cause, O LORD, with those who strive with me; fight against those who fight against me.

- Psalm 35:1

Human Rights Watch: Hamas Committed War Crimes in October 7 Assault on Israel

by Ynetnews

A montage of photos of all those Hamas murdered at the Nova festival

Thursday, 18 July 2024 | Hamas’s military wing, the Qassam Brigades, and at least four other Palestinian armed groups committed numerous war crimes and crimes against humanity against civilians during the October 7, 2023 assault on southern Israel, Human Rights Watch said in a report released on Thursday.

The report urges governments with influence over the armed groups to press for the urgent release of civilian hostages, an ongoing war crime and for those responsible to be brought to justice.

The 236-page report, titled “‘I Can’t Erase All the Blood from My Mind’: Palestinian Armed Groups’ October 7 Assault on Israel,” details numerous serious violations of international humanitarian law by Palestinian armed groups at almost all civilian attack sites on October 7. These violations include war crimes and crimes against humanity, such as murder, hostage-taking and other grave offenses. Human Rights Watch also investigated the roles of various armed groups and their coordination before and during the attacks.

“Human Rights Watch research found that the Hamas-led assault on October 7 was designed to kill civilians and take as many people as possible hostage,” said Ida Sawyer, crisis and conflict director at Human Rights Watch. “The October 7 atrocities should spur a global call to action for an end to all abuses against civilians in Israel and Palestine.”

The report compiles interviews with dozens of people who witnessed the October 7 assault, as well as verified footage taken during the attack, which illustrate the magnitude of the crimes committed by Hamas-led Palestinian groups in their attacks on civilian residential communities, social events and Israeli military bases in southern Israel bordering the Gaza Strip.

According to the report, “Palestinian fighters fired directly at civilians, often at close range, as they tried to flee and at people driving through the area. The attackers hurled grenades, shot into shelters and fired rocket-propelled grenades at homes. They set houses on fire, burning and choking people and forcing out others whom they shot or captured. They took dozens hostage and summarily killed others.”

An AFP analysis determined that 815 of the 1,195 people killed on October 7 were civilians. The armed groups took 251 civilians and Israeli security force personnel as hostages and took them to Gaza. As of July 1, 116 remained in Gaza, including the bodies of at least 42 who had been killed, according to AFP. Bodies of another 35 who were killed were returned to Israel.

Further investigation is needed into other potential crimes against humanity, Human Rights Watch said, including persecution against any identifiable group on racial, national, ethnic or religious grounds; rape or other sexual violence of comparable gravity; and extermination, if there was a mass killing calculated to bring about the “destruction” of part of a population. These would amount to crimes against humanity if the crimes were part of the attack against a civilian population, under an organizational policy to commit such an attack, the report notes.

Hamas authorities responded to questions from Human Rights Watch, stating that its forces were instructed not to target civilians and to abide by international human rights and humanitarian law. In many cases, Human Rights Watch investigations found evidence to the contrary.

Accounts from survivors along with verified photographs and videos show Palestinian fighters seeking out civilians and killing them across the attack sites from the moment the assault began, indicating that the intentional killing and hostage-taking of civilians was planned and highly coordinated.

Source: (This article was originally published by Ynetnews on July 16, 2024. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: DaringDonna/Wikimedia.org

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Cry out on behalf of those who witnessed the brutality of Hamas on October 7 and survived. Pray for the medical first responders, men and women trained to save lives but who were instead faced with unspeakable assaults on human bodies. Pray that those memories will be wiped clean from their minds. Ask the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to comfort them.


Those also who render evil for good, they are my adversaries, because I follow what is good. Do not forsake me, O LORD; O my God, be not far from me!

- Psalm 38:20–21

IDF: Hamas Rebuilds Military Capabilities in UNRWA HQ

by Yoav Zitun ~ Ynetnews

According to the IDF, Hamas is rebuilding its military capabilities in a compound used as the headquarters of UNRWA.

Tuesday, 16 July 2024 | IDF [Israel Defense Forces] forces operating in a compound used as the headquarters of UNRWA [United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East] in Gaza found Hamas had rebuilt its military capabilities in the six months since troops withdrew from the area.

In the compound that was housing displaced civilians, the soldiers found workshops for the production of UAVs and other weapons as well as rockets and explosives. Military commando units operated in the compound for the past week.

Situated between the Al-Sabra neighborhood and Tel al-Hawa in the northern part of the Strip, the complex included a terrorist recruitment office and food warehouses. These warehouses, meant for humanitarian aid, were found storing rockets and explosive devices. Hamas-controlled food distribution lines were handing out vouchers to thousands of displaced Gazans daily.

Within the warehouse complex near the university, the fighters discovered large UAVs that Hamas had constructed over recent months. The area showed clear signs of military recovery. Hamas had placed military-grade explosive devices and built observation posts and a forward command post (FCP) for managing the complex.

The commanders involved in the operation reported encountering combined attacks that didn’t strictly follow guerrilla warfare norms. These included a synchronized use of explosives with mortar fire and the deployment of snipers and anti-tank missile squads.

“Hamas still has squad, platoon and company commanders, and it operates in a different manner—more guerrilla-like and less as a full military framework,” an IDF spokesperson said. “This requires us to adapt and identify the advantages and disadvantages of this transformation. Hamas is trying to replenish its ranks, so we operate repeatedly in these areas based on precise intelligence that allows focused action. It will take time to destroy this enemy.”

The New York Times published a report on Hamas’s combat methods in Gaza, which heavily rely on guerrilla tactics and blending into the civilian population. The investigation, based on the analysis of Hamas battle videos and interviews with both Hamas fighters and IDF soldiers, paints a picture of a systematic exploitation of civilians and civilian infrastructure for military purposes. The Times accused Hamas of perpetuating the conflict, destruction, death and displacement of civilians in the Strip.

According to the investigation, Hamas utilizes an extensive tunnel system stretching hundreds of kilometers, whose scale surprised IDF commanders. These tunnels facilitate the movement of fighters and weapons across the Strip without exposing them to Israeli forces. Hamas also hides militants, tunnel entrances and ammunition depots in residential homes, medical facilities, UN offices and mosques, further blurring the lines between civilians and combatants, the Times wrote in its report.

Source: (This article was originally published by Ynetnews on July 15, 2024. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo License: Wikimedia

Photo Credit: UNRWA/wikimedia.org

Prayer Focus
Pray that the truth about Hamas—that this organization continues to embed itself among the civilian population and exploits them—would be revealed clearly. Pray that UN officials who have allowed such a blatant misuse of UN facilities will be required to fully disclose all their actions and face consequences.


“The pride of your heart has deceived you, you who dwell in the clefts of the rock, whose habitation is high; you who say in your heart, ‘Who will bring me down to the ground?’ Though you ascend as high as the eagle, and though you set your nest among the stars, from there I will bring you down,” says the LORD.

- Obadiah 1:3–4

Latest News

Free Weekly Israel Prayer Update & News

Prayer Updates