Compassion

I will stand with Israel in difficult times

Friday, December 14, 2018

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Every week, we post from 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.

Hezbollah Turns Lebanese Border Villages into Military Bases

Hezbollah have situated their terror tunnels and military bases among civillian Lebanese villages.

Monday, 10 December 2018 | The first Hezbollah tunnel the IDF [Israel Defense Forces] found near Metula came out of Kafr Kela, a Shi’ite village in southern Lebanon that the terror organization has turned into a military base.

The village, 3.5 kilometers [2.2 mi.] in length, 1.5 kilometers [0.6 mi.] in width, is home to some 10,000 people, most of them Shi’ite and almost all of them farmers. But behind the surface hides a Hezbollah base, including about 20 arms depots, fighting positions both [above] ground and underground, observation posts and an advanced intelligence apparatus.

At the south of the village there is a road along the Israel–Lebanon border. Observation points along this road are also used for rioting.

Dozens of Hezbollah members live in the village among the civilian population. In a state of war, they would be reinforced by forces from Hezbollah’s special forces unit Radwan, whose fighters are returning from at least six years of fighting in Syria with a lot of operational experience.

Kafr Kela is not the only one. When the time comes, Hezbollah fighters stationed at villages along the Israel–Lebanon border will launch an assault against the Israeli communities on the other side of the frontier. Each such base has a commander and a headquarters.

The tunnel coming out of Kafr Kela was supposed to allow a Hezbollah vanguard of dozens of fighters to infiltrate the Metula area, take over the main roads and cut [off] the city from help while the terror group’s ground forces cross the border into Israel.

Nevertheless, while the tunnels have tactical importance, there is only a small number of them. Hezbollah has a plan of attack for every Israeli community along the border, and those can be carried out even without the underground element.

Hezbollah operations from Kafr Kelfa, for example, are meant to include rocket fire toward Metula, mortar shells, anti-tank missiles and of course a ground offensive.

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah has been talking about his plan to conquer the Galilee since 2011, and the IDF has been preparing accordingly—both by gathering extensive intelligence on the terror group’s operations in the border area and by building an obstacle including a wall in some parts and the use of the natural bluffs in others—[all] meant to hinder the Hezbollah forces while Israeli aerial force bombard them.

“Hezbollah has bolstered its offensive plans and is still developing them,” said Lt. Col. Yiftach Norkin, the operations officer of the Galilee Division. “We’re no longer talking about companies, but battalions with thousands of trained fighters preparing to infiltrate our territory under organized command and control, under fire and with the help of observation posts.”

“We’re preparing with a strong defensive plan, which will take advantage of the fact these are large forces moving towards us,” Norkin told Ynet. “We’ll also want to attack the non-accurate heavy short-range rockets before they are launched.”

Hezbollah’s elite tunnel unit Rawdan is called after arch-terrorist Imad Mughniyah, nicknamed al-Hajj Radwan, whose assassination is attributed to Israel.

The force, funded by Iran, is a commando unit for Hezbollah, which recruits the best fighters and puts them through grueling training for covert missions.

Lebanese youth aged 17–19 are recruited to the force without being told this is where they are going. Their training includes running and crawling in mountainous area, hand-to-hand combat and the use of firearms.

By Yossi Yehoshua

Smadar Perry contributed to this story.

(Excerpt of an article originally published by Ynetnews on December 9, 2018. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Israel Defense Forces@IDF/twitter.com

Prayer Focus
Pray that the Lord will thwart every plan that Hezbollah has formulated against Israel, since it is apparent that the tunnels are only one small part of an overall strategy of destruction. Ask the Lord to protect the people who live in northern Israel and bless them with confidence in Him.

Scripture

No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment you shall condemn.


- Isaiah 54:17

Second Deadly Attack in Judea and Samaria within a Week

by Kate Norman

Israeli security forces have caught the terrorists from both the Ofra and Barkan shootings.

Thursday, 13 December 2018 | The second deadly terror attack within a week in Judea and Samaria has Israelis wondering if the region is facing a new wave of terror.

The latest attack came this morning when another Palestinian terrorist opened fire and killed two Israelis and injured two others, one critically and one seriously.

A car pulled up to a bus stop in Givat Asaf, between Beit El and Ofra, just under two kilometers (1.2 mi.) away from the site of the Sunday shooting that injured seven people, including a pregnant woman whose baby died Wednesday. In this morning’s attack, a Palestinian gunman exited the car and opened fire, shooting at both civilians and soldiers, before fleeing the scene, according to the Times of Israel.

The IDF reported that they have found the car abandoned and believe there were two or more perpetrators—the shooter and a driver—who took off on foot near Ramallah. They are still searching for the terrorists and have encircled Ramallah.

“IDF forces are searching the area for the terrorists, who escaped the scene, and are carrying out checks at all the entrances and exits in the area.”

Another attack occurred early Thursday morning when an attacker tried to stab a Jewish man in the Old City of Jerusalem, failed and ran to attack two Israeli police officers, wounding both of them. Nearby officers shot and killed the assailant.

This adds to a busy week for Israeli forces, who recently caught the suspected terrorists behind two deadly attacks: the recent shooting at a bus stop near Ofra in which seven people, including a pregnant woman, were injured and the shooting in the Barkan industrial zone two months ago in which two people were murdered.

The terror attack in Ofra—located in the northern part of Judea and Samaria—occurred Sunday night when a car pulled in front of a bus stop and the terrorists fired at a group of people waiting nearby. Security footage of the incident showed the victims running for cover shortly before the arrival of nearby IDF soldiers, who fire at the vehicle just before it speeds away.

Seven people were injured in the attack, including Shira Ish-Ran, who was seven months pregnant, and her husband, Amichai. The 21-year-old woman was rushed to the hospital, and her baby was delivered in an emergency C-section. However, the baby boy died Wednesday, just a few hours before the terrorist believed to be responsible for the incident was apprehended.

Just hours after the baby’s funeral, Israeli forces shot and killed Palestinian Salih Barghouti, the suspected Ofra shooter. Barghouti was a Ramallah-based taxi driver from Judea and Samaria.

The Shin Bet (Israeli internal security organization) said Barghouti tried to escape arrest and attack troops when he was shot while driving his taxi in the town of Surda, also located in Judea and Samaria. Also shot and injured in the taxi was Awad Barghouti, who was taken to a hospital in Jerusalem.

Ynetnews reported that both men were members of the large Barghouti clan from the Ramallah region in Judea and Samaria, a group with strong terrorism ties.

The Shin Bet said that four other people were arrested on suspicion of involvement in the attack.

Hamas, the terror organization that rules the Gaza Strip, posted a picture of Salih Barghouti on its Twitter page and claimed him as one of its members.

“Hamas announces with great pride the death of its martyr Salih Omar Barghouti, the perpetrator of the heroic Ofra operation,” the terrorist organization tweeted Thursday.

A funeral was held for the murdered baby—hailed as Israel’s youngest victim of terror—Wednesday night at the Mount of Olives. Some 300 people attended, the Times of Israel reported. In a tragic scene, the tiny baby boy, wrapped in a prayer shawl, was circumcised and named Amiad Yisrael before he was buried. The parents, who are both hospitalized for their wounds, had only seen Amiad Yisrael on Wednesday morning, the Times reported.

The emotional grandfather, Refael Ish-Ran, delivered a eulogy for the baby, saying even though his life was short, he had united the nation of Israel.

“You brought so much light,” Ish-Ran said. “And with all the light that you brought, we will extinguish their darkness.”

The IDF posted on its Twitter feed, “After a long pursuit, the IDF & other security forces carried out an overnight operation to arrest the terrorists responsible for the shooting attacks in Barkan & Ofra that killed 3 Israelis. The terrorists were killed in the operation. Terror has a price & terrorists must pay.”

The other terrorist attack took place on October 7 when 23-year-old Palestinian Ashraf Na’alowa murdered two Israelis and wounded another in a factory in the Barkan Industrial zone in Judea and Samaria. Na’alowa was killed in an exchange of fire when the Shin Bet, who worked with the IDF and the Israel police, tried to arrest him.

The Shin Bet stated that the terrorist was armed at the time of the arrest and was planning to carry out another attack, “which was prevented with the thwarting of the assailant.”

Na’alowa had been constantly moving to different hiding places since carrying out his attack in October. He was tracked and discovered by Israeli forces in a refugee camp in Judea and Samaria. Using the same rifle he carried in the attack two months ago, the terrorist fired at the forces, who returned fire and killed him.

Several of Na’alowa’s relatives and suspected accomplices have been arrested and indicted over the past two months during the hunt to apprehend him.

Na’alowa murdered Ziv Hagbi and Kim Levengrond Yehezkel execution-style in the factory where he used to work. Ziv Hagbi’s father, Yehezkel, told Ynetnews that it was a relief to know that his son’s murderer was no longer alive, though it brought him no comfort.

“He became a hero on social media, and there was fear all kinds of other terrorists would pop up and try to imitate him, and unfortunately that is what happened over the past two months,” he told Ynetnews.

Friday marks a significant date for Palestinians—the 31st anniversary of Hamas—which could be a significant motivation for the recent wave of attacks.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, December 13, 2018)

Photo Credit: IDF blog. idf.il

Prayer Focus
Storm the heavens for a mighty move of God as it seems another wave of terror has begun. Beseech the Lord for wisdom, alertness and courage on the part of the security forces who come face to face with terror on a daily basis. Ask the Lord to protect the Jewish people from any attack leveled against them and to keep them from fear and discouragement.

Scripture

I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people who have set themselves against me all around. Arise, O LORD; save me, O my God! For you have struck all my enemies on the cheekbone; you have broken the teeth of the ungodly. Salvation belongs to the LORD. Your blessing is upon your people.


- Psalm 3:6–8

UN Approves Terror, Torpedoes Peace

The UN fails to pass an anti-terror resolution condemning Hamas. (Illustrative)

Tuesday, 11 December 2018 | The Palestinian terrorist group Hamas could not have wished for a better birthday gift than the one with which the United Nations [UN] General Assembly presented it last week.

In a few days, Hamas will hold a massive celebration in the Gaza Strip to mark its 31st anniversary. Hamas leaders are expected to pass on to their supporters the nice gift the terrorist group has just received from the UN—a gift that enables them to continue launching rockets at Israel and planning how to kill as many Jews as possible on the way to eliminating Israel and replacing it with an Islamic state.

Although a majority of UN member states voted in favor of a US-sponsored resolution condemning the activities of Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist groups, it failed to be adopted at the UN General Assembly. The resolution condemned Hamas for “repeatedly firing rockets into Israel and for inciting violence, thereby putting civilians at risk”, and for its use of resources to construct military infrastructure “including tunnels to infiltrate Israel and equipment to launch rockets into civilian areas.”

Although 87 members voted in favor, and 58 against with 32 abstentions, the resolution failed, because prior to the vote, the General Assembly passed a different resolution requiring a two-thirds majority for endorsing the US-sponsored resolution.

The failure of the UN to endorse the US resolution is not only one of the best gifts Hamas has received for its anniversary; what is worrying is that Hamas and the other Palestinian terrorist groups have interpreted the failure of the US resolution as an internationally sanctioned license to continue killing Jews.

There is no need to ask experts on Palestinian affairs about this perception, or conduct a study or a poll. All one has to do is listen to what Hamas and Islamic Jihad have been saying in Arabic.

As leaders of Hamas and Islamic Jihad have commented, the failure of the US resolution is a “major victory for the Palestinian resistance.”

What happened at the UN General Assembly last week is a “big boost for the Palestinian resistance,” commented senior Hamas official Khalil al-Haya.

Besides the joy the terrorist groups have been expressing in recent days, they are now thanking and praising the countries that opposed the US resolution in particular and the UN in general for giving Palestinians a green light to continue the fight against Israel. In other words, Hamas is saying thank you to those countries that do not consider suicide bombings and rocket attacks as acts of terrorism.

The “resistance,” for those who are still unfamiliar with Palestinian terminology, refers to various forms of terrorist attacks targeting Israeli soldiers and civilians. “Resistance” includes, among other things, suicide bombings, shootings, stabbings, car-ramming attacks, rocket and missile attacks, stone-throwing and hurling firebombs at Jewish families driving on the highways of the West Bank [Judea and Samaria].

By failing to endorse the US-sponsored resolution, the UN has sent the following message to Palestinian terrorists: “You have nothing to worry about because the UN will not label you terrorists if you attack or kill Jews.” This message has been fully absorbed by the terrorists in the Gaza Strip, who are now celebrating their “victory” at the UN.

Hours after the UN failed to endorse the resolution, the Hamas leadership announced that the “armed struggle” against Israel will continue. The announcement came as Palestinians were also marking the 31st anniversary of the eruption of the First Intifada [uprising], also known as the “Rock Intifada.” “The resistance is a legitimate right guaranteed by all international laws and conventions,” Hamas said. “This includes the armed struggle, which constitutes a strategic choice for safeguarding the Palestinian cause and restoring Palestinian rights.”

The timing of the Hamas announcement was not coincidental; it came hours after the terrorist group heard and watched how the UN had refused to pass a resolution condemning Palestinian terrorists for firing rockets at Israel. It is also no coincidence that Hamas chose to emphasize the term “armed struggle” in its statement. Like the word “resistance,” “armed struggle” also refers to terrorist attacks to take [place] over all the land “from the river to the sea”—meaning from the Jordan River in the east to the Mediterranean Sea in the west; in short, all of Israel.

What Hamas is telling the UN and the rest of the world is: “Now that you have refused to brand us terrorists, we have the right to launch all forms of terrorist attacks and kill as many Jews as possible.” Hamas and Islamic Jihad leaders are, in fact, threatening not only to continue, but also to step up, their terrorist attacks on Israel.

Besides Hamas and Islamic Jihad, other Palestinian factions have also interpreted what happened at the UN General Assembly last week as a green light to proceed with their genocidal schemes to kill Jews and annihilate Israel. The PLO’s [Palestine Liberation Organization] Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) have joined the chorus of Palestinian terrorist groups celebrating the downfall of the US resolution. They too, see the failure of the US resolution as a license to continue launching terrorist attacks against Israel. Like the rest of the terrorist groups, PFLP and DFLP have perceived the failure of the resolution as legitimizing violence and terrorism.

Prior to the vote, the Palestinian terrorists said they feared that if adopted, the US resolution would “criminalize” the Palestinian fight against Israel. Even Hamas’s rivals in the supposedly moderate and secular Fatah faction expressed this fear.

Fatah, too, was worried that the resolution would paint all Palestinian groups in one color, making it impossible to distinguish between Fatah and Hamas. Since Fatah has also been involved in anti-Israel terrorism, it feared that labeling Hamas a terrorist group for indiscriminately firing rockets at Israel would create a precedent, and that Fatah would be next to be added to the list of the international community’s list of terror groups.

When Hamas and its supporters celebrate, the few Palestinians who are described as moderates and pragmatists and who are opposed to violence and terrorism, will have to hide.

Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Fatah have boasted that what happened at the UN was a “slap in the face of the US and Israel.” In fact, what happened at the UN is a severe blow to the “moderates” among the Palestinians and to any chances of reaching a peaceful solution to the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. Now that the UN has legitimized Palestinian terrorism, no Palestinian leader will be able to return to the negotiating table with Israel.

Thus, with this move, the UN has expertly torpedoed even the remotest possibility of peace talks. Thanks to the “peace-loving UN,” December 2018 may well go down in history as the day the UN gave the green light to Palestinian terrorists to continue perpetrating violence on Israel and Jews. The blood of the next Jewish victim will be on the hands of the UN and those countries that worked hard to scuttle a simple and sane resolution: one that condemns terrorism.

Bassam Tawil is a Muslim Arab based in the Middle East.

By Bassam Tawil ~ Gatestone Institute 

(The Gatestone Institute originally published this article on December 10, 2018. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo credit: Marcello Casal JR/ABr/wikimedia.org

Photo license: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Ask the Lord to move in whatever way necessary to bring an end to the horrific and blatant anti-Semitism at the UN. Ask Him to bless those nations who currently support Israel and to convict those who are avoiding the issue by abstaining.

Scripture

Arise, O God, plead your own cause; remember how the foolish man reproaches You daily. Do not forget the voice of Your enemies; the tumult of those who rise up against You increases continually.


- Psalm 74:22–23

Netanyahu “Not Ruling Out Doing Anything” to Defend Israel against Iran

US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, warns Iran is capable of launching nuclear missiles as far as 2,000 km (1,200 mi.) into Europe.

Thursday, 13 December 2018 | Iran has repeatedly talked about the destruction of Israel, and Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu made it clear he will do whatever it takes to keep Iran from fulfilling that vision. “Our red line is our survival. We do what is necessary to protect the State of Israel against the Iranian regime that openly calls for the annihilation of the Jewish state,” said Netanyahu on Wednesday. “I’m not ruling out doing anything that we need to do to defend ourselves.”

Speaking at the annual New Year’s toast for foreign journalists, Netanyahu was quoted by his office as pointing out that Israel is already militarily confronting Iran. “For the moment Israel’s military is the only military in the world that is directly engaging the Iranian forces. We’re doing that in Syria and pulling them back,” said the Israeli leader.

Netanyahu noted that Iran’s plan is to bring their army from 1,500 kilometers [932 mi.] away to Israel’s very own northern border in Syria. This would enable Iran to set up missiles capable of hitting anywhere in Israel and bring in tens of thousands of militia forces “with the express purpose of destroying us.”

“My policy has been we’re going to stop you,” said Netanyahu. “We’re going to stop things, bad things when they’re small. So we meet Iran head-on in Syria and if we need to we’ll do whatever else we need to do to protect ourselves. As you would too.”

Netanyahu’s comments about the threat from Iran came the same day that United States secretary of state Mike Pompeo told the United Nations Security Council that the danger from Iran’s missile program is growing, despite the Iran nuclear deal. In fact, Pompeo pointed out that a year after the deal went into effect, in January 2017, Iran tested a missile that could be used to launch nuclear warheads and hit some significant long-range targets. Iran’s range may even be further still, if Iran’s own Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) is to be believed.

“[The 2017 missile’s] suspected range also approaches 2,000 kilometers [1,242 mi.], which is far enough to target Athens, Sofia, Bucharest, and other major European cities,” said Pompeo in comments published by the State Department. “If the IRGC airspace commander [Amir Hajizadeh] is telling the truth, and Iran has capabilities beyond 2,000 kilometers [1,242 mi.], other European capitals are at risk as well.”

Israel helped Pompeo make his point, providing evidence of Iran’s missile proliferation to proxies in the region as well as ongoing launches of missiles Pompeo said are “inherently capable of carrying nuclear weapons.”

Pompeo slammed the Iran nuclear deal again as failing to usher in a peaceful Iran, but instead protecting Iran from consequences of their malignant actions as well as provide them more funding for those activities. Instead, Pompeo said the US is “going to continue to be relentless in building a coalition of responsible nations who are serious in confronting the Iranian regime’s reckless ballistic missile activity.”

He also listed human rights abuses of Iran’s own citizens by the regime as part of America’s concerns about Iran.

With the US upping sanctions on Iran recently—even as Europe reportedly has plans to try to evade the measures in an effort to save the nuclear deal—Pompeo has his own vision on how the US can back off of Iran.

“If Iran makes a fundamental strategic shift and honors these demands, we are prepared to ease our pressure campaign and support the modernization and reintegration of the Iranian economy into the international economic system,” said Pompeo at the UN on Wednesday.

“But relief from our efforts will come only when we see tangible, demonstrated and sustained shifts in Tehran’s policies.”

Source: (The Mideast Update originally published this article on December 12, 2018. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today.)

Photo Credit: United States Department of State/wikimedia.org

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Pray for Prime Minister Netanyahu and other world leaders as they confront the reality of Iran’s nuclear intentions. Pray again that the Lord will intervene and bring Iran to its knees, ending the nuclear program as well as their massive support for terrorist organizations.

Scripture

In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried out to my God; He heard my voice from His temple, and my cry came before Him, even to his ears. He delivered me from my strong enemy, from those who hated me, for they were too strong for me. They confronted me in the day of my calamity, but the LORD was my support.


- Psalm 18:6, 17–18

Amid Rising Anti-Semitism, European Jews Feel Threatened

One out of three European Jews consider immigrating because they do not feel safe due to anti-Semitism.

Tuesday, 11 December 2018 | According to a recent in-depth survey, 90% of European Jews feel that anti-Semitism is growing worse in their countries.

The survey, published by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), also established that one out of three European Jews have considered emigrating because they no longer feel safe in their country.

“In two months we’ll be immigrating to Israel because of the anti-Semitism in Europe,” a woman from the Netherlands said in the survey. “Nothing is being done about it. So we are leaving voluntarily.”

The results show that high percentages of European Jews fear or have experienced harassment, feel uncomfortable disclosing their Jewish identity and that anti-Semitism is a growing problem.

The survey took data from over 16,000 self-identified Jewish people aged 16 and over from 12 EU member states—Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom. According to the authors, these countries are home to over 96% of Europe’s estimated Jewish population.

Anti-Semitism is most prevalently felt by Jewish people in France, according to the data, followed closely by Belgium, Germany and Poland, with rises of perception of anti-Semitism, especially on the internet, in Germany, the United Kingdom (UK) and Sweden, compared to the survey results from 2012.

Several Jewish people living in Sweden described their fear of letting even their friends know of their identity for fear of judgment and ostracism.

“None of my friends where I live or who I work with know that I am a Jew,” one woman in Sweden said. “Our children don’t know about my Jewish background, because I am terrified that they would get comments on that in school. I no longer visit the synagogue, because it’s not worth it if we’d be targeted for something. The best thing was when I got married, because now my last name is ‘Svensson.’”

Thirty percent of the people surveyed reported that they had been harassed, especially those who wore Jewish symbols or clothing.

“Most Jews that I know are not visibly Jewish, and the people who are visible (e.g. wear Chasidic regalia, a kippah [yarmulke] or religious jewelry) are, in my experience, the ones who attract the most attacks,” a teenage girl living in the UK said in the survey.

The UK has seen a particular rise in anti-Semitism over the past years. Last month, the chairman of the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism said almost half of UK Jews consider emigrating due to rising anti-Semitism. This is especially prevalent in the largely anti-Israel Labour Party, led by Jeremy Corbyn, whom 90% of British Jews believe is anti-Semitic.

The authors of the survey asserted that the member states of the European Union are required to do everything they can to combat anti-Semitism and give their Jewish residents a safe atmosphere.

“Yet more than 70 years after the Holocaust, Jews across the EU continue to experience anti-Semitism in the form of vandalism, insults, threats, attacks and even murder,” the report reads.

“The persistence and prevalence of anti-Semitism hinders people’s ability to live openly Jewish lives, free from fears for their security and well-being,” it continues.

Many people quoted in the survey said that their governments and public authorities are not doing enough to combat anti-Semitism, whether it is online, in the workplace or violence or harassment in the street.

“The government is much too lenient in fighting anti-Semitism,” said a Jewish woman in the Netherlands. “They call an attack vandalism instead of anti-Semitic terrorism and that’s really frightening. It again gives the feeling we are outlawed and the only solution is going on aliyah [immigration to Israel], but I’m too old for that (59 years).”

Many Jewish people resort to hiding their identity and avoiding wearing or displaying Jewish symbols, according to the findings.

“The problem is that many people are afraid to identify as such due to the strong anti-Semitism,” a German woman said. “I would never openly wear a Star of David as jewelry or wear a T-shirt with a Hebrew text or with ‘Israel’ on it. Thus, the question about discrimination is null and void, because the problem is already much bigger.”

Dr. Moshe Kantor, president of the European Jewish Congress, said that many European Jews are concerned about the future and have lost faith in their governments and their neighbors.

“In many cases, the Jews of Europe have to decide between a commitment to being part of the Jewish community and a commitment to being part of Europe,” Kantor said in a statement. “This is intolerable and a choice no people should have to face.”

Dr. Michael O’Flaherty, director of the FRA, issued a call to action for European nations and their leaders in his forward to the survey.

“We join this call and strongly encourage policymakers across the EU to take heed of the profoundly troubling messages this survey brings, and to step up their efforts now to ensure the safety and dignity of all Jewish people living in the EU,” he said.

Other leaders are calling for action as well, citing the results of this survey.

“What we need now is concrete action in the member states to see real change for Jews on the ground,” said European Commission deputy head Frans Timmerman in a statement. “There is no Europe if Jews don’t feel safe in Europe.”

By Kate Norman

(Bridges for Peace, December 11, 2018)

Photo credit: restaurandocoracoes/pixabay.com

Prayer Focus
Express to the Lord the sadness that we as Christians feel as we see the Jewish people suffering under growing anti-Semitism worldwide. Ask Him to empower the Church to stand up and be an outspoken advocate for His chosen ones, accepting our responsibility to help the nations realize that anti-Semitism is in fact an attack on God Himself.

Scripture

For Zion’s sake I will not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until her righteousness goes forth as brightness, and her salvation as a lamp that burns. The Gentiles shall see your righteousness and all kings your glory.


- Isaiah 62:1–2

Netanyahu Tells Diplomats that Israeli Planes will be Allowed to Overfly Oman, Sudan

PM Netanyahu announces that Israeli planes will be allowed to fly over Omani air space.

Tuesday, 11 December 2018 | Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday that Israeli airliners have been given permission to fly over Sudan and Oman, as part of Israel’s drive to improve ties with the Muslim world, the Times of Israel reported.

“At this time, we can overfly Egypt. We can overfly Chad—that has already been set. And to all appearances, we can also overfly this corner of Sudan,” Netanyahu told Israeli diplomats in Jerusalem, pointing at a map. The Muslim-majority nation in northern Africa currently has no official diplomatic ties with Israel.

The prime minister added that, “When I was in Oman, Sultan Qaboos (bin Said) confirmed to me right away that El Al can fly over Oman.” As a result, Netanyahu explained, “Only one small thing remains for us to do,” pointing to Saudi Arabia. “We need to get that El Al can fly over this, and that’s it—we open new markets.”

In October, Netanyahu paid a historic visit to Oman, after which the sultanate called on the Muslim Arab world to recognize Israel as a sovereign state. Israel is also said to be working toward normalization with other countries in the region, including Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.

“We are flying with Air India every day across Saudi Arabia, and soon we’re going to fly to Mumbai,” Netanyahu said. “Tel Aviv–Mumbai is fewer hours than Tel Aviv–London.” the Times of Israel reported on Saturday that the prime minister was hoping to formalize relations with Saudi Arabia before the next Israeli general election, which is scheduled for November 2019.

While important, diplomatically, the change will have limited practical impact unless El Al is also allowed to fly over Saudi Arabia. In February 2018, the kingdom granted permission to Air India to use its airspace flying to and from Israel, but has yet to grant similar permission to Israeli carriers.

However, Netanyahu said he was hopeful this could change in the future. “When I meet with Arab leaders they tell me ‘We have security and economic interests and we also want to enjoy the fruits of progress and we will no longer mortgage our normalization with the State of Israel to the Palestinians’ caprices,’” the prime minister charged.

“This does not mean peace agreements yet, but it certainly says that a situation could be created in which our progress toward normalization and peace, instead of what we always thought, peace with the Palestinians (in order) to (make peace with) the Arab world, could actually be the reverse,” Netanyahu concluded.

(This article was originally published by The Israel Project, in its publication The Tower on December 10, 2018. Time related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)

Photo credit: PM of Israel@IsraeliPM/twitter.com

Prayer Focus
Praise the Lord that Israel’s growing relationships with Arab nations are bearing fruit, opening new markets to bolster Israel’s economy and creating alliances that may be critically important at the UN or in times of conflict.

Scripture

The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.


- Proverbs 18:10

Australia Set to Recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital

by Jo Sarah Stanford

Under new PM Scott Morrison, Australia will likely move embassy to Jerusalem after recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Wednesday, 12 December 2018 | Australia is one step closer to recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, after its national security committee reportedly approved the decision on Monday.

Anonymous government sources told TV news broadcaster SBS and the Australian newspaper that the decision was approved by the national security committee on Monday and was to be ratified by the cabinet on Tuesday. An announcement was expected by Australian prime minister Scott Morrison on Wednesday, Australian time, but as yet, nothing has been confirmed.

Details are also still scarce as to how the recognition of the capital will unfold in practical terms. Whether Australia will recognize the whole of Jerusalem or only West Jerusalem is still uncertain. However, Morrison has previously stated that he is still committed to a two-state solution. A likely scenario is that, for the time being, Australia will open a consulate with the embassy to follow at a later date. This delay is due to the cost of the move being projected at AUD $200 million (US $144 million).

The decision was first considered in October when Morrison announced that he was considering moving the Australian embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

The announcement has placed considerable strain on international relations between one of Australia’s closest neighbors, Indonesia, a country that has no diplomatic ties with Jerusalem, fails to recognize Israel’s existence and is home to the world’s largest Muslim majority. Indonesia has threatened to walk away from current trade talks if the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital goes ahead. There have been protests outside the Australian embassy in Jakarta, but the Sydney Morning Herald reported that these have been linked to Indonesia president Joko Widodo, with protesters being paid to attend.

Former Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull and members of parliament from the opposition have also strongly criticized the announcement, saying that it places too much strain on international relations. However, in an interview with SBS, Morrison countered, “Let me stress: Australia decides what our foreign policy is—and only Australia.”

Morrison has promised an announcement on the decision before the end of the year. With the Australian parliament adjourning for the Christmas break, eyes from across the world are watching and waiting to see whether Australia will be the next nation to move its embassy and acknowledge that Jerusalem is the eternal capital of Israel.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, December 12, 2018)

Photo Credit: TRT World/Screenshot/YouTube

Prayer Focus
Thank the Lord for this decision on the part of Australia’s government. Ask the Lord to protect this initiative, ensuring that it will in fact come to pass. Pray that He will pour out His blessings on Australia, making it obvious that this decision has brought His favor to the nation.

Scripture

For I will not trust in my bow, nor shall my sword save me. But you have saved us from our enemies, and have put to shame those who hated us. In God we boast all day long, and praise your name forever.


- Psalm 44:6–8

Chile Rules that Cities are Prohibited from Anti-Israel Boycotts

Chile has banned cities from participating in anti-Israel boycotts, such as BDS. (Illustrative.)

Monday, 10 December 2018 | Chile’s state comptroller ruled that cities in Chile are prohibited from engaging in anti-Israel boycotts, the Jerusalem Post reported Thursday.

The ruling was issued in response to complaints filed by Shai Agosin Weisz, president of the Chilean Jewish community, and members of the Chilean community in Israel, after the city of Valdivia banned signing contracts with Israeli companies.

In addition, Valdivia called for Israel’s ambassador to be expelled from Chile and boasted that it was the “the first municipality in Latin America free of Israeli apartheid.”

The complaint argued that Valdivia’s participation in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign violated Chile’s standard of equality before the law and constituted economic discrimination.

The comptroller ruled that even though Chile’s constitution allows municipalities a measure of independence, foreign policy is the province of the head of state. Additionally, the comptroller ruled that anyone involved in bidding on government contracts should receive “equal and non-discriminatory treatment” under Chilean law. Furthermore, the comptroller ruled that “arbitrary discrimination that is based on considerations such as nationality and that cause a deprivation, disturbance [or] threat of the exercise in fundamental rights” is prohibited.

Gabriel Colodro of the Chilean Community of Israel (CCHIL) told the Post that his group is “pleased to receive the positive response of the Chilean National Comptroller declaring that boycotts against Israel are illegal in the municipal field.”

CCHIL had filed three of the four complaints and was aided by ACOM, a Spanish pro-Israel advocacy group.

However, Colodro warned that Chile’s Congress was considering a BDS resolution.

“This will be voted on as a law soon, and it is in our hands to continue the path of seeking justice, fighting anti-Semitism and improving relations between our two countries,” Colodro said.

Three years ago the United Kingdom issued guidelines that would prohibit local councils from boycotting Israel. Though the guidelines were challenged in court, an appeals court ruled earlier this year that local councils “should not pursue policies that are contrary to UK foreign policy or UK defence policy.”

(This article was originally published by The Israel Project, in its publication The Tower on December 7, 2018. Time related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)

Photo credit: Takver/wikimedia.org

Photo license: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Israel_-_Boycott,_divest,_sanction.jpg

Prayer Focus
Thank God for the stance taken by the Chilean government against the BDS movement in their nation. Pray that any pro-BDS resolution that comes before their congress will be defeated. Also, thank Him for the dozens of other cities and countries around the world who have recently taken a similar stand against this unjust and illegal economic discrimination. Pray that these responses will totally cripple the BDS movement.

Scripture

The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth. He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He also will hear their cry and save them. The LORD preserves all who love Him, but all the wicked He will destroy. My mouth shall speak the praise of the LORD, and all flesh shall bless His holy name forever and ever.


- Psalm 145:18–21

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