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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.

Emergency Fire Assistance Update—Click here to see how your donations are already helping to bring relief to fire-ravaged Israel.

As Blazes Brought Under Control, Israel Vows to Rebuild

by Ilse Posselt

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news_29nov16_2_ashernetTuesday, 29 November 2016 | After a week of battling a sea of flames that threatened to engulf large swathes of the Promised Land, Israeli officials announced yesterday that the series of terrible blazes have been extinguished and that the situation has been brought under control. According to Yoram Levy, spokesman for Israel’s fire and rescue services, “There are no active sites left.”

With the threat of flames a thing of the past, the challenging times are, however, not over. Parts of the Jewish state have been reduced to a landscape of devastation and ruin. For many, all their earthly possessions became a heap of ashes in a matter of hours. Yet even in the face of calamity, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed that the people of Israel would “rebuild the homes that were lost in the fire and replant the forests that were burned,” The Jerusalem Post reports.

“In the place of every tree that was blackened, another 10 green trees will bloom,” the prime minister said. “That is what our predecessors did since the establishment of the Zionist enterprise, and that is what we will do as well: plant, build and deepen our roots.”

The scope of destruction over the past week in Israel has been immense. The flames destroyed more than 560 homes and ravaged some 130,000 dunams (32,124 acres) of natural forests, brush lands and protected parklands. Israel’s third-largest city, Haifa, suffered the brunt of the fire and was declared a disaster zone. Over 60,000 people in the port city alone were evacuated from their homes. Although many could return over the weekend, 1,600 in the city remain homeless. Entire communities in Judea were also forced to flee their residences as the flames advanced.

In the aftermath of the disaster, experts calculate that the rehabilitation and reconstruction of natural sites like forests and nature parks as well as infrastructure damaged in the blaze could take up to 30 years, Ynet reports. According to the Jewish National fund, the fire destroyed more than 11,000 dunams (2,718 acres) of forest land, with 7,500 dunams (1,853 acres) incinerated in the Jerusalem hills alone.

Although negligence and the unseasonably hot, dry weather conditions are believed to have sparked the spate of fires, security officials say that the original flames inspired a series of arson incidents that spread the blazes across the country.

Netanyahu confirmed yesterday that Israel knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that a number of the fires are the result of “criminal and intentional” arson. He emphasized again that the acts of arson constitute terror attacks and would be dealt with accordingly. Over the past week, security officials from the Jewish state have arrested some 35 Palestinians on suspicion of deliberately setting fires or incitement to arson.

Levy told the Israeli press that between Friday, 18 November to Saturday, 26 November, fire fighters responded to 1,773 incidents of fire throughout the country. Defense Minister, Avigdor Liberman said that 3,500 soldiers from the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), including 750 reservists, assisted some 2,000 Israeli fire fighters in a round-the-clock battle against the flames. With the Jewish state’s resources stretched beyond capacity, a number of countries, including Russia, Greece, Italy, Cyprus, Croatia and Turkey sent assistance. Moreover, the Palestinian Authority (PA) also sent a crew of 41 and eight fire trucks to help in the fight.

Netanyahu made a phone call to PA President, Mahmoud Abbas, to personally thank him for the assistance. The Prime Minister said that he told Abbas, “This is the right thing to do and I appreciate it. Let us not light fires, let us put them out and march together toward peace.”

With the series of blazes now under control, the fire service in Israel is lowering its alert from emergency footing, fire stations everywhere except in the hardest hit areas of the country are returning to standard operations and international assistance teams are heading home one by one. Moreover, the spell of hot, windy weather is expected to break later this week as showers are expected in the area.

The blazes raging throughout the Promised Land have been quenched. The threat has been neutralized. Now the rebuilding begins.

 

Editor’s note: Bridges for Peace has set up a fund so that caring Christians around the world can respond to the urgent needs of the fire victims and to help rebuild what has been destroyed. Click here to make a donation.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, 29 November, 2016)

Photo Credit: Ashernet

Prayer Focus
Glorify the Lord that the fires and threats have been neutralized. Pray for hope in the broken hearts of the nation of Israel as they start to rebuild their homes, lives, schools, forests, nature parks and infrastructure. May God bless them with zeal, patience and finances.

Scripture

The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.


- Psalm 34:17-19

Israel Hits Terror Target on Syrian Golan

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Looking toward Syria from Israel’s northern border

Tuesday, 29 November 2016 | The Israeli military bombed a facility belonging to an Islamic State-affiliated group in the Syrian side of the Golan Heights on Monday, a day after it killed four of the group’s fighters in a retaliatory airstrike.

Israel Air Force jets hit a former United Nations structure that had served as an operations center for the Army of Khalid Ibn al-Walid, formerly known as the Yarmouk Martyr’s Brigade, whose fighters attacked soldiers from the Golani Brigade’s reconnaissance unit on Sunday. The soldiers came under small arms fire while conducting an operation in Israeli territory near the border with Syria. The IAF was called in after the terrorists began firing mortars at the soldiers, launching an airstrike that killed all four terrorists.

“The compound was the base for yesterday’s attack against IDF forces,” the military said in a statement on Monday. “This is an additional response to yesterday’s attack, and it is aimed at preventing the terrorists from returning to the installation which poses a significant threat.”

“They have said they will come to Jerusalem,” IDF spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner said of ISIS, which threatened in October that “not one Jew will be left [alive] in Jerusalem or across Israel.”

“We have no intention of letting them come to Jerusalem,” Lerner added.

While Israel has not actively taken sides in the Syrian civil war, the government has said that it would act to prevent the terrorist group Hezbollah, which backs the Syrian government, from acquiring “game-changing” weapons. Israel also has worked with moderate rebels groups near the border to transfer Syrians injured in the fighting to Israeli hospitals for treatment.

Gen. Amos Yadlin, former head of Israel’s military intelligence and current director of the Institute for National Security Studies, told reporters on Sunday that it is unclear whether the ISIS attack on the IDF patrol was opportunistic or part of a broader escalation. He noted that ISIS, which is currently “under pressure everywhere,” including its bases in Iraq and Syria, may have been looking “some propaganda element, some sympathy in the Arab world” by attacking Israeli forces.

Source: (Excerpt of article by The Israel Project, published in The Tower, on 28 November, 2016. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Katelyn Whitaker/ Bridges for Peace

Prayer Focus
Pray for peace in Jerusalem as ISIS has made threats concerning the city. Thank the Lord for the IDF soldiers protecting the border at the Golan Heights; pray for their safety as they risk their lives on a daily basis.

Scripture

Like birds flying about, so will the Lord of hosts defend Jerusalem. Defending, He will also deliver it; passing over, He will preserve it.


- Isaiah 31:5

Commemorating 69 Years Since the UN Partition Plan

by Ilse Posselt

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United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine, 1947

Wednesday, 30 November 2016 | On 29 November 1947, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) put to the vote a proposal called the United Nation (UN) Partition Plan for Palestine. The plan outlined a proposal for the future of the tiny strip of land wedged between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea—known at that point as Mandatory Palestine—once the British Mandate expired. The plan suggested that the plot of land be carved up and pockets allocated to both the Jewish and Arab populations to create separate, independent states existing next to one another. Jerusalem would become an international city under neither Jewish nor Arab administration.

Yesterday, 69 years ago, 33 member states gave their nods of approval for the plan, while 13 voted “no.” Ten states refrained from voting. The plan was adopted as Resolution 181(II). On November 29,1947, the Jewish people obtained international backing to re-establish a state on parts of the land of their forefathers, the land which God pledged in an everlasting covenant to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Genesis 13:14-17, 15:18 and 17:8).

The proposed borders excluded Jerusalem as well as large pockets of the Jewish historic homeland from Israel’s allotted portion. Regardless, the Jews embraced the proposal, rejoiced at the prospect of seeing their hope of nearly 2,000 years fulfilled and set about preparations for the rebirth of a nation. The Arabs, on the other hand, rejected the proposal and set about preparations for war to “drive the Jews into the sea.”

The 1947 partition plan—and the Jews’ and Arab’s respective reactions to it—set a number of pivotal events in motion. Nearly six months later, the British Mandate expired at midnight on 14 May 1948. A few hours before the deadline, the Jewish People’s Council approved a proclamation, declaring “the establishment of a Jewish state in Eretz Israel, to be known as the State of Israel.” Prophecy had been fulfilled and Israel had been re-born.

Two days later, the ragtag army of the fledgling state was called upon to protect its people in the nation’s first war when a coalition of five Arab armies stormed its borders. The tiny army of Israel was vastly outgunned and outnumbered. However, droves of Arabs fled the war-torn country ahead of the invading armies and eventually lost the entire area they could have declared their own. When the last battle in the war was finally fought nine months later, the tiny army of Israel was victorious.

According to Moshe Ma’oz, Professor Emeritus of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the Arab rejection of the 1947 partition plan was “an extreme policy vis-à-vis the idea of two states, thus grossly ignoring the will of the UN and the Great Powers, and leading the Palestinians into war and tragedy,” The Jewish Press reports.

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First Prime Minister of Israel, David Ben-Gurion, publicly pronounces the Declaration of the State of Israel, May 14 1948
(Photo: Rudi Weissenstein / Wikipedia)

Jewish people around the world remember November 29, 1947 as a date of much rejoicing. Yet the UN fails to commemorate this day as the anniversary of the partition plan. Since 1977, November 29 has been set aside as the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. Instead of recalling the Jewish acceptance, the Arab stoic rejection and the consequences thereof, the international body chose this date to invite the global community to stand in camaraderie with the so-called plight of the Palestinians.

On this day, the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) delegation to the UN usually hosts a special session that it then uses as an annual event to condemn Israel. This year was no different.

During yesterday’s session, the UNGA President, Peter Thomson from Fiji, donned a scarf with the colors of the Palestinian flag, as well as a black-and-white keffiyeh, associated with the Palestinians to mark the day.

Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, used the occasion to deliver a particularly direct speech reminding his audience of the historic events associated with the day. “Do the Palestinians even want a state?” he started. “History tells us that the answer is no. If the Palestinians really wanted peace, we could have had peace decades ago. The Palestinians reject every Israeli offer and every plan and respond with waves of violence and terror.”

Danon proved his remark by presenting the front page of the New York Times dated 30 November 1947, a day after the Partition Plan vote, Israel National News reports. The headline for the particular day reads, “Assembly Votes Palestine Partition,” “Arabs Walk Out… Disavow Any Partition Role.”

According to Israel National News, Danon continued his address by mentioning two particular peace proposals the former Prime Ministers Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert respectively offered the PA. Both were rejected.

The first unprecedented proposal came in 2000 when Barak offered PA Chairman, Yasser Arafat, 95% of Judea and Samaria, 100% of Gaza and the option to create a Palestinian state in the areas. Arafat snubbed his nose at the offer and proceeded to start the Second Intifada.

Then, eight years later 2008, Olmert’s offer to PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas included a Palestinian state on nearly 95% of Judea and Samaria and the return of 5,000 Arab refugees over five years, Israel National News reports.

In 2009, Abbas confessed publicly that he rejected the proposal outright.

“This,” Danon concluded, “is the whole story.”

Source: (Bridges for Peace, 30 November 2016)

Photo Credit: Public Domain/ Wikipedia

Photo License: Wikipedia

Prayer Focus
Declare God’s covenant over the land of Israel and thank Him for the rebirth of the nation in 1947. Bring Danny Danon before the Lord’s throne and ask Him to shield and cover Danny and his family as he represents Israel in the UN. Pray that the PA will grow weak in its fight against Israel and will finally accept the reality of the Jewish state.

Scripture

Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Your servants, to whom You swore by Your own self, and said to them, I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven; and all this land that I have spoken of I give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever.


- Exodus 32:13

This Is the IDF’s Plan to Combat Hamas Terror Tunnels

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An IDF solider of “Yahalom,” the elite commando unit, specializing in discovering, clearing, and destroying terror tunnels.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016 | Sometimes the best strategy to combat a threat is to face it head on—with double the manpower. Yahalom, the unit of the IDF Combat Engineering Corps that specializes in underground warfare, is doing just that.

The Tunnel Threat

Since before 2014’s Operation Protective Edge, Hamas, the terror organization controlling the Gaza Strip, has been building numerous cross-border terror tunnels. They’ve changed the face of the battlefield by moving it underground. Their aim: to infiltrate Israeli communities and attack citizens.

They’ve succeeded in the past. During Operation Protective Edge, Hamas fighters snuck through a terror tunnel and emerged near Nahal Oz, killed five soldiers at an IDF outpost, and attempted to kidnap one of their bodies. These tunnels have even reached the civilian communities of Kibbutz Nir Am and Kibbutz Sufa, placing thousands of innocent lives in danger.

Our Answer: Yahalom

To counter this threat, the IDF is doubling the number of soldiers in “Yahalom,” the elite commando unit of the Combat Engineering Corps. While combat soldiers in most units are trained in basic tunnel warfare, Yahalom specializes in discovering, clearing and destroying terror tunnels.

As the threat of terror tunnels continues to grow, the role that Yahalom plays becomes even more vital. Although the entire unit deals with the tunnel threat, the unit is split into specialized companies. The “Yael” Company is the engineering reconnaissance force. “Sayfan” is trained to handle the threat of non-conventional weapons (WMD’s). There are two additional explosive ordinance disposal units, and “Samur,” which specializes in tunnel warfare.

Fighting Inside Terror Tunnels

“The main challenge of underground warfare is that the enemy has no above-ground signature, says Col. Yaron, the commander of the Yahalom unit. “The fact that the enemy is hidden and collecting intelligence is complicated and difficult.” Hamas’ use of the tactic is no different. “Hamas views warfare underground just as it would aboveground, utilizing defense, offense and retreat. They even destroy the foundations of their terror tunnels to harm the IDF soldiers inside, similar to the tactic used in Vietnam.”

Lt. Hezi has firsthand experience fighting inside of Hamas’s terror tunnels from Operation Protective Edge. “No two tunnels are the same. The first person to enter the tunnel has to improvise,” he explains. “This is exactly what we train for—to be prepared for any situation, whether it be a terrorist or an explosive. When you see the inside of these terror tunnels—that’s when you suddenly understand how big of a threat we face.”

Source: (The IDF blog originally published this article on 27 November, 2016. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: IDF blog

Prayer Focus
Intercede on behalf of the IDF soldiers serving in the elite commando unit, Yahalom, as they seek to discover, clear and destroy terror tunnels, preventing Hamas from infiltrating Israel’s communities in the south. Ask the Lord to bless the soldiers and LT. Hezi with wisdom to discover terror tunnels before lives are lost.

Scripture

The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell in it forever. The mouth of the righteous speaks wisdom, and his tongue talks of justice. The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide.


- Psalm 37:29-31

UN Body Adopts Yet Another Six Anti-Israel Resolutions

by  Ilse Posselt

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Danny Danon, Israel’s ambassador to the UN

Thursday, 01 December 2016 | In a parody of historical accuracy and justice, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) voted yesterday to pass yet another six resolutions condemning Israel and denying Jewish and Christian historical ties to the City of Gold, thus ultimately proclaiming Jerusalem a Muslim city and the Temple Mount an exclusively Islamic site.

The six motions were passed during a special session which began on Tuesday for the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people, commemorated every year on November 29. Although the United Nations (UN) decided in 1977 to set this day aside to stand in camaraderie with the so-called plight of the Palestinians, it is also the anniversary for the day on which the Jewish people obtained international backing to re-establish a state on parts of the land of their forefathers.

On 29 November 1947, the UNGA adopted the United Nations (UN) Partition Plan for Palestine, calling for what was then known as Mandatory Palestine to be carved up and pockets allocated to both the Jewish and Arab populations to create separate, independent states existing next to one another. The Jews accepted. Yet the Arabs snubbed their noses at the offer of a state.

Although many around the world commemorate November 29 with thanksgiving, the UN has devoted the day to create a forum where the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) delegation to the UN can host a special annual session to condemn the Jewish state and propose anti-Israel resolutions. This year was no different.

The six resolutions passed yesterday ranged from proposals ignoring Jewish and Christian ties to holy sites in Jerusalem, calls for the allocation of resources to assist in promoting the Palestinian narrative and a notion urging the Jewish state from what it dubs “occupied territories.”

One of the proposals, called the “Jerusalem Resolution,” deals with the alleged situation around the holy sites in the City of Gold and states that “any actions taken by Israel, the occupying power, to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration on the Holy City of Jerusalem are illegal and therefore null and void and have no validity whatsoever, and calls upon Israel to immediately cease all such illegal and unilateral measures.”

A total of 147 out of UNGA’s 193 member states gave this resolution a nod of approval while only seven voted against and eight abstained.

According to The Jerusalem Post, all the European countries, including nations considered to have good relations with Israel, such as France, Italy and Germany voted in favor. Canada, Israel, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Naura, Palu and the United States voted against.

Another resolution deals with the perceived need to distribute information and create awareness of the Palestinian narrative of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, The Jerusalem Post reports and highlights the need to initiate and promote “fact-finding news missions for journalists to the Occupied Palestinian Territory including East Jerusalem and Israel.”

A third resolution admonished the Jewish state to abandon control of the Golan Heights to war-torn Syria and called on Israel to end its so-called “occupation” of the Palestinian people.

Speaking in reaction to the six motions, Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, said, “Today’s resolutions are yet another example of the daily bias Israel faces in the UN. At the same time that Israel is celebrating the historic decision to re-establish the Jewish state in our homeland, the UN continues to fund organizations and pass resolutions that do nothing to better the lives of the Palestinians.”

The representative of the United State’s mission at the General assembly condemned the “disproportionate number of resolutions condemning Israel. He added that such proposals “damage the prospect for peace.”

A group of Arab countries including Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq and Lebanon, assisted closely by the PA, are largely responsible for introducing the series of resolutions. A number of Asian and African countries also played a part.

This week’s proposals come hot on the heels of a series of anti-Israel resolutions adopted by the international body. Over the past two months alone, a number of UN bodies have adopted nearly 15 notions condemning the Jewish state or ignoring Jewish and Christian ties to Jerusalem.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, 01 December 2016)

Photo Credit: Danny Danon/Facebook

Prayer Focus
Ask the Lord to stop the enemy from influencing the UN bodies who try to eliminate the history of Israel and our holy sites. Pray for truth to be revealed to the nations voting against God and Israel. Thank Him that Israel is standing strong in the face of adversity and threats.

Scripture

Let peoples serve you, and nations bow down to you. Be master over your brethren, and let your mother’s sons bow down to you. Cursed be everyone who curses you, and blessed be those who bless you!


- Genesis 27:29

Iran, Hamas and the Dance of Death

by Khaled Abu Toameh ~ Gatestone Institute

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Ali Khamenei, Supreme leader of Iran

Tuesday, 29 November 2016 | The Iranians and Hamas are exploiting the final days of the Obama Administration to restore their relations and pave the way for Tehran to step up its meddling in the internal affairs of the Palestinians in particular and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in general.

Emboldened by the nuclear deal framework with the world powers, Iran has already taken the liberty of interfering in the internal affairs of other Arabs, particularly the Iraqis, Lebanese, Syrians, Yemenites and some Gulf countries.

It now appears that the Obama Administration’s failed policies in the Middle East have increased the Iranians’ appetite, such that they are convinced that they can expand their influence to the Palestinians as well.

Thanks to the civil war in Syria, relations between Hamas and Iran have been strained over the past few years. Hamas’s refusal to support the regime of Bashar Assad—Iran’s chief ally in the region—has led the Iranians to suspend financial and military aid to the Islamist movement in the Gaza Strip. However, recent signs indicate that Iran and Hamas are en route to a kind of Danse Macabre—a move that will undoubtedly allow Tehran to become a major player in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

This, of course, bodes badly for any future peace process between Israel and the Palestinians. Iran has one goal only: to eliminate the “Zionist entity” and undermine moderate and progressive Arabs and Muslims.

The new US administration would do well to take very seriously Iran’s comeback to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, because of its implications not only concerning prospects for peace, but also because it means that this will lead to an upsurge in violence and terror attacks against Israel.

Proof of Iran’s renewed effort to infiltrate the Palestinian arena was provided this week by statements made by a senior Hamas official, Osama Hamdan, who is in charge of the Islamist movement’s “external affairs.” Asked about Hamas’s relations with Iran, Hamdan was quoted as saying that he had good reason to be optimistic.

“Relations between Iran and Hamas are currently undergoing revitalization, and are moving in the right direction,” Hamdan announced. He went on to explain that “moving in the right direction” means that Iran would “continue to support the resistance” against Israel:

“Relations between Iran and Hamas extend over a period of 25 years. Undoubtedly, any flaw in this relationship has a negative impact. But this relationship is capable of renewing itself. This is a relationship that is based on supporting the resistance and the Palestinian cause.”

In reality, Hamas and Iran have no meaningful ideological or strategic differences. Both share a common desire to destroy Israel and replace it with an Islamic empire. The two entities are also committed to an “armed struggle” against Israel, and are vehemently opposed to any compromise with it.

The crisis between the two sides over the civil war in Syria is no more than a minor, tactical dispute. When it comes to the real agenda, such as destroying Israel and launching terror attacks, Iran and Hamas continue to be in total alignment.

Another sign of the apparent rapprochement between Iran and Hamas came in the form of reports that the Islamist movement has appointed a new leader in the Gaza Strip with close ties to Tehran. According to the reports, Emad El Alami, who previously served as Hamas’s first emissary to Tehran, has been entrusted with temporarily replacing Ismail Haniyeh as the ruler of the Gaza Strip. Haniyeh has in recent months relocated from the Gaza Strip to Qatar. At this stage, it remains unclear when and if Haniyeh will return to the Gaza Strip. Some Palestinians have surmised that Haniyeh may replace the Doha-based Khaled Mashaal as head of the Hamas “Political Bureau.” If this happens, then El Alami, who is regarded by many Palestinians as Iran’s agent, will become the permanent de facto ruler of the Gaza Strip.

El Alami’s rise to power will undoubtedly further facilitate Iran’s ambition to become a significant player in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through the gates of the Gaza Strip. This means that Hamas can expect more cash and weapons to enter Gaza in the coming weeks and months. Such an influx would significantly increase the likelihood of another war between Hamas and Israel. Iran’s millions will not be used by Hamas for building schools and hospitals, or providing desperately needed jobs for Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. Nor will the Iranian-supplied weapons be stored in Hamas warehouses and tunnels, or used in military parades.

Iran expects results: Hamas is to use the financial and military support to resume attacks on Israel and “liberate all of Palestine, from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.”

When Hamas leaders talk about Iranian support for the Palestinian “resistance,” they mean suicide bombings, rocket attacks and other forms of terrorism. They are saying with unmistakable clarity that they seek a resumption of Iranian support for the “resistance”—not for the tens of thousands of unemployed and impoverished Palestinians living under the Hamas regime in the Gaza Strip. The well-being of the Palestinians living under its rule is the last thing on Hamas’s mind.

The Iranians, for their part, appear to be extremely eager to resume their role as enablers and funders of any group that vows to eliminate Israel. As far as Iran is concerned, there is nothing better than having two proxy terror organizations on Israel’s borders—Hezbollah in the north and Hamas in the south.

Iran is already backing other terror groups in the Gaza Strip, such as the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Al-Sabireen. But these are tiny groups compared to Hamas, which has tens of thousands of gunmen and a strong military group, Ezaddin Al Kassam. And there is nothing to prevent Iran from extending its control to the Gaza Strip through Hamas, especially in the wake of the Obama Administration’s policy of appeasing not only the Iranians, but also the Muslim Brotherhood.

In the coming months, Hamas is scheduled to hold secret elections to elect a replacement for Khaled Mashaal. Mashaal’s departure from the scene is also set to facilitate Iran’s effort to infiltrate the Gaza Strip. The three candidates who are seen as potential successors to Mashaal—Ismail Haniyeh, Musa Abu Marzouk and Yehya Al Sinwar—have all pledged to improve their movement’s ties with Iran.

The biggest losers, once again, will be President Mahmoud Abbas and his Palestinian Authority (PA) in the West Bank [Judea–Samaria].

PA officials continue to express deep concern over Iran’s meddling in Palestinian affairs, especially its financial and military support for terror groups in the Gaza Strip and even some parts of the West Bank. Yet Israel’s presence in the West Bank has thus far thwarted Iran’s repeated attempts to establish bases of power there. Abbas has no choice but to work with Israel if he wishes to prevent Iran and its supporters from overthrowing his regime, and perhaps dragging him to the center of Ramallah and hanging him as a traitor.

Abbas and his senior aides are nonetheless plenty worried about Iran’s increased efforts to infiltrate the Palestinian arena. At a lecture in Bahrain last week, PLO Secretary-General Saeb Erekat sounded an alarm bell when he said:

“Iran has no right to interfere in the internal affairs of the Palestinians. Iran must respect the particularity of our country. We hope that Iran will focus on placing Palestine back on the map and not intervene through this or that group.”

But this warning is likely to fall on deaf ears in the waning Obama Administration, which obviously no longer shares the widespread concern among Arabs and Palestinians that Iran remains a major threat to stability and security in the region, including Israel. Perhaps the new US administration will see Iran and its machinations a bit more clearly. The alternative is allowing Iran and its proxy terror groups further to drench the region in blood.

Source: (Gatestone Institute originally published this article on 23 November, 2016. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Official website of Ali Khamenei/ Wikipedia

Prayer Focus
Beseech the Lord to prevent the Obama Administration from restoring relations with Tehran that will be harmful for Israel. Ask Him to confuse the enemy’s common desire to destroy Israel and for their differences to be detrimental to the relationship between Hamas, Tehran and Iran.

Scripture

Yet hear now, O Jacob My servant, and Israel whom I have chosen. Thus says the Lord who made you and formed you from the womb, who will help you: Fear not, O Jacob My servant; and you, Jeshurun, whom I have chosen.


- Isaiah 44:1-2

Mahmoud Abbas: a Record of Rejectionism

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Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas

Monday, 28 November, 2016 | Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week hailed the 39th anniversary of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat’s historic trip to Israel, contrasting it with the intransigence displayed by Palestinian Authority [PA] President Mahmoud Abbas.

Abbas “refuses to come to direct negotiations without preconditions, is also continuing to incite his people regarding the idea of a right of return and erasing the State of Israel, and, to my regret, is not taking the right steps to start calming things and preparing public opinion for reconciliation with the State of Israel,” he said at his weekly cabinet meeting.

Netanyahu’s point is often ignored, but vitally important. Abbas, currently in the 11th year of a four-year presidential term, has made no serious effort to engage with Israel diplomatically. He has, however, successfully thwarted efforts by the United States to open bilateral talks between the PA and Israel, choosing to internationalize the conflict rather than working to solve it through direct negotiations.

Jackson Diehl, the deputy editorial page editor of The Washington Post, assessed Abbas’s mindset in May 2009, shortly after President Barack Obama began his current term in office. “The Americans are the leaders of the world,” Abbas told Diehl. “They can use their weight with anyone around the world. Two years ago they used their weight on us. Now they should tell the Israelis, ‘You have to comply with the conditions.’ ”

Diehl observed that Abbas was convinced “that the United States will simply force Israel to make critical concessions, whether or not its democratic government agrees, while Arabs passively watch and applaud.”

On two occasions this is exactly what happened.

In late 2009, Obama prevailed upon Netanyahu to implement a 10-month moratorium on Israeli construction in the West Bank [Judea–Samaria] in order to facilitate direct negotiations with the Palestinians. Instead of using the freeze as an opportunity to negotiate, Abbas refused to engage with Israel until September 2010, the final month of the freeze. After two meetings, Abbas tried to get the United States to prevail upon Israel to extend the freeze. When Israel refused this latest precondition, Abbas suspended the talks.

A few months later, Newsweek reported on Abbas’ troubled relationship with Obama. The Palestinian president didn’t express regret for a missed opportunity, but rather blamed the lack of diplomatic progress on the president, who he claimed had suggested the settlement freeze. “I said OK, I accept. We both went up the tree. After that, he came down with a ladder and he removed the ladder and said to me, jump. Three times he did it,” Abbas said.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, though, saw things differently, recalling in late 2012:

“I stood on a stage with [Netanyahu] … and I said it was unprecedented for any Israeli prime minister to have done that. I got so criticized. I got criticized from the right, the left, the center, Israeli, Jewish, Arab, Christian, you name it. Everybody criticized me. But the fact was it was a 10-month settlement freeze. And he was good to his word. And we couldn’t get the Palestinians into the conversation until the tenth month. … In the last 20 years, I’ve seen Israeli leaders make an honest, good-faith effort and not be reciprocated in the way that was needed.”

In 2013, Clinton’s successor, Secretary of State John Kerry attempted to restart Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. Over a nine month period, the two sides engaged in talks. Israel released dozens of Palestinian prisoners — including convicted murderers, kidnappers, and torturers who killed dozens of Israelis — in order to keep the negotiations going. In February 2014, when the United States offered a framework for a future peace deal, Netanyahu accepted the proposal. Abbas rejected it.

As David Hazony, editor of The Tower, reported at the time, Abbas dismissed every major issue proposed by the Americans. He rejected establishing a Palestinian capital in the neighborhood of Beit Hanina, demanding instead all of eastern Jerusalem; he refused to accept Israel as a Jewish homeland, thereby recognizing its legitimacy as a Jewish nation-state and forfeiting future Palestinian claims to the territory; and he refused to abandon the Palestinian “right of return,” which facilitate the immigration of millions of Palestinians into Israel and lead to its effective destruction.

At the end of 2014, former Israeli peace negotiator Tzipi Livni blamed the failure of the American-sponsored talks squarely on Abbas. She told New York Times columnist Roger Cohen that she had hoped to continue the talks, but that Abbas instead signed 15 international conventions — 11 of which the Palestinian Authority was immediately in violation — in an effort to bypass direct negotiations and politicize the conflict. The final blow to the American effort was Abbas’ announced formation of a unity government with the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas, even though Hamas rejects Israel’s right to exist, an internationally accepted premise for peace.

The signing of the 15 international conventions wasn’t accidental. Abbas already announced his intent to bypass direct negotiations and seek to internationalize the conflict in a 2011 New York Times op-ed. “Palestine’s admission to the United Nations would pave the way for the internationalization of the conflict as a legal matter, not only a political one,” he explained. “It would also pave the way for us to pursue claims against Israel at the United Nations, human rights treaty bodies and the International Court of Justice.”

A 2012 effort for admission to the General Assembly failed. But that hasn’t deterred Abbas from using Palestinian membership in international organizations to attack Israel’s legitimacy. The most recent manifestation of this effort were the two UNESCO resolutions approved in October, which effectively denied Jewish claims to Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, despite extensive evidence to the contrary.

The point of the resolutions, Eylon Aslan-Levy wrote last month in The Tower, was “to render Israeli sovereignty over the Old City utterly illegitimate, do the most damage by prejudging how the international community should approach the question of the holy sites in any future accord.”

Over the past eight years, whenever diplomatic opportunities for peace presented themselves, they were quickly and deliberately buried by Abbas. It is clear why Netanyahu, who has repeatedly offered to meet with Abbas without preconditions, observed that the Palestinian president “is not taking the right steps” for peace.

Source: (The Israel Project, in its publication The Tower, originally published this article on 27 November, 2016. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Public Domain/ U.S. Department of State/ Wikipedia

Photo License: Wikipedia

Prayer Focus
Give thanks to the Lord that in spite of Abbas’s refusal to meet Israel without pre-conditions regarding the Land, God gave the Land to Israel and it still belongs to Israel. Pray for a miracle: that Abbas will peacefully accept a Jewish state and ask God to bless PM Netanyahu and government authorities with wise thoughts and supernatural solutions.

Scripture

But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.


- Genesis 50:20

Farmers Desperate for Rain

by Ahiya Raved, Eli Segal and Tamar Avraham

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Friday, 02 December 2016 | Israel is once again bearing the harsh brunt of its hot climate as it faces a drought intensified by the easterly winds making this summer the longest in the country’s history.

Since last April—almost eight months—not one drop of rain has fallen in northern Israel, an area crying out for water. Not only can the dry conditions be felt in all areas by the population, but they can also be seen as farmers witness the conspicuous absence of flowing streams and the low levels of water in the north’s much depended-upon reservoirs.

Indeed, so dire has situation become, farmers have been left no choice but to draw upon reserves by opening up the water sprinklers and irrigation lines during the winter season.

Water reservoirs in the Golan Heights, which are relied upon to accumulate water throughout the winter for the protracted heat of the summer, remain empty. The situation is perhaps best exemplified by the shortage of water in the largest reservoir of all, ‘Birket Israel.’

Situated between the towns of Haspin and Nov, Birket Israel currently contains a mere 300,000 cubic meters rather than the expected millions of cubic meters. Other streams and waterfalls remain completely water-deprived.

“Unfortunately we go by the strategy whereby every year is a drought year until proven otherwise,” said Eitan Sadeh, the director of the Golan Association which is responsible for water supply to farmers in the Golan Heights.

“Every October and November perhaps half a millimeter [.02 in] of rain falls in the Golan. Usually, these are months during which we don’t water the farms. But this time there was no choice because the (fruits and vegetables) need water now: olives, apples, and kiwis.”

The dream of a farmer, said Sadeh, is to have an excess surplus of water which they will not know what to do with. “That is the hope. But in reality we are preparing for another year of drought,” he gloomily stated.

Source: (Ynetnews originally published this article on 29 November, 2016. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Prayer Focus
Pray for rain! Ask the Lord for enough to quench the drought and fill the empty water reservoirs that sustain crops during dry summer months. Intercede for these farmers to speak life, be hopeful and be excited as God will send the rain to feed His nation, Israel.

Scripture

For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and do not return there, but water the earth, and make it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater.


- Isaiah 55:10

Stone Tablet Naming Ancient Governor of Judea Found

by Itay Blumenthal

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Archaeological site at Tel Dor

Friday, 02 December 2016 | An ancient Roman inscription discovered on a stone tablet during an underwater excavation in Tel Dor sheds light on a previously unknown governor of Judea during the time of the Bar Kokhba revolt.

Several months earlier, research students from the Coastal Archeological Laboratory at Haifa University discovered a large stone tablet etched with an ancient Roman inscription at the bottom of the Tel Dor reserve.

After consultations with the Israel Antiquities Authority [IAA] and the Nature and Parks Authority, a decision was taken to remove the tablet from the sea as soon as possible to prevent damage to the inscription.

The excavation site was led by Prof. Assaf Yasur-Landau from Haifa University who identified the stone inscription of seven lines. The rectangular stone is roughly 85 centimeters [33 inches] long and weighs about 600 kilograms [1322 pounds].

“Apparently, this is the base of a statue from Roman times and according to the best of our knowledge, this is the longest inscription ever discovered underwater in Israel,” explained Prof. Yasur-Landau. “Not only did we decipher for the first time the name of the governor who ruled Judea during the critical years before Bar Kokhba revolt, but this is the second time that the name Judea is mentioned in writing from the Roman period.”

Dr. Gil Gambash, head of the Department of Maritime Civilizations at Haifa University, explained that the beginning of the study was to identify the name of the governor of Judea during that period. “On the tablet, the name Gargilius Antiquus is written along with his position; governor of Judea,” explained Gambash. “The name of Antiquus is found on another inscription that was discovered at Tel Dor 70 years ago, but the section of the inscription dealing with the provincial governor did not survive.”

Previous research posited that Antiquus was commissioner of the province of Syria, but in light of this new discovery, it is proved without a doubt that Gargilius Antiquus was the Roman governor of Judea in the years before the outbreak of the Bar Kokhba revolt in AD 131.

The only other mention of the name Judea was on a tablet discovered in Caesarea which also bore the name of a previous governor, Pontius Pilate.

“After the suppression of the Bar Kokhba revolt, Rome decided to do away with the province of Judea and to erase any trace of its name, so Rome combined it with Syria, renaming the province Syria-Palestine,” explained Gambash.

Source: (Ynetnews originally published this article on 01 December 2016. Time related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Public Domain/ Wikipedia

Photo License: Wikipedia

Prayer Focus
Rejoice in the Lord as the practice of the past to write on stone, proves today the truthfulness of the Bible and the history of Israel. Bring all the archaeologists before the Lord as they find and preserve artifacts in the Land.

Scripture

Then the Lord answered me and said: Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time; but at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.


- Habakkuk 2:2-3

IDF Technological Cadets Create Smart Bracelet That Will Save Lives

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Smart bracelet designed by IDF cadets

Solving the problem

Friday, 02 December 2016 | As part of the final stage of the IDF Technological Officers Training Course, cadets are expected to find an issue in the IDF that can be solved with an innovative technological approach, and then, in a rapid prototyping process build a working product. The cadets developed a smart bracelet that will keep track of life saving data when soldiers are injured on the battlefield.

Here’s how it works: When a soldier is injured, the field medic will attach a smart bracelet powered by an arduino chip to their arm. The bracelet will instantly start tracking their pulse, blood pressure, and body temperature using its multiple sensors. Using an NFC chip, the bracelet will track who is providing care, the medications and dosages he receives, and any procedures that the wounded soldier undergoes. When the wounded soldier is evacuated and brought to a hospital to receive more advanced care, all that data will travel with him.

While wearable tech hasn’t taken off as quickly as expected in the civilian sector, what sets this smart bracelet apart is that it fills a vital need. It solves a long-standing challenge of the IDF Medical Corps—ensuring accurate transfer of information as wounded soldiers are moved from the battlefield to field triage centers, and then, ultimately, to civilian hospitals.

Innovative ideas, rapid development

The development of the smart bracelet took just three weeks, from start to finish. This speedy process has become the norm in the IDF’s C4i Division. In the past, units spent significant amounts of time prototyping, testing and refining, followed by even more testing, before implementing new technologies. This rapid development enables the IDF Technological Unit to quickly implement new advances and solve problems as they arise.

As the threats we face continue to grow and evolve, our technology needs to evolve with us. Technology like the new smart bracelet, the rapid development and coordination between the IDF C4i Division and combat units in the field, provide us with an edge that saves lives and keeps Israel safe.

Source: (IDF Blog originally published this article on 13 November 2016. Time related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: IDF

Prayer Focus
Thank the Lord for His wise counsel to the IDF Technological cadets who invented the Smart Bracelets that will save lives in warfare conditions. Pray for the IDF C4i division that works with combat soldiers that as a team, that they will invent more life-changing technology that will enhance the IDF’s capability to protect their soldiers and the nation of Israel.

Scripture

Where there is no counsel, the people fall; but in the multitude of counselors there is safety.


- Proverbs 11:14

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