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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.

Does the US Attack in Syria Risk a Regional War?

by Yoni Ben Menachem

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Friday, 14 April 2017 | Commentators in the Arab world fail to find a logical explanation for the behavior of Syrian President Bashar Assad and his decision to use chemical weapons against rebels in the Idlib region.

According to them, this was a mistaken, unnecessary decision: Bashar Assad’s forces in the region are not in distress, the Khan Sheikhoun area has no strategic importance, and it seems that this was an unnecessary military adventure. It was clear that such a move would arouse the anger of the international community and perhaps even lead to a military response against him, but Assad nevertheless undertook it.

The Syrian move led to an American military response that created a crisis between the superpowers that has no end in sight.

The United States wanted to send a message to President Bashar Assad, to Iran, and to North Korea via its attack in Syria. The message had the intended effect, but the attack will have implications for the situation in Syria and, perhaps also in Turkey, Ukraine, and Eastern Europe.

The U.S. attack on the Syrian airport was not surprising. President Trump hinted that he was considering a military option, and Syria and Russia were, accordingly, prepared.

On April 8, the newspaper Rai al-Yawm reported that two days before the American attack, Syria transferred aircraft from the T-4 military base to the Russian base at Latakia, protected by Russia’s S-400 anti-aircraft system, so that they would not be attacked by the United States.

The Situation in Syria Is Complicated

Russia and Syria are angry about the American attack. Syria denies any connection to the chemical attack in Idlib and is preparing for further confrontation with the United States.

Russia has suspended its understandings with the United States regarding coordination of flights in Syrian airspace, which could cause possible aerial incidents between the air forces of the two countries.

Syria is threatening revenge and Hizbullah is also threatening Washington that the attack will have dangerous consequences for American interests in the Middle East.

The Middle East stands on the verge of a volcano, and meanwhile President Trump has emerged as a great winner in the eyes of the Americans and Western countries. But the situation may get complicated. President Assad is known as stubborn and vengeful, and Russian President Putin will not easily forgive this blow to his honor and wants to prove that he, and not Trump, is the strongest leader in the world.

The moderate Sunni axis welcomed the American attack, apart from Egypt, which maintained a neutral stance and called on Russia and the United States to contain the crisis and not to escalate it.

The Syrian opposition also welcomed the American attack and called for its expansion to other Syrian airports and the establishment of a no-fly zone to prevent the continued bombing of its forces by the Syrian air force.

In fact, the American attack on Syria and the chemical massacre perpetrated by Assad buried until further notice any possibility of negotiations in Geneva in an attempt to find a political settlement in Syria.

Perhaps this was what President Assad intended when he initiated the chemical attack on the rebels. Assad has openly stated on several occasions that only a military solution will defeat the rebels and restore his control over all parts of Syria.

Assad feels confident, supported by Russia, Iran and Hizbullah. He has military achievements on the ground and, despite the American attack, he intends to continue fighting against the rebels and to rely on Russia to deter the U.S.

The Impact on Israel

Israel endorsed the American attack and the fact that President Trump has taken a stand against the Iran-Syria-Hizbullah “axis of evil” and has even taken military steps against Syria.

However, Russia has announced that it will strengthen Syria’s aerial defenses. This development could be dangerous to Israel if Syria, for example, receives air defense systems of the S-400 type that could endanger the Israeli air force, which occasionally operates in the skies of Syria.

It is also not clear how the existing understandings between Israel and Russia on flights through Syrian airspace will be affected.

The suspension of understandings between Russia and the United States regarding flights through Syria’s airspace following the American attack is a dangerous precedent that could also affect the understandings between Israel and Russia.

President Putin’s rebuke to Prime Minister Netanyahu, that he took sides and supported the American position on the chemical attack in Idlib without waiting for an international investigation, is a worrying sign that could impact on continued military coordination between Israel and Russia over the situation in Syria and Israel’s demand that Russia not allow Iran to hold onto Syria.

On April 8, the newspaper Rai al-Yawm reported that Syria, Iran, and Hizbullah considered attacking Israel and opening an all-out front if American attacks in Syria continued. They also reportedly weighed attacking U.S. targets in the Gulf. In other words, the risk of a regional war erupting was heightened.

The U.S. made it clear that the attack in Syria was a one-time move, designed to convey the message to Assad about the prohibited use of chemical weapons against civilians. However, the U.S. intends to sharpen the message, as the U.S. Treasury Secretary recently announced, by imposing additional economic sanctions on the Syrian regime.

The Syrians are trying to link Israel to the American attack. Syria’s deputy foreign minister claimed that the attack followed the Israeli failure in Syria.

President Trump proved with the military attack in Syria that he is adopting the positions of Israel and the moderate Sunni Arab states in connection with the danger posed by the “axis of evil.”

The Sunni states are pleased that the new U.S. president is standing by them after what they viewed as a betrayal by former President Barack Obama, which strengthened Iran even more by his signing of the nuclear agreement.

President Trump has changed that direction. Until Assad’s chemical attack on the rebels, Trump focused mainly on the war against ISIS. After the attack, Trump understood how dangerous Bashar Assad is and might act to change his policy and topple the Assad regime.

These developments are dangerous and further complicate the war in Syria. They could become a snowball that has the potential to turn into a regional war. Israel must proceed with great caution.

Source: (Excerpt of article originally published by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs on 09 April, 2017. Time related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Public Domain/ Wikipedia

Photo License: Wikipedia

Prayer Focus
Bring Israel’s government, particularly PM Netanyahu, Defense Minister Lieberman and IDF Chief of Staff Eisenkott, before the Lord, asking that He will give wisdom and understanding to know how to lead Israel during this new escalation in Syria. Pray that they will keep their eyes fixed on the Lord.

Scripture

“…the sons of Issachar who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do…”


- 1 Chronicles 12:32a

Israel under Attack over Passover

by Ilse Posselt

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The entrance to the Egyptian Taba Border Terminal. (Photo Credit: NYC2TLV / Wikimedia)

Wednesday, 12 April 2017 | Sundown on Monday ushered in the festival of Passover, the feast that celebrates God’s miraculous intervention to redeem the Jewish people from slavery in Egypt and lead them into the land of His promise. Yet on Monday morning, as Israelis busied themselves with the final preparations before the start of the festival, an attack was launched from the very place where the children of Israel were freed from some 3,300 years ago: Egypt.

The Code Red siren sounded at just after 11:30 on Monday morning, warning communities situated close to the Egyptian border to seek cover from an incoming missile. Moments later, the projectile, which was launched from the Sinai Peninsula, hit a greenhouse, destroying the structure and the produce inside.

The owner of the greenhouse, Chaim Cohen, shared his family’s harrowing experience with Ynet News.

“We were in the house preparing for the seder night (the main feast on Passover). Suddenly there was a siren. We got everyone into the bomb shelter and there was a huge explosion. The whole house shook,” he remembers.

“It was obvious that a rocket had fallen close to us and it caused extremely serious damage to the greenhouse. Metal was broken, the nylon was ripped, the growth was damaged. It is serious damage indeed,” Cohen continued.

“We can handle damage,” he added. “The main thing is that no one was harmed. We will have a seder —the whole family, thank God. We will overcome it all and celebrate the festival as we planned.”

Later on Monday, the Islamic State’s arm in the Sinai Peninsula claimed responsibility for the attack. “The fighters of the Islamic State have bombed the Jewish settlement in southern Palestine with a Grad rocket,” the Sinai-based jihadists, known simply as Sinai Province, announced in a statement.

Remains of a rocket (illustrative) (Photo Credit: Will King / BFP)

This is not the first time that Sinai Province targeted the Jewish state. The terror group also took responsibility for firing four rockets on Israel’s Red Sea city of Eilat in February. At the time, Sinai Province issued a sinister warning vowing that “the future will be more calamitous with Allah’s permission.”

The ISIS faction which currently has an estimated membership of 800 to 1,000 jihadists has close ties with Hamas, the terror group ruling over the Gaza Strip. These relations are a source of grave concern to the Egyptian government and army. The Tower points out that an Egyptian official recently blamed Hamas for launching Sinai Province from “a gang of Bedouin with light weapons into a well-trained, well-armed group of militants.” Moreover, The Tower also explains that Hamas provides wounded Sinai Province fighters with medical care and plays a leading role in smuggling weapons to the ISIS faction in the Sinai.

Monday’s attack came mere hours after Israel announced that it was closing its Taba Border Crossing into the Sinai Peninsula. Explaining the highly unusual move, Jewish state officials pointed to intelligence received regarding an imminent terror attack in the area over the Passover period. The crossing is expected to reopen after the holidays on Tuesday, 18 April.

Every year, thousands of Israelis use the Taba Crossing to visti the Sinai Peninsula and spend the Passover holiday at one of the famous Red Sea resorts. This year, the powers-that-be in Israel considered the territory too dangerous for its citizens. Apart from barring entry to prospective holiday makers, Israel also called on any of its citizens already in the Sinai to return home immediately.

The border closure comes a day after two lethal bombing attacks on Egyptian churches on Palm Sunday claimed the lives of 43 Coptic Christians and wounded over a 100 more. ISIS also claimed responsibility for the deadly bombings.

On Sunday afternoon, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi announced a three-month state of emergency in the country. The government approved the president’s call on Monday.

Following Sunday’s terror attack, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu offered his condolences to the families of the victims and wished the wounded a speedy recovery. He also highlighted the need for the world to unite and stand against terrorism everywhere.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, 12 April 2017)

Prayer Focus
Bring those Israelis who live on the borders before the Lord and proclaim the words King David spoke millennia ago—though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear! Ask the Lord to shield them from those who seek the destruction of Israel.

Scripture

“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?…Though an army may encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war may rise against me, in this I will be confident.”


- Psalm 27:1, 3

Hamas Trains Teens in Urban Warfare, Vows to Conquer Israel “By Force”

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Children’s military training at Hamas summer camp

Friday, 14 April 2017 | Thousands of Gazan high school students recently graduated from a training program run by the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas, which prepares teenagers to participate in urban warfare.

“This program is held in schools throughout Gaza and is supervised by the national security forces,” a Hamas spokesman said in a video translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute and posted online earlier this week.

“We focus on, first of foremost, on education and moral values, and then on the military aspect,” he added. “The students attend lectures on education and security. They are given intensive instruction about evacuation and urban warfare. As part of their military training the students use all types of military equipment. They receive training in commando and urban warfare, as well as in the storming of places and VIP protection.”

“This message is directed exclusively to our loathsome enemy, who should realize that what was taken by force will be regained only by force,” the spokesman stressed. “Allah willing this message will be translated into action.”

Some 20,000-40,000 students attended the program, which is in its fifth consecutive year, according to its instructors.

In “At Summer Camp, Hamas Raises the Next Generation of Killers,” which was published in the August 2016 issue of The Tower Magazine, Riley Clafton examined the dangers of teaching Gaza’s youth to engage in terrorist attacks against Israel:

“No one is born a terrorist; they are taught to become one. Worse than most people can imagine, the summer camps of Gaza turn children into soldiers and violence into a way of life. Play and personal growth activities are replaced with military training, and while children elsewhere in the world are learning new skills and knowledge, the children of Gaza are learning to dedicate their lives to a violent ideology and, for some, perpetuating an armed struggle.

“Searching to explain the “intifada of the knives” in 2015 and 2016, The Wall Street Journal editorial board suggested that “the taste for violence emerges from a deep-seated culture of hate, nurtured by Palestinian leaders over many years in mosques, schools, newspapers, TV channels, and social media.” Summer camps reinforce this culture; even children’s play has become an opportunity to further the Palestinian terror groups’ causes. Campers are given terrorists to serve as role models, military training as a substitute for games, and a pre-packaged, violent ideology that destroys their innocence. While it is only one component of the culture of terror in Gaza, the summer camps give children both the ideology and the technical expertise to act on it. And that’s no way to spend a summer.”

 

Source: (The Israel Project, in its publication The Tower, originally published this article on 13 April 2017. Time related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: PalWatch.org

Prayer Focus
Pray for the multitudes of young people who are being raised in a climate of hatred, asking the Lord to instead grant them hearts inclined toward Him. Pray that all who fight against the God of Israel would instead learn to reverently fear Him and be taught by Him.

Scripture

Who is the man that fears the LORD? Him shall He teach in the way He chooses


- Psalm 25:12

Palestinians Suspend Ties with UN Agency

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Friday, 14 April 2017 | The Palestinian Authority (PA) suspended ties with the United Nations Relief Works Agency (UNRWA) Thursday due to the agency’s plans to change its curriculum, which currently contains material inciting violence against Israelis. The PA’s Education Ministry called the possible reforms “an affront to the Palestinian people, its history and struggles.”

“The changes, according to Arab media reports, include revisions to maps of Palestine to exclude references to cities inside Israel as Palestinian cities, a practice that numerous studies of Palestinian textbooks have labeled as ‘incitement.’ Other changes were reportedly planned to tone down praise for Palestinian prisoners and improve Israel’s image,” The Times of Israel reported.

UNRWA teachers have been found to regularly incite students to terrorism and anti-Semitism, including by praising Adolf Hitler. The agency has ties to Hamas, and last October, several members of its staff were fired for posting Facebook statuses inciting violence against Israelis. Hamas rockets were also found in UNRWA schools in three separate instances during the 2014 Gaza war.

Israel’s coordinator of government activities in the territories lauded the proposed revisions as a way “to create a balanced, positive curriculum with universal values free from violence and incitement.”

Earlier this month, an Israeli watchdog found that PA textbooks for the 2016 school year routinely demonized Israel and praised “martyrdom.” The textbooks glorified terrorists and featured math questions asking students to calculate how many martyrs had died in the first and second intifadas combined. Maps depicted “Palestine” as covering all of Israel. A previous report by the watchdog, issued last June, discovered that the word “peace” did not appear even once in its survey of 78 PA textbooks for grades 1 through 12.

Source: (The Israel Project, in its publication The Tower, originally published this article on 13 April 2017. Time related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Public Domain/ UNWRA/ Wikimedia

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Give thanks for this 180° change in the position of UNRWA to show a truthful portrayal of the situation in Israel in the textbooks used by Palestinian children. Pray that this UN agency, with its history of anti-Israel actions, will remain firm in this new direction.

Scripture

He who speaks truth declares righteousness, but a false witness, deceit.


- Proverbs 12:17

Israel Removes Palestinian Monument to Terrorist in Hebron

by Elisha Ben Kimon

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Monument in memory of 16-year-old terrorist

Thursday, 13 April 2017 | Overnight Sunday, Israeli security forces dismantled a monument in Hebron erected in memory of a terrorist who carried out an attack in the region. They also seized seven illegal weapons manufacturing lathes and arrested three suspects for terrorist activities.

The monument was erected in memory of the terrorist Bian Asila, a 16-year-old Palestinian girl. In October 2015, Asila approached the Border Police base near the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron and attempted to stab a Border Police officer on guard duty, though she only succeeded in lightly wounding the Israeli’s hand. Cpl. M., the attacked Border Police officer, managed to shoot Asila dead.

The monument carried a text memorializing Asila alongside a verse from the Koran: “In the name of the merciful God, do not think that those who were killed for the sake of God die, but live in the midst of God.”

According to intelligence figures, as a result of the frequent raids by the security forces, the price of improvised weapons has increased, nearly tripling from the prices of a year and a half ago.

Source: (Ynetnews originally published this article on 10 April 2017. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: IDF Spokesperson

Prayer Focus
Intercede for the young men and women of the IDF and border police who are stationed in Hebron which is part of Israel’s biblical heartland and a particularly violent area. Give thanks for their success in seizing improvised weapons intended for use in terror attacks.

Scripture

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


- Psalm 3:1, 3

Together for the Passover Seder – IDF Style

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IDF soldiers celebrate the Passover Seder

Wednesday, 12 April 2017 | Four hundred and fifty lone soldiers from 35 different countries from around the world took part in the biggest Passover Seder for lone soldiers of the IDF. The event was held at the Olga recreational resort, hosted by United for Israel’s soldiers, donated by the Canadian Zionist Cultural Association (CZCA).

Earlier in the day, IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot, Head of IDF’s Manpower Directorate and spokesperson, Maj. Gen. Moti Almoz, Chairman of United for Israel’s soldiers (Res.) Yoram Yair and President of CZCA, Mr. Wilf Shiff met with and greeted the soldiers.

The lone soldiers got to enjoy a celebratory Passover Seder. The dining room was turned into a lavish events hall with traditional Afikomans (half-piece of matzo which is broken in two during the early stages of the Seder so that the children at the Seder will “steal” it and demand a reward) hiding within its walls.

The event was held by United for Israel’s soldiers for the sixteenth year and sponsored for the fifth time by CZCA

“In a month, we will mark 69 years to Israel’s independence. Today, Israel is a very strong country with a powerful military. Though we are facing many threats, we have spent the last 69 years building a mighty army with advanced technologies and the ability to defend our country and win wars.

“Our power as an Army lies in our people. Young people like you—making Aliyah, coming from diverse backgrounds, from around the world, for one purpose—being a part of IDF’s power. When that power is met with the commitment of world Jewry and the country’s civilians to the IDF—it creates great and powerful strength—that is the essence of it all.

“This is our opportunity to salute you and to express our sincere appreciation for your contribution and dedication—those volunteering to serve and those enlisted. We will go to great lengths to assure this holiday is safe for the civilians of Israel. I wish you all a wonderful Passover and all the best,” said Eisenkot.

Eisenkot’s words were followed by Maj. Gen. Yair, who said, “This year we will commemorate 50 years to the Six Day war. Beyond the incredible military achievement, the war was a monumental moment in time when this country’s connection with the diaspora strengthened significantly. The hundreds of soldiers here today, represent 6,900 lone soldiers serving in the IDF who are a testament to the deep bond built in those days. I would like to personally thank each and every man and woman… and wish the people of Israel a happy and Kosher Passover.”

Source: (Excerpt of an article originally published in Ynetnews on 10 April 2017. Time related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: IDF

Prayer Focus
Ask God to bless all who made this Seder possible for the 450 lone soldiers who have chosen to make aliyah (immigrate) and are serving in the IDF to protect Israel and her people. Pray that they will be firmly planted in the Land of their ancestors and that their families will join them here.

Scripture

“For behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord, “that I will bring back from captivity My people Israel and Judah,” says the Lord. “And I will cause them to return to the land that I gave their fathers, and they shall possess it.”


- Jeremiah 30:3

Europe Prepares For Holocaust Education With No Survivors

by Yonatan Baniyeh

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March of the Living at Auschwitz (illustrative)

Friday, 14 April 2017 | European Education Ministers are set to discuss the question of how to preserve the memory of the Holocaust and its lessons after all its survivors have passed away.

Twelve European ministers will participate in a special conference held on Holocaust Remembrance Day, as part of the 29th March of the Living, an annual educational program which brings students from around the world to Poland, where they explore some of the remnants of the Holocaust.

The special conference was set in motion by the organizers of the march together with Austrian Education Minister Sonja Hammerschmid, who commented that “every state and society has dark chapters in its history. Austria and the Austrian education ministry have to deal with a long history of anti-Semitism that existed even before the rise of the Nazi regime and with the contribution of many Austrians in the horrors of the Second World War and the Holocaust.”

“We in Austria feel that we have learned much from the experience of other countries, such as Israel, and so are inviting other countries to learn from us,” Hammerschmid added.

Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett will also participate in the conference and will represent the country in the annual march. Bennett commented that “in every generation a person must act as if he himself went through the Holocaust. We could no longer point at the survivors and say ‘their Holocaust,’ we will have to take ownership of the horrible tragedy our people went through and instill it in the hearts of the next generations.”

On Holocaust Remembrance Day, More than ten thousand teenagers from around the world will march silently for three kilometers [1.86 mi] from Auschwitz to Birkenau, the largest Nazi concentration camp complex built during World War II.

Bennett and several other education ministers who participate in the conference will also take part in the march, alongside the former Ashkenazi chief rabbi of Israel, Tel Aviv chief rabbi and Holocaust survivor, Yisrael Meir Lau; Israel’s Supreme Court President Miriam Naor and the IDF’s Chief of General Staff Gadi Eisenkot, who will lead an army delegation of senior IDF officers.

(Translated & edited by Lior Mor)

Source: (Ynetnews originally published this article on 09 April 2017. Time related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Moshe Milner / Isranet

Prayer Focus
Pray that the historical truth and gruesome reality of the Holocaust will be preserved as those with first-hand knowledge are aging. Ask God to bless those who desire to set a world class example of preserving Jewish history so that the truth of the Holocaust does not vanish.

Scripture

Remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations. Ask your father, and he will show you; your elders, and they will tell you:


- Deuteronomy 32:7

South African Youth Leader Rejects Apartheid Slander Against Israel

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Anti-Israeli protests (illustrative)

Wednesday, 12 April 2017 | A South African youth leader has strongly rebuked the charge that Israel is an apartheid state and called on activists to stop appropriating the term when describing its conflict with the Palestinians, The Times of Israel reported Monday.

Nkululeko Nkosi, 23, is a member of Africans for Peace, a self-described “collective of independent students, scholars and activists who bring an African lens to the global debate on peace and stability on our continent and around the world,” which includes the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Nkosi is also the Wits University Branch Chairman of the African National Congress Youth League and once believed that Israel was an apartheid state. But after visiting the country and closely studying the issues, he has reached the opposite conclusion.

In a briefing published by Africans for Peace last November, Nkosi argued that, as victims of apartheid, black South Africans are the best positioned to determine whether or not Israel qualifies as an apartheid state. His position is unequivocal: “Arab citizens of Israel enjoy the same rights and freedoms as Jewish Israelis. On my last trip to Israel, I found that unlike apartheid South Africa, there is no deliberate effort by the government to segregate a specific group in Israel. In day-to-day discussions with ordinary Israeli citizens, I learned from Arabs and Jews, and I sensed their burning desire to live together as harmonious neighbors. In apartheid South Africa, Afrikaners disdained black South Africans and these sentiments are still in evidence today.”

In Israel, there is a free press and universal suffrage unlike in apartheid South Africa, Nkosi noted. “The apartheid government would not have allowed a person of color to hold any position of influence, while in Israel, Arabs are found in the highest ranks of political, civil and even military life.”

“Please—don’t steal the word ‘apartheid’!…Those who apply the term ‘apartheid’ to the Israeli-Palestinian impasse are guilty of perpetuating that same theft, by denying the uniqueness of the racism and hatred that we faced and which we have overcome with much blood and tears,” Nkosi stressed.

Benjamin Pogrund, an activist who was jailed for opposing the apartheid regime in South Africa, wrote in The New York Times last month that Israel “is nothing like South Africa before 1994. Those who accuse Israel of apartheid—some even say, ‘worse than apartheid’—have forgotten what actual apartheid was, or are ignorant, or malevolent.”

“South African apartheid rigidly enforced racial laws,” Pogrund observed. “Israel is not remotely comparable. Yet the members of the BDS movement are not stupid. For them to propagate this analogy in the name of human rights is cynical and manipulative. It reveals their true attitude toward Jews and the Jewish state. Their aims would eliminate Israel. That is what’s at stake when we allow the apartheid comparison.”

South African human rights activist, Tshediso Mangope, drew upon the history of his country in order to refute many common criticisms of Israel, such as that it is an apartheid state, in a December 2016 article in The Tower Magazine.

Jews, Mangope noted, are not foreign conquerors of Israel, but rather its indigenous people; no one could reasonably argue that “returning to your ancestral homeland from whence you were displaced makes you a settler.” He also pointed out that while black South Africans had support from surrounding nations in their struggle, Israeli Jews historically have been shunned by their Arab neighbors, most of whom at some point have “vowed to wipe Israel off the map.”

While the central goal of black South African activists was peaceful coexistence, “most Palestinians refuse to recognize Israel’s right to exist,” and even “essentially supported the call for the genocide of Jewish people,” Mangope noted. He concluded by writing that “the only way to protect Jewish people from all the hardships they have suffered the world over is to defend their inalienable right to self-determination” in a Jewish state.

Maj. Alaa Waheeb, the highest ranking Muslim officer in the IDF, wrote an op-ed in the Jewish News in March 2016 expressing pride in the role he plays in Israeli society. He recounted being on a speaking tour of the United Kingdom with a Jewish medic: “We were the Muslim who protects Jewish lives, and the Jew who saves Muslim lives. There’s only one country in the Middle East that could produce a couple like that—and it sure as hell isn’t an apartheid state.”

Source: (This article was originally published by The Israel Project, in its publication The Tower on 11 April 2017. Time related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Brendan Howard / Shutterstock

Prayer Focus
Intercede for those who are willing to take a public stand against the lies of the enemy who is trying to delegitimize the nation of Israel. Give thanks for their courage and ask the Lord to strengthen them for the battle which rages in the world today.

Scripture

“For there is no faithfulness in their mouth, their inward part is destruction; their throat is an open tomb; they flatter with their tongue. Pronounce them guilty, O God!…for they have rebelled against You.”


- Psalm 5:9,10

Israelis Develop a Blood Test to Diagnose Lung Cancer

by Dr. Itay Gal

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Monday, 10 April 2017 | Israeli scientists from the Rehovot-based company Nucleix succeeded in developing a first of its kind blood test to diagnose lung cancer.

The new test is able to diagnose the disease long before it spreads in the body, thus increasing the chance of survival, as many patients usually die within a few months of the diagnosis.

Each year, approximately 1.8 million new lung cancer patients are diagnosed, a 1.59 million of whom will die within the first year post-diagnosis. Most cases are discovered by chance, after a screening test, or due to abnormal symptoms such as prolonged cough, bloody cough, breathing difficulties or weight loss.

Diagnosis of the disease is usually done via a CT scan, but its level of accuracy is not high, and in 25% of the cases, the lung scan shows lesions of which only 3% are indeed cancerous.

The new test was developed by Dr. Elon Ganor, CEO of Nucleix, in collaboration with his colleagues Dr. Danny Frumkin, Dr. Adam Wasserstrom and Dr. Ofer Shapira. The test is based on the genetic characterization of cancer.

Cytosine is one of the four main bases found in DNA and it is held together by three hydrogen bonds.

A study by Prof. Haim Cedar from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem found that the three hydrogen bonds molecule serves as a kind of on/off switch that activates (or deactivates) different genes and has a decisive effect on our susceptibility to cancer and other diseases. When a certain change occurs on the same molecule, a wild division of uncontrolled cells begins, resulting in the formation of cancerous tumors.

The Israeli researchers were able to isolate the specific change on that three-bonds molecule and designed a unique blood test that identifies it. To examine the efficacy of the development, two studies were conducted, involving 170 volunteers in each study: 70 were lung cancer patients and 100 were healthy, but belonged to groups at high risk for lung cancer, such as heavy smokers.

The results showed a specificity of 94% (i.e., 94% of the healthy subjects were indeed identified as healthy), and a sensitivity of 75% (i.e., 75% of the patients were indeed identified as diseased). This is a very high level of accuracy.

The researchers predict that within two years the test will be marketed to and indicated for people over the age of 50 who are considered heavy smokers (who smoke 30-pack years—i.e., one pack per day for 30 years or 2 packs per day for 15 years), or to those exposed to heavy smokers.

“This is a significant achievement after eight years of work,” Dr. Elon Ganor told Ynet. “We developed the test here in Israel. We dreamed of making a significant contribution to humanity and saving lives, and we are convinced that this test will indeed save hundreds of thousands of people every year worldwide.”

Source: (Ynetnews originally published this article on 29 March 2017. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Angel Lodeco / Shutterstock

Prayer Focus
Rejoice as Dr. Ganor and his Israel team moved mountains to develop a blood test that detects lung cancer very effectively and quickly. Ask God to speed the process of making this test available in order to impact many lives and families.

Scripture

Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved, for You are my praise. 


- Jeremiah 17:14

Meet Israel’s First Female Muslim Diplomat

by Ilse Posselt

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Israeli diplomat, Rasha Atamny

Thursday, 13 April 2017 | Calling Israel an apartheid state is a favorite accusation of those who wish to paint a picture of the Jewish state as a cruel, domineering oppressor of human rights. Yet those who wish to peddle the apartheid slander as truth often have a few realities to explain away. Chief among these are Palestinians filling top ranks in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), heading up big corporations or serving as Supreme Court judges and leading academics and doctors.

Now those who try to accuse Israel of being an apartheid state have another bit of truth to contend with: Rasha Atamny, the Jewish state’s very first female Muslim diplomat.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry last week appointed the 31-year-old Atamny to represent the Jewish state in its embassy in Ankara, Turkey. Atamny, who is currently in the process of completing the Foreign Ministry’s renowned cadet course, will join the embassy as the first secretary.

According to Reuters, Atamny will serve as part of a mission tasked with “nurturing one of the country’s most fragile relationships.” Israel and Turkey signed a reconciliation agreement in June 2016 which marked the end of a six-year diplomatic rift.

Atamny hails from the small central Israeli town of Baq al-Gharbiya. She studied psychology at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem where she joined the school’s Model United Nations (UN) club to hone her diplomatic skills. A year after joining the club, Atamny applied for a three-month stint to represent Israel as a youth ambassador at the UN in New York City and was awarded the coveted position.

According to Atamny’s personal blog written during her three months in New York City, her experience as part of the Israel delegation at the UN inspired her to become a diplomat.

“One day, I sat down in my usual seat in the Human Rights Committee and listened with great interest to a discussion taking place on women’s rights violations. At this point,” Atamny wrote in Hebrew, “I had gotten used to the continuous barrage of accusations leveled against Israel. The discrimination against Israel in the UN is very obvious and disappointing.”

“But this time it was different,” she wrote. “This time I listened to speeches by Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq and Egypt, all decrying the ‘systematic women’s rights violations’ by Israel while I, an Arab, Muslim Palestinian origin, represent Israel at the UN Human Rights Council.”

“That day at the UN made me desperately disappointed and pushed me to take matters into my own hands, to try and at least object in thought to the systemic conduct carried out in the international arena against Israel.”

Although Atamny is the first Israeli Muslim female to fill a diplomatic position for the Jewish state abroad, she is not the first Arab female diplomat. Rania Jubran, a Christian Arab and daughter of the Supreme Court Justice, Salim Jubran, served in the Foreign Ministry from 2006 – 2009. She resigned shortly before being sent to the Israeli mission in Cairo. The Jewish state also has a number of Arab male Muslim and Christian diplomats serving in the Foreign Ministry—at home and abroad.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, 13 April 2017)

Photo Credit: Rasha Atamny/ Facebook

Prayer Focus
Pray for favor for Israel’s newest diplomatic representative in Turkey and that the eyes of skeptics will be opened to see the freedom Israel offers its Arab–Muslim citizens. Ask the Lord to guide and direct Atamny’s efforts in the direction that will be best for the nation of Israel.

Scripture

For the kingdom is the LORD’s, and He rules over the nations.


- Psalm 22:28

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