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 firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to receive this Prayer Update by e-mail.
Israel Thwarts Major Cyber Attack
by Ilse Posselt
Friday, 28 April 2017 | The tiny state of Israel is forced to face the onslaught of violent attacks all too frequently. They come from the north in the form of missiles fired by Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria; from the south as Hamas and the Islamic State rain down rockets on Israeli civilians; and from within through stabbings, car rammings, shootings and suicide bombers.
Yet last week, Israel thwarted yet another type of attack aimed at crippling the Jewish state. In a highly unusual announcement, Israel’s National Cyber Defense Authority said on Wednesday that it had successfully thwarted a large-scale cyber attack directed at Israeli businesses and infrastructure. The attack was not aimed at the Jewish state’s defense industry, but rather came as an effort to cripple the Israeli economy.
Targeting more than 120 Israeli public and private organizations, the attack occurred last week between 19 April and 23 April. The authority explained that the onslaught came in the form of a malicious email campaign. The attacker posed online as a legitimate organization, falsified a reliable company’s security certificates and targeted numerous private companies, government ministries, public bodies and private individuals.
Hailing the attack as “sophisticated,” Rafi Franco, senior official of the National Cyber Defense Authority said that the attacker sent emails originating from the server of an authentic academic institution with malicious Microsoft Word files attached to the messages, The Israel Project reports. Anti-virus software did not identify the attack.
According to The Jerusalem Post, the bug sent, known as CVE-2017-0199, works by exploiting a weakness in Microsoft systems, especially Microsoft Word. Since the attack, Microsoft has fixed this vulnerability.
“This was a massive attack,” said Alberto Hasson, CERT director of the National Cyber Defense Authority, “one of the largest we have witnessed. Its intention was to take control of companies’ computers. Once that happens, whoever controls it can do as he pleases.”
“We are positive that we have succeeded in thwarting the attack very well,” Hasson continued. “We have carried out a serious investigation over the past weekend. We know with very high certainty who was attacked and how.”
Israeli cyber security experts believe that the attack comes from one of the Jewish state’s main security threats: Iran. According to Haaretz, the source of the attack has been traced to a hacker group named OilRig. The group reportedly falls under one of the Islamic Republic’s intelligence agencies and received their direction and financial directly from Tehran.
In the aftermath of the attack, the National Cyber Defense Authority has vowed to draw up instructions for individuals, businesses and government ministries to protect themselves against any possible future cyber attacks.
Source: (Bridges for Peace, 28 April 2017)
Photo Credit: The Opte Project/wikipedia
Photo License: Wikipedia
Give thanks to God for the actions of the National Cyber Defense Authority which prevented this sophisticated, large scale cyber attack. Ask God to continue to bless the men and women who work in this field with the skills needed to safeguard Israel's economy and high tech environment.
Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me; You will stretch out Your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and Your right hand will save me.
Trump Vows to “Confront Anti-Semitism,” Stand by “Our Great Friend” Israel
Wednesday, 26 April 2017 | President Donald Trump pledged to “confront anti-Semitism” and defend the United States’ alliance with Israel in a speech Tuesday marking the US Holocaust Memorial Museum’s National Days of Remembrance.
Trump exhorted an audience including Holocaust survivors and lawmakers “to make sure that humanity never, ever forgets” the horrors of the Nazi genocide, reciting the words of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Elie Wiesel: “For the dead and the living, we must bear witness.”
“Denying the Holocaust is only one of many forms of dangerous anti-Semitism that continues all around the world,” the president said. “We’ve seen anti-Semitism on university campuses, in the public square, and in threats against Jewish citizens. Even worse, it’s been on display in the most sinister manner when terrorists attack Jewish communities, or when aggressors threaten Israel with total and complete destruction.”
“This is my pledge to you: We will confront anti-Semitism,” Trump continued. “We will stamp out prejudice. We will condemn hatred. We will bear witness. And we will act. As President of the United States, I will always stand with the Jewish people—and I will always stand with our great friend and partner, the State of Israel.”
The president called Israel “an eternal monument to the undying strength of the Jewish people” and each survivor in the audience “a beacon of light.”
“It only takes one light to illuminate even the darkest space,” he observed. “Just like it takes only one truth to crush a thousand lies and one hero to change the course of history. We know that in the end, good will triumph over evil, and that as long as we refuse to close our eyes or to silence our voices, we know that justice will ultimately prevail.”
In an address to the World Jewish Congress earlier this week, Trump called the Holocaust “the darkest chapter of human history” and said that “we must not ignore” a regime that threatens Israel’s existence, seemingly alluding to Iran.
Source: (This article was originally published by The Israel Project, in its publication The Tower on 25 April 2017. Time related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)
Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore / Wikimedia
Photo License: Wikimedia
Praise God for strengthening the relationship between Israel and the USA and pray for both their leaders. Give thanks for President Trump who has been speaking out on anti-Semitism, promising to bear witness and act in support of the Jewish people. Pray that together these two nations will be a strong force against Iran.
Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up. Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
Israel Destroyed 100 Missiles Heading for Hezbollah, IDF Officer Says
by Ilse Posselt
Thursday, 27 April 2017 | According to a senior Israel Defense Forces (IDF) officer, the Jewish state managed to destroy a shipment of some 100 state-of-the-art missiles earmarked for Hezbollah in an airstrike late last month.
Addressing reporters during a press briefing on the Jewish state’s security challenges on Tuesday, the officer confirmed that the entire cache of weapons heading to Lebanon was destroyed. He did not, however, elaborate as to the type of missiles the shipment contained.
The airstrike in question occurred roughly six weeks ago and was widely covered by Israeli and international media alike. On 17 March, IDF jets struck a target near Palmyra in Syria. While returning to base, Syrian forces fired anti-aircraft missiles at the planes, which Israel’s Arrow-3 intercepted. This marked the first time the long-range anti-missile system proved its mettle operationally.
At the time, Arab media reported that the target of the Israeli strike was a convoy carrying advanced weapons from war-torn Syria to Hezbollah, the Lebanese terror organization perched on Israel’s northern border. Now these reports have been corroborated.
In a rare and unprecedented confirmation of operations conducted in foreign airspace, the IDF officer explained that this was not the first time Israel has acted to prevent the smuggling of weapons to the Iran terror proxy amidst the chaos of civil war.
Discussing the 17 March events, the officer said that the forces of Bashar al-Assad were well aware that their outdated missiles were unable to hit the Israeli planes. The fact that the regime chose to use its air defense system against the Jewish state, he clarified, is a sign of growing confidence and a bolstered security outlook stemming from the support received from Russia and Iran.
According to the officer, Israel’s most serious threat at the moment is Hezbollah. For this reason, the Jewish state will do everything in its power to ensure that the terror organization does not obtain more sophisticated weapons.
Hezbollah currently boasts a missile count ranging from 120,000 to 150,000, most of them aimed at targets in the Promised Land. Moreover, the IDF believes that the terror group is hard at work bolstering these numbers in preparation for the next war with the Jewish state. In fact, according to high-ranking officials, another war between Israel and Hezbollah is “only a question of time.” Officials also estimate that such a war could cause “thousands of civilian deaths” in Israel.
Source: (Bridges for Peace, 27 April 2017)
Petition the Lord for wisdom, successful strategies and accurate intelligence information as the IDF conquers the enemy in many ways. Give thanks for the destruction of missiles that were destined for Hezbollah. Pray for more successful IDF missions that will ensure the terror group does not obtain more sophisticated weaponry.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.
IDF Soldiers Attacked on Gaza Border
by Yoav Zitun
Friday, 28 April 2017 | IDF (Israel Defense Forces) tanks destroyed a Hamas position in southern Gaza on Thursday morning after shots were fired just minutes earlier at an IDF engineering force while carrying out routine security-related activities near the Gaza border fence.
There were no immediate reports of injuries of damage.
After returning fire, the IDF launched an investigation into the origins of the gunshots and the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit issued a statement saying “The attack was carried out in response to an earlier attack on an IDF force that was engaged in routine security work near the security fence in the southern Gaza Strip.”
The incident comes shortly after the Palestinian Authority (PA) informed the IDF Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) that it plans to immediately cease all funding for the electricity Israel supplies to the Gaza Strip.
Photo Credit: Isranet
Cry out for the Israeli residents living around Gaza, praying that they will keep their hearts focused on the Lord in order to receive His peace, guidance and supernatural knowledge. Ask God to keep the IDF soldiers serving on the border motivated with endurance, wisdom for their daily duties and dependence on Him.
The LORD is your keeper; the LORD is your shade at your right hand. The LORD shall preserve your going out and your coming in from this time forth, and even forevermore.
Four Wounded in Palestinian Terror Attack
by Eli Senyor, Itay Blumental and Yoav Zitun
Monday, 24 April 2017 | An 18-year-old Palestinian from Nablus in the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) stabbed and lightly wounded three men and a woman in Tel Aviv on Sunday afternoon in a terror attack near the Herods Hotel on Hayarkon Street, along the city’s seaside promenade.
Shlomi Sagi, the commander of the Tel Aviv Police’s Yarkon District, said the terrorist was overpowered by hotel staff and police.
“Since we were already deployed in the area, he was arrested within seconds,” he said.
Shortly after his arrest, the attacker was handed over to the Shin Bet (Israeli internal security organization) and after a preliminary investigation, security officials concluded that the rampage was nationalistically motivated.
Magen David Adom (Israel’s ambulance service) paramedics provided emergency treatment to the victims before evacuating them to the Ichilov Hospital at the Sourasky Medical Center in Tel Aviv.
The wounded individuals included two men, a 50-year-old woman and a 70-year-old man.
Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai has frozen all daily permits to enter Israel after investigators found that the terrorist had a similar permit.
All permits will remain frozen and no new permits will be given until further notice.
Jacqueline was one of the wounded in the attack. “I was with my husband and a customer,” she recounted. “Then someone came in and gave me this look. I asked him what he wanted and a second later he hit me in the ear with something and ran away. My husband chased after him and caught him outside, holding him until police came and arrested him. The terrorist cut me with a sharp instrument.”
“This is another painful reminder to the difficult reality we’re living in, particularly on the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day,” said Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai.
“We thank everyone involved in the quick response, which prevented losses. We will not surrender to terrorism. I wish all wounded a quick recovery,” he added.
Photo Credit: IDFblog.com
Continue to pray for the safety of Israelis as stabbing attacks with nationalistic motives are still frequently being carried out. Thank God for the paramedics’ quick response to the wounded and the police who managed to hand the terrorist over to the Shin Bet. Pray for physical and emotional healing.
We put our hope in the LORD. He is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. Let your unfailing love surround us, LORD, for our hope is in you alone.
Israel Allegedly Strikes Pro-Assad Base after Syrian Mortars Hit Golan Heights
by Ilse Posselt
Monday, 24 April 2017 | Tensions between Jerusalem and Damascus continued to escalate over the weekend with a number of incidents taking place on Israel’s northern border with Syria.
Early Friday evening, Code Red air raid sirens sounded in the northern parts of the Jewish state, warning communities to seek shelter against incoming projectiles from Syria. Seconds later, three mortars struck the Golan Heights, hitting open territory and causing no injury or damage.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) retaliated, striking a position near the city of Quneitra, which the army said was the source of the mortar fire.
According to the IDF, the projectiles are likely the result of spillover fire from raging battles in war-torn Syria. Errant fire from fighting in Syria has been a recurring problem over the past six years and the IDF has acted consistently against such spillover.
Commenting on Friday’s incident, the army’s Spokesperson Unit said, “[The IDF] will not tolerate any attempt to harm the State of Israel’s sovereignty and the security of its residents and holds the Syrian regime responsible for anything that occurs on its territory.”
Two days later on Sunday, the National Defense Forces (NDF), a pro-Assad militia, accused Israel of striking a Syrian camp for government forces. The alleged strike took place early on Sunday morning at the Naba Fawar base near Quneitra. The NDF statement added that three fighters were killed and a further two wounded.
According to The Times of Israel, an IDF spokesperson said that the army was not “familiar with the incident.” For its part, Al-Jazeera reported that Israel denied involvement in a strike on Syrian positions.
The situation on Israel’s northern border with Syria has been on edge since the start of the civil war in 2011. Yet the past weeks have seen an increase in tensions.
Late last month Israel’s Arrow-3 system successfully intercepted an anti-aircraft missile which Syria fired at Israeli jets. The IDF explained at the time that the Syrian attack came as IDF jets returned to base following a strike near Palmyra which targeted a convoy carrying state-of-the-art weapons from Syria to Hezbollah. This marked the first time the Arrow-3 long-range anti-missile system was used operationally. It was also the second time in six months that the Syrian military used its air defense system against the Jewish state.
Since the start of the bloody civil war in Syria some six years ago, Jerusalem has chosen to remain on the sidelines of the conflict. However, a number of senior Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, have disclosed that the Jewish state will not refrain from acting to ensure that chaos of civil war is not used as a cover to smuggle advanced weapons from Syria to Hezbollah for use against Israeli targets. An Iranian proxy, Hezbollah is perched right on the Jewish state’s northern border.
Lieberman confirmed Israel’s stance following the Arrow-3 interception, saying, “We have no interest in interfering in the Syrian civil war, not for nor against (President Bashar) Assad. Our main problem is with the transfer of advanced weapons from Syria to Lebanon. That is why every time we identify an attempt to smuggle game-changing weapons, we will act to thwart it. There will be no compromise on this issue. If the IDF does choose to act, there is a real reason for it.
Source: (Bridges for Peace, 24 April 2017)
Bring the Golan Heights before the Lord's throne and earnestly intercede for the residents living in the North as tension is rising with Hezbollah's military presence. Implore God to grant wisdom and protection for the IDF, who will not tolerate Iran's attempts to harm the Jewish state through Hezbollah, their proxy.
As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the LORD is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him. For who is God, except the LORD? And who is a rock, except our God? It is God who arms me with strength, and makes my way perfect.
UN Chief Promises to Stand “on Front Lines in Fight against Anti-Semitism”
by Ilse Posselt
Tuesday, 25 April 2017 | Nearly 70 years ago the simmering spirit of anti-Semitism in Europe erupted in one of the most devastating periods in Jewish history. Some six million Jewish men, women and children perished at the hands of Hitler and his henchmen during the Holocaust—simply for being Jewish. The Nazis failed and the Jewish people survived. Yet the demise of the fanatic regime did not put an automatic end to the spirit of anti-Semitism.
Today, anti-Semitism wears a different, more subtle cloak than in Hitler’s days. In fact, according to United Nations (UN) Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, contemporary anti-Semitism is often disguised as refuting Israel’s right to exist.
Addressing the World Jewish Congress Plenary Assembly on the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day, Guterres said, “The modern form of anti-Semitism is the denial of the existence of the State of Israel. Israel has an undeniable right to exist and to live in peace and security with its neighbors.”
“Anti-Semitism,” the UN Secretary-General continued, “never died despite the shock of the Holocaust.” As the head of the international body, Guterres pledged to be “on the front lines in the fight against anti-Semitism.”
“We see today anti-Semitism alive and well,” he warned. “We see it in acts of physical aggression, murders of Jewish people in different parts of the world, destruction of property, destruction of monuments, destruction of [Jewish] centers.” Decrying the rise of anti-Semitism in both Europe and America as “absolutely unacceptable,” he vowed that the UN would “conduct all possible actions for anti-Semitism to be condemned, and if possible eradicated from the face of the earth.”
The UN has long since faced accusations from Israel and its supporters for its unchecked bias against the Jewish state. UN Watch, a pro-Israel group that monitors the world organization, recently revealed that the UN General Assembly issued 20 condemnations against Israel during 2016, while the rest of the world combined only received six condemnations, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reports.
Yet Guterres said that things were bound to change under his watch. “As Secretary General of the United Nations I consider that the State of Israel needs to be treated as any other state,” he explained.
“I have already had the opportunity to show that I am ready to abide by that principle even when that forces me to take some decisions that create some uncomfortable situations,” he continued, referring to an incident in March in which he retracted a controversial UN report that accused Israel of practicing apartheid.
Guterres was, however, quick to point out that his pro-Israel statements do not equal automatic approval of all Israel’s actions. “That does not mean that I will always be in agreement with all the decisions that are taken at any moment by any government that exists in Israel.” He also spoke out in favor of the establishment of a Palestinian state.
The UN Secretary-General also used the opportunity to acknowledge the horrors that Jews have faced over the ages, recalling the “systematic policy of discrimination of Jews in the Middle Ages.” He also referred to his native Portugal’s expulsion of Jews a “tremendous crime and the most stupid mistake ever made in Portugal.”
Source: (Bridges for Peace, 25 April 2017)
Photo Credit: U.S. Mission Photo by Eric Bridiers / Wikimedia
Photo License: Wikimedia
Pray for the UN and Secretary-General Guterres as he boldly proclaims his support of fair, pro-Israel statements and therefore is on the front lines, fighting modern day anti-Semitism. Thank God for enlightening some members of the UN body to support Israel.
The LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; and He knows those who trust in Him.
Egyptian President: Gaza Buffer Zone not Enough
by Roi Kais
“We found tunnels that are three kilometers [1.9 mi] long and 35 meters [115 ft] deep. These are tunnels that can transport vehicles and not just people,” al-Sisi said at a youth conference in Ismailia.
The Egyptian president arrived at the conference for the third time in his attempt to talk to the younger generation and shed light on Egypt’s struggle against smuggling tunnels from Gaza to Sinai.
Al-Sisi also pointed out that despite the Egyptian army’s efforts, the problem is still ongoing and authorities “require more cooperation” from residents.
The Egyptian president further promised to pay compensation to Egyptian Rafah residents who were evacuated as a result construction on the security buffer zone, which resulted in many losing their homes.
Another interesting issue to which al-Sisi was asked during the conference was his candidacy for the Egyptian presidential elections scheduled for 2018.
In recent months, there have been reports of initiatives to extend his term without elections, but the president attempted to squash rumors, saying, “I call upon the citizens of Egypt to participate en masse in the next presidential elections. If Egyptians don’t want me, I will not remain in office for one second. In this situation, may God give Egyptians the best and most appropriate (leader).”
Photo Credit: Gringer/wikipedia
Photo License: Wikipedia
Intercede for the situation on the southern border of Israel and Gaza’s continuous tunnel threat. Give thanks and pray for Egyptian President al-Sisi who is facing the reality of smugglers on the Gaza border that undermine the stability of that border which is critical for Israel’s security.
Trouble and anguish have overtaken me, yet Your commandments are my delights. The righteousness of Your testimonies is everlasting; give me understanding, and I shall live.
Netanyahu Meets with Orphans, Widows of Fallen Soldiers
by Itamar Eichner
Thursday, 27 April 2017 | Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sarah met Wednesday in Jerusalem with widows and orphans of fallen IDF (Israel Defense Forces) soldiers for a fourth consecutive year as part of an initiative launched by the IDF Widows and Orphans Organization.
As part of the initiative, each orphan delivered a brief memorial speech about his or her father and presented a souvenir left behind by him.
One of the souvenirs presented was by Noam Israel Moreno, the son of Lt. Col. Emmanuel Yehuda Moreno, who was killed in the Second Lebanon War, which was a book “Shmirat Halashon” (“Guarding of the Tongue”) written by the Chofetz Chaim [Rabbi Yisrael Meir Kagan], a 19th century prolific writer of Jewish literature and law and a renowned scholar of Judaism.
Noam told listeners that his father always carried the book everywhere he went in his pocket.
After reading from the book, Netanyahu exclaimed: “Defamation against us and our soldiers. The book on ‘Laws of Lashon Hara’ I would give to several people inside and outside the country.”
In Jewish tradition and in Hebrew, the term “Lashon Hara”—literally meaning the “evil tongue”— refers to gossip and the tarnishing of a person’s reputation.
Netanyahu’s comments appear to have been a slight against German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel and left-wing organizations in Israel, such as Breaking the Silence and B’Tselem, which criticize the IDF’s conduct in the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) and deliver lectures around the world documenting alleged, and oftentimes unverified, abuses and crimes committed by IDF soldiers.
On Tuesday, Netanyahu decided not to meet with Gabriel following the latter’s insistence on meeting with both groups during his visit to the area. Speaking later that evening, Netanyahu delivered a statement to the press saying that “My policy is clear. I won’t meet with diplomats that visit Israel and then meet with organizations who slander IDF soldiers and insist on putting our soldiers on trial as war criminals. These same diplomats would never think of doing that in the USA, or Britain or any other place.”
The meeting with the orphans and widows was also attended, among others, by Adele Banita-Bennett and her children, Natan (4) and Shulamit (2), who survived Corporal Aaron Bennett after he was killed in a terror stabbing attack in the Old City of Jerusalem in October 2015.
Sarah Netanyahu, told the children: “Every child knows that he has lost a great father, a heroic father, whom he will always remember in his heart.”
Photo Credit: Haim Zach/GPO/Ashernet
Glorify God for these children who had the courage to share precious memories and items about their fathers. Ask God to complete their healing, comfort them and teach them to love and trust again. Give thanks for the organization that made this encouraging visit with PM Netanyahu possible.
A father of the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy habitation.
The UN is Looking for Doctors in Israel
by Yuval Karni
Wednesday, 26 April 2017 | The head of the United Nations (UN) medical department, Dr. Gillian Farmer, will arrive in Israel next month with a delegation from her department to conduct a special recruiting seminar for doctors from Israel to join UN peacekeeping forces around the world.
The move was initiated by Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon, who said that “Israel is seen as the ultimate place from which to recruit doctors for UN activities around the world. The need to integrate physicians in field positions and the search for experienced candidates in operational medicine have led to great interest in Israel, whose security, rescue and medical forces are a unique source of professionals with experience in the field. ”
The organization’s main target is doctors with operational experience, which will enable them to integrate into senior positions.
According to estimates by the Israeli delegation to the UN, the average salary for the various positions offered to physicians will be (US) $120,000 a year, and will include travel around the world as a UN diplomatic official.
Physicians interested in the position will have to have at least five years of experience and the ability to work in English or French. Sought after areas of expertise include trauma medicine, family medicine, pediatrics and psychiatry. Female physicians are particularly sought after.
Danon welcomed the UN decision to recruit doctors in Israel and said: “Israel’s human capital is the secret to its success, and Israeli women are at the forefront. The UN understands the advantages of Israeli doctors, and we are proud that it chooses Israel as a target for new employees.”
Photo Credit: Anthony Cece/ Isranet
Offer thanksgiving to the Lord for Israel’s reputation in the area of medicine and their expertise in that field that has caused the UN to look to Israel for recruitment of doctors. Ask God to bless Danny Danon who is breaking new ground and advancing Israel’s position at the UN.
And behold, the LORD stood above it and said: I am the LORD God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and your descendants. Also your descendants shall be as the dust of the earth; you shall spread abroad to the west and the east, to the north and the south; and in you and in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed. Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have spoken to you.
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