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A Light in the Midst of Trauma

Friday, April 28, 2023

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

Yom HaAtzmaut: Happy Birthday, Israel

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Israelis waving the flag of Israel took to the streets yesterday to celebrate Israel’s 75th birthday.

Thursday, 27 April 2023 | Yesterday, the modern State of Israel turned 75. Yom HaAtzmaut (Independence Day) began at sunset on Tuesday with an infectious joy pulsing through the nation as the people of Israel celebrated their 75th year since reestablishing their nation in their ancient homeland.

Some 2,500 years ago, God pledged through the Hebrew prophet Isaiah, “Who has heard such a thing? Who has seen such things? Shall the earth be made to give birth in one day? Or shall a nation be born at once? For as soon as Zion was in labor, she gave birth to her children” (Isa. 66:8).

On May 14, 1948, more than two millennia after the prophet’s proclamation, the promise was fulfilled: the State of Israel was reborn—in one day, as per God’s pledge. Seven and a half decades have now passed since the Friday afternoon in May 1948 when the Jewish state’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, took to the podium in the Tel Aviv Museum (now known as Independence Hall) and started his historic address to officiate the rebirth of the nation.

Today, 75 years later, the Jewish people continue to mark this miraculous day with joy, thanksgiving and festivities. The Proclamation of Independence was made on the eve of May 14, 1948. Yet Israel commemorates its historical, significant and biblical feast dates according to the biblical calendar and marks the rebirth of its nation on the fifth day of the month of Iyyar. Using the Gregorian calendar, this year’s celebration started at sundown on April 25, 2023.

Independence Day festivities in the Jewish state begin in earnest after nightfall. City streets teem with fathers, mothers, grandparents and young ones, all decked out in blue and white. Young men and women dance to the tunes of Jewish folk songs. Thousands of Israeli flags stream from windows, balconies and car windows. Concerts, street parties and spontaneous get-togethers often last till dawn.

This year, the official opening ceremony kicked off the Yom HaAtzmaut celebration at Mount Herzl with prayers, hymns, a military parade and a torch-lighting ceremony. Each year, 12 exceptional Israelis are chosen to light 12 torches—one for each of the tribes of Israel.

Celebrations continued throughout the next day. One of the highlights on the traditional Independence Day agenda is the annual Israel Air Force (IAF) flyover air show that sees fighter jets, helicopters and cargo planes crisscross the skies of the Promised Land from north to south in an aerial salute to Israel and its people. Independence Day is also synonymous with family and friends coming together for a traditional barbeque, with the smell of grilling meat wafting from parks and backyards, adding to the exuberant, festive and relaxed mood.

While Yom HaAtzmaut is one of the most joyous days in Israel, the Jewish people celebrate knowing that the rebirth of an independent homeland was a miracle that came at a high cost. That is why one of the most joyous days in Israel follows one of the saddest—Yom HaZikaron, the Memorial Day for the Fallen Soldiers of Israel and Victims of Terrorism. The transition from one day to the next, from mourning to celebration and from tears to the sound of laughter filling the streets can appear startling at first. However, it is arranged like that on purpose.

Those who laid down their lives on the front lines did so for one goal: Israel’s rebirth and continued existence. The sacrifice was made so there could be such celebrations of independence. That is why the two days are intertwined: before the celebration starts, Israel bows its head to honor those who made such a celebration possible. That is also arguably why Israelis mourn with such passion, only to celebrate with equal passion on the day that follows.

For Israel’s 75th birthday, Bridges for Peace joins the Jewish people to praise the God of Israel for His faithfulness to fulfill His promise to gather the Jewish people from the four corners of the world and bring them home to the Land of their promise.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, April 27, 2023)

Photo Credit: Ilse Strauss/bridgesforpeace.com

Prayer Focus
Lift your voice in praise to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob for His faithfulness to His people Israel. Thank Him for the myriad of blessings He has poured out on this tiny nation during the past 75 years and for the assurance that He will continue to do so until every promise He has made to His people has been fulfilled.


“Therefore behold, the days are coming,” says the LORD, “that it shall no more be said, ‘The LORD lives who brought up the children of Israel from the land of Egypt,’ but, ‘The LORD lives who brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north and from all the lands where He had driven them.’ For I will bring them back into their land which I gave to their fathers.”

- Jeremiah 16:14–15

Netanyahu Warns Saudi Arabia as Kingdom Renews Ties with Tehran

by JNS

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Friday, 21 April 2023 | Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned the Saudis about moving closer to Iran, speaking in an interview with CNBC on Wednesday. The Saudis on March 10 announced a renewal of diplomatic ties with the Islamic Republic.

On Monday, Iran invited Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz to visit the country, according to an Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman. Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has already accepted an invitation to visit Saudi Arabia.

“Those who partner with Iran, partner with misery. Look at Lebanon. Look at Yemen. Look at Syria. Look at Iraq,” Netanyahu cautioned amid the warming ties between Iran and Saudi Arabia, describing the above countries as near failed states.

He contrasted that with those who partner with Israel, and by doing so “boost their societies.”

“We have billions of dollars now in investment and trade with the Gulf states from nothing a few years ago. We haven’t even scratched the surface,” he said.

Asked by CNBC’s Hadley Gamble what the rapprochement between Riyadh and Tehran meant for Israel, Netanyahu said, “I think it has very little to do with Israel. I think it has probably a lot more to do with the desire to de-escalate or even eliminate the long-standing conflict in Yemen.

“I think that Saudi Arabia, the leadership there, has no illusions about who are their adversaries and who are their friends in the Middle East. And I think they understand that Israel is the indispensable partner for the Arab world in achieving security, prosperity and peace,” he continued.

Netanyahu said Israel is striving for peace with the kingdom and has already made advances towards normalization, referring to Saudi willingness to allow Israeli airlines to use its airspace.

The prime minister has said a Saudi peace deal would be “another huge quantum leap for peace” and would go far to ending the Arab–Israeli conflict, given Saudi Arabia’s importance in the Arab world. He clarified that it wouldn’t end the Palestinian–Israeli conflict, given Palestinian intransigence. “They don’t want a peace with Israel. They want to see a peace without Israel,” he said.

Netanyahu expressed confidence that the future belongs to those who partner with Israel. “I’m telling you now that I think that there is a keen interest [by] the remaining Arab states [to] seize the future with Israel. The future belongs to those who innovate. Israel is one of the two great innovation nations in the world today.”

Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on April 20, 2023. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: World Economic Forum / Manuel Lopez/flickr

Photo License: Flickr

Prayer Focus
Pray that Saudi Arabia will recognize the truth in Prime Minister Netanyahu’s statement that those nations who partner with Israel “boost their societies.” Pray that Israel’s efforts to normalize relations with the Saudi kingdom will be successful, and in the words of the prime minister, achieve, “another huge quantum leap for peace.”


The LORD will give strength to His people; the LORD will bless His people with peace.

- Psalm 29:11

Turkey Bestows Medal of Honor on Israelis for Quake Rescue

by Itamar Eichner ~ Ynet

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Medical personnel from the IDF work alongside their Turkish counterparts to rescue a survivor trapped in the rubble from the devastating February 2023 earthquake.

Thursday, 27 April 2023 | Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan bestowed the medal of honor on IDF [Israel Defense Forces] Homefront Command foreign rescue chief Col. (Res.) Golan Voch—who commanded the military’s rescue efforts during the massive earthquake that struck there and in Syria last February—and on deputy head of mission in Israel’s embassy in Ankara, Nadav Markman.

The Turkish president honored representatives of 90 international delegations that arrived to assist the stricken areas in the south of the country.

The Israeli delegation was among the first to arrive at the disaster area and pulled 19 people alive, out of the wreckage.

Voch met with a family who was among those rescued by his team and told them that the ceremony in Ankara was held when Israel was marking Memorial Day for fallen IDF soldiers and victims of terror. “My heart is with the bereaved families in the military cemeteries,” he said. “I was chosen to represent Israel in a meeting with Erdoğan and the Turkish officials and I am proud of the IDF’s efforts to save lives,” he said.

Markman, who provided assistance to the military delegation, said he valued the appreciation exhibited by Turkey. “The Israeli teams operated with valor and professionalism,” he said, adding that the cooperation between the IDF and the Foreign Ministry enabled the saving of lives and showed Israel’s finer attributes.

Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published by Ynetnews on April 26, 2023. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: IDF Spokespersons Unit/commons.wikimedia.org

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Praise the Lord for Israel’s rescue efforts that saved the lives of many after the devastating earthquake in Turkey. Thank Him for the recognition Israel has received from the Turkish government, and pray that Israel’s quick response and the delegation’s selfless commitment to saving lives will go a long way in building relations between the two countries. Also pray that the nations will understand that it is the God of Israel who enables His people.


He delivers and rescues, and He works signs and wonders in heaven and on earth.

- Daniel 6:27a

IDF Shells Hezbollah Assets in Southern Syria

by JNS

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IDF Armored Corps soldiers drill near Moshav Aniam on the Golan Heights

Tuesday, 25 April 2023 | Israel Defense Forces [IDF] tanks reportedly shelled a Syrian army post used by Iranian terrorist proxy Hezbollah early on Monday morning, in the second such incident in as many weeks.

According to Syrian media, the artillery strike targeted a military observation post located close to the village of Hader in the Quneitra Governorate.

Thereafter, the IDF dropped leaflets in the area warning Syrian soldiers against cooperating with Hezbollah.

The Israeli military did not comment on the development.

The IDF last week struck assets belonging to Hezbollah in the Syrian-held part of the Golan Heights.

And earlier this month, the IDF attacked targets in Syria in response to six rockets fired toward the Golan Heights. Among the targets were a military compound of the Fourth Division of the Syrian Armed Forces, military radar systems and artillery posts.

“The IDF sees the Syrian state as responsible for all activities occurring within its territory and will not allow any attempts to violate Israeli sovereignty,” the military said.

Israel regularly conducts airstrikes in Syria with a view to preventing Iran and its terror proxies, foremost among them Lebanon-based Hezbollah, from developing permanent military infrastructure with which to open a front against the Jewish state.

Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on April 24, 2023. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Michael Giladi/Flash90/jns.org

Prayer Focus
Continue to pray that efforts to disrupt Iran’s attempts to build a permanent military infrastructure in Israel’s backyard will be successful. Pray also that Syrian soldiers will respond to Israel’s warnings against cooperation with Hezbollah.


Behold, all who are incensed against you shall be put to shame and confounded; those who strive against you shall be as nothing and shall perish. You shall seek those who contend with you, but you shall not find them; those who war against you shall be as nothing at all.

- Isaiah 41:11–12 ESV

For the First Time, a UN Body Will Host a ‘Nakba Day’ Event

by Mike Wagenheim ~ JNS

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The “Non-Violence Sculpture” by Carl Fredrik Reuterswärd, located at the headquarters of the United Nations in New York City, a gift from the government of Luxembourg

Thursday, 27 April 2023 | One of many United Nations [UN] bodies dedicated to the Palestinians announced last weekend an upcoming UN commemoration of “Nakba Day,” the supposed “catastrophe” that marked the birth of the State of Israel in 1948.

Palestinians and their supporters mark this annually on May 15, one day after Israel announced its independence on May 14, 1948.

The day purportedly memorializes the displacement of Palestinian Arabs. During the course of fighting beginning in November 1947, when UN member states voted to partition the land, and lasting until the summer of 1949, many Arabs in the area fled during hostilities or heeded instructions from Arab leaders to leave their homes as five Arab armies tried to annihilate the nascent Jewish state at birth.

Pursuant to a UN General Assembly resolution passed in December, the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (CEIRPP) announced that a Nakba Day event would be held inside the halls of the United Nations for the first time.

“Commemorations…will bring to life the Palestinian journey and will aim at creating an immersive experience of the Nakba through live music, photos, videos and personal testimonies,” CEIRPP stated in a weekend release.

The resolution itself was sponsored by Egypt, Jordan, Senegal, Tunisia, Yemen and the Palestinians. It passed by a vote of 90 in favor, 30 against and 47 abstentions.

Israel, Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States were among the countries that voted against [the resolution].

While CEIRPP falls under the purview of the Division for Palestinian Rights (DPR) of the Secretariat, which reports to the UN secretary-general, the UN chief himself deflected this weekend’s announcement.

When directly asked, the spokesman for UN Secretary-General António Guterres responded that “this is an event decided upon by the Committee on the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, which is a member state body. The Secretary-General is not involved in its decision-making.”

His spokesman said he is not aware of any plans for Guterres to participate in the commemoration.

When asked where Guterres stands on the appropriateness of UN member states mourning the UN-backed formation of a fellow member state, the spokesman told JNS that “the secretary-general’s message on the Israel–Palestine issue has been constant and remains the same regardless of the fora.”

That message, added the spokesman, is to “end the occupation and realize a two-state solution.”

“What is needed is the political will and courage to make the difficult choices for peace that ends the occupation and ensures two states—Israel and an independent, viable and sovereign Palestinian state—living side by side within secure and recognized borders, with Jerusalem as the capital of both states,” said the spokesman. “A peace in which Palestinians and Israelis alike enjoy equal measures of democracy, opportunity and dignity in their lives. A peace, in short, that is just, comprehensive and lasting.”

Abbas: ‘At the Top of Our Priorities’

The UN established the partition plan that would have divided then-Mandatory British Palestine into separate Jewish and Arab states with international oversight of Jerusalem. Jewish leaders accepted the plan. Palestinian Arabs rejected it then, and have turned down repeated offers of statehood since.

While the Palestinians hold non-member observer status at the UN, their influence is outsized.

While Nakba Day is officially added to the UN calendar, November 29 already exists as the UN Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. It is the only day the UN sets aside in the cause of one group of people, and its related events at UN headquarters around the world are generally used in large part to bash Israel.

The UN delegates a special rapporteur to the Palestinians—one with an open-ended mandate that presupposes Israel’s human-rights violations. Special rapporteurs for all other purposes have mandates of limited duration with objective fact-finding missions. The current special rapporteur, Francesca Albanese, has a history of blatant anti-Semitism and falsified information on her application for the position to hide her past biases against Israel.

The ongoing UN Commission of Inquiry on the Israeli–Palestinian conflict likewise has a unique unending mandate, and is populated by multiple commission members with a history of anti-Semitism and extensive documented anti-Israel bias.

Besides CEIRPP, which was created in 1975, an additional UN special committee and an entire division of the UN Secretariat are devoted exclusively to the Palestinian cause. The Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories, created in 1968, and the DPR, in existence since 1979, cost the international body millions of dollars a year, including the creation and publication of anti-Israel materials.

No other group of people is afforded this type of status at the UN.

The DPR and CEIRPP organize meetings and conferences in coordination with anti-Israel non-governmental organizations, often promoting BDS [Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions] and the Palestinian “right of return,” which would see an end to Jewish sovereignty in Israel.

In 2004, the UN General Assembly passed a resolution creating yet another Palestinian-specific body, the UN Register of Damages (UNRoD). The agency was created to help Palestinians file claims against Israel for purported damages incurred during Israel’s construction of the security barrier, intended to stop a wave of Palestinian suicide bombers during the Second Intifada that took place from 2000 to 2005.

The UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) has a mandate that uniquely provides refugee status to every Palestinian child—even those born in Palestinian-controlled areas and those with citizenship in other countries—in perpetuity and funds their benefits.

No detailed plans have yet been announced for the UN Nakba Day.

“Commemorating the Nakba must be at the top of our priorities in order to preserve our narrative, which we must adhere to and convey to the whole world,” the Palestinian WAFA news agency quoted Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas as saying after the CEIRPP announcement.

According to the Turkish state-run Anadolu Agency, Abbas—a fomenter of Holocaust denial—instructed Palestinians to commemorate Nakba Day “to confront all lies and false narratives that attempt to distort history and facts.”

“What Palestinians everywhere are required to do is to commemorate this tragedy, because it is the first time that the global community does not deny the Nakba,” said Abbas, who rejected a peace offer from then-Israeli premier Ehud Olmert in 2008—one that was largely seen as generous by the international community.

The Israeli mission to the United Nations has not yet commented.

Photo Credit: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on April 26, 2023. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Marco Rubino/Shutterstock/jns.org

Prayer Focus
Cry out to the Lord for an end to this appalling action on the part of the United Nations. Pray that many countries will raise an outcry against this blatant historical revisionism and the elevated status afforded to a single people group whose leadership denies the Holocaust, incites violence and calls for the destruction of the nation of Israel.


But You, O God, shall bring them down to the pit of destruction; bloodthirsty and deceitful men shall not live out half their days; but I will trust in You.

- Psalm 55:23

Iranians Chant ‘Long Live Israel’ at Sports Match

by Emily Schrader ~ Ynet

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Monday, 24 April 2023 | Following the historic visit of Iran’s exiled Crown Prince Reza Pahlavi to Israel, social media has been filled with Iranian–Israeli solidarity. On Friday, a video went viral on social media of Iranians in Bandar Genaveh (southwest Iran) at the Ramadan Cup for Futsal, chanting “Down with Palestine, long live Israel.”

The chants came in response to the entrance of regime-affiliated mullah for Friday prayers.

Amongst Iranians, there is some degree of social resentment over their government funding of Palestinian terrorist organizations and other foreign terrorist proxies rather than funding projects within the country that would benefit the people of Iran who have suffered for years under sanctions due to the nuclear program of the regime.

Additionally, the regime’s animosity towards Israel and public anti-Semitism including Holocaust denial, has been a staple of the regime since its inception over 44 years ago.

Previously, videos of Iranians refusing to step on the Israeli flag outside of universities have also gone viral on social media.

Source: (This article was originally published by Ynetnews on April 23, 2023. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: The State of Israel/commons.wikimedia.org

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Praise the Lord for the growing solidarity with Israel that the Iranian people are expressing. Pray for the Lord’s protection to surround this burgeoning pro-Israel movement and cry out to Him for an Iranian regime that would benefit the people of Iran and seek a true and lasting peace with Israel.


When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when a wicked man rules, the people groan.

- Proverbs 29:2

Swastika Carved into Back of Autistic Jewish Teen

by JNS

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A photograph of the swastika on the Snoldelev stone in the National Museum in Copenhagen, Denmark

Friday, 21 April 2023 | A kippah-wearing [yarmulke], nonverbal boy who attends Clark High School in Las Vegas with a service dog and full-time assistant, returned home March 9 with a swastika carved into his back, his mother told the Jewish Press. The school is deflecting responsibility.

The school does not have video cameras that could have recorded the incident. As per the mother’s request, reports don’t name the boy. There was also damage to the service dog’s bag, and the assistant claimed that the boy had a “good day” and that nothing happened. The teen has since been removed from the school.

An Anti-Defamation League [ADL] Twitter account encouraged those with information to contact the FBI.

“Not only was this student targeted for his identifiable faith, but he was particularly vulnerable due to his disability,” stated the ADL. “This incident illustrates points of intersectionality in how hate can show itself across marginalized communities.”

With anti-Semitism on the rise, Nevada is among the states that have seen a decrease—from 36 incidents in 2021 to 30 in 2022. According to the ADL, the only anti-Semitic assault in the state to occur between 2018 and 2022 came in 2020.

Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on April 20, 2023. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons/jns.org

Prayer Focus
Cry out to the Lord that the perpetrators of this atrocity will be found and punished. Pray that school officials and this boy’s assistant will speak out, helping the FBI to apprehend those responsible. Also pray that the Lord will comfort this young man and his family as they deal with the realities of anti-Semitic hatred.


These six things the LORD hates, yes, seven are an abomination to Him: a proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, a false witness who speaks lies.

- Proverbs 6:16–19a

Israel’s Population on Cusp of 10 Million as Independence Day Nears

by Yaron Drukman ~ Ynet

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Young Israelis celebrate Jerusalem Day in the nation’s capital.

Tuesday, 25 April 2023 | As Israel gears up to celebrate its 75th Independence Day, new data released Monday by the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) revealed that the country’s population stands at roughly 9,727,000 people.

Approximately three-fourths of the population is Jewish (73.5%), 21% is Arab and the remaining are classified as Christians, members of other religions or unclassified.

The country’s population has grown twelve-fold from an initial population of 806,000 on the day of its establishment in 1948.

In the past year, the population has grown by 2.3%, adding 216,000 more people. The CBS attributes this to 183,000 births, 79,000 new immigrants and 51,000 deaths in the country within that timeframe.

According to the CBS, over 3.3 million immigrants have come to Israel since its establishment, with nearly half of those within the last 33 years. Additionally, approximately 149,000 citizens born to Israeli parents abroad have returned to Israel, hoping to make the Holy Land their permanent home.

Looking ahead, Israel’s population is expected to grow significantly over the next few decades. The CBS projects that by 2030, there will be 11.1 million people in Israel, 13.2 million by 2040, and 15.2 million by the country’s 100th anniversary in 2048.

As for age distribution, nearly half of the population is under 30 years old, with 19.2% under 10, 15.2% between 10 and 19 and 14% in their 20s. Meanwhile, 0.5% of Israelis are over 90 and 5.5% are between 70 and 79 years old.

Notably, there are about 60,000 Israelis who were born in 1948, and more than 3,300 individuals who are over 100 years old.

Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published by Ynetnews on April 24, 2023. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Michio Nagata/bridgesforpeace.com

Prayer Focus
Praise God that Israel’s population continues to grow! Thank Him for newly born and newly arrived Israelis and pray that He will bless each one with health, safety and success. Pray for all of the immigrants that have arrived in the past few years and for Israel’s ability to supply them and those yet to come with the resources they need to become contributing members of Israeli society. Pray also for Bridges for Peace as we continue our efforts to assist Jewish people in making aliyah and in helping to care for them once they arrive in the Land.


Blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies.

- Genesis 22:17

The Mindset behind Palestinian Terror

by Stephen M. Flatow ~ Gatestone via JNS

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This pipe bomb was discovered by IDF soldiers after they searched a 14-year-old Palestinian boy who sought to use it in a terror attack, and thus become a martyr.

Friday, 21 April 2023 | When a teenager informs his parent that he intends to do something rash, any normal, responsible parent tries to dissuade him. “Don’t do something crazy just because your friends are doing it.” Or, “But that will go on your permanent record.” Or, “I’m not giving you the car keys if that’s where you’re going.”

But that’s not the response that 16-year-old Muntasir Al-Shawa got when he recently informed his mother that he intended to carry out a terrorist attack against Israeli Jews. Instead, she gave him tips on how to properly prepare himself to carry out the attack.

This horrifying, fascinating glimpse at attitudes towards terrorism among ordinary Palestinian Arabs was provided by official Palestinian Authority Television. (Translation courtesy of Palestinian Media Watch).

Last month, Muntasir told his mother that he planned to go to Balata, a neighborhood in the city of Shechem/Nablus near the Tomb of Joseph, “and I’ll come back to you as a martyr.” The term “martyr” in the Palestinian Arab lexicon means somebody who dies in the course of murdering or attempting to murder Jews.

Murdering Jews in Shechem is not as easy as it used to be. From 1967 to 1995, there was an Israeli military governor and administration running the city. There were Israeli soldiers stationed there all the time. In other words, there were plenty of potential targets for would-be terrorists. But because of the Oslo Accords, Israel withdrew its soldiers and administrators from Shechem/Nablus in 1995 and handed the city over to the Palestinian Authority [PA].

With one small exception: According to the Oslo Accords, Jews have a right to visit their holy site, the tomb of the biblical patriarch Joseph. The PA security forces are required to protect Jewish visitors. But since the PA more often than not refuses to do so, terrorists like Muntasir are free to target Jewish worshippers and the Israeli soldiers accompanying them.

That’s what Muntasir had in mind when he revealed his plans to his mother, according to what she later told PA Television. In her February 21 interview, Mrs. Al-Shawa described her response when her son informed her of his intention to die while murdering Jews:

“I laughed and told him: ‘Do you think being a martyr is something trivial? Go bathe, pray, bow down to Allah and then there might be a chance that Allah will agree to accept you [as a martyr]. The following night he came back to me as a martyr. Praise Allah.”

Mrs. Al-Shawa is obviously a deeply religious woman. But the concept of “religious” does not mean to her what it means to most civilized people. Her religious beliefs evidently include killing innocent people.

Because instead of trying to discourage her son from becoming a killer, she actually urged him to undertake religious preparations that would—in her view—spiritually enhance his murderous activities.

She didn’t ask the boy’s father to stop him. She didn’t enlist the family’s imam to intervene. She didn’t take away Muntasir’s gun or scold him. She did exactly the opposite because she wanted him to be a more effective “martyr.”

And so, Muntasir proceeded to the Tomb of Joseph, where he and other terrorists opened fire on Jewish worshippers and their Israeli guards. The Israelis shot back and killed him. Mrs. Al-Shawa got her wish.

Over the years, there have been many other examples in the PA media of Palestinian Arab parents expressing pride that their children murdered Jews. (Many of them can be found at Palestinian Media Watch.)

Advocates of the Palestinian Arab cause often tell us that ordinary Palestinians are just like ordinary folks everywhere. They say Palestinian mothers and fathers have the same concerns as those in America, Israel and everywhere else.

Former President Bill Clinton epitomized this attitude when he met with Israeli parents of terror victims on December 15, 1998, and then traveled to Gaza to meet with Palestinian parents of imprisoned terrorists. The president told reporters: “If I had met them in reverse order, I would not have known which ones were Israeli and which Palestinian.”

How sad that the president of the United States was unable to tell the difference between the parents. The Israeli parents were the ones mourning the deaths of their innocent children. The Palestinian parents were the ones cheering on their children for murdering the Israeli children.

For the past 28 years, the PA has refused to fulfill its Oslo Accords obligation to encourage Palestinian Arabs to reject terrorism and embrace peaceful coexistence with Israel. In fact, it has done exactly the opposite. It has raised an entire generation of parents and children who continue to see anti-Jewish terrorism as a worthy life goal.

And that, in a nutshell, is why the possibility of achieving real peace with the Palestinian Arabs is so remote. It has nothing to do with settlements or borders. It has everything to do with the widespread and deeply held attitudes that permeate the Palestinian Arab community.

Stephen M. Flatow is an attorney and the father of Alisa Flatow, who was murdered in an Iranian-sponsored Palestinian terrorist attack in 1995. He is author of “A Father’s Story: My Fight for Justice Against Iranian Terror.”

Reprinted with kind permission of JNS.

Source: (This article was published by the Gatestone Institute on April 17, 2023. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Israel Defense Forces/flickr.com

Photo License: flickr

Prayer Focus
Cry out against this horrific lack of natural love expressed by so many Palestinian parents. Also pray for the Palestinian children who are being manipulated and weaponized by those who should be caring for them and teaching them the ways of peace. Beseech the Lord that the knowledge of this shocking behavior would reach the global community.


Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

- Isaiah 5:20

US, Greek, Cypriot, Israeli Lawmakers Meet to Advance Ties

by Etgar Lefkovits ~ JNS

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US Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) speaks on the floor of the Senate.

Monday, 24 April 2023 | Legislators from the United States, Greece, Cyprus and Israel met this week via video conference to further cooperation in the Eastern Mediterranean.

The inter-parliamentary conference took place amid burgeoning relations between Israel and both Cyprus and Greece over the last decade and a half in a variety of fields including tourism, medicine, cybersecurity, energy and military cooperation.

“We are pleased to have convened the first meeting of the 3+1 inter-parliamentary group with elected representatives from the United States, Cyprus, Greece and Israel,” according to a statement.

“We reaffirmed our shared commitment to promoting security, stability and prosperity in the Eastern Mediterranean, and discussed ways our legislative bodies can promote joint priorities including energy security, maritime security, economic growth and overall stability.”

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ). chairman of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, hosted the event.

“The importance of cooperation in various fields, including energy, cybersecurity, disaster readiness and more, cannot be overstated,” said Knesset [Parliament] member Dan Illouz. “The parliamentary oversight that we can bring together will push cooperation between countries forward.”

The meeting follows the passage of bipartisan legislation put forward by Menendez in the US Senate that significantly bolsters US support for Greek military modernization as well as increased multilateral engagement among Cyprus, Greece, Israel and the United States.

The parliamentary meeting also comes as construction of an “energy highway” that will connect the national electricity grids of Israel, Cyprus and Greece is underway.

The mammoth European Union-backed energy project comes as the war in Ukraine and sanctions on Russia are fueling a global energy crisis that has hit the EU hard, spotlighting the continent’s dependence on foreign energy.

A summit between the leaders of Greece, Cyprus and Israel is planned for later this year.

Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on April 23, 2023. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Screenshot/jns.org

Prayer Focus
Thank the Lord for the burgeoning relations between Israel and both Cyprus and Greece, and for the inter-parliamentary group which includes the United States. Pray that they will have great success in promoting security, stability and prosperity in the Eastern Mediterranean. Pray also for the success of the energy highway that is under construction and will connect the electricity grids of Israel, Greece and Cyprus.


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

- Proverbs 11:14