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Friday, April 29, 2022

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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.

Standing on the Shoulders of Survivors

by Deborah Fineblum ~ JNS

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Israeli soldiers tour the new “Before My Very Eyes” exhibition at the Ariel Sharon Israel Defense Forces training campus in the Negev Desert.

Thursday, 28 April 2022 | In the winter of 1945, a time when 10-year-old Yitzhak Perlmutter spent his days pushing wheelbarrows full of coal from train to factory in Möllersdorf, a concentration camp subcamp, saving his extra piece of bread each day for his little sister, the youngster could not possibly have envisioned that he’d have children of his own someday, much less grandchildren. And certainly not that his grandson would be a soldier for a Jewish state he could never have dreamed would exist.

But last week, the Hungarian native had the opportunity to tour a brand-new center designed to show Israel’s soldiers the horror that he and other Jews experienced during the years of World War II and the Holocaust. And alongside him was his grandson, Matan, an officer in the Israel Defense Forces [IDF].

As such, he is part of a family legacy. In the early years of the state, Perlmutter served in the IDF. “And now, my grandchild is continuing in our way,” he adds. “Seeing my grandchildren in uniform is a source of tremendous pride and the greatest form of victory over what we endured during the Shoah [Holocaust].”

Now, timed to coincide with Yom HaShoah [Holocaust Remembrance Day]—the day all of Israel stops to remember the Holocaust—“Before My Very Eyes,” the Yad Vashem Educational Center for Holocaust Remembrance, is opening at the Ariel Sharon IDF training campus in the Negev Desert.

Here, thousands of IDF trainees each year are expected to learn more deeply about the Holocaust through a series of interactive exhibits and workshops connecting them in new ways with the Jewish experience during those terrible years.

At a time of increasing global anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial, along with the disappearance of the remaining survivors who bear witness and set the record straight, the establishment of the center approaches the Holocaust as a pivotal event in the history of the Jewish people, says Shani Lourie Farhi, who directed its content for Yad Vashem’s International School for Holocaust Studies.

In addition, says Farhi, the center—the culmination of a multi-year partnership between the school and the IDF’s Educational Corps—invites the soldiers to explore such enduring values as Jewish identity, mutual responsibility, leadership, heroism and attachment to the land and people of Israel.

“Though for years, Yad Vashem has worked with the IDF to raise Holocaust awareness among its soldiers, this is the first permanent structure on an army base,” explains Farhi. “These young adults have put their own lives on hold for years to protect Israel and the Jewish people, so from the beginning, we needed to ask ourselves what’s important for them to know at this point in their lives, and what will inspire them?”

In addition to a historical context of what was going on in the world and in the lives of the Jews at that time, the center is replete with personal stories. “We wanted to introduce them not just to how they died but how they lived in the years before, who they were as people,” says Farhi, “to open a window in the minds and hearts of these future leaders of Israel and the Jewish people to a deeper understanding.”

‘Past, Present and Future in One Building’

One natural connection is the love many Holocaust-era Jews held for Israel, a land where they dreamed of being free to live as proud Jews. One photo at the center features a woman in the Lodz Ghetto teaching children with a map of Israel on the wall. “Imagine that of the few things they were allowed to take to the ghetto someone chose to take that map—the dream of Israel meant that much to them,” notes Farhi. “A woman who had lost everything teaching children who may not have a future to love a land that must have seemed so far-fetched, but still, they clung to it.”

As they explore the core values that bridge the Holocaust generation with today’s IDF soldiers, one that struck Pvt. Tom Abutbul was “the value of friendship, of helping one another.”

Such shared eternal values also brought Rachel Shnay and her family into the project as donors. “As soon as we heard about it, we realized this was the perfect way to memorialize our grandfather,” says Shnay, co-chair of the American Society of Yad Vashem Young Leaders whose grandparents were all survivors.

Her grandfather, Symcha Horowitz, who died last year and for whom this gift was given, witnessed his father being hung and lost his mother to starvation in the ghetto, as well as four of his six brothers in the camps. Yet he went on to help found Israel’s Air Force and fight in the War of Independence. Though, as an entrepreneur, he subsequently lived in Bolivia, Argentina, London, Miami and New York, Horowitz’s passion for Israel and the Zionist dream never faded, his granddaughter reports. Indeed, one of his most treasured possessions was his Israeli (pre-state Palestine) identification card from 1945.

“Basically, the center puts the past, present and future together in one building,” says Shnay. “And the soldiers who spend time here will see it’s because of the courage of survivors like my grandparents, who loved Israel and were so proud of it that they are here in this country today. They’ll know what they’re here for.”

Yad Vashem chairman Dani Dayan agrees. “Against the backdrop of rising global anti-Semitism, Holocaust distortion and trivialization, and fewer survivors remaining among us, our responsibility is to inspire young men and women at different stages of their military service through an in-depth study of the Holocaust, and highlight several individuals who can serve as role models to the leaders of tomorrow.”

As such, the future is as much in the spotlight as the past, adds Maj.-Gen. Michel Yanko, who heads up the IDF’s Technological and Logistics Directorate. “This center is not only a commemoration to those who were murdered; it is also a promise to the survivors—to carry the torch and to pass it on,” he says. “For me, the son of Panel Yanko, a survivor of the deportations and the Holocaust, it is not only my family’s legacy but also the closing of a circle, a symbol of the transition from Shoah to rebirth and an important contribution to educating generations of soldiers and military personnel.”

‘The Fact that Jews Are in Israel is a Miracle’

All of which greatly pleases survivor—and now great-grandfather—Perlmutter, who came to Israel in 1946, after being liberated with his mother and sister, and returning to Hungary long enough to learn of the murders of his brother and the rest of their family in Auschwitz.

“I feel that every Jew, and of course, every soldier, has to know exactly what happened and know the story of the Holocaust,” he says. “A nation that does not know her past has no future.”

That is something that makes one IDF soldier particularly proud. “Not only as a grandson of a Holocaust survivor but as an officer,” says 24-year-old Matan Perlmutter. “I think the soldiers’ connection to the Jewish people’s past is very important in that we are the continuation and future of the state of Israel and the Jewish people.”

“It strengthened my connection to my history and my people,” is how Cpl. Ayala Zilbershtein puts it. “I felt like I was able to connect with the people and with their world, and relate to their experiences. And at the same time strengthen my mission as a soldier—not just from reading their experiences and from seeing the photographs, but rather by walking through the center and really feeling them.”

This piece of Jewish history—and destiny—is brought home for Shnay each time she hears a particular line in “Hatikvah [“the Hope”],” Israel’s national anthem: L’hiyot am chofshi b’artzenu—“To be a free nation in our land.”

“That always reminds me of my grandfather and all the others who went through that hell, and yet were willing to put their lives on the line again, but this time for something that meant everything to them,” she says with evident pride. “From destruction to rebirth, the fact that Jews are in Israel today is a miracle; they’re there on the fruits of the survivors’ labor and their sacrifice. And you can’t move forward unless you know where you come from.”

Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on April 27, 2022. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Yad Vashem/JNS.org

Prayer Focus
Pray for healing for the survivors of the Holocaust and the lingering effects it has had on their lives and the lives of their descendants. Thank the Lord for the Jewish state, a safe haven for the Jewish people. Pray that the memory of the Holocaust and its horrors will be kept alive, even as the numbers of those who lived through it dwindle each day.

Scripture

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. He counts the number of the stars; He calls them all by name.


- Psalm 147:3–4

Israel Braces for Violence ahead of Last Friday of Ramadan

by Elior Levy ~ Ynetnews

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Israeli Police during Temple Mount riots in 2015

Thursday, 28 April 2022 | Jerusalem Police was on Wednesday preparing for Friday prayers at the Al-Aqsa mosque, at the conclusion of the holy month of Ramadan [one of the Five Pillars of Islam when stringent disciplines are observed].

Riots have broken out on the site repeatedly for the past month after Palestinians collected rocks and other material to use against police forces and Jewish worshipers at the Western Wall.

Earlier this month, forces broke into the mosque and arrested hundreds of rioters, mostly residents of east Jerusalem and some from the West Bank [Judea and Samaria] or Arab communities in Israel.

Speaking to Ynet, the officials said that the police identified the Israeli Arab area of Wadi Ara in northern Israel as a source of some of the extreme rioters who were inciting others on social media. Still, they said no intelligence was available ahead of time as to the role Israeli citizens would play in the riots.

The lack of intelligence was identified during the May 2021 riots in mixed Jewish and Arab cities. The police at the time was unprepared and only after three days was able to muster the manpower needed to contain them.

Some personnel were summoned from the forces’ reserve units and others were transferred from other hotspots in efforts to prevent a more dangerous outburst of violent clashes.

The police took [it] upon themselves to establish an intelligence unit that will coordinate with all other security agencies, which has thus far succeeded in foiling attacks and has identified numerous inciters on social media.

“The Shin Bet [Israeli internal security organization] understands it must up its game when it comes to intelligence gathering, so that the police, as well as other agencies, would be able to act, conduct preventive detentions, break up groups of bad actors and remove inciteful content from the web.”

This week is the last Friday of Ramadan and will be a test of the advanced intelligence the force will have, as violent clashes are expected.

In preparation, troop deployment has been increased in Jerusalem.

The Shin Bet said in response that it is working in full cooperation with the police to end the violence on Temple Mount.

The intelligence provided by the agency has contributed to the arrest of many and the prevention of violence. The Shin Bet will continue to cooperate with its partners in order to protect Israelis.

Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published by Ynetnews on April 27, 2022. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Israel Police/commons.wikimedia.org

Photo License: wikimedia.org

Prayer Focus
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem and all of Israel as the holiday of Ramadan winds down. Ask the Lord to place His divine hand of protection over this land and its people, letting His supernatural peace reign above all plots and plans of the enemy to devise evil and violence.

Scripture

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May they prosper who love you. Peace be within your walls, prosperity within your palaces.”


- Psalm 122:6–7

In Rare Sign of Solidarity, UN Envoy Tells Israel’s Side of the Story

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UN Security Council meeting (illustrative)

Tuesday, 26 April 2022 | In an unusual turn of events, a Middle East envoy of the United Nations acknowledged the Israeli side of the story when recounting the violence atop the Temple Mount during the ongoing Ramadan celebrations.

As the UN Security Council held its monthly meeting devoted entirely to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, the UN special coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Tor Wennesland, recounted the month’s events.

Ramadan is the month-long holiday which Muslims are to mark by fasting from sunrise to sunset, praying several times a day, reading the Quran and engaging in introspection and self-restraint. However, as it so often does, Ramadan in Israel has deteriorated to rioting, violence, terror attacks and clashes—particularly at the Temple Mount.

This site, where the first and second temples once stood, is the holiest site to the Jewish people. Now it is where the Al-Aqsa Mosque stands, making it the third holiest site for Muslims—and a flashpoint for religious tension in Israel.

Ramadan has seen many days of rioting, as many Muslims who are supposed to be praying at the site instead turn to throwing rocks, bottles, firecrackers and other makeshift weapons at Israeli security forces stationed at the site.

April 15 was a particularly volatile day at the Temple Mount.

“Some Palestinians threw stones, fireworks and other heavy objects toward Israeli Security Forces [ISF], and ISF used stun grenades, sponge-tipped bullets and batons…” Wennesland said in his address to the forum.

“In the midst of these clashes, several dozen Palestinians entered a mosque in the compound, with some continuing to throw stones and fireworks towards ISF,” Wennesland continued. “Following a standoff with those inside, Israeli police entered the mosque and arrested those barricaded inside.”

In his account, Wennesland did not mention the Palestinian claim that Israeli security forces simply barged onto the site swinging for no reason. He also noted that after the violent morning, “noon prayers subsequently took place that day without major incident.”

Though echoing the standard UN call for “all sides” to continue efforts to contribute to peace, Wennesland did acknowledge Israel’s efforts in maintaining peace in and around Jerusalem’s Old City, particularly the holy sites, during the overlap of Passover, Ramadan and Easter.

“Despite the tensions, overall, hundreds of thousands of Muslims, Jews and Christians have been able to celebrate the holy days in and around the Old City in relative peace and without further escalation,” Wennesland added.

He even mentioned the 14 people who were murdered in a two-week terror wave beginning last month and extending to the beginning of this month, the bloodiest spate of terror attacks in Israel in recent years.

The UN envoy also recounted the rocket attacks from terrorists in Gaza over the past week, acknowledging that they are “undermining the fragile stability that has prevailed since May,” the volatile 11-day war between Israel and Gaza in which terrorists in the Strip fired more than 4,300 rockets toward Israel.

“Let me be clear: there is no justification for acts of terrorism or violence against civilians,” he added.

The UN has said little in the way of condemning the rocket attacks from Gaza toward Israel over the last week.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett spoke to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Saturday evening about the situation, according to a statement by the prime minister’s office with a partial readout of the conversation.

“The international community must not serve the agenda of the terrorist organizations,” Bennett told Guterres. “Israel is the stabilizing force; if we did not uphold order, tens of thousands of Muslims would not be able to pray. These are people who prepared rocks and Molotov cocktails in advance for use from inside the mosque.”

The prime minister added that he was disappointed in the UN for not condemning the recent rocket attacks on Israel emanating from the Gaza Strip, according to the statement.

Nonetheless, in the theater of the absurd, for the UN Security Council’s monthly meeting on Israel—the only country to which a standing monthly meeting is devoted—Wennesland’s updates seem a small step in the right direction.

Two of the permanent members of the UN Security Council, by the way, are Russia and China. This council is established to maintain “international peace and security,” according to the body’s website.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, April 26, 2022)

Photo Credit: UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe/flickr.com

Photo License: Flickr

Prayer Focus
Praise the Lord for UN Representative Wennesland’s willingness to acknowledge Israel’s side of the story, a rarity within the walls of the UN! Pray that truth will reign and that the Palestinian attempt to rewrite the story and the facts before the international body will be thwarted. Pray that only truth will be spoken about Israel before the nations.

Scripture

These are the things you shall do: Speak each man the truth to his neighbor; give judgment in your gates for truth, justice and peace.


- Zechariah 8:16

Iran “A Few Weeks or Less” from Bomb Breakout, US Says

by Ilse Strauss

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Iran nuclear talks in Vienna in 2015

Wednesday, 27 April 2022 | Iran’s race to the bomb is now shorter than ever, putting a nuclear weapon within easy reach of those who chant “Death to America” and “Death to Israel” on a regular basis.

According to White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, “Their breakout period is down from about a year…to just a few weeks or less.”

“Yes, it definitely worries us,” she added.

Psaki spoke yesterday during a press conference after Secretary of State Antony Blinken said earlier in the day that the Islamic Republic’s nuclear “program has galloped forward,” putting its breakout time at “a matter of weeks.”

This doesn’t mean that Iran can be bomb in hand by the end of May, though. According to the Times of Israel, the breakout time refers to the period required to gather enough fissile material to make a nuclear weapon. However, even with sufficient fissile material, some more hurdles remain, including the skill and ability to build the core of the weapon and then to attach it to a missile warhead, both of which would likely take longer.

Psaki and Blinken’s statements come as talks in Vienna aimed at reinstating the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)—which would supposedly see Iran returning to toeing the nuclear restrictions line in exchange for much-needed sanction relief—drag on past the 12-month mark.

After multiple stops, starts and pauses in the negotiations, the deliberations have reached yet another impasse. The sides are reportedly at loggerheads over Tehran’s demand that Washington remove the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) from the State Department’s list of foreign terrorist organizations.

However, as negotiations linger and the centrifuges continue to spin, experts—and Israel—fear that Tehran’s nuclear program is becoming so advanced that any accord will be a moot point.

Moreover, a former Iranian politician disclosed over the weekend that Tehran had its sights set on the bomb from day one, defying the mullahs’ solemn oath that the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only.

And now, with weeks to go before Iran supposedly reaches nuclear breakout status, Psaki says the solution is a return to the JCPOA, which allegedly pushed back the breakout time to “about a year.”      

“If we go back, under the Iran nuclear deal, Iran’s nuclear program was tightly constrained,” she said.

Israel doesn’t share Psaki’s sentiments—not about the 2015 accord or about what a return to the deal will accomplish. At the time, Jerusalem lamented the inking of the JCPOA. At best, the deal would put Iran’s flourishing program on ice, merely pushing back the inevitable, Israel warned. At worst, it lined the pockets of a regime now working behind the scenes to build a nuclear weapon. Either way, the deal ultimately did not block Iran’s way to the bomb, Jerusalem said.

Then US President Donald Trump agreed—and withdrew from the accord in 2018, imposing harsh sanctions on the already struggling Iranian regime.

In the four years since, Tehran’s nuclear program has made great strides, and speculations are rife as to how close the mullahs actually are to the finish line.

Just as in 2015, Jerusalem isn’t putting much stock in a diplomatic solution. Throughout last year, details emerged of Israel ramping up measures to deal with the menace of a nuclear Iran head-on.

In January, Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi instructed the military to begin drafting operational attack plans against Iran. In September, it was reported that the Israeli Air Force (IAF) was set to start training for a strike to dismantle Iran’s nuclear program as early as the beginning of this year. In November, Kochavi said the IDF “is accelerating operational planning and preparedness to deal with Iran and the military nuclear threat.” And in December, NIS 5 billion (US $1.6 billion) was allocated to prepare for the execution of such plans.

In the meantime, whispers emerged earlier this week from Vienna that talks between Iran and world powers may soon fall apart. “The talks did not collapse completely, but have been frozen,” an Israeli official said on Monday.

Whether the rumors are true and the sides will leave the negotiation table in Vienna without an agreement or whether Iran or the US will capitulate, blinking first on the IRGC issue that appears to be one of the final stumbling blocks to a deal, is anybody’s guess.

Regardless of which way it goes, Israel will be watching, waiting and above all, preparing.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, April 27, 2022)

Photo Credit: Bundesministerium für Europa, Integration und Äusseres/commons.wikimedia.org

Photo License: wikimedia.org

Prayer Focus
Lift up this situation in prayer and beseech the Lord to thwart the evil plans of the Iranian regime to produce a nuclear weapon. Ask the Lord to bless the nations with discernment in ongoing negotiations to return to the nuclear deal. Ask the Lord to bring the evil plans and intentions of the regime to light. Pray against this evil regime.

Scripture

For they intended evil against You; they devised a plot which they are not able to perform…Be exalted, O LORD, in Your own strength! We will sing and praise Your power.


- Psalm 21:11,13

Israel Prepares for Possible Flare-up on Gaza Border

by Kate Norman

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The Erez Crossing between Israel and the Gaza Strip

Monday, 25 April 2022 | Israel is reportedly bracing itself for flare-ups on the border with the Gaza Strip following the recent rocket fire from the enclave, Israel’s Channel 12 news reported this weekend.

The Jewish state closed its crossings with the Gaza Strip on Saturday, following more rocket fire on Friday night and the early hours of Saturday morning.

The first two rockets were fired on Friday night, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) announced on Twitter. One projectile crossed into southern Israel, landing in an open field and causing no damage or injuries.

The other rocket fell short and landed inside the Gaza Strip, exploding near a United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) school. A Palestinian man was injured by rocket shrapnel, the IDF said on Twitter.

“When terrorists fire rockets, they endanger the lives of civilians—both Israeli and Palestinian,” the Israeli military added.

Terrorists launched a third rocket hours later, which also landed in an open area, causing no damage or casualties.

The IDF often announces retaliatory strikes on terrorist targets in the Strip in response to rocket fire. This time, however, Israel seemed to try a different method, striking where it hurts the most: the wallet.

Israel’s top military brass met over the weekend to discuss the situation and announced that Israel will close its crossings with Gaza, where goods and workers cross between the Jewish state and the enclave.

Last month the Israeli government raised the number of entry permits for Palestinian workers to enter Israel to 12,000. However, they will no longer be able to enter Israel until the crossings reopen—no doubt, Israel hopes, a significant incentive for the rockets to halt.

The crossing closing is extended at least through Monday, according to the Times of Israel.

“We will continue to show civil and economic generosity only if security stability is maintained,” Defense Minister Benny Gantz announced after meeting with military chiefs on Sunday, as quoted by the Times of Israel.

The weekend rocket fire was the latest in a string of attacks over the past week. Last Monday saw the first rocket fired from Gaza into Israel since January 1, breaking over four months of calm. That rocket was intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system. The military responded by striking Hamas targets in Gaza, adding that the terror organization “is responsible for all terror activity emanating from the Gaza Strip.”

Hamas is the largest terror organization operating in Gaza. Backed by Iran, Hamas rules the roost in the enclave. Therefore, it is believed that any rocket fire or attack emanating from the Gaza Strip, even if it does not originate directly from Hamas itself, is given the green light by the organization.

Israel therefore puts the burden on Hamas to maintain calm in the region and halt all attacks on Israel.

Nonetheless, another rocket was fired on Wednesday, landing near a home in the southern city of Sderot. The rocket caused slight damage to the home but no other casualties.

The IDF again responded by launching more retaliatory strikes in Gaza, targeting an underground rocket-production site, a Hamas launch site and a storage facility for antiaircraft missiles, the Israeli military announced on Twitter.

Another rocket was fired on Thursday, which also fell short and landed in Gaza.

No terror organizations have taken responsibility for the launches. Israel and Hamas are both likely intent on avoiding a repeat of last May’s Operation Guardian of the Walls in which terrorists in Gaza fired more than 4,300 rockets toward Israel, prompting hundreds of retaliatory Israeli strikes.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, April 25, 2022)

Photo Credit: Avi1111 dr. avishai teicher/commons.wikimedia.org

Photo License: wikimedia.org

Prayer Focus
Lift up Israel’s south—the border with Gaza and the Israeli families who live in the vicinity—in prayer, asking God for peace and quiet to reign throughout the region. Pray against any attempts by terrorists in the enclave to launch any more rockets toward Israelis. Pray for safety for all innocent parties in the line of fire—both Israelis and Palestinians.

Scripture

I will lift up my eyes to the hills—from whence comes my help? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.


- Psalm 121:1–4

Rocket Attack from Lebanon; Israel Retaliates

by Ilse Strauss

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Israeli soldiers at the border with Lebanon (illustrative)

Monday, 25 April 2022 | The current rocket barrage on Israeli civilians are no longer restricted to projectiles fired from the Gaza Strip.

Shortly after midnight last night, a missile was launched from Lebanon into northern Israel. According to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), the projectile struck an empty area in northern Israel a few miles from the Lebanon border, causing no injury or damage.

Israel’s answer to the attack came just over an hour later. “IDF artillery is now attacking targets in Lebanon and firing at the launch area in retaliation for the rocket fired into Israeli territory,” the military said in a statement, as per the Times of Israel.

The army added later that it struck the launch area as well as an unspecified “infrastructure target” with dozens of artillery shells, without elaborating further.

Nobody has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Israel and Lebanon are technically in a state of war. However, the border between the two neighbors have been relatively quiet following the 2006 Second Lebanon War between Israel and the Iranian terror proxy Hezbollah, which holds sway in southern Lebanon and possesses an arsenal of advanced missiles—all pointed at the Jewish state.

While the Shiite terror group has launched attacks on Israel since the two sides faced each other on the battle field 16 years ago—with the most recent assault in August last year—Jerusalem doesn’t believe that Hezbollah is behind last night’s rocket.

According to Israel’s military spokesman, Brig.-Gen. Ran Kochav, Palestinian factions with links to Hamas, the terror group ruling the Gaza Strip, fired the projectile. In fact, the Israeli military considers the possibility that Hamas ordered last night’s launch—all while rockets launched from the coastal enclave continue to rain down on southern Israel and almost daily clashes between Israel and the Palestinians over the Temple Mount have Jerusalem on edge.

“We believe…this is linked to the Muslim holy month of Ramadan [one of the Five Pillars of Islam when stringent disciplines are observed] and the riots on the Temple Mount,” Kochav told Israel’s Kan radio.

Hamas’s aim? Stirring the simmering pot and ramping up the violence by drawing Israel into a multi-front conflict

Southern Lebanon is strictly speaking Hezbollah territory, but Hamas has been active in the area for decades, operating under the Palestine branch of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force. The coexistence between the two terror groups in one volatile region can largely be ascribed to the shared terror overlord to whom both answer. Both Hezbollah and Hamas are Tehran’s terror puppets that do the bidding of their puppet masters in the Islamic Republic and obtain their funding from Tehran’s cash coffers.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, April 25, 2022)

Photo Credit: The Israel Defense Forces/flickr.com

Photo License: flickr.com

Prayer Focus
Cover Israel’s northern border in prayer, asking for God’s divine hand of protection over the Jewish state from any plots, plans and schemes by enemies for her harm. Pray against any rocket or other types of attacks, and ask the Lord to keep the border quiet and the families there safe.

Scripture

I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress; my God, in Him I will trust.” He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler. You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day.


- Psalm 91:1,4–5

Decades after Fleeing Nazis, Ukrainian Holocaust Survivors Find Asylum in Israel

by Itamar Eichner ~ Ynetnews

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Bridges for Peace helps support Holocaust survivors

Thursday, 28 April 2022 | The ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine has displaced untold millions, including hundreds of Holocaust survivors who were once again forced to flee their homes to save their lives.

The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews has helped hundreds of Holocaust survivors flee Ukraine, including 21 who arrived in Israel Wednesday: the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day.

One such survivor is 88-year-old Nanel Zelinsky, who fled from the besieged city of Kharkiv to Israel, where she landed Wednesday, a few hours before the outset of Holocaust Remembrance Day.

“I have already beaten Hitler once, I survived the Holocaust,” Nanel tells Ynet.

“I have a daughter, two granddaughters and three great-grandchildren—and now I’m a refugee again, trying to save my life.”

“I immigrated to Israel in order to survive. I am very excited. We have a Holocaust memorial in Kharkiv, which I make sure to visit from time to time. This year I will not be visiting it though,” said Nanel, who added that the significance of arriving in Israel on the day dedicated to the memory of the Holocaust is not lost on her.

“It excites me to know that the whole country has stopped to think about what we went through.”

Despite arriving safe and sound in Israel, Zelinsky has a hard time relaxing: “The situation in Kharkiv is now worse than it was in World War II…The entire city was devastated.”

“Everyone in my building went down to hide in the subway station, but because of my medical condition I could not get there myself,” she recalls.

“I was left completely alone in my apartment for ten days. I felt like I was in prison, in solitary confinement. I was left alone in a nine-story building, with no electricity and no ability to communicate with the outer world…After that, I decided to move to Israel.”

Valery Kanievsky, 83, and his wife Nelya, 80, were also forced to flee the incessant Russian shelling of Kharkiv.

“When World War II broke out, I was little, but I remember very well our escape,” Valery recalls.

“We ran for our lives under the bombs. I was not sure we would survive the road. I remember the bombings, the fear. The same feeling accompanied us now. I never thought that at my age, I’d be forced to go through this again.”

Tatiana Riabaya will celebrate her 99th birthday this coming December. She is making aliyah [immigrating] to Israel alongside her 73-year-old daughter. “My uncle and his family were all murdered in the Holocaust. My family and I managed to escape. That’s how we stayed alive.”

“Now, at my age, I’m running away from my city again. I did not believe we would have to flee until the very last minute,” said Riabaya, who remembers the horrors of World War II vividly.

“Back then, we also traveled to a remote area of Russia, even then the road was dangerous…I did not believe that at my age, almost 100 years old, I would have to go through this again…I am most grateful that we have the Jewish state, where I will have a home.”

According to the Holocaust Survivors’ Rights Authority, about 525 Holocaust survivors have immigrated to Israel from Ukraine since the outset of the Russian invasion on February 24. Another 113 Holocaust survivors have made aliyah from Russia and one from Belarus.

“During the time I was here, we brought close to 3,000 refugees from Ukraine, including about 270 elderly people and Holocaust survivors,” says Benny Haddad, director-general of the Aliyah Department at the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews.

“These elders, for the most part, did not plan to leave Ukraine, but their home is on fire, and Israel is like a second home for them.”

Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published by Ynetnews on April 27, 2022. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Hannah Taylor/bridgesforpeace.com

Prayer Focus
Thank the Lord again that there is a Jewish state where these Holocaust survivors and Jewish refugees can find safety. Pray for healing for these Holocaust survivors who have already been through so much pain and suffering and are now having to relive it again. Bless the nation of Israel and lift it up in prayer, that this land will have all the resources and means necessary to welcome their brothers and sisters home.

Scripture

The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; for You, LORD, have not forsaken those who seek You.


- Psalm 9:9–10

Action
The violence in Ukraine is particularly difficult as Israel and the world stop to remember the horrors of the Holocaust. Now, Holocaust survivors who made it through the horror and violence of World War II find themselves again in peril. Praise the Lord that they have a Jewish state in which to find a safe haven. As these precious people return to safety in their ancient homeland, join us in making their transition into life in Israel easier by donating to our Holocaust Survivors fund. After the tragedy they have already faced in their lives, every Holocaust survivor deserves to live out their twilight years in comfort and dignity.

Israel Foils Palestinian Islamic Jihad Terror Cell Plotting Attacks

by JNS

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Parts of an explosive device recovered during a Shin Bet counterterror raid

Tuesday, 26 April 2022 | The Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) announced on Monday that it broke up an attempt by a “Palestinian Islamic Jihad [PIJ] cell in Gaza to set up a terror infrastructure in Judea and Samaria in order to conduct attacks on Israeli civilians.”

In an investigation that spanned several months, the Shin Bet and Israel Defense Forces [IDF] arrested seven Palestinians from Jenin and surrounding villages that security forces say were recruited by PIJ elements in the Gaza Strip into a terror cell.

During questioning, it emerged that the terror suspects were recruited on social media by a resident of Rafah in Gaza, named by the Shin Bet as Ahmad Nabil Ahmed Judeh, a person described as “a PIJ operative who deals in the recruitment of youths in the field.”

Those arrested include Yasmin Sha’aban, 40, a resident of the village of Jalameh near Jenin, who in the past served a prison sentence for her role in planning a suicide bombing that was directed by terrorists in Gaza.

“The investigation revealed that Sha’aban worked to mediate between Ahmed Judeh, the Gaza Strip resident, and members of terror cells in Judea and Samaria, assisting them through the transfer of funds, weapons and ammunition,” said the Shin Bet. Her arrest and subsequent questioning formed a key aspect of the Shin Bet’s ability to decipher the case, said the agency.

Another member of the alleged cell—named by the Shin Bet as Muhammad Yassin, from the village of Deir Abu Dai’f near Jenin—received bomb-making instructions from Gaza together with other cell members. They produced a “quality explosive device” that resembled a rocket, with which the would-be terrorists planned to conduct an attack against Israeli farmers in the area, stated the Shin Bet.

The agency released photos and video footage of a controlled explosion neutralizing the device outdoors.

Six members of the cell were charged at the Samaria Military Court in recent days with severe security offenses.

“In recent years, we have identified nonstop efforts by all of the terror organizations in Gaza to create orchestration channels and exploit Palestinian residents of Judea and Samaria to advance terrorist activity,” said the Shin Bet. “These are systematic, broad activities that the organizations are pushing forward, including Palestinian Islamic Jihad, to undermine stability in the whole of the area.”

Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on April 25, 2022. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Shin Bet/JNS.org

Prayer Focus
Thank the Lord that these evil schemes to shed innocent blood were brought to light and thwarted. Lift up Israel’s security forces in prayer, asking for wisdom and discernment for them as they work to keep this nation and people safe. Pray that any more plots to commit attacks will be brought to light and stopped dead in their tracks.

Scripture

Let those be put to shame and brought to dishonor who seek after my life; let those be turned back and brought to confusion who plot my hurt. Let destruction come upon him unexpectedly, and let his net that he has hidden catch himself; into that very destruction let him fall. And my soul shall be joyful in the LORD; it shall rejoice in His salvation.


- Psalm 35:4,8–9

Audit: Anti-Semitic Incidents in US Hit All-time High

by JNS

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10-year trajectory from the Anti-Defamation League of anti-Semitic incidents in the US

Wednesday, 27 April 2022 | A record-high number of anti-Semitic incidents were recorded across the United States last year, according to the just-released “2021 Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents” by the Anti-Defamation League [ADL].

More than 2,715 instances of Jew-hatred, including assaults, were reported last year—an increase of 34% from 2020 and the highest number of incidents since the ADL began keeping records in 1979.

Every state reported at least two incidents of anti-Semitism, though New York charted the highest number of cases nationally. More than 400 incidents were recorded in New York in 2021, up from 336 in 2020, with more than 60% occurring in the five boroughs of New York City.

California and New Jersey both saw more than 300 cases of anti-Semitic incidents in 2021. Florida documented nearly 200 cases, while Michigan and Massachusetts had around 110 cases each.

Nearly 400 instances of Jew-hatred were recorded last May during the 11-day conflict between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip. November and December also saw significant hikes in anti-Semitism with 242 and 275 instances, respectively.

Among the other nationwide findings were:

  • 88 incidents of assault, including 11 committed with deadly weapons; 34 of these attacks occurred in Brooklyn, NY, which the report called a “hot spot of anti-Semitic activity.”
  • 1,776 cases of harassment, up more than 40% from 2020.
  • 853 instances of vandalism, up from 751 in 2020.
  • 484 incidents connected to extremist groups, individuals or ideology

Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on April 26, 2022. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Anti-Defamation League/JNS.org

Prayer Focus
Pray against the spreading cancer of anti-Semitism, that the Lord will protect and bless His people. Ask the Lord to cut off at the root the plague of anti-Semitism and hatred of His people and nation.

Scripture

“I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”


- Genesis 12:3