Compassion

I want to bless the widows and orphans who are in need, fulfilling the Lord’s call to look after the poor and afflicted.

Friday, April 5, 2019

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

Israel Prepared for “Extensive Campaign” in Gaza If Needed as Tensions Remain

by Joshua Spurlock

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40,000 Palestinians rioted on the Gaza border, attempting to breach the fence. (Illustrative)

Monday, 1 April 2019 | More riots and more rockets from Gaza over the weekend left Israel in a “tense time” according to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and he is keeping his options open in response—including the prospect of a new war with Gaza terrorists. “I have ordered that IDF [Israel Defense Forces] forces remain fully deployed around the Gaza Strip. This includes tanks, artillery, ground forces and air forces. We are prepared for any scenario and—if need be—an extensive campaign,” said Netanyahu on Sunday in comments released by his office. “We will do what needs to be done for the security of Israel.”

The Israeli leader’s comments follow a confrontational last couple days. On Saturday, five rockets were fired from Gaza at Israel, with the IDF responding by hitting Hamas military posts in Gaza with tank fire, according to the IDF Twitter feed. One day prior, the IDF posted to Twitter that tens of thousands of “violent rioters” had come to the Gaza border with Israel.

“40,000 violent rioters in Gaza, some armed with knives, explosives, and grenades, are attempting to breach Israel’s border and reach Israeli families on the other side of the fence. If our soldiers weren’t there, they could,” tweeted the IDF account.

Among the incidents, two children were sent to invade Israel armed. “Hamas terrorists have sent this morning these two 8 year old children to cross into Israel with a knife. The IDF has returned them safely to Gaza. Where are these kids’ parents? Why did they collude with Hamas?” tweeted Israeli Prime Minister’s Office Spokesman Ofir Gendelman.

Netanyahu’s warning that the increased Israeli military deployment would remain in the Gaza area comes after Netanyahu himself on Saturday thanked the Israeli forces for achieving quiet following the recent uptick in hostilities.

The Israeli [prime minister] expressed “appreciation to Southern Command ground forces, the Air Force and the other security branches for their resolute activity and massive deployment which helped bring about the calm,” according to a press release from Netanyahu’s office.

But that was Saturday, and by Sunday a full-scale military campaign was back on the table.

Source: (The Mideast Update originally published this article on March 31, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today.)

Source: IDF/flickr.com

Source: Flickr

Prayer Focus
Ask the Lord to bless Israel’s leaders with wisdom on how to proceed and to protect the IDF as they stand guard over God’s beloved Land. Ask the Watchman who never sleeps to protect Israel’s borders day and night. Pray that the God of Israel will thwart any attempts the enemy makes to attack His Land or His people.

Scripture

Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You. In God (I will praise His word), in God I have put my trust; I will not fear. What can flesh do to me?


- Psalm 56:3–4

Stop Iran from Going Nuclear

by Dr. Majid Rafizadeh ~ Gatestone Institute

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Iran flaunts its weapons in a 2011 military parade.

Wednesday, 3 April 2019 | Advocates of Iran’s nuclear deal are conspicuously ignoring the Iranian government’s nuclear activities, even though they jeopardize global security as much as Israel’s security. Advocates of Iran are also rushing to criticize the Trump administration in the United States for tightening its sanctions in response to Iran’s illegal defiance.

In a recent interview with Iran’s state-owned Channel 2 in the Persian language, Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, made it clear that the flimsy “nuclear deal” initiated by then US President Barack Obama has done nothing to stop Iran from making advances in its nuclear program.

Salehi boasted: “If we have to go back and withdraw from the nuclear deal, we certainly do not go back to where we were before…We will be standing in a much, much higher position.”

The latest reports on Iran’s nuclear progress also indicate that Iran is on the threshold of modernizing its mechanism for producing highly enriched uranium, which can be utilized to build a nuclear weapon.

The Iranian government is bragging that it is exploring new uranium enrichment programs and the production of centrifuges. As Salehi said recently: “Thank God, the tests on the IR4 and IR2M (centrifuges) have been completed. They were tested for over 12 years. Today we have all the data, and we can easily manufacture them on an industrial scale.”

Several intelligence reports warning of Iran’s clandestine nuclear activities have been distributed throughout the international community. Germany’s domestic intelligence agency, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, revealed in its annual report that the Iranian government has pursued a “clandestine” path to obtain illicit nuclear technology and equipment from German companies “at what is, even by international standards, a quantitatively high level.”

The intelligence report also stated that “it is safe to expect that Iran will continue its intensive procurement activities in Germany using clandestine methods to achieve its objectives.”

Further illustrating this disregard for the regulations Iranian officials are supposed to be following, on several occasions after the “nuclear deal” was in place, Iran held onto more heavy water, used to produce nuclear weapons, than it was allowed to have.

Those who promote the idea of taking a gentler stance on Iran and its nuclear program argue that Iran is not pursuing any illicit nuclear activities because the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has verified that.

The IAEA, however, was not allowed to inspect or monitor Iran’s military sites where nuclear activities were most likely being carried out. Among the many concessions that the Obama administration gave the Iranian government, one was accepting the Iranian leaders’ demand that these military sites would be out of the IAEA’s reach.

Due to this surrender, various high-profile Iranian sites such as the Parchin military complex, located southeast of Tehran, were free to engage in nuclear activities without the risk of inspection.

The IAEA itself had previously stated that the Parchin military complex was the location where Iran carried out the explosive tests required to set off a nuclear charge.

In addition, Israel’s international intelligence agency, the Mossad, obtained files and photographs from inside Iran relating to the country’s nuclear program.

The files pointed to Iran’s efforts to build a nuclear bomb, and the set of photographs taken at the Parchin military site “appears to show a giant metal chamber built to conduct high-explosive experiments.”

Moreover, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI)—which revealed Iran’s clandestine and undeclared uranium enrichment facility at Natanz and a heavy water facility at Arak in 2002—has recently confirmed that Iran is continuing to pursue its nuclear ambitions. Its report states: “…the ‘nerve center’ of the Iranian regime’s nuclear weapons project, responsible for designing a nuclear bomb, has been continuing its work…following the establishment of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in 2015, not only has the unit remained in place and active, it is now clear that in some fields its activities have even expanded.

Iran’s breakout time—the amount of time needed to produce enough weapons-grade uranium for one nuclear bomb—is believed to be less than a year.

When will the international community take seriously the latest intelligence reports and Iran’s efforts to build a nuclear bomb? When will the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog, the IAEA, inspect Iran’s military sites?

Once the authoritarian, anti-Semitic and anti-American government of Iran possesses a nuclear bomb, no amount of actions will be able reverse the catastrophe.

Iran is clearly continuing to demonstrate its interest in, and active pursuit of, nuclear weapons. Act now.

Dr. Majid Rafizadeh, is a business strategist and advisor, Harvard-educated scholar, political scientist, board member of Harvard International Review, and president of the International American Council on the Middle East. He has authored several books on Islam and US Foreign Policy. He can be reached at Dr.Rafizadeh@Post.Harvard.edu.

Source: (This article was originally published by the Gatestone Institute on March 30, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Hamid Najafi/Fars News/Wikimedia.org

Photo License: wikimedia.org

Prayer Focus
Pray that the Lord will remove the scales from the eyes of the international community and open their eyes to see the truth of the Islamic Republic’s evil intentions toward Israel and the Western world. Intercede for the international community, that they will wake up to what Iran is doing and put their efforts to a stop.

Scripture

“No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment you shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is from Me,” says the LORD.


- Isaiah 54:17

Netanyahu Hopes New Brazilian Trade Office in Jerusalem “First Step” towards Embassy

by Joshua Spurlock

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Brazilian President Bolsonaro (second on left) will open a trade office in Jerusalem.

Monday, 1 April 2019 | Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu came away from a visit to Brazil a few months ago with promises from Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro to open an embassy to Israel in Jerusalem. On Sunday, that promise was not fulfilled by Bolsonaro during a visit to Israel, but other actions left Netanyahu hopeful. “I welcome your decision to open a trade, technology and innovation office—an official office of the government of Brazil, in Jerusalem. I hope that this is a first step toward the opening, in time, of the Brazilian Embassy in Jerusalem,” said Netanyahu to the Brazilian leader, according to an Israeli press release.

In prior comments, Netanyahu noted that Bolsonaro is making his first visit out of South America by coming to Israel, bringing with him the “largest Brazilian delegation” to ever visit the Jewish state. “You have come to Israel in order to bring relations between us to a new height,” said Netanyahu.

As part of the visit, the two leaders on Sunday signed agreements in security, public security, aviation and science and technology, as well as memorandums of understanding in health and cyber. During the time with the leader of Brazil, Netanyahu noted that Israeli delegations in a variety of fields have visited Brazil since Netanyahu’s trip to the South American country. He said that the agreements with Brazil were “in wake of these contacts, and this is only the beginning.”

“We signed many agreements, but the most important agreement is the agreement in the heart,” said Netanyahu to Bolsonaro in separate comments released by his office.

“We feel a partnership of values and of outlook in all areas, and above all we feel what Sara [Netanyahu] and I felt when we met the people in Brazil—great love, great admiration. This is the same support, admiration and love that Israel has for Brazil and for the new start that you bring.”

In the past, Brazil–Israeli relations have not been what they could be, but Netanyahu believes Bolsonaro is changing that.

“We are pleased that after years of relations that were a little hesitant, you have decided—we decided together—to open a new era of partnership and cooperation in all areas.”

That hope—hope for better relations, hope for a Brazilian embassy in Jerusalem—is the theme of the Brazilian visit to Israel so far.

“I think that you represent great hope for a new start in Brazil. This is abundantly clear from your decision to be here and from your being under our roof, which is an amazing new start in Brazil–Israel relations,” said Netanyahu to Bolsonaro.

“…I would like to welcome you my friend and say to you and to the entire wonderful delegation that you brought—welcome to Jerusalem, the capital of Israel.”

Source: (The Mideast Update originally published this article on March 31, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today.)

Photo Credit: Haim Zach/GPO/Ashernet

Prayer Focus
Thank the Lord for the warm and friendly relations between Israel and Brazil under their leaders. Ask Him to continue laying out the steps for Brazil to open an embassy in Jerusalem, cementing the tie between the nations so that He can bless Brazil as He promises to bless those who bless Israel.

Scripture

At that time Jerusalem shall be called the Throne of the LORD, and all the nations shall be gathered to it, to the name of the LORD, to Jerusalem. No more shall they follow the dictates of their evil hearts.


- Jeremiah 3:17

Israeli Father Foils Palestinian Terror Attack

by Jo Sarah Stanford

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The scene after an attempted stabbing by a Palestinian near Nablus.

Thursday, 4 April 2019 | An Israeli man thwarted a terror attack yesterday morning when a knife-wielding Palestinian terrorist attacked two civilians traveling near the Palestinian village of Hawara on the infamous Route 60 north of Jerusalem. This follows a spate of attacks along the same stretch of road in recent months.

Yehoshua Sherman was driving his teenage daughter to school when the attack happened. The Israeli father and daughter were stuck in the morning peak traffic when a Palestinian man brandishing a knife attempted to wrench open the car door to stab the daughter. Sherman got out of the car and fired at the terrorist. Another Israeli driving behind him also opened fire. The terrorist, identified as Mohammed Al-Fatah, 23, was wounded and taken to the hospital, but died shortly after.

Sherman described the attack, “…A terrorist carrying a knife jumped on my car, and tried to open one of the doors. I got out, and while the terrorist was trying to go around the car to approach me, I shot and neutralized him…” reported Arutz Sheva.

No one else was injured in the attack.

Route 60, the north-south highway, which runs through the center of Judea and Samaria, is a hot spot for terror attacks. The road has been the scene of many shootings, car rammings, stabbings and rock throwings, giving it the name “the Blood Highway.” Last month there were four attacks, including a shooting at nearby Ariel, which killed Sgt. Gal Keidan, 19, and Rabbi Ahiad Ettinger, 47, father of 12.

Yossi Dagan, the head of Shomron Regional Council, commented on the attack. “This event highlights the importance of finishing the new road that bypasses Hawara,” Ynetnews quoted him as saying. “There is no reason why Israeli residents should drive through hostile Arab communities every morning and endanger their lives and their children’s lives.”

Source: (Bridges for Peace, April 4, 2019)

Photo Credit: i24NEWS English/YouTube/screenshot

Prayer Focus
Praise God for protecting the innocent people from harm—for being their fortress and deliverer and saving them from violence, and beg Him to continue protecting the people of the Land on which He has chosen to place His name.

Scripture

The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; the God of my strength, in whom I will trust; my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge; my Savior, You save me from violence.


- 2 Samuel 22:2–3

Islamic Jihad Planning Major Attack to Scupper Gaza Deal, IDF Believes

by Elior Levy

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The IDF has detected unusual activity along the Gaza border by Islamic Jihad terrorists. (Illustrative)

Tuesday, 2 April 2019 | Islamic Jihad [the second largest terror group operating in the Gaza Strip] is trying to carry out an attack or a series of attacks against Israel in the coming hours or days, according to the Israel Defense Forces [IDF], in an apparent bid to damage the significant progress of the Egyptian–UN mediation efforts between Israel and Hamas [the terror group ruling the Gaza Strip] in the Gaza Strip.

Recently, Israeli security officials have identified unusual activity by members of the Islamic Jihad’s military wing in several locations along the Israel–Gaza border fence. This activity could be an attempt to fire a missile, such as a Kornet, at an Israeli target, place explosive charges along the fence or even attempt to break through the fence to carry out a significant attack inside Israeli territory.

These preparations are being carried out under the nose of the Egyptian mediators, and as far as is known, Hamas is not even aware of this activity. It appears that the instructions for carrying out the attack were given to the group’s military wing by the Beirut office of Islamic Jihad leader Ziad Nahala.

It is still not entirely clear why Islamic Jihad is interested in bringing about the total collapse of the arrangement currently being brokered by Egypt. It is possible that this is the organization’s way of expressing dissatisfaction at what they are receiving as part of the agreement, or could be a directive from Iran—which funds Islamic Jihad—aimed at destroying the arrangement. Islamic Jihad is also responsible for the six rockets fired at the Gaza border communities on Sunday morning.

Islamic Jihad denied the IDF’s claim. “There is no truth to these reports. From time to time Israel tries to create confusion in the Palestinian arena, but these attempts will fail,” the group said in a statement.

Two senior Islamic Jihad figures—Daud Shihab and Khaled Al-Batsh—are members of the extended committee in the Gaza Strip that receives updates from Egyptian intelligence about the progress of the negotiations. It is unclear whether they too are part of the plan to scupper the arrangement via a major attack.

Negotiations for the arrangement between Israel and Hamas are being conducted by General Ahmed Abdel Khalek, who holds the Palestinian portfolio in Egyptian Intelligence, and the UN’s Middle East envoy, Nikolay Mladenov, who met Monday with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh at his home in [Gaza].

On the Hamas side, the negotiations are being handled by the group’s Gaza chief Yahya Sinwar, while the Israeli side is headed by National Security Council chair Meir Ben-Shabbat. As part of the negotiations, two crossings from Israel to the Gaza Strip—Erez and Kerem Shalom—have been reopened, while the supply of diesel to operate the Gaza power plant has been renewed through the latter.

Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published by Ynetnews on April 1, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Israel Defense Forces/flickr.com

Source: Flickr

Prayer Focus
Cry out to God to shield His beloved Land from violent attacks and to smash any attempts to interfere with the negotiations and peace process. Pray that He will bless Israel with peace and rest from her enemies’ relentless onslaughts.

Scripture

These…things the LORD hates…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, and one who sows discord among brethren.


- Proverbs 6:16a, 17b–19

Palestinian Authority Simultaneously Incites, Refutes Terror

by Jo Sarah Stanford

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While PA President Mahmoud Abbas speaks peace to the international community, he praises terrorists to his own people.

Wednesday, 3 April 2019 | Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas spoke of peace when he met with students from Harvard University last week. Yet mere hours earlier, his deputy, Mahmoud Al-Aloul, gave a speech praising a terrorist who murdered two Israelis last month. This once again highlighted the PA’s blatant hypocrisy to refute and incite terror simultaneously—crafting their message to fit their audience.

The students from Harvard met with Abbas at the PA presidential headquarters in Ramallah. Abbas spoke in Arabic, with his comments translated into English, telling the students he believes in “peace and security for everyone,” reported the Jerusalem Post.

He spoke of his desire to see a Palestinian state—but only through peaceful means. “We will not choose any way to achieve our rights other than negotiations,” he claimed.

However, the Palestinian Media Watch (PMW—an Israeli media watchdog group) was quick to point out the hypocrisy in Abbas’s seemingly heartfelt claim. The PMW report released Tuesday showed a video of PA Deputy Chairman Mahmoud Al-Aloul speaking at the hometown of 18-year-old Palestinian terrorist Omar Abu Laila. Laila shot and killed two Israelis in March—Sgt. Gal Keiden, 19, and Rabbi Achiad Ettinger, 47-year-old father of 12. Two days later, Laila was killed while resisting arrest. Al-Aloul praised Laila for his actions, calling him a “martyr” and a “self-sacrificing fighter.” He said the terrorist “represents all young Palestinians.”

Abbas himself also incites violence and hatred against the Jews—when he is speaking to his own people and not the Western media. “We bless every drop of blood that has been spilt for Jerusalem…” he declared on Palestinian national television in 2015. “Every martyr will reach Paradise and everyone wounded will be rewarded by Allah.”

Under the “Pay-to-Slay” scheme, Abbas also provides large stipends to those who commit violent acts against Jews. This comes at the expense of providing basic necessities to the Palestinian people, including medical care and paying the long overdue salaries of government officials.

Yet to the Harvard students who visited he said, “I do not like war, and I do not believe in war…I would prefer to build a school than to purchase a tank, and I’d rather build a hospital than buy a fighter plane,” reported the Jewish Press.

Nan Jacques Zilberdik, a senior analyst at PMW called this “a well-rehearsed modus operandi in the Palestinian Authority.” The PMW has documented a long history of hypocrisy and duplicity within the PA leadership. The PA presents a façade of peace to the international community, but their own words to the Palestinian people betray them.

In a 2016 interview on Israeli television, Abbas said he was willing to meet for peace talks if only Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would invite him. Netanyahu responded by saying that his door was “always open” and that he had made the offer many times, reported the Times of Israel. Netanyahu said they would have “many things to discuss,” but the first would be “ending the Palestinian campaign of incitement to murder Israelis. My door is always open to those who want to pursue peace with Israel.”

The meeting between Netanyahu and Abbas never took place. In fact, the PA president failed to respond to Netanyahu’s invitation. Abbas has proven time and time again that it is not peace that he wishes to pursue.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, April 3, 2019)

Photo Credit: i24NewsEnglish/YouTube/Screenshot

Prayer Focus
Pray that the international community will have the discernment to see through the wicked schemes of Abbas and the other PA leaders who speak falsely of peace in one moment and incite their people to violence and hatred the next.

Scripture

Deliver me, O LORD, from evil men; preserve me from violent men, who plan evil things in their hearts; they continually gather together for war. They sharpen their tongues like a serpent; the poison of asps is under their lips…Do not grant, O LORD, the desires of the wicked; do not further his wicked scheme, lest they be exalted.


- Psalm 140:1–3, 8

Israel’s Tourism Triumph: The Air Bridge

by Edwin Black

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Israel’s national airline is opening more flights to Israel to accommodate the growing number of tourists.

Monday, 1 April 2019 | The virulently anti-Israel movement known as Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions—BDS—is roiling through campuses, overflowing into city councils, encroaching into corporate boardrooms and now chomping at the essence of Israel’s special niche in the world: its travel and tourism industry. Everywhere, the boycotters have been asking to isolate Israel. BDS even convinced Airbnb to stop listing Jewish locations in Judea and Samaria—also known as the West Bank (a term invented after Jordan invaded in 1948, when the United Nations’ partition suggestion failed to create two states). In Ireland, a bill advancing through Parliament may criminalize visiting the Old City and even purchasing lunch or a keepsake.

Whereas similar boycotts against other countries have inflicted withering effects on national economies, in Israel it simply hasn’t worked. The opposite is true. Yes, boycotters are busy demonizing Israel. Yet despite this, Israel’s tourism industry has rocketed to a singular triumph and now employs tens of thousands. Flights are packed, and new non-stops are being added across the globe. Even though new luxury hotels are going up as fast as the Mideast sun will dry concrete, rooms remain in high demand and, thus, are scarce and expensive. Israel has become world famous for creative cuisine and trendy eateries; so if you want to get a table at the most popular restaurants, you’ll need to book weeks in advance.

Travel and tourism to Israel has dramatically changed. It’s not just synagogue sisterhoods and Jewish organizations anymore. Swelling up from Israel’s “Start-up Nation,” world famous top chef culture, and hard-won penetration of markets beyond America and Western Europe, as well as its sophisticated travel industry burnishing, Israel is now a destination for the entire world. Traditional Jewish–American travelers from Miami to Seattle must now compete with Silicon Valley techies, Chinese students, Indian tourists, Eastern European Christian pilgrims and diverse businessmen from across the planet. The numbers are multiplying.

In 2016, 2.9 million total worldwide visitors came to Israel. By the close of 2018, that number had boomed to 4.1 million [for the year]—and the totals keep climbing. Within the coming decade, Israel expects to employ 98,000 people in its tourism sector.

When Israeli tourism prospers, so does the Palestinian community. Christian pilgrims make a beeline for Bethlehem. Thus, tourism breeds economic interdependence and strengthens coexistence.

Arrivals stream in from everywhere.

Today, most North American travelers to Israel are not Jewish; they are Christian, often seeking Biblical discovery. From North America, Jews comprise about 40–45% of the travelers, while Christians generally hover at about 60% year to year, according to official estimates. While the Jewish–Christian percentages remain the same, the growth spurt for North America has seen the overall numbers increase by 42% since 2016.

In 2009, only 20,000 Indians visited Israel, reports Israel’s tourism office in New Delhi. Some years ago, Israel hosted Indian travel agents, knowing that in India, such agents book most of the travel. Reciprocal travel programs tapped such markets as India’s Kerala Christians. Dramatically improved diplomatic relations between New Delhi and Jerusalem combined with thrice-weekly direct Air India Boeing 787 Dreamliner service—which was granted special Saudi flyover permission, saving more than two hours—has created a steady flow of Indian visitors. This year, Israel expects more than 80,000 Indian arrivals, with travel officials working to achieve a further 65% increase. That may happen if, as planned, the Israeli film industry entices Bollywood producers to use Israeli locations.

In 2015, only 30,000 tourists visited Israel from China. But when direct flights between Ben Gurion Airport and numerous Chinese cities were added, the number more than tripled to 100,000-plus annually. Today, China is Israel’s greatest growth market. Celebrity Chinese chefs are now flown in, and Chinese-speaking guides are easily found.

Air connections are the lifeblood of Israel’s tourism, as well as its international viability. Nowadays, you can fly nonstop to Israel from numerous North American cities. From New York’s JFK, Delta is launching a twice-daily nonstop. From Newark’s Liberty, United also flies nonstop twice daily. From Washington, D.C.’s Dulles, United will soon inaugurate thrice weekly nonstop services. From Toronto, Air Canada offers daily nonstops. From Montreal, Air Canada will fly twice weekly during the summer. From San Francisco, United flies daily, primarily for the surging nexus to Silicon Valley.

North American carriers all compete with El Al [Israel’s national airline], which is by far the dominant carrier linking [the American] continent with Israel—boasting 45 nonstop flights weekly that carry more than 50,000 passengers per month. For many Israel-bound travelers, El Al is the one and only carrier. And it has vastly improved. With the exception of the Jewish Sabbath and holidays, Israel’s star-emblazoned national carrier flies day or night, rain or shine, good news or bad news, rockets or not. Its unique extra security, where young security staffers at the airport ask invasive personal questions to evaluate risk, are sometimes viewed as a mix between reassurance, ritual and a Jewish guilt trip. “You’re coming to Israel? Why now?” Or the classic: “Who do you know in Israel?” Answer: “Everyone.”

El Al has conquered labor problems, on-board religious tiffs and more to expand and enhance its daily service to and from multiple US cities. Not only can you fly El Al nonstop direct from New York, Newark and Miami, but now also from Boston, Los Angeles, Toronto, and this summer, from Las Vegas and San Francisco. In spring 2020, Chicago service starts. Most of all, El Al predominantly offers Dreamliner service. On its 747 and 777 fleets, El Al still offers Economy Seat PLUS, relatively affordable, spacious and comfortable—especially in the bulkhead row. For many traveling to Israel, El Al’s Economy Seat PLUS is now the go-to booking. What’s more, you can purchase business class check-in at either JFK or Newark for [US] $35–$45, and your travel experience will be delightful. The lounge is restful and stocked with good food and beverages, allowing you to await departure in luxury.

Israel’s tourism triumph would not have been possible without an airline triumph as well. That triumph in the skies has finally happened.

Source: (This article was originally published by The Israel Project in its publication The Tower on March 29, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: LLHZ2805/wikimedia.org

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Give God the glory for thwarting the attempts of the BDS movement and those who hate Israel to squash its tourism industry. Give Him glory and thanks for blessing the Jewish nation with a booming travel and tourism industry, and pray that He will continue to bless the nation.

Scripture

The LORD has been mindful of us; He will bless us; He will bless the house of Israel; He will bless the house of Aaron. He will bless those who fear the LORD, both small and great.


- Psalm 115:12–13

Wet Winter Pushes Sea of Galilee to Nearly Full

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The Sea of Galilee’s level has risen drastically after a rainy winter.

Friday, 29 March 2019 | From a precipitation point of view, this winter is proving to be one of the wettest in recent years. For the past years, the winter rainfall in Israel has been very disappointing and below average. The annual accumulated deficit of rain has depleted the country’s underground water resources and of course affected the amount of fresh water in the Sea of Galilee—Israel’s main freshwater resource.

At the beginning of this year’s rainy season, it was thought by meteorologists that even if this winter’s precipitation was good it would not make up the deficit in the Sea of Galilee. At the end of last summer, the lake’s level was one of the lowest on record.

If the Sea of Galilee is technically full, then the lake’s level is set as 208.8 meters [685 ft] below sea level. When this level is attained, the dam gates at the southern end of the lake are opened and water can be allowed to run into the River Jordan. This has not been done for many years past. However, this year there is a chance that the Sea of Galilee will reach its optimum depth, as the rivers running into the lake from the north and the melting snow from the Hermon are filling the lake slowly but surely. Currently the lake’s level is 212.15 meters [696 ft] below sea level.

For visitors to the north of Israel, the wet winter has meant the impressive waterfalls in the country are still an attraction and for the moment show no signs of reducing the flow into the Sea of Galilee.

Nature is unpredictable, but the chances are good that the summer will start with the Sea of Galilee full to its maximum, or very close to that.  In the meantime, more heavy rain is predicted over the next few weeks.

Source: (This article was originally published by Edgar Asher, Ashernet. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today.)

Photo Credit: Ashernet

Prayer Focus
Stand in awe of the miracle that God has done in blessing the Land of Israel with such abundant rain that the Sea of Galilee went from a dangerously low level to nearly full. Praise His wondrous deeds!

Scripture

Be glad then, you children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God; for He has given you the former rain faithfully, and He will cause the rain to come down for you—the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month.


- Joel 2:23

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