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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.

Hamas Unleashes Barrage of Rockets on Israeli Civilians

by Joshua Spurlock

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Map of Israeli cities where rocket alert sirens sounded last night.

Thursday, 09 August 2018 | The day started ominously, with Hamas terrorists abandoning outposts to apparently escape potential IDF [Israel Defense Forces] fire. Then the rain of rockets followed. More than 70 rockets were fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip in a six-hour stretch starting on Wednesday, according to the IDF Spokesperson’s Twitter feed, with rocket sirens warning of potentially more attacks. The tweet featured a graphic showing 19 different Israeli towns in which rocket sirens had sounded in the onslaught—and the rockets were hitting civilian targets.

Magen David Adom paramedics tweeted about multiple injuries occurring in the town of Sderot at multiple sites, while the IDF Spokesperson posted a video showing a playground damaged by rocket fire as one example of the day’s hits.

“Tonight, Hamas fired rockets at this playground in Sderot, Israel, which is home to 25,000 people. They’re innocent mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters. The Hamas terrorist organization looks at Sderot from the Gaza Strip and sees 25,000 targets,” tweeted the video caption. The IDF did not take the barrage lightly, responding in force against Hamas.

In response to the day’s rocket fire, the IDF website noted that a dozen “terror targets” were hit in Gaza, including an abandoned Marriot hotel construction site that had been repurposed as a factory for terror tunnel parts. The areas around the factory were also used for military training. The IDF also struck a sea terror tunnel shaft among other sites.

“Hamas is responsible for the events transpiring in the Gaza Strip and emanating from it and will bear the consequences for its actions against Israeli civilians and sovereignty,” said the report on the IDF website. “The IDF condemns terror activity and is prepared for a wide variety of scenarios while continuing to fulfill its mission to defend Israeli civilians.”

The violence began on Wednesday when Hamas fired at civilian engineers, hitting a vehicle, who were involved in constructing the barrier along the security fence, according to a series of tweets from the IDF Spokesperson. A follow-up post said that Israel responded with tank fire.

The attacks followed an incident on Tuesday in which the IDF Spokesperson reported on Twitter that Gaza terrorists shot at Israeli troops and an IDF tank fired back at the Hamas post.

That set the stage for Wednesday, and the IDF had indications something might be brewing. The IDF reinforced the Gaza Division and took additional security precautions “in light of Hamas statements and the evacuation of Hamas outposts,” said another series of Twitter posts from the IDF Spokesperson.

Continued the thread, “The IDF operates in order to ensure the security of civilians in the area, will not tolerate any aggression against Israeli civilians or soldiers and is prepared for a wide variety of scenarios.”

That refusal to accept attacks on civilians was echoed on Twitter in the midst of the later rocket fire by Israeli Prime Minister’s Office Spokesperson Ofir Gendelman. He retweeted a video from Israel’s Foreign Ministry showing a crowd hiding after a rocket hit a building in the city of Sderot.

Said Gendelman’s tweet, “Hamas has shelled this evening an Israeli city. As a result, the IDF is striking now Hamas terrorist targets in the Gaza Strip. No country would allow the shelling of its citizens by a savage terrorist organization.”

Source: (The Mideast Update originally published this article on 08 August 2018. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today.)

Photo Credit: www.idf.il

Prayer Focus
Pray that the people of Israel will turn their hearts and thoughts to the Lord as they face the possibility of escalating violence. Ask the Lord to show Himself strong on behalf of His people, defeating their enemies without them being forced into war.

Scripture

For I, the LORD your God, will hold your hand, saying to you, “Fear not, I will help you.”


- Isaiah 41:13

IDF Thwarts ISIS Terror Attack on Israel–Syria Border

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The IDF targets ISIS affiliated terrorists close to the Israel–Syria border.

Friday, 03 August 2018 | Seven ISIS terrorists were killed in an Israeli airstrike on Wednesday just a couple of hundred meters away from the Israeli border on the Syrian-held Golan Heights, The Jerusalem Post reported.

The terrorists came as close to 200 meters [656 ft.] to the Israel–Syria frontier—situated between the Alpha line and the border—when they were attacked and killed by the IAF [Israeli Air Force] at 10:30 p.m. The army said no infiltration into Israeli territory took place, and elite IDF [Israel Defense Forces] troops found seven bodies with grenades, Kalashnikov rifles and suicide vests, among other items.

The army confirmed that it had monitored the ISIS cell for a while and was on high alert and ready to protect residents of northern Israel, as fighting in the border region between Syrian regime forces and opposition groups continue.

“The Assad regime is responsible for everything that occurs in Syrian territory, and anything that is carried out against Israel,” the army observed.

Following the Israeli strike against armed terrorists on the Syrian border, TIP spoke with former head of the Counterterror Bureau at the Prime Minister’s Office, Brig. Gen. (res.) Nitzan Nuriel.

“Regarding the border between Israel and Syria we are intent to make sure that the cease-fire agreement from ’74 will stay and nobody will change it,” Nuriel clarified.

Israeli and Syrian officials have indirectly met several times on the Golan Heights via intermediaries from the United Nations at the request of Russia to discuss the return of Syrian regime forces to the area.

“When the Syrian forces with all their supporters are trying to capture the areas close to the borders we can expect more mistakes and more friction with us,” Nuriel said, adding “Again, we told them very loud and clear, through the Russians and directly by UNDOF and others. Don’t change the rules… we will not let anyone, the Syrians, as well as ISIS, Hezbollah as well as the Iranians [breach the cease-fire area].”

According to Israeli intelligence estimates there are thousands of Iranian advisers and Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps officers in Syria, in addition to 7,000 Hezbollah fighters and other Iranian-backed Shiite groups from Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Nuriel noted further that “too many participants will try to use that border in order to attack us, and therefore the Israeli policy or the Israeli attempt should be, we need to be prepared, we need to be along the Golan with all the capabilities, because maybe the Syrian regime basically, in the beginning, meaning from now and a year from now, they will not be able to control those trying to attack the State of Israel from that border.”

The former counterterror chief said, however, that he does not expect ISIS to launch a direct attack against Israel. “I believe that in the next stage ISIS will not open another front against us,” Nuriel said. “They have too many problems with the Syrian and I believe they will not take any actions, and after that [incident] they will think twice before getting into that grey area,” he concluded.

Source: (This article was originally published by The Israel Project, in its publication The Tower on 02 August 2018. Time related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Israel Defense Forces

Prayer Focus
Praise the Lord that Israel was able to protect the northern border from infiltration by ISIS terrorists. Pray that He will continue to alert Israeli intelligence to any attempts to bring harm to His people.

Scripture

But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You; let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them; let those also who love Your name be joyful in You.


- Psalm 5:11

Iran’s $100 Million Aid to Hamas and Islamic Jihad

by Elior Levy

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Leader of Iran Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

Thursday, 09 August 2018 | The scope of Iran’s aid to the Gaza Strip comes into light as the civil protest against the regime in the Islamic Republic grows stronger amid the grave economic crisis in the country, which is expected to be exacerbated when American sanctions come into effect.

Iran transfers $100 million every year to Hamas and Islamic Jihad, the two main Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip. The money is divided as follows: $70 million is transferred to Hamas, while Islamic Jihad gets $30 million. The vast majority of this money is used by the two organizations to further bolster their military wings, instead of aiding the civilian population in the Gaza Strip.

While this is indeed a high sum of money, it is only a tenth of the annual budget that Iran transfers to Hezbollah, which is on average $1 billion annually.

Over the past year, however, Iran’s budget for the Lebanese Shiite organization was reduced to only $800 million due to the economic crisis it is suffering from, but the budget for the Gaza Strip remained unchanged.

Since the Hamas leadership changed in the last elections, the pro-Iranian faction in the organization, which is led by Deputy Hamas leader Saleh al-Arouri and the military wing’s leadership, has grown in power and influence.

While the pro-Iranian faction in Hamas grows strong, Egypt is putting all its weight on Hamas and Fatah to implement the reconciliation agreement they signed.

Inside Palestinian sources told Ynet that there has been a power struggle inside Hamas in recent weeks between the pro-Iranian faction and the moderate faction. According to the sources, the moderate faction wants to move ahead with the reconciliation process, while the pro-Iranian faction, led by al-Arouri, is opposed to the reconciliation with Fatah, believing it will weaken Hamas’s control over the Gaza Strip.

Al-Arouri arrived in the Gaza Strip on Thursday in an effort to resolve the internal strife within the organization in future discussions between him and Hamas leaders Ismail Haniyeh and Yahya Sinwar over the reconciliation process and the negotiations for a long-term ceasefire with Israel.

One of the disputed issues regarding the ceasefire agreement is Hamas’s continued military buildup. For Hamas, this appears to be a critical matter in light of recent flare-ups in the Gaza Strip, which included extensive Israeli attacks.

Source: (Excerpt of an article originally published in Ynetnews on 03 August 2018. Time related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.) 

Photo Credit: Official website of Ali Khamenei/wikimedia.org

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Beseech the Lord that He would cause great dissention in the Palestinian–Iranian ranks, causing only those who are more favorable toward Israel to remain in power.

Scripture

For behold, Your enemies make a tumult; and those who hate You have lifted up their head. They have taken crafty counsel against Your people, and consulted together against Your sheltered ones. They have said, “Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation, that the name of Israel may be remembered no more.”


- Psalm 83:2-4

US Reimposes Sanctions on Iran; Israel Tells Europe “Time Has Come to Stop Talking”

by Joshua Spurlock

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US President Donald Trump signs an executive order reimposing Iran sanctions.

Tuesday, 07 August 2018 | United States President Donald Trump announced the first stage of renewed American sanctions on Iran on Monday, ahead of the official reimposition of sanctions at midnight on Tuesday. The anticipated move follows Trump’s decision in May to pull the US out of the Iran nuclear deal—also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

“Since the deal was reached, Iran’s aggression has only increased. The regime has used the windfall of newly accessible funds it received under the JCPOA to build nuclear-capable missiles, fund terrorism, and fuel conflict across the Middle East and beyond,” said Trump in a statement posted to the White House website. “By exiting the JCPOA, the United States is able to protect its national security by applying maximum economic pressure on the Iranian regime.”

The initial round of reset sanctions focuses on cars, precious metals and Iranian currency, according to Trump’s comments. In November, banking and Iran’s energy industry—including oil—will be targeted. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu congratulated Trump for making the move on Monday, calling it an “important decision.”

“It represents the determination to curb Iran’s aggression in the region and its ongoing intention to arm itself with nuclear weapons,” said Netanyahu in comments released by his office. “I call upon the countries of Europe, which talk about stopping Iran, to join this measure. The time has come to stop talking and to take action, and that is exactly what the US has done and what Europe should do.”

Trump threatened those who don’t “wind down activities with Iran” that they are risking “severe consequences.” It remains unclear how that will play out.

The European Union published a press release on Monday on the European Commission website announcing the establishment of a “blocking statute” in opposition to the US sanctions designed to “mitigate their impact on the interests of EU companies doing legitimate business in Iran.”

The statute prohibits EU persons from complying with the US sanctions without an exception, and also provides for recovery of damages caused by the sanctions, among other actions.

While Europe is striving to scuttle the renewed American sanctions, Trump declared that the US is succeeding in convincing others to cut Iranian business.

“I am pleased that many international firms have already announced their intent to leave the Iranian market, and several countries have indicated that they will reduce or end imports of Iranian crude oil,” said Trump’s statement. “We urge all nations to take such steps to make clear that the Iranian regime faces a choice: either change its threatening, destabilizing behavior and reintegrate with the global economy, or continue down a path of economic isolation.”

Despite the move to renew sanctions, Trump hasn’t closed the door on a new Iran nuclear deal, saying. “I remain open to reaching a more comprehensive deal that addresses the full range of the regime’s malign activities, including its ballistic missile program and its support for terrorism.”

Last week, Trump tweeted his standing offer to meet with Iran—while highlighting their economic woes if they do not: “Iran, and its economy, is going very bad, and fast! I will meet, or not meet, it doesn’t matter – it is up to them!”

Source: (The Mideast Update originally published this article on 06 August 2018. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today.)

Photo Credit: Screenshot/YouTube/CGTN

Prayer Focus
Pray that the nations of the world will recognize that every action they take against Israel is actually a weapon formed against the God of the universe. Pray that Israel will be protected from the consequences of the bad deal past leaders signed with Iran.

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

Israel and Gaza: How Did We Get Here?

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Hamas-led terrorists control the Gaza Strip (illustrative).

Wednesday, 08 August 2018 | For months, there has been an escalation of violence along the security fence between Gaza and Israel, including violent riots and the most serious incident since Operation Protective Edge in 2014. In addition to the riots, Hamas operatives began carrying out a new kind of attack, using arson kites and incendiary balloons to set Israeli land ablaze. These incendiary devices heavily impacted Israel’s southern communities, burning more than 8,000 acres of Israeli land and setting about 11 fires each day.

During violent, Hamas-lead riots, a sniper from the Gaza Strip shot and killed IDF [Israel Defense Forces] Staff Sgt. Aviv Levi. This lead to a wide-scale response, in which IAF [Israeli Air Force] fighter jets struck over 60 Hamas terror targets in a strategic campaign to significantly damage Hamas’ combat capabilities.

With tensions rising, it’s leading many to ask how the relationship between Israel and Gaza got to this point.

Israel unilaterally withdrew from the Gaza Strip in the summer of 2005 after years of attacks on Israeli civilians. All IDF posts were removed and over 9,000 Israeli citizens living in 25 communities were evicted.

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who was in office at the time, addressed the United Nations General Assembly, expressing hope for a better future for Gazan civilians. “The end of Israeli control over and responsibility for the Gaza Strip allows the Palestinians, if they so wish, to develop their economy and build a peace-seeking society, which is developed, free, law-abiding, and transparent, and which adheres to democratic principles,” he said.

Prior to being evicted, the Jewish communities in Gaza owned thousands of greenhouses and had a flourishing agricultural economy. Upon their eviction, 3,000 of these greenhouses were left to help kick-start Gaza’s economy. Unfortunately, shortly after Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza, the greenhouses were looted and some of the equipment was turned into rockets that were subsequently fired at Israel.

Immediately after Hamas was elected into power in 2007, huge amounts of munitions were illegally smuggled into Gaza. This included 31 tons of military grade explosive materials and 14,000 rifles. Additionally, in the first year of Hamas’ reign, hundreds of rockets were fired at Israel. Israel’s Security Cabinet then declared the Gaza Strip a hostile territory.

In the years to follow, Hamas continued to misuse funds and supplies in Gaza. Over $120 million worth of concrete originally intended to develop civilian infrastructure was used to build terror tunnels to infiltrate Israel. These tunnels were used as early as 2006 in the kidnapping of IDF soldier, Sergeant 1st Class Gilad Shalit.

Since then, Hamas has continued to waste concrete on terror tunnels, and in the construction process, has killed more than 400 Palestinians, including at least 160 children. Attempts were made to smuggle weapons into Gaza via the Mediterranean Sea, which led to the imposition of a legal naval blockade. Additionally, rocket and mortar shell fire continued, inflicting wide-spread damage and trauma on Israel’s southern residents in particular, which lead to the development of the Iron Dome aerial defense system.

Today, the relationship between Israel and Gaza remains tense. Yet Gazan civilians are still allowed to enter Israel to receive medical treatment, pray, study, travel, and work on a daily basis. Israel regularly facilitates the transfer of humanitarian supplies to the Gaza Strip through the Kerem Shalom Crossing, even in times of conflict, including during Operation Protective Edge in 2014.

Hamas remains accountable for controlling the Gaza Strip, and continues to put its terror-based goals above the needs of its people. They insist on inciting violence and wasting vital supplies on terror activity. The IDF will continue to operate as necessary to safeguard the security needs of the State of Israel, and is ready to defend Israeli civilians and sovereignty.

Source: (Israel Defense Forces originally published this article on 06 August 2018. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Israel Defense Forces

Prayer Focus
Ask the Lord to honor Israel’s desire for peace, which has been at the heart of her negotiations with Palestinian leadership since they began. Pray that the violence will cease.

Scripture

I am for peace; but when I speak, they are for war.


- Psalm 120:7

Egypt Slated to Start Importing Israeli Natural Gas in Early 2019

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Israeli offshore natural gas field (illustrative)

Tuesday, 07 August 2018 | Egypt’s Dolphinus Holdings plans to start importing gas from Israel in early 2019, Reuters news agency reported Sunday.

“Imports will start in small quantities first and will gradually increase to reach their climax in September 2019,” one source told Reuters. The source gave no details on prices or quantities.

In February, partners in Israel’s Tamar and Leviathan offshore gas fields—which include Delek Group, Isramco and Ratio—said that it had signed agreements with its associates to supply 2.26 trillion cubic feet (64 billion cubic meters) of gas from Israel’s offshore fields to Dolphinus over a 10-year period—a deal estimated to be worth $15 billion.

Half will come from each field, and the proceeds will be split equally, they said.

The agreement has stirred controversy in Egypt, which until a few years ago exported gas to Israel. However, instability in the Sinai Peninsula region where Egypt’s large gas fields are located and numerous Islamist and jihadist groups are based, have changed the strategic and economic landscape in the country.

The new agreement is meant to boost Egypt’s efforts to become a major regional energy exporter and the government of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi hopes that the imports will help its ambitions to become a regional energy hub.

Israel started gas production at the Tamar offshore field in an effort to put the country on the road to energy independence. Tamar, which began production in 2013, has estimated reserves of up to 238 billion cubic meters (8.4 trillion cubic feet).

Located in the eastern Mediterranean Sea area off the coast of Israel, Leviathan Natural Gas Field was discovered in December 2010 and set to begin production in 2019. The field is estimated to hold 18.9 trillion cubic feet (535 billion cubic meters) of natural gas, along with 34.1 million barrels of condensate.

Source: (This article was originally published by The Israel Project, in its publication The Tower on 06 August 2018. Time related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: רן ארדה/wikimedia.org

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Thank the Lord that He has placed Israel in the position of providing natural gas to Egypt and eventually others in the region, making her contributions to their well-being vital. Pray that the offshore gas fields will be protected and a source of great financial blessing to Israel as well.

Scripture

For the LORD your God will bless you just as He promised you; you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow; you shall reign over many nations, but they shall not reign over you.


- Deuteronomy 15:6

Israel’s “Krembo Wings” Inclusive Youth Movement Chosen as UN’s Special Advisor

by Itamar Eichner

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Tuesday, 07 August 2018 | The “Krembo Wings” youth movement for children and youth with and without disabilities was chosen to serve as a “special advisor to the UN [United Nations]” on Sunday.

The UN decided to give “Krembo Wings” the new title since the movement is a “world-leader in the integration of children and youth with and without disabilities in empowering social activities,” the UN explained.

The title of “Special Advisor” to the UN (ECOSOC) is an outstanding acknowledgment of the movement’s important work in Israel and abroad.

Established in 2002, “Krembo Wings” operates 65 branches across Israel, and welcomes thousands of young people aged 7 to 22 from all cultural, religious and socio-economic backgrounds.

The movement provides weekly social activities for young people with all types of mental and physical disabilities together with their able-bodied peers, and arranges the meetings of 6,000 Jewish  (secular and religious), Muslims, Christians, Bedouins, Druze and immigrant activists.

Nir Bronstein, Chairman of the movement’s Executive Committee, said, “I am excited by the fact that the UN has given international recognition to the extraordinary activity of ‘Krembo Wings.'”

“I am proud of the movement’s management and professional staff, especially the thousands of active youths whose important work is internationally recognized,” he said.

“However, I am concerned about the 3,000 children and youth with disabilities and their families who are still waiting for the opening of new ‘Krembo Wings’ branches.

“We will do everything in our power to accelerate the process despite the many obstacles and economic challenges we face,” Bronstein added.

Talia Bejerano, the movement’s CEO, added that “the unique international status that the movement received from the United Nations will enable ‘Krembo Wings’ to raise awareness for the right of young people with disabilities to live a full and fulfilling social life in Israel and around the world.”

“This recognition will allow us to branch out and spread our vision— creating a place and meaning for everyone— throughout the world,” the CEO concluded.

Source: (Ynetnews originally published this article on 05 August 2018. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit:

Prayer Focus
Praise the Lord that He has strengthened and empowered Israelis to reach out to all young people with love and acceptance, allowing them to receive the international recognition that is needed. Pray that their efforts will continue and expand, blessing many around the world.

Scripture

Ascribe strength to God; His excellence is over Israel, and His strength is in the clouds. O God, You are more awesome than Your holy places. The God of Israel is He who gives strength and power to His people. Blessed be God!


- Psalm 68:34-35

US Ambassador Thanks American Firefighters for Fighting Hamas Fire-Kite Blazes in Israel

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US Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, meets with American firefighters who are working to extinguish the fires on the Israeli border along the Gaza Strip.

Friday, 03 August 2018 | The United States Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, visited a fire station in the southern city of Sderot on Wednesday to see first-hand how firefighters are battling the ongoing blazes caused by incendiary airborne devices launched from the Gaza Strip, The Times of Israel reported.

Friedman thanked the firefighters for their courage and praised the strong friendship between Israel and the US. During his visit, the ambassador met with 10 American firefighters, who came to Israel to help extinguish the fires which have consumed thousands of acres of land in southern Israel.

“They demonstrated an amazing solidarity between the American people and the Israeli people. It’s an act of true friendship and true love and I think the people here know that if the United States would need help, the Israelis would come to the United States to help,” Friedman said in a statement released by the US Embassy in Jerusalem.

“I don’t think there is a better way to demonstrate solidarity, love, and cooperation between the United States and Israel,” he added.

The American firefighters volunteered through the Emergency Volunteers Project (EVP) in collaboration with the Jewish Federations of North America. They arrived Tuesday in the Jewish state to help extinguish blazes in Israeli communities along the Gaza Strip.

The firefighters from California, Florida, Maryland, Texas and Michigan have already assisted in putting out fires in more than ten locations in Israel’s south.

On Tuesday, firefighters battled 15 blazes in southern Israel sparked by arson balloons and kites emanating from Gaza. The fires broke out at the agriculture communities of Nir Am, Tlamim, Erez, Holit, Shokeda, and Kissufim among other places, a spokesman for the Fire and Rescue Services Southern District said.

Source: (This article was originally published by The Israel Project, in its publication The Tower on 01 August 2018. Time related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Screenshot/YouTube/ U.S. Embassy Jerusalem

Prayer Focus
Seek the Lord for blessing and protection for those who are fighting fires that are raging on dry ground in southern Israel. Thank Him for the American fighters who are joining in this fight against terror, and beseech Him that there will be no more damage.

Scripture

For I will pour water on him who is thirsty, and floods on the dry ground; I will pour My Spirit on your descendants, and My blessing on your offspring.


- Isaiah 44:3

Action
As the fires caused by kite terrorism continue to rage, Bridges for Peace is committed to help. We call on Christians to come alongside us with generous financial gifts to our Crisis Assistance Fund to help Israel fight the kite terror, quench the blazes and restore what has been destroyed.

Israeli Air Force Appoints First Female Flight Squadron Commander

by Yoav Zitun

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Maj. G. is the first female commander of the IAF intelligence squadron.

Thursday, 09 August 2018 | Israel Air Force [IAF] commander Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin has appointed the first female commander to its intelligence squadron, the IDF [Israel Defense Forces] said Tuesday.

Maj. G., 34, will command the IAF’s 122nd Squadron, also known as the Nachshon Squadron, which takes part in covert aerial operations, hundreds and thousands of kilometers away from Israel. The unit uses G550 aircraft made by the Israel Aerospace Industries.

Maj. G. will be promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel and will be the first woman in the Israeli air force to command a flight squadron.

She enlisted in 2003 and completed her training program as a cargo pilot. At the end of the course, she was assigned to the 135th Squadron (“Tzofit”, “Hofit” and “Kokia”) and later moved to 131st Squadron (“Rhino”) and filled a variety of command positions at flight school and the 135th Squadron.

Maj. G., who lives in central Israel with her husband and children, will be moving with her family to the Air Force base in Nevatim, where the 122nd Squadron is based.

“I am happy about the appointment; it is a great privilege and a great responsibility. The real work is still ahead of me … I am proud to serve in the air force,” Maj. G. said.

The 122nd Squadron deals with various assignments—from sensitive missions transporting search and rescue teams to disaster areas around the world; through serving as command and control unit for missions between wars, such as foiling Hezbollah and Hamas attempts to gain advanced weapons; as well as conducting intelligence gathering using different radars, listening and monitoring devices, and day and night cameras, and the transmission of communications between the command and control units in Israel and the forces operating far from Israeli borders.

Most of the squadron’s missions, however, remain covert, but its capabilities have only grown in recent years because of the great confidence the IAF has in manned intelligence aircraft over drones.

The intelligence aircraft are manned by air intelligence analysts who process and analyze the data that comes on their screens during a mission, oversee all of the units taking part in the mission in the field, and can provide real-time operational information to fighter jets, aerial refueling planes or other IAF aircraft. The fact the planes are manned is a critical factor in the success of an entire operation.

There are already female officers in command of aircraft and maintenance squadrons at the heart of IAF operations, as well as a female deputy commander of a combat squadron and several female officers in key roles at the IAF’s command center. But Maj. G. would be the first to command a flight squadron.

Source: (Ynetnews originally published this article on 08 August 2018. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Twitter/IDF@IDFSpokesperson

Prayer Focus
Praise God for His creation, both men and women, and Israel’s desire to encourage both to reach their God-given potential. Pray for the protection and success of the first female lieutenant colonel in the Israeli air force serving as a commander and for her family as well, as she helps to make prophecy a reality by protecting the people of Israel.

Scripture

Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, and He who formed you from the womb: “I am the LORD, who makes all things, who stretches out the heavens all alone, who spreads abroad the earth by Myself; who frustrates the signs of the babblers, and drives diviners mad; who turns wise men backward, and makes their knowledge foolishness; who confirms the word of His servant, and performs the counsel of His messengers; who says to Jerusalem, ‘You shall be inhabited,’ to the cities of Judah, ‘You shall be built,’ and I will raise up her waste places.”


- Isaiah 44:24-26

Two Israeli Teams Top International Debate Competition in Serbia

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Wednesday, 08 August 2018 | Two Israeli teams topped the European Universities Debating Championship in Serbia, in which a total of 187 teams from 30 countries within and surrounding Europe were competing against each other, The Jerusalem Post reported Tuesday.

The tournament, hosted in Novi Sad, took place from July 31 through Saturday. The Israeli Debating League sent a total of 20 teams and 25 adjudicators representing nine universities and academic institutions from all over Israel. Five Israeli teams reached the final stages of the international tournament.

Noam Dahan and Tom Manor of Tel Aviv University, who were defending champions of last year’s title in the “English as a Second Language” category, won the competition, after a grueling nine-round tournament against the best debaters from across the continent, including from Oxford University and the University of Cambridge.

This year, the pair competed alongside native English speakers. Amichay Even-Chen and Ido Kotler, also from Tel Aviv University, and won in the “English as a Second Language” category.

In an academic world where Israeli institutions are facing boycotts, the world of debating has great respect for the Israeli teams and adjudicators. It is the fourth year in a row a Tel Aviv University team has won this title.

However, some countries tried to politicize the tournament and refused to engage with students from Israel. The Qatar representatives repeatedly boycotted debates in which they were competing against Israel, stating on multiple occasions that they refuse to debate alongside an “apartheid state.”

In an op-ed published in The Algemeiner on July 26, CEO and President of the Israel Project Joshua S. Block, said that “no other country in the global sporting industry is subjected to such horrific acts of discrimination.”

Block referenced the case of Liel Levitan, a seven-year-old girl from Haifa who recently won the European Chess Championship and was barred from playing in the World Chess Championship because of her nationality. On Monday, Ynet reported that Tunisia lifted the ban amid pressure from international organizations.

Source: (This article was originally published by The Israel Project, in its publication The Tower on 07 August 2018. Time related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: qimono/Pixabay

Prayer Focus
Thank the Lord for the skills He has given these young people. Ask that He keep them from discouragement in the face of anti-Semitism. Pray that international outrage will cause such injustice to come to an end.

Scripture

The entirety of Your word is truth, and every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever. Princes persecute me without a cause, but my heart stands in awe of Your word.


- Psalm 119:160-161

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