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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 Responds to Rocket Fire from Gaza

by Ilse Posselt

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A rocket fired from Gaza into Israel (illustrative)

Wednesday, 09 August 2017 | Just before 6:00 p.m. last night, air raid sirens screamed across southern Israel, giving citizens less than a minute to find shelter against the incoming attack from Gaza.

According to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Spokesperson Unit, the rocket exploded in an open area near the coastal city of Ashkelon, causing no injury or damage.

While no group stepped up to claim the attack, Israel holds Hamas, the terror group ruling the Gaza Strip, responsible for all rockets being fired from the coastal enclave.

In response to the attack, Israeli jets struck two Hamas targets in the Strip overnight. According to The Times of Israel, a Gaza security official revealed to AFP that the targets were two bases belonging to Hamas’s military wing.

Israel’s southern border with Gaza has been relatively quiet since Operation Protective Edge was launched in 2014 to put a halt to the daily barrage of rockets launched from the Strip on Israeli civilians. Following the war, in which Israel targeted 5,085 terror and launching sites in Gaza and destroyed 32 of the terror tunnels leading from the coastal enclave into the Jewish state, Hamas has largely refrained from rocket attacks. The sporadic fire emanating from the strip is often attributed to extremist Salafist groups.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, 09 August 2017)

Photo Credit: paffairs_sanfrancisco/wikimedia.org

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Lift up Israel’s Defense Forces and their senior officers, asking for wise strategy when they deal with threats, missiles and terror tunnels. Thank God they are always ready, at any time, in all the land of Israel, Pray for all the soldiers to have wisdom and increased ability to remember as they train. Thank God that this missile exploded in an open area without harming any citizen of Israel.

Scripture

The LORD has taken away your judgments, He has cast out your enemy. The King of Israel, the LORD, is in your midst; You shall see disaster no more.


- Zephaniah 3:15

Hamas and Iran Turn a “New Page” to Pit Combined Efforts against Israel

by Ilse Posselt

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Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif

Wednesday, 09 August 2017 | After six years of frosty relations, the Islamic Republic of Iran and Hamas agreed to leave their differences aside to focus their combined efforts against a common opponent: Israel.

The announcement of mended ties between the terror organization ruling the Gaza Strip and the world’s foremost state sponsor of terror comes after a meeting between top Hamas officials and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Monday in Tehran. A joint statement released after the get-together says, “We concluded that it is time to turn a new leaf in order to address our shared enemy.”

The Gaza-based terror group, who was in the Islamic Republic to attend the swearing-in ceremony of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, also released a statement of their own to clarify the thrust of the restored bond. “The visit has opened a new page in our bilateral relations with Iran aimed at confronting the common enemy and supporting Palestine, the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the resistance [against Israel].”

For its part, Zarif reaffirmed Iran’s continued support for the Palestinian resistance. “The Islamic Republic’s stance towards Palestine is principled and unchangeable,” he said.

Iran and Hamas have traditionally been close allies, with the latter depending on the former for financial support. Yet the relationship became strained at the start of the Syrian War in 2011, as the two found themselves on opposing ends of the conflict. Hamas refused to side with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Iran’s main ally in the troubled Middle East. The snub prompted Tehran to close the coffers for Hamas, depriving the Gazan terror group of one of its chief sources of funds.

Yet Monday’s announcement may signal the end to years of strained relations—and possibly a welcome influx of funds for cash-strapped Hamas.

Signs of a thaw in the frosty relations have been evident over the past few months. During Hamas’s recent internal elections, a number of pro-Iran leaders stepped into top positions of power, realigning the trajectory of the terror group’s alliances. Then, last week saw a number of meetings between senior representatives from Hamas and Iranian officials in Beirut.

The Hamas delegation in the Lebanese capital included Saleh al-Arouri, a senior commander in the organization’s military wing who oversees terror cells in Judea and Samaria. Al-Arouri is said to be behind the 2014 kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers.

According to The Tower, pictures show al-Arouri meeting with Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, a special adviser on international affairs to Iran’s parliament speaker. Abdollahian reportedly used the get-together to call on Hamas, Hezbollah and Palestinian Islamic Jihad to come together and rise up against the “Zionist entity” in the name of “Islamic unity.”

Iran’s Mehr News reported that both Iran and Hamas also condemned the warming ties between Israel and some of its Arab neighbors, with al-Arouri pledging that Hamas would “continue the fight until the complete liberation of all Palestinian territories is achieved.”

Source: (Bridges for Peace, 09 August 2017)

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

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Continue to lift up Israel’s leadership as Iran’s power and influence are once again supporting Hamas in the fight against their common enemy, Israel. Beseech God to protect Israel’s relationships with other Arab nations in the Middle East.

Scripture

Have mercy on me, O LORD! Consider my trouble from those who hate me, You who lift me up from the gates of death, that I may tell of all Your praise in the gates of the daughter of Zion. I will rejoice in Your salvation.


- Psalm 9:13-14

IDF Expedites Construction of Subterranean Gaza Barrier

by Yoav Zitun

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Working on the Gaza barrier

Friday, 11 August 2017 | The IDF [Israel Defense Forces] is accelerating the construction of its subterranean barrier on its southern border in a bid to preemptively thwart threats emanating from the Gaza Strip.

According to GOC Southern Command Maj. Gen. Eyal Zamir, nothing would deter Israel’s military from constructing the barrier designed to deliver a decisive blow or severe setback to Hamas’s terror project.

Speaking during a briefing to journalists at the border, Zamir said, “The barrier against the Gaza Strip will be built even if it means fighting a justified incursion against Hamas.”

Zamir’s comments came against a background of intelligence gathered by the IDF demonstrating Hamas’s sinister use of resources to expand its tunnel network despite the conspicuous and seemingly deliberate risk to its civilian population.

During a conversation with Ynet Wednesday, Zamir said that expediting the construction of the barrier is not intended to see the tenuous ceasefire with Hamas unravel, but that the IDF would not shy away from another confrontation should Gaza’s rulers choose to launch one.

“We are not indifferent and are striking Hamas’s capabilities without it leading to an escalation, just as we did two nights ago and in other operation,” Zamir added in reference to the airstrikes on Hamas positions in retaliation for a rocket landing in Ashkelon fired from the Strip Tuesday.

Construction of the Gaza barrier

“Hamas has been deterred and restrained and is doing all it can to avoid an escalation. But Hamas is investing massively for the next campaign,” he emphasized. “The situation can change any moment, and I am working to preserve the calm, strengthen deterrence and in particular improve our readiness for war.”

During the briefing to the journalists, Zamir provided just one example demonstrating Hamas’s strength and determination to enter Israeli territory, which is manifested in its continued construction of tunnels despite the IDF’s success in obliterating many during Operation Protective Edge in 2014.

According to intelligence information, the digging of two tunnels has been underway in northern Gaza over the last two years, just one kilometer [.6 mi] from Israel’s border.

Work on the two tunnels was carried out underneath residential buildings occupied by families while one of the buildings above contains six floors. The second has been dug near to a mosque.

In any showdown with the IDF therefore, the human cost could prove devastating since both are situated on the outskirts of Beit Lahia and the Al-Shati Refugee Camp.

Upon analysis of the intelligence collated about the construction of the tunnels, the IDF has mapped out blueprints indicating that underneath the six-story building is a parking lot connecting the tunnel’s entrance shaft to a more elaborate network.

The second tunnel entrance is underneath the home of a Hamas activist, Omar Hamed, who lives with his father, brother wife and five children.

As part of the IDF project to neutralize the threat of subterranean penetration into Israel, the military is also working on what is known as an “indicative barrier wall,” which is expected to cost NIS 4 billion [US $1.1 billion].

The concrete barrier will sink to a depth of dozens of meters and also be topped with a six-meter [20 ft] security fence above ground. Together, the high-tech and concrete barriers will be able to detect and destroy every tunnel identified as it approaches.

Source: (Excerpt of an article originally published in Ynetnews on 10 August 2017. Time related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.) 

Photo Credit: Screenshot/Ynetnet video

Prayer Focus
Cry out against Hamas who continues to build secret tunnels into Israel and to endanger lives of Israelis and the residents of Gaza. Thank God for the IDF's capability to detect these tunnels at an early stage. Pray for the soldiers and Israel’s southern residents who face the reality of these threats on a daily basis.

Scripture

For His eyes are on the ways of man, and He sees all his steps. There is no darkness nor shadow of death where the workers of iniquity may hide themselves.


- Job 34:21-22

Palestinians Must Accept Jewish Ties to Jerusalem for Peace, Writes Former State Department Official

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Blessing of the cohenim (priests) at the Western Wall

Friday, 11 August 2017 | If Palestinians want peace with Israel, they will have to stop denying Jewish history and “accept the historic tie and sacred nature of the Temple Mount for Jews,” a former State Department official wrote in an op-ed published Tuesday in The Washington Post.

Yehuda Mirsky traced the roots of Palestinian denial of Jewish history to Haj Amin al-Husseini, the former Mufti of Jerusalem, who in the 1920s “sought to Islamicize the political struggle with Zionism” as a means of rallying Arabs to the cause of nationalism. Thus, he would characterize seemingly innocuous Jewish actions, such as placing seats for worshipers at the Western Wall, as “part of a plot to destroy its sacred mosques.”

Currently, Palestinian leadership “has increasingly stoked fears about Jerusalem and the Temple Mount as a rallying cry to make up for the lack of secular national spaces and symbols,” just as the Mufti did before, Mirsky observed.

In addition to sowing the fears of a Jewish threat to Muslim holy places, Palestinian nationalists often deny the Jewish historical ties to Jerusalem and the Temple Mount. This has become a “central theme in Palestinian politics.” For example, Yasser Arafat explained to Bill Clinton that he couldn’t accept Israeli claims at the Camp David talks in 2000, because no Jewish temple ever stood on the site of the Temple Mount—a historically unsound claim.

Denying Jewish ties to the Temple Mount and Jerusalem is counterproductive to peace, Mirsky argued. He cited a poll stating that one-third of Israeli Jews who oppose a two-state solution would still accept one if the Palestinians acknowledged the reality of Jewish holy sites in Jerusalem and the West Bank [Judea-Samaria].

This refusal to accept Jewish history has spurred Israel to “assert its own claims to the Temple Mount.”

International organizations that adopt the Palestinian denial of Jewish history, such as UNESCO, the cultural organization of the United Nations, push peace further away.

“Any hope for a sustainable future requires Palestinians to accept the historic tie and sacred nature of the Temple Mount for Jews,” Mirsky concluded. “Rather than denying Jewish history, Palestinians must instead construct secular political institutions and partnerships with the many Israelis who would be glad to maintain a peaceful status quo on the Mount for the sake of a livable Jerusalem. Absent this, the Palestinians will find themselves without Israeli partners, and peace, or even coexistence, will be ever harder to achieve.”

Mirsky and other experts have identified the Palestinian denial of Jewish historical ties to Israel as a major impediment to peace.

In an essay published in May of last year, Michael Mandelbaum, a foreign affairs expert at Johns Hopkins University, asserted that “at the core of the conflict, standing out like a skyscraper in a desert to anyone who cared to notice, is the Palestinian refusal to accept Jewish sovereignty in the Middle East.”

Max Singer, a co-founder of the Hudson Institute, similarly wrote earlier this year that the United States should adopt a strategy of truth-telling in its approach to Israeli-Palestinian peace talks in order to “undermine the Palestinian leadership’s efforts to deny basic historical truths that they would not be able to continue without embarrassing themselves before their own people.”

Source: (This article was originally published by The Israel Project, in its publication The Tower on 08 August 2017. Time related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Isranet

Prayer Focus
Declare the Scriptures as God's Word never returns void! Proclaim the truth that Jewish Jerusalem does exist and that the Jewish Temple once stood in the city. Cry out against the continuous lies and claims that there are no Jewish ties to the Temple Mount.

Scripture

Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel, and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: I am the First and I am the Last; besides Me there is no God.


- Isaiah 44:6

Israeli, US Firms Boost Joint Production of Anti-Missile Systems

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The Arrow anti-ballistic missile

Thursday, 10 August 2017 | Companies in Israel and the United States have ramped up production of the projectiles that are at the center of Israel’s multi-layered anti-missile defense systems, Defense News reported Tuesday.

Israel’s missile defense systems—including the Arrow-3, David’s Sling, and Iron Dome—are all heavily funded by the US. In exchange, US companies get a share of the work in developing the systems.

“In accordance with congressional mandates and our government-to-government agreements, each one of these [intercepting systems] is being produced at least 50% in the United States,” said Moshe Patel, director of the Defense Ministry’s Israel Missile Defense Organization.

The Arrow-3, which aims to counter missiles in space, is being jointly designed by Boeing and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI).

“Significant parts of this high-performance missile designed to intercept targets deep into space are being produced in the United States. More than 20 states are involved in the production of Arrow-3,” Boaz Levy, IAI’s executive vice president, told Defense News.

The Stunner interceptor, part of the David’s Sling system, is designed to counter mid-range missile threats and is being jointly developed by Raytheon and the state-owned Israeli company Rafael.

Pini Yungman, executive vice president of Rafael, expressed his satisfaction with the job Raytheon is doing in developing the system.

“Our US partner is doing great work with production; in fact, they’re running faster than we are in transitioning to full-rate builds,” Yungman said.

Not only is Raytheon working on production of the Stunner and managing the subcontractors working on the system, it is also marketing the Stunner to approved US allies for their missile defense systems. Poland has requested the interceptor and will negotiate its purchase directly with the US.

“We’re proud to serve as subcontractor to Raytheon in this SkyCeptor program, which integrates the Stunner into the Patriot system for Poland,” Yungman said. “This partnership with Raytheon that we’ve been working on and investing in for almost 12 years is becoming real. We’re seeing it start to translate into real contracts and big business. We’ll provide to Raytheon, Raytheon will provide to the US Army and it’s a win-win for all concerned.”

Raytheon and Rafael are also jointly producing the Tamir interceptor for the Iron Dome system. Raytheon is responsible for 75% of the components that make up the Tamir.

Source: (This article was originally published by The Israel Project, in its publication The Tower on 09 August 2017. 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
Thank God for the partnership between Israel and the United States which is manifested in the cooperation of building Israel’s missile interceptor and defense systems. Pray for all the engineers, technicians and others involved, asking for wisdom, concentration and excellence. May God bless each one that contributes to Israel’s security, ultimately saving lives.

Scripture

I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. 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 12:2-3

Jordanian King Meets with Abbas to Discuss Temple Mount Tensions 

by Ilse Posselt

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King Abdullah II holds talks with Palestinian President Abbas in Ramallah

Tuesday, 08 August 2017 | Jordan’s King Abdullah II yesterday helicoptered into Ramallah, the seat of the Palestinian Authority (PA), for a two-hour meeting with PA President Mahmoud Abbas, in what The Times of Israel called a clear message to Israel that the head of the Hashemite Kingdom is “closing ranks with the Palestinians on key issues.”

The trip comes at a time when Israeli-Jordanian relations are particularly tense, following last month’s crisis over the Temple Mount in Jerusalem and in the aftermath of an attack at the Jewish state’s embassy in Amman, during which an Israeli security officer shot and killed his Jordanian assailant in self-defense.

While Abdullah and Abbas see each other regularly in Amman and other neighboring countries, this is the first time in five years that the Jordanian leader took the time to make his way to the west side of the Jordan River for a tête-à-tête.

Abdullah’s military helicopter touched down at Abbas’s presidential compound yesterday morning. After reviewing an honor guard, the king and the PA president stood at attention for the Jordanian and Palestinian anthems, and then made their way inside to talk in private. Two hours later, the Hashemite king boarded his helicopter again and headed back to the east side of the Jordan River.

While neither Abdullah nor Abbas made any official statements, Palestinian Foreign Minister, Riyad al-Malki, announced to reporters that the meeting resulted in the formation of a Jordanian-Palestinian task team that will be responsible for handling any future flare-ups around the so-called Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem, particularly the Temple Mount.

“We discussed all issues of mutual interest and we agreed to form a crisis committee that will continue contacts to evaluate what has happened, the lessons to be learned and the challenges we may face at Al-Aqsa Mosque,” he shared.

According to Maliki, restarting the stalled peace efforts between Israel and the Palestinians was also on the agenda. Abdullah and Abbas reportedly agreed that Israel must “recognize the principle of a two-state solution and end provocative settlement activity that is designed to prevent the establishment of a viable, contiguous Palestinian state.”

For his part, the Palestinian ambassador in Amman, Atallah Kheiry, told Jordanian daily Ad-Dustour that yesterday’s meeting was “historic.”

“It will open new horizons between the leaderships in all realms,” Ad-Dustour quoted him as saying. “The visit reaffirms that brotherly Jordan is the closest to Palestine in all circumstances and times.”

The Jordanians made no comment regarding the meeting.

Tensions erupted last month around the Temple Mount, the location where two biblical Temples stood and which Muslims hold as the third holiest spot in Islam, home to the Al- Aqsa Mosque, when the Jewish state erected metal detectors and security cameras following a terror attack launched from the holy site. Despite the beefed up security being aimed at ensuring the safety of worshipers and visitors to the site, the decision led to an international outcry in the Muslim world and sparked the bloodiest and most consistent clashes between Israel and the Palestinians in nearly a decade.

Following two weeks of riots and terror, Israel removed the additional security measures. Days after peace returned to the Old City of Jerusalem, Abdullah told a group of journalists that Jordan prides itself on playing a pertinent part in bringing the situation to a close. “We have managed the crisis at… Haram al-Sharif [Muslim name for the Temple Mount] after continuous efforts… to contain its ramifications and reopen the mosque in its entirety through our common stand with our Palestinian brethren.”

The monarch continued to share with the press that Amman would ensure that the status quo at the Temple Mount is maintained and would fulfill its “historic, political and legal role” of “providing cover” and protecting the holy sites in Jerusalem from “Judaization.”

The Jordanian king’s reference to the “status quo” pertains to a status quo agreement entered into between Israel and Jerusalem’s Muslim religious authorities following the Jewish state’s Six Day War victory. Under the agreement, Israel provides security at the holy site, while the Jordan-based Waqf Islamic Trust oversees day-to-day management. The agreement also stipulates that non-Muslims are allowed to visit the site, but are forbidden from praying there.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, 08 August 2017)

Photo Credit: Twitter/RHC

Prayer Focus
Offer petition to the Lord God Almighty for the protection of Israel’s relationship with Jordan. Pray that Mahmoud Abbas will not succeed in negatively influencing the King of Jordan about Israel. Pray for PM Netanyahu to act with prudence, asking God to give him knowledge and insight to mend the relationship between Jordan and Israel.

Scripture

My flesh and my heart fail; but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. But it is good for me to draw near to God; I have put my trust in the Lord God, that I may declare all Your works.


- Psalm 73:26, 28

Israel to Build Underground Barrier on Sinai Border

by Matan Tzuri

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Border fence between Israel and Sinai

Monday, 07 August 2017 | Israel is planning to construct a huge underground barrier on its southern border with Egypt and Gaza as a precautionary measure to stave off threats posed by ISIS terrorists seeking to infiltrate via the Sinai desert through tunnels.

Expected to be complete within one-and-a-half years, the new barrier will set Israel back NIS 3.4 billion [US $737 million].

In its first phase, one kilometer [.6 mi] only has been approved which will help the IDF [Israel Defense Forces] identify and locate any tunnels being dug in the Sinai. As the construction continues, the barrier will stretch across a total of three kilometers [1.8 mi].

According to Omer Gadi Yarkoni who heads the Eshkol Regional Council, the new protective measure is absolutely necessary for providing security to Israeli residents in the area.

“The barrier is fundamental for protecting the communities adjacent to the Gaza Strip in terms of the threat of tunnels and penetrations into our territory,” Yarkoni said.

“We reiterate our concern about the increasing threat on the Egyptian border at every opportunity, and therefore this is a necessary and required step that will ensure maximum protection for our residents who are exposed and affected by the war taking place in Egypt,” he continued. “The tunnel threat is a strategic one around the Gaza region and around the whole of Israel.”

The barrier will be identical to that which is currently being built along the Gaza border which was approved by the government following Operation Protective Edge upon the discovery of new tactics adopted by Hamas involving the digging of tunnels to infiltrate Israel.

The Egyptian army has been waging a prolonged war of attrition against ISIS in Sinai but has yet to achieve an outright victory and expunge its terrorists from the peninsula.

Indeed, as Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi continues to deploy his forces to bombard the terrorists, ISIS, though weakened and depleted, has still proven capable of taking its fight to the Egyptians through multiple deadly attacks and continues to draft more and more activists into its ranks.

While the bulk of ISIS attacks in the Sinai remain focused on obliterating Egyptian morale and al-Sisi’s forces, the group has in the past demonstrated an appetite to extend its hostilities against Israel, claiming responsibility for a number of rocket attacks launched on southern Israel.

In February, the Egyptian army destroyed six tunnel openings between Gaza and the Sinai, causing concern in Israel that ISIS does indeed plan to launch terror attacks from a subterranean network.

Source: (Ynetnews originally published this article on 04 August 2017. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Idobi/wikimedia.org

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Ask God to protect the borders of Israel from terror infiltration, rockets, tunnels and those with any hostile intent against Israel. Pray that the construction of this new barrier will also assist the IDF to discover any tunnels into Israel. Pray for sufficient finances to construct all the underground barriers.

Scripture

Consider my enemies, for they are many; and they hate me with cruel hatred. Keep my soul, and deliver me; let me not be ashamed, for I put my trust in You. Let integrity and uprightness preserve me, for I wait for You. Redeem Israel, O God, out of all their troubles!


- Psalm 25:19-22

US Lawmakers Push Bill to Halt Financial Aid to Palestinians over Terrorist Salaries 

by Ilse Posselt

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United States Capitol

Monday, 07 August 2017 | The Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Thursday approved legislation that would see America put a stop to its annual financial aid package to the Palestinian Authority (PA), unless it halts what US lawmakers called a “sick” policy of paying salaries to Palestinian terrorists and their families “who murder Israelis and Americans.”

The Taylor Force Act, named after the 29-year-old US military veteran who was murdered by a Palestinian terrorist while on a trip in Israel last year, will now go to the full Senate and House of Representatives for review and potential passing into law.

According to Palestinian legislation, convicted terrorists serving time in Israeli jails as well as the families of assailants who died while committing attacks are rewarded for the bloody acts with monthly payments of up to $3,500. According to The Tower, half of the foreign aid the PA receives is now earmarked for this purpose. In fact, the PA 2017 budget saw $153.4 million disappear into the pockets of Palestinian prisoners and their families.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has long since tried to rally international outrage for this grim practice. Yet it has only been in recent months that the system was thrust into the global spotlight and the PA called upon to cease the system that feeds an ongoing cycle of hatred and terror.

In recent months, US President Donald Trump has taken PA President Mahmoud Abbas to task over the incitement and even warned the Palestinian leadership during a joint press conference in Bethlehem in May that, “[p]eace can never take root in an environment where violence is tolerated, funded and even rewarded.”

While the US held out hope that the PA would choose a path of peace, the Palestinians snubbed their noses at the advice. “We reject ending the subsidies to the prisoners and families of the martyrs. We will not apologize for it,” Issa Karaka, the PA’s Head of Prisoner Affairs confirmed in June.

With the Palestinian Authority steadfastly refusing to change its ways, the Taylor Force Act is regarded as the first step in the legal process that will see the source of a large chunk of the cash that the PA is doling out to terrorists dry up.

Senator Lindsey Graham, who authorized the legislation, said on Thursday that the main aim of the bill is to bring an end to the PA’s policy of offering financial incentives for acts of violence.

“If you are a young Palestinian, maybe the best thing you can do for your family in terms of income is to become a terrorist,” Graham told reporters. “That is sick. The longer you are in jail, the more vicious the crime, the more money you get. That is inconsistent with peace. It is a sick system—it needs to change.”

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman and co-sponsor of the bill, Senator Bob Corker, explained that a number of Palestinian terrorists serving sentences in Israeli jails for violent attacks highlighted the financial reward as one of the main motivating factors spurring them on to terror. According to Corker, the prisoners also indicated that they aimed to make the attack as violent as possible, to “ensure that they did something egregious enough to at least get a five-year sentence, where the payment is stepped up.”

At present, the PA receives nearly $500 million from the US annually. If passed, the Taylor Force Act will put a stop to all but $60 million, which is earmarked specifically for security assistance and humanitarian aid.

The Palestinian camp responded to Thursday’s vote with indignation. Chief Representative of the Palestinian General Delegation to the US, Husam Zomlot, labeled the legislation as “misinformed and counterproductive.” According to Zomlot, the policy that puts regular salaries in the hands of terrorists and their families is really “a program” that has “served a social and security need to provide for our people, guarantee a better future for the children and protect the needy from the many radical groups around us.”

Zomlot’s statement did not, however, address the allegations that the monthly cash payments serve as an incentive to terror.

Taylor Force was murdered on 8 March 2016, when a Palestinian terrorist went on a stabbing rampage close to the port of Jaffa. While Force was the only fatality, twelve others were wounded in the attack, four seriously. Force, an MBA student at Vanderbilt’s Owen Graduate School of Management, was in Israel on a school trip with classmates when the attack took place. Force graduated from the US Military Academy at West Point in 2009, before serving as a field artillery officer until 2014. He served tours of duty in both Afghanistan and Iraq.

Israeli police killed Force’s murderer. Yet since the terrorist died in an attack against Israelis, his family continues to receive a generous monthly payment from the PA.

Following Thursday’s vote, Corker expressed his hope that the Taylor Force Act would serve to prevent future tragedies. “What has happened here will hopefully, when passed, prevent other people from having the same fate: an innocent person going about their activities in an innocent way, being murdered by someone who’s being incented to do that by their own government.”

Source: (Bridges for Peace, 07 August 2017)

Photo Credit: Public domain/wikipedia.org

Photo License: Wikipedia

Prayer Focus
Praise God that we are seeing the fruit of PM Netanyahu’s efforts to halt financial incentives for terror acts. Continue to pray that PM Netanyahu will have favor among the nations as he continues to raise awareness of terror incentives. Pray that the US bill will pass at the next level and take effect so that the nations will see that it is actually possible to stop payments for acts of terror.

Scripture

The righteous is a guide to his neighbor, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.


- Proverbs 12:26 NASB

Two Muslim-Majority African Nations Sending Ambassadors to Israel for First Time

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PM Netanyahu meets with African leaders (illustrative)

Monday, 07 August 2017 | Two Muslim-majority African nations will send their first-ever ambassadors to Israel next week, as the Jewish state continues to bolster its ties on the continent.

Senegal and Guinea, both of which recently upgraded their diplomatic relationships with Israel, announced that they are appointing ambassadors to the Jewish state for the first time, The Times of Israel reported.

Talla Fall, who represents Senegal and is based in Cairo, and Amara Camara, who represents Guinea and is based in Paris, will present their credentials to Israeli President Reuven Rivlin this week.

Senegal and Israel restored full diplomatic relations in June after falling out over Senegal’s sponsorship of United Nations Security Council resolution 2334, which ignored Israel’s claims to Jerusalem.

Israel and Guinea restored relations last July, nearly 50 years since Guinea broke ties over the Six-Day War in 1967.

In “Israel’s Influence Spreads Across Africa”, which was published in the February 2017 issue of The Tower Magazine, Seth Frantzman described Israel’s growing profile on the continent:

“On a trip to Senegal with Hirschson in the spring of 2016, I saw that up close. The Israeli embassy in Senegal is located in Dakar, a center of trade in West Africa. With its bustling downtown and epic 160-foot African Renaissance Monument, Dakar is a cultural hub. But it also has a tragic history of colonialism and slavery. For 300 years, slaves were exported from a small island off the coast called Goree. Visitors can see the dank cells where people were kept and the ‘door of no return’ from which people were shipped to the New World. But from this tragic past has arisen a success story, a democracy in West Africa with a unique form of localized Islam and a colorful local culture.

“‘Agriculture is the anchor of what we are doing here,’ says Hirschson. Doubling as Israel’s representative in Guinea-Bissau, Sierra Leone, and Cape Verde, Hirschson deals with projects throughout the region. For instance, Israel recently helped create the only dialysis center in Sierra Leone, and trained doctors and nurses in Israel.

“In March, Hirschson and I drove out to see what Israel has accomplished. The road out of Dakar’s urban landscape quickly turns into African grassland. Towering iconic baobab trees, with their giant trunks and little tufts of foliage, dot the landscape. Roads are lined with people selling agricultural products and farmers work the fields beside men herding goats and cows. At a small village named Touba-Toul, an hour or so east of Dakar, a gate leads to a pretty field. Rows of green onions are starting to grow and they stretch into the distance. Men come and go as they work in the fields. The project, in partnership with an Italian aid agency and the Senegalese agriculture ministry, brings Israeli expertise in drip irrigation to this dry climate.”

Source: (This article was originally published by The Israel Project, in its publication The Tower on 04 August 2017. Time related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Kobi Gideon/GPO

Prayer Focus
Bring other African nations before the Lord, praying that they too will choose to restore broken ties with Israel. Glorify God for Senegal and Guinea who are busy appointing ambassadors to Israel for the first time. Pray that the new ambassadors will have a life changing experience and share Israel’s goodness with their home countries.

Scripture

Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘In those days ten men from every language of the nations shall grasp the sleeve of a Jewish man, saying, Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.


- Zechariah 8:23

Jewish Mothers’ Israel Journey

by Itamar Eichner

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Participants in the JWRP trip to Israel

Friday, 11 August 2017 | A new trend of American Jewish mothers who decide to visit Israel for the first time in their lives has gotten significant coverage in American media. “MOMentum” is an eight-day subsidized journey in Israel. More than 11,000 Jewish mothers from 26 countries around the world—most coming from the United States—have already taken part in the project. To be eligible for the journey, women must have children under 18, not observe Shabbat, and have never been to Israel before.

According to the Jewish Women’s Renaissance Project (JWRP), the “MOMentum” trip stretches from the mystical Galilee city of Safed to the ancient desert mountaintop fortress Masada. Among other things, the mothers climb Masada, bathe in the Dead Sea, travel to Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, pray at the Western Wall, and get photographed against the backdrop of the Temple Mount and the Dome of the Rock.

The trips inspire women to connect deeply with their Jewish heritage, and transform themselves, their families, and ultimately their communities and the wider world.

During the journey, the Jewish mothers meet with mothers from Israel and from all over the Jewish world—meetings aimed at creating friendships across the continents. The mothers also meet soldiers and young Israelis who are about to enlist in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), and some of them receive Hebrew names during ceremonies in the Judean Desert.

“The ‘MOMentum’ trip emphasizes the Israeli government’s commitment towards the Jewish Diaspora and provides an unprecedented opportunity for Jewish women from different backgrounds to strengthen their Jewish identities and connections to Israel,” said Dvir Kahana, director general of the Ministry of Diaspora Affairs.  

“Women often express concern about leaving their children for eight days for a MOMentum trip,” said Lori Palatnik, JWRP’s founding director. “I explain that they are not leaving their kids, they are going for their kids. What they will gain on this life-changing trip will spill over into their homes in the most beautiful and profound way.”

Source: (Excerpt of article originally published by Ynetnews on 01 August 2017. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Facebook/JWRP

Prayer Focus
Rejoice as God is stirring a hunger within Jewish women to visit the land and connect with their heritage. Pray that they will fall in love, be transformed and blessed with a desire to make Israel their home. Thank God for the fulfillment of His promises that young children will literally play in the streets.

Scripture

The streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in its streets. I will bring them back, and they shall dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. They shall be My people and I will be their God, In truth and righteousness.


- Zechariah 8:5, 8

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