Help us bless the people of Israel.

Friday, August 13, 2021

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

Hezbollah behind 19-Missile Barrage at Israel, Threatens More

by Joshua Spurlock

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Israel’s Iron Dome intercepting incoming rockets (illustrative)

Monday, 9 August 2021 | The Hezbollah terror group fired 19 missiles at Israel on Friday, the largest such attack since the 2006 war between them, and warned of future attacks against Israel if conflict resumed. The IDF [Israel Defense Forces] Twitter feed reported that 10 of the 19 rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system, while six landed in open areas in Israel and the remaining three missiles landed inside Lebanon.

In response, Israel struck back at the rocket launching sites in Lebanon, according to another IDF tweet, noting, “We will not let attacks on Israeli civilians go unanswered.”

The incident followed rocket attacks against Israel from Lebanon and IDF counterstrikes on Thursday. According to the Times of Israel, the IDF believed those rockets were launched by Palestinian terrorists in Lebanon, as opposed to the more powerful Hezbollah group. After Friday’s round, where Hezbollah itself attacked Israel—which the Times of Israel noted was the worst attack since 2006—leaders of both sides were warning against further conflict.

“Even during the severe economic and political crisis in Lebanon, Iran and Hezbollah are entangling the citizens of Lebanon in a front against Israel,” Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said in comments released by his office on Sunday. “Lebanon and its army must take responsibility for what is happening in their backyard. In this case as well, it is less important to us if it was a Palestinian organization that was involved, or they were dissidents or independent. The State of Israel will not accept firing at its territory.”

Hezbollah Secretary General Hasan Nasrallah, meanwhile, warned the IDF would be destroyed in a future war with Israel. According to a report by the Hezbollah-affiliated Al-Manar TV, the Hezbollah leader claimed Friday’s rocket attack was a response to Israel’s self-defense counterstrikes on Thursday and was intended as retaliation to reset to the previous rules of engagement where neither side openly attacked the other for years.

While Nasrallah was trying to sound like the aggrieved party—even though it was Israel who was initially attacked by terrorists in Lebanon—the United States’ reaction placed the blame for Friday’s escalation on Hezbollah.

“The United States condemns in the strongest terms Hezbollah’s rocket attacks into Israel,” said spokesperson Ned Price in a statement published by the State Department. “This violence puts Israelis and Lebanese at risk and jeopardizes Lebanon’s stability and sovereignty.”

Since the Israel–Hezbollah war in 2006, the Lebanese military and United Nations peacekeepers are supposed to prevent Hezbollah from attacking Israel. While that goal has clearly been missed, that didn’t stop Israel or the US from reminding the Lebanese military of their responsibility.

“The United States remains engaged with Israeli and Lebanese officials, as well as the Lebanese Armed Forces. We call upon the Lebanese government urgently to prevent such attacks and bring the area under its control,” said Price, who also urged Lebanon’s government to “facilitate full access” for UN peacekeepers.

Said Price, “We strongly encourage all efforts to maintain calm.”

And it isn’t just Israel threatened by Hezbollah, an Iranian proxy backed by Tehran. Israeli Prime Minister’s Office Spokesman Ofir Gendelman posted to Twitter video taken by a Lebanese citizen that “exposes what #Hezbollah did this morning when it fired 19 rockets at Israel from populated areas, right next to people’s homes, in south Lebanon. That’s another war crime perpetrated by Hezbollah. Hezbollah occupies and destroys Lebanon for the Iranian regime.”

Bennett, in his comments on Sunday, said that Lebanese citizens are losing patience with Hezbollah, who in addition to controlling the country by armed force also holds powerful influence in the country’s government.

Said Bennett, “In the Lebanese sector, there has been a very important awakening by many citizens in the country against Hezbollah and the Iranian involvement there.”

As for future conflict, Israel is warning they will defend themselves as needed. In an Israeli press release recap of a call between Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz and US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin on Friday, Gantz said his country is asking the global community to “demand from the Lebanese government an end to rocket launches at Israel.”

Regardless of what the rest of the world does, the summary paraphrased Gantz as telling Austin that “Israel’s defense establishment is prepared for any scenario, and will continue to operate against Hezbollah or any of its proxies in order to defend Israeli citizens. At the same time, Israel is prepared to provide Lebanon with humanitarian aid through the international community or from Israel territory should it be needed.”

Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published by the Mideast Update on August 8, 2021. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today.)

Photo Credit: Israel Defense Forces/flickr.com

Photo License: flickr.com

Prayer Focus
Cry out to the Lord for His protection over Israel’s northern border. Pray that the Lebanese army and UN peacekeepers will own their responsibility to prevent Hezbollah from attacking Israel and ask the Lord for an end to Iranian support and influence. Pray that Israel’s offer of humanitarian aid will be accepted for the people of a country on the verge of economic collapse.

Scripture

For I will not trust in my bow, nor shall my sword save me. But You have saved us from our enemies, and have put to shame those who hated us.


- Psalm 44:6–7

Will an Israeli Vaccine be the Solution to New Variants?

by Abigail Klein Leichman ~ Israel21c via JNS

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A medical worker prepping a COVID-19 vaccine shot in Jerusalem

Tuesday, 10 August 2021 | Several COVID-19 vaccines under development in Israel hold out promise for their ability to protect against variants of the virus that are challenging existing vaccines.

Back in May 2020, research groups across the world were racing to formulate vaccines against the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.

Realizing it was not going to win that race, Israel purchased millions of Pfizer–BioNTech and Moderna mRNA vaccines from the United States and led the world in getting eligible citizens vaccinated.

Israel was the first country to offer the vaccine to 12- to 15-year-olds and to offer booster shots to immunocompromised people and those over 60.

However, domestic inoculations still to come may become significant, as primary vaccinations or as boosters against highly contagious variants of the virus.

BriLife

US-based NRx Pharmaceuticals will receive a license for exclusive worldwide development, manufacturing and marketing rights to the novel BriLife coronavirus vaccine developed by the Defense Ministry’s Israel Institute for Biological Research (IIBR).

BriLife is based on a previous, FDA-approved vaccine platform that was further optimized by IIBR and targeted at COVID-19. Because it is a live-virus vaccine, NRx anticipates rapid and affordable industrial scale-up and manufacturing.

“As the first-generation COVID vaccines are increasingly challenged by rapid mutation of the coronavirus, we aim to develop a vaccine that can rapidly scale at low cost to serve the needs of both the developed and the developing world,” says Chaim Hurvitz, director of NRx.

Hurvitz is co-leading this initiative with NRx Pharmaceuticals chairman and CEO Dr. Jonathan Javitt, a public-health expert who had leadership roles in seven successful healthcare IT and biopharma startups, and led drug-development programs for Merck, Allergan, Pharmacia, Novartis and Pfizer.

Javitt tells ISRAEL21c that BriLife presents the entire spike protein of the coronavirus to the body’s immune system, while mRNA vaccines present a small slice of the spike protein to the immune system.

“We expect BriLife will create a broader immunological response and will enhance protection against COVID-19 and its variants,” says Javitt.

BriLife is continuing Phase II clinical trials in Israel and the nation of Georgia. Phase III trials are to take place in Georgia, Ukraine and other European countries.

MigVax

MigVax, a vaccine-development start-up spun out of the Israeli Science and Technology Ministry’s Migal Galilee Research Institute, is developing an oral COVID-19 vaccine, MigVax-101.

This “sub-unit” vaccine contains pieces of coronavirus protein (not live or dead virus) delivered by mouth to stimulate antibodies and immune cells to fight coronavirus in mucosa, blood and cells.

On June 10, MigVax released results from preclinical tests on lab rats that demonstrated the potential effectiveness of MigVax-101 as an antibody booster for previously vaccinated people.

Now the company is raising funds to launch Phase I and Phase II human clinical trials. If such trials prove successful, the vaccine could be commercialized within a year after the trials begin.

An oral vaccine offers significant advantages over injected vaccines because it could be taken at home. Although it would have to be refrigerated, it would not need “deep freeze” conditions that make the mRNA vaccines expensive and difficult to ship and store.

MigVax says its vaccine candidate is uniquely positioned to tackle new variants because the subunit can be adapted quickly to novel variants.

And its protein components are stable, meaning the vaccine may remain effective for longer periods before requiring a booster.

Furthermore, MigVax-101 could be more acceptable to a wider population, including people wary of receiving injections of genetic or viral material, as well as infants, children, pregnant women and others.

Oravax

Another oral COVID-19 vaccine is under development at Oravax Medical, a subsidiary of Jerusalem-based Oramed Pharmaceuticals formed last March as a joint venture with India-based Premas Biotech.

Oravax capitalizes on Oramed’s proprietary protein oral delivery (POD) technology and Premas’s exclusive virus-like particle vaccine technology, which will target three SARS CoV-2 virus surface proteins—including proteins less susceptible to mutation.

That could make Oravax potentially effective against current and future mutations, both as a standalone vaccine and as a booster for previously vaccinated people.

“Our vaccine is a particularly strong candidate against the evolving COVID-19 virus due to its unique targeting of three proteins rather than one,” says Nadav Kidron, CEO of Oramed.

Oravax completed a successful pilot study on animals. Now the vaccine candidate is being tested in animals against variants, including the Delta variant.

Proof-of-concept clinical trials are soon to start in Israel at Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center to measure the level of antibodies and other immunity indicators.

Kidron has said that Oramed initially wants to target its vaccine to countries that haven’t been able to afford mRNA vaccines for their populations. An oral vaccine, as stated above, is less costly to ship, store and administer without the need of healthcare professionals.

Early Stages

Several other potential Israeli vaccines are in the early stages of development, some of them in labs at universities, including the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Tel Aviv University and Bar-Ilan University.

An oral sub-unit coronavirus vaccine being developed in Rehovot at TransAlgae would use an edible delivery vehicle based on engineered algae.

Bioencapsulated inside the algae, a specific coronavirus protein molecule travels intact through the digestive system to stimulate its target, the immune system.

Eyal Ronen, VP for business development, tells ISRAEL21c this vaccine candidate is undergoing preclinical trials. TransAlgae is seeking collaborations and strategic partnerships with American companies to advance development.

The company’s main field of expertise is animal and fish vaccines, as well as crop insecticides.

“We are not a pharma company and were not interested in going into human health at this moment. But our shareholders were asking us, why not use this for human beings? We took the challenge,” says Ronen.

Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published by Israel21c and republished by the Jewish News Syndicate on August 9, 2021. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90/JNS.org

Prayer Focus
Thank the Lord for the progress being made toward vaccines that may be significant in the fight against the coronavirus in all its mutations. Pray that clinical trials will proceed quickly and the vaccines will be in the hands of those that need them in the very near future. Praise the Lord again for His blessings on Israel that in turn bring blessing to the nations and make the world a better, safer place for everyone.

Scripture

The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth. He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He also will hear their cry and save them.


- Psalm 145:18–19

Embracing Life—Baby Born to Victims of 2018 Terror Attack in Ofra

by Janet Aslin

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(illustrative)

Wednesday, 11 August 2021 | A special baby was born in Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek hospital this week, the second child of Shira and Amichai Ish-Ran. His older brother, delivered by emergency C-section after his mother was seriously injured in a drive-by terrorist shooting in December 2018, lived just four days.

The baby’s birth fulfills the vow Shira made while still recovering at the hospital: “I will prove to them, I will show them. I will bring many more babies into this world. Am Yisrael chai [the people of Israel live].”

In 2018, the Ish-Rans lived in the area near Ofra, a community located 24 kilometers (15 mi.) north of Jerusalem on Route 60, the road to Shechem (or Nablus, as it is known in Arabic). Tragically this area, Israel’s biblical heartland which is known to the world as the West Bank, has seen more than its share of terror attacks.

A statement on Israel’s Foreign Ministry website reads: “Since September 2015, Israel has experienced a wave of terror perpetrated by individuals, inspired by vicious incitement in Palestinian social and traditional media and urged on by the Palestinian leadership.” The young family was caught up in that wave of terror.

On the evening of December 9, a white car approached Ofra’s bus stop and a gunman opened fire. That night seven people were wounded, 21-year-old Shira and her husband among them. Shira was 30 weeks pregnant with their first child. The young family was evacuated to Shaare Zedek to undergo medical treatment. Shira and Amichai eventually recovered from their wounds, but their premature son did not. 

As tragic as it is when a young life is snuffed out, this story ends on a hopeful note, with the birth of a healthy baby boy. This birth embodies the difference between the Palestinian incitement, which leads to death and Jewish determination to embrace life.

May Amichai and Shira be blessed with many more children, and may we, like so many of the Jewish people when they have faced tragedy, echo their cry, “Am Yisrael chai!

Source: (Bridges for Peace, August 11, 2021)

Photo Credit: Bridget Coila/flickr.com

Photo License: flickr.com

Prayer Focus
Praise God for the birth of this precious baby and for the strength and courage of his parents. Pray that Amichai and Shira will be comforted after the loss of their first child and filled with peace and not hatred. Pray that they will be blessed with many children and cry out to the Lord for a swift and permanent end to the terror that brought such tragedy to this young family and so many others.

Scripture

LORD, You have heard the desire of the humble; You will prepare their heart; You will cause Your ear to hear, to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, that the man of the earth may oppress no more.


- Psalm 10:17–18

Hamas Bars UN Inspectors from Examining Tunnel under UNRWA School in Gaza

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A hole leading into a tunnel, discovered in June 2021, that runs under an UNRWA-run school in the Gaza Strip.

Thursday, 12 August 2021 | Hamas prevented a team of United Nations inspectors from examining a tunnel discovered in June under a school in Gaza City’s Zaitoun neighborhood, Israel’s Kan news reported on Tuesday.

Citing Palestinian sources, the report stated that a UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS) bomb-disposal unit had arrived at the site a few days ago at the request of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), which runs the school.

Upon learning of the presence of UNMAS inspectors, Hamas police arrived on the scene and forced them to leave.

As a result, the UNMAS team canceled plans to inspect another UNRWA-run school—this one in Rafah, under which there is reportedly also a Hamas tunnel, according to the report.

In the absence of safety inspections, the schools will not be able to open next week as scheduled.

In response, Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan tweeted: “I’ve demanded that the UN Secretary-General & Director General of @UNRWA investigate this incident & all UNRWA facilities in Gaza to ensure that they are not being used by Hamas for terror. 4,000 Palestinian kids can’t go to school because of Hamas! The international community cannot ignore Hamas’s heinous human rights violations & the state of terror it inflicts on Gazans. Hamas is a terror organization that uses innocents & children as hostages & human shields.”

Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on August 11, 2021. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Twitter/JNS

Prayer Focus
Pray that the United Nations will indeed investigate this incident and examine this and all UNRWA facilities in Gaza, revealing the ways in which Hamas victimizes children and uses innocent people as human shields. Pray that the international community will recognize these and other human rights violations in Gaza and take every necessary step, including ending financial aid in the absence of safety inspections, to bring such activities to an end.

Scripture

Listen to Me, My people; and give ear to Me, O My nation: for law will proceed from Me, and I will make My justice rest as a light of the peoples.


- Isaiah 51:4

Polish Parliament Passes Law Blocking Holocaust Reparations

by Kate Norman

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Jewish civilians in German-occupied Poland being escorted at gun point.

Thursday, 12 August 2021 | Putting a strain on Polish–Israeli relations, Poland’s Parliament passed a law on Wednesday that will effectively block any attempts by Holocaust survivors and their heirs to reclaim property taken during the war or seek financial compensation. Though the law has yet to be approved by the Polish president to be officially inked into the rulebooks, Israeli and Jewish leaders are outraged.

The Polish law would invalidate claims on property confiscated more than 10 years ago and would also block attempts to sue for property confiscated more than 30 years ago—even throwing out pending legal proceedings from more than 30 years ago, once the new law is enacted.

The law is not specifically directed toward Jewish people, but will undoubtedly affect survivors or descendants of the more than three million Polish Jews murdered in the Holocaust.

The decision has drawn a hailstorm of condemnation from Israeli lawmakers who say the move will desecrate the memory of the Holocaust and be an injustice to the Holocaust survivors and their descendants.

“The State of Israel will not compromise an iota on Holocaust remembrance,” Israeli Foreign Minister Yair said in a statement. “I condemn the legislation of the Polish Parliament passed [Wednesday] that harms the memory of the Holocaust and the rights of its victims.”

“I will continue to oppose any attempt to rewrite history,” Lapid continued, “and to promote compromises and concessions at the expense of the Holocaust of the Jewish people and the rights of Holocaust victims.

“Poland knows what is the right thing to do,” he concluded, “repeal the law.”

The World Jewish Restitution Organization (WJRO) is “outraged” by the results of the vote on Wednesday, said WJRO chairman of operations, Gideon Taylor.

If Polish President Andrzej Duda signs the bill into law, Taylor said, “the Polish government will have effectively legally foreclosed the possibility for rightful owners to secure redress for what was taken from them.

“Poland is, of course, not responsible for what Nazi Germany did during the Holocaust,” Taylor continued, as quoted by the Jerusalem Post. “However, more than 30 years after the fall of Communism, Poland still benefits from this wrongfully acquired property.”

Poland has long attempted to distance itself from its problematic past. However, as Israel’s Knesset (Parliament) told their Polish counterparts in an open letter responding to the proposed law in July, that attempt “is mistaken and dangerous, because how is it possible to educate young people not to repeat crimes that weren’t committed?”

The letter urged Poland’s Parliament to “acknowledge the crimes and act to fix them. Not just for the sake of the victims’ memory and respect for the survivors, and not for the sake of relations between our countries, but for Poland.

“Acknowledging history, not rewriting it, is the act that would increase the respect for the Polish nation.”

Source: (Bridges for Peace, August 12, 2021)

Photo Credit: public domain/photosofwar.net/flickr.com

Photo License: flickr.com

Prayer Focus
Pray that the Polish president determines not to sign this new and unjust legislation. Pray for a true change of heart among Polish leadership that would allow them to face the crimes committed during the Holocaust and seek to make restitution rather than rewrite history. Also pray for remaining Holocaust survivors in Poland and around the world. Ask the Lord in His mercy to restore unto them the years that the locusts have eaten.

Scripture

‘Therefore all those who devour you shall be devoured; and all your adversaries, every one of them, shall go into captivity; those who plunder you shall become plunder, and all who prey upon you I will make a prey. For I will restore health to you and heal you of your wounds,’ says the LORD, ‘Because they called you an outcast saying: “This is Zion; no one seeks her.”

 


- Jeremiah 30:16–17

FM Lapid Making Historic Visit Morocco to Strengthen Ties

by Kate Norman

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Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid

Wednesday, 11 August 2021 | Foreign Minister Yair Lapid departed today for a two-day historic visit to Morocco to strengthen ties between the two nations, who reestablished diplomatic ties nearly a year ago. This is Lapid’s first visit to Morocco since the two countries signed a normalization agreement last year, and the first official visit by an Israeli foreign minister since 2003.

Lapid and his delegation will inaugurate the Israeli liaison office in the Moroccan capital of Rabat and meet with Lapid’s counterpart, Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita, Israel’s Foreign Ministry announced in a statement on Tuesday. The Israeli delegation also includes Foreign Affairs Director-General Alon Ushpiz, Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Chairman Ram Ben Barak, and Welfare and Social Services Minister Meir Cohen, who was born in Morocco.

Israel and Morocco have only recently resumed ties, as the two nations signed a normalization agreement in December 2020, making Morocco the fourth Arab-majority state to normalize relations with the Jewish state. Morocco follows Egypt in 1979, Jordan in 1994, and the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan in 2020, in the landmark Abraham Accords.

In the agreement, Morocco agreed to officially recognize the State of Israel, establish direct commercial flights—which finally happened in July, and pursue “full diplomatic, peaceful and friendly relations.”

Israel and Morocco previously established ties, albeit low-key, in 1993 after the Oslo Accords—but the ties came to a crashing halt after the Second Intifada (Arabic for “uprising”) in 2000, with Morocco shutting down their liaison offices and slamming the door on Moroccan–Israeli ties.

Then-Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom visited Morocco in 2003, attempting and failing to reopen the door. Cooperation and relations between the two states remained under the table until the landmark US-brokered Abraham Accords in 2020.

Alon Ushpiz, the foreign ministry director-general, visited Morocco in July to meet with Moroccan Foreign Minister Bourita and deliver an invitation from Lapid to visit Israel.

The Jewish community in Morocco numbered 250,000 before the reestablishment of Israel in 1948—which led to rioting and a mass Jewish exodus from the North African nation. Today, the Jewish population in Morocco stands at about 2,000, according to the Jerusalem Post. And Morocco still holds a special place in the heart of many Jewish Israelis with Moroccan lineage, with thousands of Israelis visiting the North African country each year.

“The historic visit is a continuation of a long-standing friendship and a deep connection of roots and tradition of the Jewish community in Morocco and the large community of Israelis with roots in Morocco,” Lapid said in a statement released by his office. “Now is the time for political economic activity, and we will continue to strive to reach agreements that bring innovation and opportunities to our countries.”

Source: (Bridges for Peace, August 11, 2021)

Photo Credit: Ralph Alswang/BrookingsInstitute/flickr.com

Photo Credit: flickr.com

Prayer Focus
Thank the Lord for the relationship that exists between Israel and Morocco. Pray that FM Lapid’s visit will yield much fruit, strengthening the partnership between the two nations and opening the door for further cooperation that will benefit the people of both countries.

Scripture

Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people He has chosen as His own inheritance.


- Psalm 33:12

Israel and Saudi Arabia Are Cooperating on Iran, Minister Says

by Liad Osmo

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(illustrative)

Wednesday, 11 August 2021 | Minister for Regional Cooperation Issawi Freij (Meretz [Party]) revealed that there are contacts with Gulf countries, including Saudi Arabia, on the matter of Iran.

In an interview on the Alhurra channel, part of the US Middle East Broadcasting Network on Monday, Friej said the threats by Iran were not only a problem for Israel or the Saudis and required a global response.

Israel and Saudi Arabia do not have diplomatic relations, but there have been signs of warming ties in recent years. Last year, Israeli airliners were granted permission to use Saudi airspace en route to the UAE [United Arab Emirates] after Israel and several Gulf states signed normalization agreements.

Freij said that his personal dream as a Muslim was to go on pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia without having to travel through a third country in order to do so. Israeli Muslims often travel via Jordan on their way to Mecca.

“I am convinced we will see such an opportunity soon,” he said.

Freij said that there are serious discussions on all levels of government with the UAE in the wake of last year’s diplomatic agreement with the Gulf state, including mutual visits and steps to advance bilateral projects.

“We are working on a number of projects and have already seen some taking shape, including in the medical field. We are certain there will be more cooperation for the benefit of both Emirati and Israeli society,” he said.

Freij said relations with neighboring Jordan had suffered from a crisis of trust in the past decade, but after Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s reported recent visit to Amman, steps were taken to solve the problem.

Israel and Jordan were set to cooperate on economy, renewable energy and water projects, the minister said, and added that Israel would build a water desalinization plant that would assist Jordan’s water supply.

“We will be making an important decision in the coming weeks that will have important implications for our relations with our Jordanian brothers,” he said.

Freij said the residents of the Gaza Strip were suffering and that his ministry was working to assist them.

One of the ways to do so is by putting into action the Paris Protocol, the part of the Oslo Accords that deals with economic development.

The agreement outlines the economic relations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority [PA], including the establishment of a Joint Economic Committee, the establishment of import/export duties, monetary and financial duties, taxation, local production, labor regulation, agricultural production, industry, tourism and insurance.

Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published by Ynetnews on August 10, 2021. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: FlazingoPhotos/flickr.com

Photo License: flickr.com

Prayer Focus
Pray for (Israeli government) Minister Freij and the critical role that he is playing in the ongoing development of relationships between Israel and the Arab states of the region. Pray that there will indeed be cooperation creating a powerful united front against the Iranian threat and for the success of the many other projects that are in the works.

Scripture

There are many plans in a man’s heart, nevertheless the LORD’S counsel—that will stand.


- Proverbs 19:21

Israel to Send Two Firefighting Planes to Battle Raging Wildfires in Greece

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Israeli firefighting plane battling forest fire near Jerusalem (illustrative)

Wednesday, 11 August 2021 | Israel will dispatch two firefighting aircraft to Greece to help combat wildfires that Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis described on Monday as “a natural disaster of unprecedented proportions.” Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett informed Kyriakos of the move on Monday, according to a statement from Bennett’s office.

An Israeli Air Force plane carrying equipment for the delegation of Israeli firefighters that traveled to Greece on Friday will join the two firefighting planes, the statement said.

The government of Israel would continue to render all possible assistance in dealing with the wildfires and would stand by the Greek people however it could, said Bennett. All Israelis wished for quieter and better days in Greece, he added.

Mitsotakis thanked Bennett for the assistance, and the two agreed to remain in regular contact and to continue the cooperation between the two countries.

Monday marked the seventh day a huge conflagration has raged on Greece’s second-largest island, Evia, blocking out the sun and turning the sky orange, according to AP.

The Evia fires are the most severe of hundreds that have broken out in Greece over the past week following the worst heat wave to hit the country in decades, AP reported.

The Israeli assistance, worth 3.5 million shekels (about [US] $1 million) was put together by the Prime Minister’s Office, in cooperation with the ministries of finance, defense, foreign affairs and public security.

Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on August 10, 2021. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90/JNS.org

Prayer Focus
Thank God for the assistance that Israel is lending to Greece during this time of unprecedented wildfires sweeping the nation. Pray for the protection of all of those fighting fires and for the success of the firefighting planes that Israel is providing. Cry out to the Lord for an end to this horrific natural disaster and beseech Him for significant rainfall and cooler temperatures. Also pray for the people of Greece who have lost property, homes and loved ones.

Scripture


Deliver me in Your righteousness, and cause me to escape; incline Your ear to me, and save me. Be my strong refuge, to which I may resort continually; You have given the commandment to save me, for You are my rock and my fortress.


- Psalm 71:2–3

Two Decades after Sbarro Suicide Bombing, Survivors’ Scars Are Still Healing

by Sharon Altshul ~ JNS

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The aftermath of the suicide bombing at the Sbarro pizzeria in Jerusalem

Tuesday, 10 August 2021 | Twenty years ago yesterday, a suicide bomber blew himself up in the Sbarro restaurant at the corner of King George Street and Jaffa Road in the center of Jerusalem. Fifteen people were murdered, including even children, and 130 people injured. Dozens of families were destroyed in the blast.

The survivors have moved on, each in their own way, one day at a time. The nails and bolts packed into the bomb to increase its destructive properties have been removed with multiple surgeries over the years. Scars from the skin damaged in intense heat have healed under expert medical care.

On Monday at 2 p.m., posts on social media repeatedly recounted the names of those murdered on August 9, 2001. But what about those who survived, who are also victims? Where are they today? How have they coped with their losses over the past two decades? How have they moved on without their loved ones?

One of the injured victims, Chana Nachenberg, has been in a vegetative state for the past 20 years. Her daughter, Sarah Shalev, who was two years old when injured in the blast along with her mother, admits during her teenage years that it was so difficult for her to see her mother that she didn’t go to the hospital to visit. Sarah often had to walk out of her friends’ bat mitzvah [religious coming-of-age for girls] celebrations, and later, their weddings, when she realized that her mother would never celebrate with her. Even fireworks and bonfires were at times a source of trauma.

Now married and the mother of a young daughter, Sarah addressed an event hosted by OneFamily, a nonprofit organization providing financial and other assistance to thousands of terror victims throughout Israel.

“Today, my daughter Talia is approaching the age I was at the time of the terrorist attack, which raises fears, anxieties, and especially, a feeling of sadness about my mother not being active in my life,” she said. “However, I hope that unlike me, she gets to grow up with a loving mother who is always there for her at every moment of her life.”

Chaya Schijveschuurder was eight when her parents and siblings went out for lunch at the popular pizzeria and were killed in the blast; she was seriously injured. Today, she is married and has a young son. As a teenager, the creation of the OneFamily helped Chaya; like many youth movements, it gave her “a sense of belonging.”

At the time of the terror attack, 12-year-old Michal Belzberg was preparing for her bat mitzvah in Jerusalem. On hearing the news of the murdered and the injured, she asked her parents, Marc and Chantal, to cancel her party and donate the money to help the survivors and their families. That’s how the OneFamily fund got started.

‘Where Do We Go with Survivors’ Guilt?’

The Sbarro bombing, for which Hamas and the Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility, occurred a year after the start of the Second Intifada [uprising]—a decision by Palestinian leadership to strap bombs on Arab men and women to blow up on buses, restaurants, nightclubs and other areas where Israel civilians congregated. The violence began in September 2000 and lasted until February 2005. It claimed the lives of about 1,000 Israelis, as well as 64 foreigners.

Arnold and Frimet Roth’s daughter, Malki, 15 at the time, was killed with her friend, Micha Raziel. The Roths established the Malki Foundation, a nonprofit empowering families to choose home care for their children with disabilities. The Roths have also worked to get Sbarro massacre mastermind Ahlam Tamimi extradited from Jordan to stand trial in the United States.

Born and raised in Los Angeles, teacher and graduate student Shoshana Greenbaum, who was killed in Sbarro, was the only child of Eliyahu Dovid Hayman. Her loss was magnified by the fact that she was pregnant when murdered. Her bereaved father finds comfort in the words of one of her students several years after the Sbarro bombing, addressed to Shoshana.

“One thing, however, that people have said about you over and over after your death has really hurt me and struck me as untrue. They say that it is so very sad how you died pregnant with your first child, and thus never had the privilege of caring for children of your own.

“I completely disagree, Morah [teacher]. You know why? Because I am your child, and every other student whom you ever taught considers themselves also as your child. And therefore, Morah, you have had hundreds of children, in whom you’ve planted seeds of love and Torah [Gen.–Deut.].”

Michael Schumacher, father of Sbarro survivor Yaffa Schumacher, asked, “There are weddings. Families. Year after year, where do we go with survivors’ guilt?”

He said he finds his inspiration, quoting the late Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, in the writings of Austrian Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl, who went on to become one of the world’s leading neurologists and a renowned psychiatrist: “Our lives are not determined by what happens to us, but rather by how we react to it.”

In Man’s Search for Meaning, Frankl identified the way of realizing meaning in life: by making a difference in the world, by taking one’s experiences and using them to move forward.

Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on August 9, 2021. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Flash90/JNS.org

Prayer Focus
Pray for the countless people throughout Israel who are dealing with survivor guilt. Ask the Lord to bring them comfort, give them peace and instill in their hearts the spirit of the words of Viktor Frankl. Also pray for those that are still dealing with physical ramifications of terror, asking the Lord for healing and restoration. Thank Him for the resilience of the Jewish people and the example set by Michal Belzberg.

Scripture

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you. For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior…Since you were precious in My sight, you have been honored, and I have loved you…”


- Isaiah 43:1-3a, 4

Ben & Jerry’s Franchisees Call for Company to Rescind Israel Decision

by Aaron Bandler ~ Jewish Journal via JNS

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Ben & Jerry’s ice cream shop

Friday, 6 August 2021 | Several US Ben & Jerry’s franchisees have sent a letter to the company calling on them to rescind their July 19 decision to stop doing business in the “Occupied Palestinian Territory.”

The letter was signed by franchisees in Seattle, Boston, San Francisco and St. Louis, among other major cities, that operate 30 stores and generate [US] $23.3 million in combined revenue.

“There is a danger that the pursuit of social justice will descend into political correctness or result in the adoption of overly simplistic solutions by people who share a single view of the world that misconstrue complex problems in which multiple claims of justice are implicated,” the letter states.

Its authors cite the Israeli–Palestinian conflict as an example, arguing that there are “multiple and conflicting claims of justice made” with regard to the conflict, and that any proposed solution should address those claims.

Moreover, the boycott decision comes with serious financial consequences, the letter continues.

“The decision that has been made to terminate the contract with Ben & Jerry’s licensee in Israel not only distorts the situation on the ground—it has imposed, and will continue to impose, substantial financial costs on all of us,” the letter states.

“More importantly, the controversy your recent actions have brought upon our local businesses has had an adverse effect on the value of our independently owned franchises and investments,” the franchisees state, adding that their respective families and communities “have shamed us personally for doing business not just with a company that draws controversy, but with one that continues to consider the calculated negative affect on its franchisees as acceptable collateral damage.”

They conclude the letter by stating: “Those who feel strongly about Israel that they want to boycott it or some part of the territory it administers are free to do so. They cannot, however, do that at our expense. We believe this decision needs to be re-examined and withdrawn.”

The American Jewish Committee lauded the letter, noting that they aided the franchisees in drafting it.

Jake Novak, the Broadcast Media Director for the Israeli Consulate General of New York, tweeted that the letter was “very, very important” because “franchisees often take their franchise owners to court over stuff like this. There are lawyers who specialize in these kinds of cases and win. This is a red flag for #Benandjerrys parent company.”

Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish Journal and republished by the Jewish News Syndicate on August 5, 2021. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Joshua Small Photographer/Shutterstock/jns.org

Prayer Focus
Praise the Lord for the action taken by these franchises. Pray that it will have the desired effect and Ben and Jerry’s anti-Semitic decision will be rescinded. Pray that these courageous business owners will persevere even if legal action is required.

Scripture

The righteousness of the blameless will direct his way aright, but the wicked will fall by his own wickedness.


- Proverbs 11:5