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 firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to receive this Prayer Update by e-mail.
“Our Abilities Would Surprise Our Enemies,” Says Outgoing IAF Commander
by Yoav Zitun
Tuesday, 15 August 2017 | Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin officially assumed command of the Israel Air Force (IAF) in a ceremony held at Tel Nof Airbase on Monday evening.
The ceremony was attended by Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot and US Air Force Chief of Staff, Gen. David Goldfein.
Norkin is replacing Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel, who is retiring from the IDF [Israel Defense Forces] after 40 years of service.
During Eshel’s tenure, two major operations were conducted in the Gaza Strip—the 2012 Operation Pillar of Defense and the 2014 Operation Protective Edge—along with hundreds of sorties and covert operations beyond Israel’s borders, including strikes against Hamas and Hezbollah.
“The Middle East is changing before our eyes. The global transformation in the balance of forces and the changing battlefield continue to expand the responsibility and mission of the Air Force. It also requires us to continue developing our capabilities to deal with the challenges of the future,” said Norkin.
“The Air Force will continue to acquire new and advanced technologies. The Air Force of the future will continue to strengthen its ties with other air forces and strengthen Israel’s standing in the region and in the world. I take this command with confidence in our people and our capabilities,” Norkin concluded.
In his remarks, Eshel said, “The skills of the IAF in offense and defense have been tested in recent years in thousands of operations across five arenas; both in close range and thousands of kilometers from home. Threats were thwarted, rockets were destroyed and aircraft were intercepted in the Middle East and beyond its borders.
“The Israeli Air Force gives the IDF unprecedented strength. Our enemies cannot imagine its quality and scope. If we are forced to fight, they will be very surprised. Our personnel are extremely professional, determined and humble.”
Lt. Gen. Eizenkot echoed the confidence in the IAF of both men, saying, “The Air Force is the strategic arm that is the guarantor of the security of the State of Israel. The map of threats is expanding and changing at a rapid pace, which obligates us to adapt our capabilities to the modern battlefield.
“At our borders terrorist organizations are organizing and growing stronger. The IDF needs a very high level of preparedness against any threat.”
Photo Credit: IDF Spokesperson
Lift up the new commander of the Israeli Air Force, Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin, as he faces the challenges of the future with the terror organizations that are growing stronger on the borders of Israel. Thank God for every soldier and for their professionalism, determination and preparedness to defend Israel against any threat.
Now I know that the LORD saves His anointed; He will answer him from His holy heaven with the saving strength of His right hand. Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; but we will remember the name of the LORD our God.
As ISIS Moves out, Iran Moves in, Netanyahu Warns
by Ilse Posselt
Tuesday, 15 August 2017 | Throughout 2014, the world watched in horror as the Islamic State’s (ISIS) reign of terror crept across an already unstable Middle East. By the end of that year, the Salafi jihadist militant group held vast swathes of land in western Iraq and eastern Syria as well as pockets of territory in Nigeria, Libya, Afghanistan and Egypt in its iron grip. The name ISIS, or Daesh, the Arabic term for the terror group, instilled fear and trepidation in hearts everywhere.
Three years later, ISIS’s bloody conquest across the Middle East and North Africa finally seems to be drawing to a close. Over the last months, opposition forces have steadily beaten back the terror group and managed to win back half of the area Daesh conquered.
While this is certainly good news, both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Mossad chief, Yossi Cohen warned over the weekend that another evil power stands poised to take over the territories left ravaged and teetering in the wake of ISIS’s retreat.
“The areas where Daesh presence is decreasing, Iran is working to fill the void,” Cohen cautioned during a security briefing to cabinet ministers on Sunday.
The Middle East, the spy chief said, is changing for the worse, as Iran, the world’s leading state sponsor of terror, continues to spread its reach and influence across the region.
Israeli security officials have long since claimed that Tehran has its eye on the territory previously held by ISIS in western Iraq and eastern Syria to form a “land bridge” that links Iran to Lebanon, thus creating a secure corridor through which to move weapons and fighters. Cohen confirmed on Sunday that the Islamic Republic is indeed taking over territory, both for itself as well as for its terror proxies in Lebanon and Yemen.
Cohen added that despite the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action signed between Iran and the P5+1 (the United Nations Security Council’s five permanent members, namely China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States, plus Germany), Tehran has not given up on its ambition to become a nuclear threshold state. In fact, instead of blocking Iran’s path to the atomic bomb, the agreement “only reinforced that trend and strengthened Iranian aggression in the region.”
For his part, Netanyahu confirmed that Cohen has briefed the government on the security challenges that stare Israel in the face. “I will give you a summary in one sentence: ISIS going out, Iran coming in. Simple.”
Speaking during a ceremony in Ashdod, the prime minister assured his audience that the Jewish state will not sit idly by as the threat develops. “Our policy is clear. We firmly oppose the military buildup of Iran and its proxies, primarily Hezbollah, in Syria. And we will do whatever it takes to protect Israel’s security.”
“We are guarding the state and its borders,” Netanyahu vowed. “We are strengthening the IDF, strengthening the security forces all the time, in order to ensure security, because we know first and foremost that in order to build the land, we have to protect the land.”
The prime minister’s office also released a statement later on Sunday, commenting on Cohen’s presentation to the cabinet earlier that day. According to the statement, “Israel is in no way beholden to international treaties signed by Iran. Israel will continue to operate with determination and in a variety of ways in order to protect itself from those threats.”
Source: (Bridges for Peace, 15 August 2017)
Photo Credit: Twitter/Benjamin Netanyahu
Glorify the God of Israel, the One who neither slumbers nor sleeps, and ask that Israel and her northern borders be protected from the threat of Iran’s presence in Syria. Pray for guidance for Israel’s leadership, asking that they will continue to lead with determination, trusting in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.
Hezbollah Leader Threatens Nuclear Terror against Israel
Thursday, 17 August 2017 | In a speech celebrating the eleventh anniversary of the end of the second Lebanon war with Israel, Hezbollah leader, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah warned that the terrorist organization could target Israel’s nuclear reactor in Dimona, effectively threatening nuclear terror against the Jewish state.
Nasrallah boasted that Hezbollah was 100 times more powerful—armed by Iran in violation of United Nations Security Council resolution 1701, which ended the war—than it was in 2006.
Noting that Israel had emptied an ammonia tank near Haifa following his threat to attack it, Nasrallah said, “We hope that they will look into moving the nuclear reactor in Dimona as it is more dangerous and needs extra care.”
According to the United Nations’ 2005 International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, attacking the Dimona facility could constitute nuclear terrorism. An attack on such a facility could cause the release of radioactive material, which would lead to mass casualties among the surrounding population.
Nasrallah previously threatened to target the Dimona reactor in February of this year. A few weeks later, a website with ties to Hezbollah released a video showing the sites in Israel that Hezbollah would target in the future. One of the targeted sites was the Dimona reactor.
Source: (This article was originally published by The Israel Project, in its publication The Tower on 16 August 2017. Time related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)
Photo Credit: Public domain/wikimedia.org
Photo License: Wikimedia
Cry out against Israel’s enemies who continuously try to intimidate and pressure the Israeli government and her leaders with their hunger to start a nuclear war. Pray that PM Netanyahu and other leaders will have confidence in their decisions and wisdom to guide the nation which lies in the middle of a turbulent region.
Do not be afraid of sudden terror, nor of trouble from the wicked when it comes; for the LORD will be your confidence, and will keep your foot from being caught.
Hamas Considers Replacing Civilian Rule in Gaza with Military Rule
by Elior Levy and Roi Kais
Monday, 14 August 2017 | Hamas is reportedly considering advancing an unprecedented move in the Gaza Strip in response to the harsh sanctions imposed on it by the Palestinian Authority. This is a scenario that has been taken into account in Israel and could lead to chaos in the Gaza Strip. A source within Hamas said that the organization’s military wing recently submitted a proposal to the organization’s political leadership, suggesting Hamas create a political and security vacuum in the Gaza Strip by waiving its management of the Gaza Strip.
In such a scenario, Hamas will not hand the reins of power over to the Palestinian Authority, but implement a four-part plan that will create a vacuum in the Strip that could lead, among other things, to a new military confrontation with Israel.
The plan details that after Hamas relinquishes its political rule over to the Gaza Strip, Gaza police will continue to function together with local institutions that will provide services to Gaza residents. At the same time, security forces in the Strip that are subordinate to Hamas will carry out civilian missions but not security ones. Hamas’s military wing would then fill the security vacuum in Gaza, by assuming control over the region’s security and deploying its forces throughout the territory, along with the smaller military forces of other factions.
The proposal is perceived as a threat to Abbas, as it pushes to create a military regime in Gaza without civilian rule, a reality that could easily devolve into unbridled violence. Hamas is apparently also aiming to have Arab countries pressure Abbas to lift sanctions off the Gaza Strip, in an effort to prevent a possible military escalation against Israel.
The sanctions imposed by Abbas against Hamas in recent months include halting the delivery of diesel fuel to Gaza’s power plant, halting payments to Israel for the electricity consumed in Gaza, the cessation of salaries by the Palestinian government to many government officials in Gaza, the reduction of medication deliveries to hospitals in the Gaza Strip, and a reluctance to pay for the passage of patients from the Gaza Strip to Israel, in addition to funding their stay in Israeli hospitals.
The sanctions on the Gaza Strip come following Abbas’s demand that the Hamas-led governance of the Gaza Strip be dismantled: since the governance serves as a sort of shadow government in Gaza, Abbas’s ultimate goal in the matter is for Hamas to relinquish its governing powers and transfer sovereignty to the Palestinian Authority.
Photo Credit: IDFblog
Bring Israel’s southern border and the Gaza Strip before God, praying for peace in the region without any future military confrontation that might come as a result of Abbas’ sanctions against the Gaza Strip. Also pray that the men and women of the IDF serving in the region will be strengthened and given wisdom to develop future strategies against Hamas.
For You have armed me with strength for the battle; You have subdued under me those who rose up against me.
Palestinian Kids Play-Shoot Toy Guns at Israeli Police
by Elior Levy
Wednesday, 16 August 2017 | Exactly a month after three Israeli Arabs brought firearms into the Temple Mount complex and gunned down two Israeli patrolmen, three Palestinian children were filmed play-shooting toy guns at Israeli policemen.
The man who filmed the video appears to be taking great pleasure from the scene, while an older Palestinian woman standing nearby is seen smiling and documenting the “shooting” as well.
The children in the video are seen shouting at the police officers, calling out “allahu akbar,” and then following the police squad and continuing to “shoot” at it.
The police officers maintained their composure and carried on with their patrol while ignoring the children.
Meanwhile, none of the Palestinian adults standing in the vicinity made any effort to stop the children. In fact, the adults around the children appeared to be encouraging this display of hatred.
Photo Credit: Screenshot/YouTube/The Tower
Praise God for the wonderful work of the Israeli police force and their great attitude as they serve all walks of life in Israel. Lift up every officer, praying for sound minds and discernment as they are being ridiculed by some of the population. Cry out for the next generation of children who are being indoctrinated with hatred and encouraged to rehearse the shooting of Israeli police.
Who is wise? Let them realize these things. Who is discerning? Let them understand. The ways of the LORD are right; the righteous walk in them, but the rebellious stumble in them.
Mossad Chief to Visit Washington to Give Security Briefing on Syria
by Itamar Eichner
Thursday, 17 August 2017 | Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is sending a security delegation to the United States that will include Mossad director Yossi Cohen.
American news site Axios reports that the delegation will arrive in Washington later in the week and will meet with National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster, his deputy Dina Powell, US Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt and other senior officials.
According to the report, the meetings will not deal with renewing negotiations with the Palestinians, but rather the security situation in Syria and Lebanon.
President Trump’s son-in-law and close advisor Jared Kushner, together with Greenblatt, helped organize the visit.
The visit comes after Netanyahu warned of Iran’s expanding regional influence, particularly in Syria.
Following a briefing about security challenges facing Israel, Netanyahu said, “I’ll give you a summary in one sentence—ISIS going out, Iran coming in. Simple. We’re mostly talking about Syria.
“Our policy is clear: We firmly oppose to the military buildup of Iran and its proxies, primarily Hezbollah, in Syria. We will do whatever it takes to protect Israel’s security,” he stressed.
Photo Credit: Amos Ben Gershom/GPO
Lift up the security delegation of Israel who will visit the United States for a briefing regarding the security situation in Syria and Lebanon. Ask God to give them wisdom and to guide their hearts and mouths as they propose possible solutions and strategies to their counterparts in the US. Thank God for the opportunity and initiative to fight terrorism together as two are stronger than one!
Lead me, O LORD, in Your righteousness because of my enemies; make Your way straight before my face.
Daughter of US Ambassador Friedman Immigrates to Israel
by Itamar Eichner
Wednesday, 16 August 2017 | Talia Friedman, 23, daughter of US Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, officially immigrated to Israel on Tuesday morning, together with 232 other new Israeli citizens.
Ambassador Friedman greeted his daughter when she disembarked at Ben Gurion Airport, saying, “We are so proud of her and love her very much; we only want her to be happy. She loves Israel and our whole family loves Israel.”
Friedman is a nurse and until now, has worked at a New York hospital. “I hope she will bring aid to those who need her here in Israel,” said her father.
Ambassador Friedman added that Talia “always wanted to move to Israel. She is fulfilling her dream and the whole family is proud of her. We’re here to welcome her, to hug her and wish her the best of luck in Israel.”
Talia immigrated to Israel with the help of the Nefesh B’Nefesh organization, which promotes, encourages and facilitates Jewish immigration to Israel. She plans on making her home in Jerusalem.
Together with Friedman arrived 75 children, 21 families and 99 other young men and women, 72 of who will volunteer for IDF [Israel Defense Forces] service as lone soldiers.
Photo Credit: Facebook/United With Israel
Give thanks to God for the childhood calling and desire of Ambassador Friedman’s daughter, Talia, to make the Promised Land home. Pray that all the new immigrants will find their feet quickly and easily as they settle in a new environment where everything is different—from grocery shopping to school books and new systems for basic needs. Thank God for those who have heeded the call and ask for the hearts of others to be awakened and make aliyah.
I will whistle for them and gather them, for I will redeem them; and they shall increase as they once increased. I will sow them among the peoples, and they shall remember Me in far countries; they shall live, together with their children, and they shall return.
Bridges for Peace actively helps new immigrants to Israel during their first difficult period of adjustment. Consider partnering with us through a donation to our New Immigrant fund and helping a Jewish person come home.
Children of Terror Victims Attend Special Summer Camp
by Yishai Porat
Tuesday, 15 August 2017 | Some 150 children who either hurt or lost loved ones in terror attacks arrived at the Ben Shemen Forest in central Israel on Sunday for a special summer camp.
Among the campers were three of the children of Elad Salomon, 35, who was murdered along with his father Yosef, 70, and sister Haya, 46, by a terrorist who infiltrated the family home in the settlement of Halamish last month.
“This summer, because of the attack, we haven’t done any activities,” said Elad’s widow Michal, who brought their three elder children to the camp—Avinoam, 10.5, Reut, 9, and Amitai, 5. “I’m glad this activity gave us the opportunity to break away from everyday routine.”
“It’s a miracle we’re alive,” she added. “It’s thanks to my late husband, who fought the terrorist with all of his strength, and I admire him for that.”
While the children enjoyed the drum circles and jeep tours led by the Jeep Unit of ZAKA Israel, they did miss their father dearly.
“It’s a shame dad wasn’t with us, because he would have enjoyed it a lot,” said nine-year-old Reut. “We think about him all the time. During today’s activity, we were able to forget about the attack for a little bit and managed to have some fun.”
Other campers included the children of the Shabo family from Itamar, which lost five of its members in 2002 when two Palestinian terrorists broke into their home, and Ayala Shapira, who suffered serious burns when a Molotov cocktail was thrown at the car she was traveling in.
Apart from the Salomon family, the rest of the campers headed at the end of the day to Eilat for three days.
“Families who experienced disasters, such as serious terror attacks, don’t forget the sights and feelings for the rest of their lives,” explained ZAKA CEO Israel Hezi Shavaks. “That is why we view it as very important to allow them to have experiences that could help them forget the difficult times, if only a little bit.”
Photo Credit: Twitter/Ben Shemen forest
Ask God to bless these children whose lives will never be the same again, giving them joyful memories of these precious times that will overturn the horror images imprinted in their minds. Pray for special friendships to be sealed with others who understand their grief and lift them up, praying that they will overcome their fears and begin to have peaceful nights' rest and delightful dreams.
When you lie down, you will not be afraid; yes, you will lie down and your sleep will be sweet.
Government Develops Plan to Bring Families of Lone Soldiers to Israel
by Amichai Attali
Monday, 14 August 2017 | Minister of Diaspora Affairs Naftali Bennett is promoting a government decision to bring the parents and families of lone soldiers serving in the IDF [Israel Defense Forces] to Israel to visit their children during their service.
More than 2,900 lone soldiers whose parents live abroad are currently serving in the IDF. While there are organizations that facilitate parental visits to Israel, not all parents of serving lone soldiers can afford such an expense.
As such, the Ministry of Diaspora Affairs—in conjunction with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Defense— will formulate and implement a unique program for organized visits.
The program is expected to operate in a manner similar to the Taglit-Birthright Israel project and will include flights to and from Israel, accommodations and sightseeing throughout Israel. Lone soldiers will join their families for a significant part of their trip.
“The parents and families of lone soldiers are providing the nation what they value the most and throughout their service, they do not see their child and are not in any official contact with the State of Israel,” said Bennett.
“We must work to strengthen their contact with their families as part of a commitment on behalf of the government of Israel, which has a commitment to Jews around the world.”
Photo Credit: IDFblog
Magnify the Lord of Hosts for every single lone soldier serving the nation of Israel, all alone. Pray for the peace of mind of their families who have limited contact with them. Thank God for this wonderful project that will strengthen family ties by a sponsored organized visit for those who cannot afford to visit their children.
You, LORD, hear the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry.
Israel Comes to the Aid of Disaster-stricken Sierra Leone
by Ilse Posselt
Wednesday, 16 August 2017 | It happened in the early hours of Monday morning, while many were still tucked into bed, fast asleep. Heavy rains had been pounding Sierra Leone’s capital, Freetown, all of the previous day and throughout the night. Just before 6:00 a.m., a hillside on the outskirts of the city gave way under the massive downpour. Within a matter of moments, humans, houses, cars and furniture disappeared in the ensuing river of surging mud and water.
According to international media, the floods that ravaged the western African nation earlier this week are the worst to hit the region in over two decades and the most devastating Freetown has ever experienced. “Entire communities have been wiped out,” a distraught Sierra Leonean President, Ernest Bai Koroma, told the media yesterday. “We need urgent support now.”
As the people of Sierra Leone hunt frantically amidst the ruin for the thousands who are still missing and scurry to bury those who have perished, Israel is answering the call for help and coming to the aid of the disaster-stricken nation.
Hours after the mudslide, the Jewish state announced that Israel would dispatch immediate humanitarian aid to Sierra Leone. “The prime minister has ordered the Foreign Ministry to extend aid to Sierra Leone in any way and as soon as possible,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said.
Since Israel does not have an embassy in Sierra Leone, the statement explained that medicine, clean water, blankets and other much-needed items would be sent through the Jewish state’s embassy in Senegal.
Nearly 24 hours later, an Israeli delivery of some 10,000 meals to feed the thousands displaced by the disaster arrived in Freetown. The Jewish state’s shipment was the first international aid to reach the reeling nation.
Israel’s ambassador to West Africa, Paul Hirschon, who shoulders the responsibility of coordinating the Jewish state’s relief efforts in Freetown, posted a picture of the food delivery on his official Twitter account, tweeting that he was “proud to say” that the meals were the first aid from the international community to arrive in Sierra Leone.
Emmanuel Nahshon, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson, also tweeted a picture of Israeli food packages, saying that the initial delivery to Freetown constituted some 10,000 meals.
More aid from Israel, including medical assistance, is reportedly on its way. Moreover, the Israeli aid agency, IsraAID, confirmed on Tuesday that it had a team on the ground in the ravaged area to “provide relief and psycho social support.”
This is not the first time that Israel has come to Sierra Leone’s aid. In 2014, Jerusalem sent a field hospital and staff to the West African nation to help combat the Ebola epidemic that claimed more than 4,000 lives in the country alone. According to The Times of Israel, the Jewish state also gave a $10 million contribution to the Ebola aid fund, which constituted the sixth-largest contribution worldwide.
The disaster comes at a time in which Israel has been developing closer relations with a number of West African nations, including Sierra Leone. Sierra Leonean President Koroma paid a visit to Israel in January of this year, the first ever trip to the Promised Land by a head of state from this nation. At the time, Koroma expressed his hope to “rekindle” Freetown’s long-standing “fraternal relationship” with Jerusalem. For his part, Netanyahu offered to send an Israeli delegation to assist the country’s development. According to the United Nations, Sierra Leone is one of the poorest countries in the world.
A tiny nation with a huge heart
Despite constant attacks and criticism leveled at the Jewish state from across the globe, Israel is often the first to rush to the aid of those in need. Over the past six decades, with little fanfare and minimal press coverage, the country has provided humanitarian aid to more than 140 disaster-stricken nations, a number of which still refuse to maintain diplomatic relations with Israel.
The tiny nation’s commitment to offer a helping hand is indeed a long-standing one. “Within a decade of Israel’s founding, the government and its people demonstrated a deep commitment to engage in humanitarian relief efforts,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website explains.
The people of Israel remain true to that vision. Regardless of where catastrophe hits, the Jewish state is often the first on the frontlines, flying thousands of miles, to bring doctors and nurses, rescue workers, medical supplies, equipment and more to devastated areas. In fact, the tiny country’s huge heart of compassion and care is often most clearly visible in a nation far from home, helping people who are not their own survive the rubble of their shattered lives.
Source: (Bridges for Peace, 16 August 2017)
Photo Credit: Facebook/IsraAID
Rejoice as Israel’s heart of compassion and care stretches across the globe to bring relief for those whose lives lie shattered in the rubble of Sierra Leone. Ask God to bless the staff of IsraAID with love and wisdom as they provide relief and social support and once again come to the rescue of those in critical need.
The LORD is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit.
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