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 email@example.com if you would like to receive this Prayer Update by e-mail.
UAE Agreement Could Usher in a New Golden Age for Israel
by Alex Fishman
Tuesday, 18 August 2020 | In the last year, the Carnegie Institution of Washington reported annual trade between Israel and the Gulf states of more than [US] $1 billion.
A large portion of this sum is due to deals made between Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the field of security.
The newly announced bilateral agreement—which shines a light on a previously secret relationship that has known its fair share of ups and downs since the signing of the first Oslo Accords in 1993—will not have any significant impact on the business–security relations between the two countries.
The deep and obvious strategic interest of both countries is rooted in their cooperation against Iran, Hezbollah and other global jihadist organizations such as ISIS.
This shared interest between the two states has helped Israel’s defense industries and companies engaged in advanced agriculture to prosper.
Additionally, over the last two years, Israel has expanded its economic–military dealings in the Gulf states thanks to a new venture. The UAE is, for example, seeking to produce its own weapons instead of purchasing from others.
This includes an upgrade to its old armaments, and this is where Israel’s arms industry comes in.
In the past, these same industries reportedly helped upgrade the UAE’s F-16 fighter jets. Upgrading the UAE’s weapons now will surely prove to be a lucrative business opportunity for Israel.
The reports regarding the business–military relationship between the two countries mention sales of missile defense systems, precision-guided armament, building a comprehensive border defense system, producing UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles] and drones, and developing other technological systems for homeland defense.
According to these same reports, Israel has also contributed its knowledge and systems in the field of cyber and electronic warfare.
This hefty list is a testament to the fact that Israel’s defense establishment—which approves classified military exports to the Gulf states and especially to the UAE—sees these states as posing no threat to Israel.
The agreement with the UAE will only strengthen Israel’s response to the threat from Iran, which has entrenched itself right in Israel’s backyard in Lebanon, Syria and Gaza—and turned them to a constant security threat to Israel.
An official Israeli presence in the UAE near the Iranian border serves to present the same security risk for Iran. This is in addition to the Iranian claim that Israel is using Azerbaijan, a country adjacent Iran, to disrupt the peace at the border.
In order for Israel to best utilize its presence in the area, intelligence collaborations are required between Israel and the UAE, which apparently already exist.
The agreement between the UAE and Israel has made Iran much more susceptible to Israel’s eyes and ears. This collaboration could definitely weaken the threatening Shiite axis.
The UAE has spent the last few years deepening its involvements in the Middle East and in Northern Africa. This includes building military bases and naval ports in various countries in these areas.
For Israel, an ally which has proxies in the most important areas of conflict is an indispensable strategic asset and ally.
Furthermore, the UAE has greatly enhanced its diplomatic activism in the Palestinian Authority [PA]. They cannot stand the president of the PA, Mahmoud Abbas. They loath Hamas and will actively support any pragmatic movement in the PA [that] will work to advance peace.
This is why Palestinian politician Mohammed Dahlan is getting preferential treatment within the UAE.
Even though the initial Palestinian response is to burn the pictures of Abu Dhabi’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE can—with the aid of its mighty financial systems—help calm the flames.
The agreement with the UAE could serve as the domino that would encourage other states in the Gulf to sign an open treaty with Israel, consequently leading to an agreement with the Palestinians.
Who knows, maybe the next state to sign a treaty with Israel will be Bahrain. Maybe it will be Sudan? And maybe even Saudi Arabia.
Photo Credit: Prince: en.kremlin.ru; Netanyahu: US Department of State from United States/commons.wikimedia.org
Photo License: Kremlin
Photo License: Wikimedia
Praise the Lord for the economic and security advantages this agreement opens for Israel. Pray that the Lord will direct the progress of the relationship and any ensuing treaties with other Arab states for the long-term well-being of the nation of Israel.
Oh, how great is Your goodness, which You have laid up for those who fear You, which You have prepared for those who trust in You in the presence of the sons of men!
More Rockets and More Retaliation: Tensions on Gaza Border Spike
by Kate Norman
Wednesday, 19 August 2020 | Just before 9 p.m. Tuesday, the Code Red siren screamed warning of an incoming rocket, sending Israeli families living in the Gaza border region scrambling for the nearest bomb shelter.
The rocket reportedly landed in an open field, causing no damage or casualties, but two young girls were lightly injured during their mad dash for safety.
That incident as well as more balloons attached to explosives being launched into Israel prompted the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) to respond with more retaliatory strikes on Hamas targets in Gaza overnight. Israeli fighter jets reportedly struck a military compound belonging to one of Hamas’s elite units after the incendiary balloons sparked 39 fires on Tuesday.
“Hamas will bear the consequences for terror activity against Israeli civilians,” the military announced.
Egyptian mediators were in and out of the Gaza Strip on Monday, as their attempt to negotiate another cease-fire between the Strip and Israel reportedly failed. Arab media reported that Hamas had given Israel a list of demands, including reopening the Kerem Shalom border crossing, which Israel closed last week after more rockets were fired into Israel; expanding the Gaza fishing zone; increasing work permits for Gazans in Israel; and the ability to import goods, which resourceful terrorists can often utilize as “dual use” items—repurposing common items to build weapons.
Israel reportedly rejected the demands, and hours later the next rocket was fired into the Jewish state.
This is not the first clash the volatile region has seen in recent days. On Sunday, terrorists fired two rockets into Israel. The Iron Dome aerial defense system intercepted both rockets, but falling fragments hit an Israeli home, lightly injuring a man inside.
In addition to the rockets being fired at Israeli communities, the resurgence of incendiary and explosive balloons floating into Israel over the past few weeks has sparked fires that have burned hundreds of acres of forests and agricultural land.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke over the phone with local community leaders in the Gaza border region to assure them that Israel is taking the border violence seriously. The prime minister’s comments were published by his office.
“We have adopted a policy that fires are like rockets,” Netanyahu said, referring to the IDF’s policy of responding to rockets fired from Gaza with retaliatory strikes on military targets.
The prime minister added that Israel has struck Hamas and other terror targets for the past ten days straight in response to violence from the enclave.
“I regret that we are also preparing, to the extent necessary, for the possibility of a round or rounds [of fighting],” Netanyahu warned. “I hope that we will not get there.”
Source: (Bridges for Peace, August 19, 2020)
Photo Credit: WKing/bridgesforpeace.com
Beseech the Lord for an end to this most recent spate of rocket and incendiary attacks. Pray that the Lord will give wisdom to Israel’s military leaders as they plan and execute retaliatory responses and for the safety of the citizens of southern Israel. Ask the Lord for a shield of protection around the entire area, and pray that He will guard the hearts and minds of the children as they are subjected to more terror.
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.
Israel Reopens its Skies to Arrivals from Green Countries
by Itay Blumenthal
Monday, 17 August 2020 | Israel rescinded on Sunday compulsory quarantine for passengers arriving from some 20 “green countries” which have low coronavirus contagion rates.
Since Israel is considered a “red country” due to its high coronavirus contagion rate, most green countries refuse to allow Israelis into their borders, besides Bulgaria, Croatia and the Greek cities of Athens, Thessaloniki, Crete and Corfu. Passengers from Israel will have to present a negative coronavirus test before departure.
Dozens of passengers touched ground in Israel on Sunday after the motion came into effect, many praising the country’s decision to reopen its airspace, but others were concerned it could also be seeing another uptick in coronavirus cases.
Health Ministry Director General Prof. Hezi Levy signed on Sunday the order exempting arrivals from 21 green countries who arrived in the past 14 days from self-isolating.
These countries include Italy, Georgia, New Zealand, Canada, Denmark, the United Kingdom, Hungary, Finland, Austria, Germany, Bulgaria, Croatia, Slovenia, Jordan, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Rwanda, Hong Kong, Cyprus and Greece.
The Health Ministry also launched a website gathering information and questions about flights from Israel and arrivals from abroad.
All passengers wishing to leave Israel are required to fill out a departure report form during the 24 hours prior to the flight. In addition, passengers will also have to sign a health declaration.
Only flight ticket holders who had filled out the application on the Health Ministry’s website will be allowed entry to the passenger terminal.
Photo Credit: Robyn Hill/bridgesforpeace.com
Thank the Lord that the skies are beginning to open, but pray for wisdom for the Health Ministry as they may need to adjust requirements to keep the country from an uptick in coronavirus cases. Ask the Lord to protect Israel from any upsurge in the spread of the virus and beseech Him that this step will have a very positive effect on the economy.
Even to your old age, I am He, and even to gray hairs I will carry you! I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you.
Trump Forges ahead with “Snapback” Sanctions on Iran
by Kate Norman
Thursday, 20 August 2020 | President Donald Trump announced Wednesday that he will initiate a process to begin “snapback” sanctions on Iran following a failed attempt to pass a resolution to extend an arms embargo on the Islamic Republic.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is traveling to New York today to notify UN chiefs of Washington’s intention to reimpose sanctions on Iran under a UN Security Council resolution that established the 2015 nuclear deal.
The meeting with the UN Security Council president will trigger a 30-day countdown until the sanctions that lifted under the nuclear accord will resume, Pompeo told Fox News.
The US in 2015 under then-President Barak Obama joined with China, Russia, France, the UK and Germany to form the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) that was intended to slow Iran’s nuclear development in exchange for the easing of sanctions on the regime.
President Trump exited the deal in 2018, which he called “disastrous,” and reimposed sanctions in a “maximum pressure” campaign to curb Tehran’s nuclear ambitions.
The US is now exercising a clause in the JCPOA that allows any member state to reimpose the sanctions if it believes Iran is in violation of the restrictions.
Most of the other states involved in the JCPOA argue that the US does not have the right to initiate the snapback sanctions since Washington withdrew from the deal. Trump and other officials contend, however, that the US has every right to do so as one of the original participants in drawing up the deal.
“The world will be a safer place,” Pompeo said. “The Iranians won’t have the chance to have Russian air defenses, some Chinese tanks—all of the things that pose risks and instability in the Middle East.
“The Gulf states are all excited about it,” he added. “Israel is excited about it.”
Last week, a US-sponsored resolution was slammed down in a vote of the UN Security Council that would have extended indefinitely an arms embargo on Iran that is due to expire in October under the JCPOA. The Dominican Republic was the only other nation to vote with the US in favor of the resolution, while China and Russia voted against and the other 11 states abstained from voting.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the vote “a disgrace,” a chorus echoed by multiple Israeli and US officials. Iran hailed it as a great victory and a “humiliation” for the US.
The US was clearly undeterred by the resounding defeat, however. Though any Security Council member state can object to the snapback sanctions once the 30-day countdown has begun, the US can exercise its veto power over the objection.
Pompeo said in a press conference that “we have every expectation that [the snapbacks will] be enforced just like every other UN Security Council resolution that is in place.”
Any nations who interfere with the snapback process, however, will be met with their own American sanctions, Pompeo warned in a Fox interview.
“When we have seen any country violate our current sanctions…we have held every nation accountable for that,” the secretary of state warned. “We will do the same with respect to the broader UN Security Council sanctions as well.”
Both Trump and Netanyahu have vowed that they will not allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons, and both have criticized the 2015 deal as a failure that not only didn’t prevent Tehran from pushing forward in nuclear development, it enabled the regime to do so and flipped the bill for it.
Source: (Bridges for Peace, August 20, 2020)
Photo Credit: Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead/flickr.com
Photo License: flickr.com
Pray that the Lord’s favor will surround this attempt by the US to reimpose sanctions on Iran. Remind the Lord of His promises to protect Israel from her enemies and seek His help in bringing Iran’s nuclear capabilities to a swift end.
Behold, He who keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD is your keeper; the LORD is your shade at your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD shall preserve you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul. The LORD shall preserve your going out and your coming in from this time forth, and even forevermore.
Soldier Injured in Terror Attack in Jerusalem Old City
by Gilad Cohen
Tuesday, 18 August 2020 | A 19-year-old border police soldier was moderately wounded Monday evening in a stabbing attack near the Lions’ Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem.
United Hatzalah [emergency medical services organization] volunteer EMT Yechiel Stern, who was among the first responders at the scene of the incident, said that the soldier received preliminary treatment and was then transported to the capital’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center.
“The young man was suffering from a stab wound. Together with other EMS personnel at the scene, I treated him for his injuries, after which he was transported to Shaare Zedek Medical Center for further treatment and care. He was in moderate condition.”
A 60-year-old woman was lightly injured as a result of the shooting at the attacker who was shot dead.
Shaare Zedek Medical center issued a statement that the soldier’s condition “is moderate, he is stable and fully conscious” and that he is undergoing imaging tests.
Israel Police said [the] attack occurred around 8:40 p.m. when the attacker pulled out a knife and stabbed a border police soldier. The officers opened fire at the assailant and neutralized him.
“The officers’ quick and determined response resulted in the threat being neutralized within seconds and prevented continued harm to police forces,” read the statement.
Photo Credit: Micky Rosenfeld/Police foreign press spokesman
Pray for a quick recovery for this young IDF soldier wounded in yet another terrorist attack. Ask the Lord to bless him with renewed strength and resolve to protect the people of Israel. Cry out to the Lord for an end to this constant threat that hangs over the nation and for the morale of those who are putting their lives on the line for the sake of others.
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.
The Arab World is Fed Up with the Palestinians
by Ben-Dror Yemini
Wednesday, 19 August 2020 | We are facing two camps—the camp of peace and the camp of destruction; the camp of zealotry and the camp of moderateness.
The biggest surprise following Israel’s peace accord with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is that there was no division within the Arab world about it. In fact, almost all Arab countries have expressed their support for the agreement and hopped on the peace train.
We are left only with Yemen and Qatar who oppose the agreement and have joined Iran and Turkey’s axis of evil, the axis of Islamic radicalism, both Sunni and Shiite.
So what actually happened? Well, the Arab world is fed up. It looks to the left and the right and realizes, albeit belatedly, that wherever Islamic radicalism is involved—whether Shiite or Sunni—the result is always destruction and ruin. Iran, Turkey and their jihadist affiliates are involved in Syria, Yemen, Lebanon, Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Gaza, northern Sinai and northern Nigeria. Wherever they go, chaos follows.
The UAE [and] Saudi Arabia definitely did not become democracies all of [the] sudden, but in the Middle East, the choice is not between liberal democracy or a dictatorship. The choice is between stability or destruction.
And how are the Palestinians doing? The violence that former PLO [Palestine Liberation Organization] leader Yasser Arafat instigated has been defeated. It only made the Palestinians’ problems worse. Arafat’s heir, [Palestinian Authority President] Mahmoud Abbas, opposes violence and he still failed.
The Arab world refuses to continue entertaining every Palestinian whim. Following the near-unanimous Arab support for normalization, the Palestinian failure becomes all the more painful.
Why did the Palestinians lose the Arab world? At some point starting in the late 1990s, Arab leaders realized that the “Palestinian problem” was not an asset, but a burden.
After all, being hostile to Israel never benefited anyone. That is why prominent Arab states supported former US President Bill Clinton’s peace outline in the 90s. They even tried to pressure Arafat to accept the agreement, but to no avail.
Although Abbas stopped the violence, he stuck to Arafat’s diplomatic policy of always saying “no,” regardless of what was [being offered].
It was “no” to the 1937 Peel Commission, “no” to the 1947 UN partition plan, “no” to Israeli withdrawal for peace in 1967, “no” to then-Prime Minister Ehud Barak’s peace offer in 2000, “no” to Clinton’s peace offer later that year, “no” to then-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s peace offer in 2008, “no” to then-US President Barack Obama’s peace offer in 2014—and of course “no” to US President Donald Trump’s peace plan.
They never wanted a state for the Palestinian people, they just didn’t want one for the Jews.
Now the Palestinians are paying the price for their past victories—and it is a Pyrrhic victory.
They still have the support of college campuses in the West. After all, “civil society organizations” continue with their stubbornness and the Israel Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement stands by Iran and Turkey in opposition to normalization.
But what impresses progressive professors in North America and Europe does not impress Arab leaders. They know that going even deeper into the Palestinian rabbit hole will not lead them to heavenly peace.
They supported the Palestinian cause for many years to no avail. Israel gave the Palestinians the Gaza Strip, and it resulted in Hamas rule. They know that the outcome of such support leads to a takeover by the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas’s parent organization, which hates the Arab leaders as much as or even more than Iran does.
Now, let’s imagine a scenario in which instead of Abbas calling back the Palestinian ambassador from the Emirates, he thanked Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed for stopping the threat of annexation, welcomed normalization and sought to join a regional peace initiative that would give Palestinians self-determination alongside Israel.
Sounds like a fantasy, right? That is exactly the problem—whoever chooses to be part of the Iranian–Turkish axis will end up inflicting destruction upon themselves. Not prosperity.
When the Palestinians choose peace over the fantasy of destroying Israel, their situation will improve drastically. It hasn’t happened yet, but for their sake, and for ours, we hope it happens eventually.
Photo Credit: American Forces Press Service/wikipedia.org
Photo License: wikipedia.org
Pray for the reality of the sentiments expressed in this article and for the effect that this change in attitude might have on the Palestinian leadership. Pray that the Palestinian people and their leaders will be forced to realize that their desire to push Israel into the sea will never be fulfilled and their continuing attacks on Israel will only mean ongoing poverty and destruction for them and their posterity.
“I will bring back the captives of My people Israel; they shall build the waste cities and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and drink wine from them; they shall also make gardens and eat fruit from them. I will plant them in their land, and no longer shall they be pulled up from the land I have given them,” says the LORD your God.
Palestinians: Jews, Christians Are Our Enemy
by Khaled Abu Toameh~Gatestone Institute
Friday, 14 August 2020 | For the past few years, Palestinians have been waging a campaign to stop Jews from visiting Jerusalem’s Temple Mount/Noble Sanctuary, a place sacred to both Muslims and Jews. The Palestinian Authority, Hamas and other Palestinian groups continue to portray the visits as “violent incursions by extremist Jewish settlers,” even though many of the visitors are not extremists and do not live in settlements.
The Temple Mount, where the First and Second Jewish Temples once stood, is the holiest place in the world for the Jewish people. The Palestinians, however, deny any Jewish historic and religious connection to the Temple Mount and harass Jews who, as tourists, visit the site.
The Palestinians are now saying [they] have a problem not only with Jews touring the Temple Mount, but with those who wish to pray inside a synagogue in an Arab country, namely the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
A multifaith complex that includes a synagogue is currently being built in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE. “A church, mosque and synagogue will share a collective space for the first time, serving as a community for inter-religious dialogue and exchange, and nurturing the values of peaceful co-existence and acceptance among different beliefs, nationalities and cultures,” the committee overseeing construction of the complex said in a statement.
The prospect of Jews praying inside a synagogue in a faraway Arab country seems to worry Palestinian Muslim figures more than the killing and wounding of thousands of Muslims and Christians in last week’s huge explosion at the port of the Lebanese capital of Beirut. Instead of calling on Muslims to mobilize their efforts and resources to help the residents of Beirut after the tragedy, Palestinian Muslim leaders have found the time to condemn the UAE for its intention to allow Jews to pray inside a synagogue. These leaders are opposed not only to the presence of synagogues in an Arab country, but churches too.
In response to reports that Jews will soon hold their first prayer at the UAE synagogue, a group called The Palestinian Congregation of Khulafa e-Rashideen (The Rightly Guided Successors of Prophet Mohammed) accused the UAE of acting in violation of the Koran [Muslim religious book] and the Hadith (a collection of traditions containing sayings of Prophet Mohammed that constitute the major source of guidance for Muslims apart from the Koran) by displaying “loyalty” to Jews and Christians.
The group reminded the rulers of the UAE of the Koranic verse that says:
“O you who believed, do not take the Jews and Christians as allies. They are [in fact] allies of one another. And whoever is an ally to them among you—then indeed, he is [one] of them. Indeed, Allah guides not the wrongdoing people…” (Surah Al-Ma’idah 5:51-52)
The Palestinian group expressed outrage that Muslim money is being directed and used to open places of worship for Jews and “Crusaders” and warned that allowing Jews to pray in an Arab country is a betrayal of Islam. “These accelerated steps towards seeking the friendship of Jews and normalization with the Zionists in its various forms disregards the feelings of Muslims,” the group argued. They also emphasized that Islam, the Koran and the Hadith all “confirmed the continuous hostility of the Jews towards the [Muslim] believers until the Day of Judgement.”
To support their argument, the Palestinian Muslim group cited the Hadith that says:
“The Hour will not be established until you fight with the Jews, and the stone behind which a Jew will be hiding will say: O Muslim! There is a Jew behind me, so kill him.”
This is not the first time that the Palestinians have come out against an Arab country for displaying tolerance toward Jews or allegedly promoting normalization with Israel. Recently, the Palestinian Authority rejected a medical aid shipment from the UAE because it was sent through Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport. The PA explained that it rejected the shipment because the Palestinians “refuse to be a bridge [for Arab countries] seeking to have normalized ties with Israel.”
By rejecting the medical aid from the UAE—aimed at helping to prevent the spread of the coronavirus pandemic—the Palestinians have scored another own-goal in demonstrating the depth of their ingratitude toward those who wish to assist their people. By coming out against interfaith tolerance and the building of a synagogue in an Arab country, the Palestinians are again proving that the conflict with Israel is not about borders or checkpoints, but about the very right of Jews, Christians or Israel to exist.
The Palestinian extremists who are now condemning the UAE for building a synagogue and a church undoubtedly consider Arab peacemakers as traitors who deserve to die.
These extremists are unmoved by the large number of Palestinians infected with COVID-19. They are unmoved by the economic crisis in the West Bank [Judea and Samaria] and Gaza Strip. They are unmoved by the thousands of homeless, wounded, and dead Arabs in Lebanon. What does move Palestinian extremists—deeply enough to sacrifice the well-being of all Palestinians everywhere—is the thought of a Jew being permitted to pray in a synagogue or at the Temple Mount.
Khaled Abu Toameh, an award-winning journalist based in Jerusalem, is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at Gatestone Institute.
Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published by the Gatestone Institute on August 13, 2020. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)
Photo Credit: Sarah Yoder/bridgesforpeace.com
Pray that this intolerance will finally cause the nations of the world to realize that the Palestinian leadership is not interested in peaceful coexistence, but rather the dissolution of the state of Israel and disappearance of Jews and Christians from the region. Pray that increasing pressure will be placed on them from all quarters, forcing them to move toward peace.
“I will deliver you from the hand of the wicked, and I will redeem you from the grip of the terrible.”
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