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What Will We Do Now?

Friday, August 5, 2022

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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.

Security Curbs along Gaza Border to Stay Put as Egypt Tries to Calm Tensions

by Itamar Eichner, Matan Tzuri ~ Ynetnews

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Palestinians protest at the Gaza border (illustrative).

Thursday, 4 August 2022 | Israelis living in communities near the Gaza border have been told the security restrictions in the area will remain in place throughout Thursday over fears of attacks from the Palestinian enclave following an arrest of a known terrorist. Egypt, meanwhile, has been trying to mediate between Israel and Gaza in an effort to calm the tensions.

Security officials reviewing the situation hourly said they saw fit to leave restrictions in place in order to avoid Israelis being targeted by the Islamic Jihad after its chief in the West Bank [Judea and Samaria] was arrested in a high-profile security operation earlier in the week.

Egyptian officials were in Gaza in efforts to convince the Islamist faction to refrain from retaliating, after the group said they would avenge the detention of their member.

According to the military intelligence, the group would not launch a major attack without the approval of Hamas, which rules Gaza. Israel has also approached Qatar to ask for their intervention to dissuade the Islamic Jihad from their intent to attack.

“We hope the tension will die down soon,” a senior official told Ynet. “Israelis are clear about that,” said an Israeli official. “Report from Gaza says they understand the situation and take it into account.” The IDF [Israel Defense Forces] commented that “the road blocks prevented terrorist attacks.”

Defense Minister Benny Gantz earlier toured the West Bank together with Chief of General Staff Major General Aviv Kochavi, and Chief of IDF Central Command General Yehudah Fox.

“Our policy is clear: those who wish to work and live as our neighbors will have our support. Those who wish to harm Israel and its people will not be tolerated,” Gantz said.

“The IDF, Shin Bet [Israeli internal security organization] and Border Police will continue with their operations wherever needed. Every threat to Israel will meet a powerful response from us.”

Source: (This article was originally published by Ynetnews on August 3, 2022. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: מינוזיג - MinoZig/commons.wikimedia.org

Prayer Focus
Pray that the Gaza border will remain quiet, with no terrorist activity. Pray that Egypt will be successful in their attempts to mediate and calm tensions in the area. Also pray that Defense Minister Gantz’s warning will be heeded and there will be no need for a powerful response from Israel.

Scripture

The angel of the LORD encamps all around those who fear Him, and delivers them. Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who trusts in Him!


- Psalm 34:7–8

Iran and US to Resume Iran Nuclear Talks in Vienna

by JNS

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Uranium-enrichment centrifuges at Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility

Thursday, 4 August 2022 | High-level negotiations to revive the 2015 nuclear agreement will resume this week in Vienna, according to officials from both countries, who on Wednesday downplayed hopes for a breakthrough.

According to state media, Nasser Kanaani, a spokesman for Iran’s foreign ministry, said that Tehran was prepared to reach a deal that ensured its rights, reported Reuters.

An Iranian official who asked not to be named said the talks would start again on Thursday.

Before leaving for Vienna, Iran’s chief negotiator, Ali Bagheri Kani tweeted: “Show maturity & act responsibly.”

“Heading to Vienna to advance the negotiations. The onus is on those who breached the deal & have failed to distance from ominous legacy,” he posted.

US Special Envoy for Iran Robert Malley said he was preparing to leave for Vienna, though noted that he did not anticipate any significant progress.

“Our expectations are in check; the United States welcomes EU efforts and is prepared for a good faith attempt to reach a deal. It will shortly be clear if Iran is prepared for the same,” he tweeted.

The director of the International Atomic Energy Agency [IAEA] said on Tuesday that Iran’s nuclear program was advancing rapidly and that “good words” from Iran were insufficient to satisfy inspectors.

Source: (This article was originally published by Jewish News Syndicate on August 3, 2022. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Tehran Times/jns.org

Prayer Focus
Cry out to the Lord for His intervention in the negotiations that were slated to resume August 4. Pray that no agreement will be signed that leaves the door open for the further development of Iranian nuclear weapons. Beseech the Lord that these negotiators not be fooled by Iranian duplicity and will heed the words of the director of the IAEA, that “good words” from Iran are not sufficient to satisfy inspectors.

Scripture

You shall destroy those who speak falsehood; the LORD abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man.


- Psalm 5:6

Israel Signs Contract to Build Embassy in Morocco

by JNS

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Israel’s Ambassador in Morocco David Govrin (center) signs a contract to build an embassy in Rabat.

Wednesday, 3 August 2022 | Israel’s Ambassador to Morocco David Govrin signed a construction contract on Tuesday for building a headquarters for a permanent Israeli embassy in Morocco.

“I am very happy to share with you this photo, which witnesses one of the historical moments I lived with my team, as the construction contract for the headquarters of the permanent Israeli embassy in Morocco was signed,” he wrote on Twitter.

“With this, we will begin, God willing, a new era in which we will consolidate our distinguished relations with Morocco,” added the ambassador.

According to Ynet, the construction will cost [USD] $4 million and be built on the same property where Israel had a presence before it was abandoned in 2000, when diplomatic relations were severed.

Last year, Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid visited Morocco as the first Israeli foreign minister to visit the country since 2003. During the trip, he inaugurated the Israeli Liaison Office in Rabat and pledged that Israel and Morocco would both open embassies in each country.

Last month, Israel-Moroccan relations made strides with the two countries signing an intellectual-property pact; Israeli Defense Forces [IDF] representatives participating in a military exercise held in Morocco; and the IDF Chief of Staff paying the country an official visit.

Next month, Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita plans to attend an event for the second anniversary of the Abraham Accords in Israel, according to the European Jewish Press.

Source: (This article was originally published by Jewish News Syndicate on August 2, 2022. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Twitter/David Govrin/jns.org

Prayer Focus
Praise the Lord for the developing relationship between Morocco and Israel. Thank Him for the building of the embassy, a truly historic event, and pray that cooperation between the two countries will be fruitful for both. Ask the Lord for His protection from enemies of either nation that might attempt to destroy this budding relationship.

Scripture

Cast your burden on the LORD, and He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.


- Psalm 55:22

Trial over ‘Dissolution’ of Jewish Agency Activities in Russia Set for August

by JNS

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Russian President Vladimir Putin

Friday, 29 July 2022 | A Moscow court on Thursday set an August 19 trial date that could result in the “dissolution” of the Jewish Agency’s activities in Russia, even as an Israeli delegation was in the Russian capital in a bid to resolve an issue that has created a major diplomatic spat between the two countries.

The Russian Justice Ministry earlier this month sent a letter to the Jewish Agency outlining a list of demands that created the legal basis for Thursday’s initial hearing, Kan News said in a report.

In response, Yaakov Hagoel, acting chairman of the Jewish Agency, remarked: “The Jewish Agency for Israel plays a critical role in cultivating Jewish identity and establishing a connection to Israel for Jews all over the world. As such, its vital activities that serve the Jewish communities in Russia will continue in order to ensure the community thrives and remains connected to their heritage and the State of Israel.”

According to Interfax, the request to cease the Jewish Agency’s operations was made by the Russian Justice Ministry to the Basmanny District Court, alleging “legal violations.”

On Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid announced that the Israeli delegation had left following a significant delay caused by Russia’s apparent unwillingness to issue entry visas.

Lapid warned on Sunday that the shuttering of the Jewish Agency’s offices in Russia could have “a serious impact” on diplomatic relations between Jerusalem and Moscow.

Source: (This article was originally published by Jewish News Syndicate on July 28, 2022. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Photographer RM/Shutterstock/jns.org

Prayer Focus
Cry out to the Lord for the Jewish Agency and their success in dealing with this issue. Ask the Lord for a resolution that will allow the Agency to continue its work in Russia and for the safe return of Russian Jews to their ancient homeland.

Scripture

For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land.


- Ezekiel 36:24

Hamas Youth Camps in Gaza Include Weapons Training, Targets of ‘Israeli Soldiers’

by JNS

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Young boys hear a lesson about weapons in a camp in Jebalia.

Tuesday, 2 August 2022 | As in previous years, the Hamas terrorist organization that rules the Gaza Strip is running summer camps for children and teens that promote jihad [war with unbelievers of Islam] and armed struggle against Israel, incorporating the use and training of various weapons, along with other military skills.

“Saplings of Jerusalem” summer camps, which were launched on July 23, are attended by as many as 100,000 boys and girls, according to a report by MEMRI [Middle East Media Research Institute].

Their main opening ceremony was at Asda amusement park, built on a former Israeli settlement. Muhammad Farawneh, a member of the camps’ central committee, said holding the ceremony “on soil that has been freed of the contamination of the occupation is a sign that all [Palestinian] land will one day be regained,” said the report.

Muhammad Abu Mahmoud, the summer camp committee chair in Gaza’s central district, noted that the camp name was chosen “to stress our deep-rooted rights in Jerusalem and [convey] that the generation of liberation will continue to bear the banner until the occupation is removed from all of our occupied Palestinian land.”

A Hamas delegation, including senior official Maher Sabra and chair of the movement’s summer camps Muhammad Abu Askar, visited one of the facilities in southern Gaza, saying they are “intended to raise a generation that possesses awareness and is capable of liberating [Palestine].”

A delegation member told the campers, according to MEMRI: “Oh lion cubs, you are the generation of liberation, and with your help, we will liberate Al-Aqsa [Mosque], Allah-willing.”

As in past years, the youth training program emphasizes military, weapons, religious and nationalist content, along with recreation. Campers learn how to use and maintain various weapons and practice shooting “Israeli soldiers.”

Similar camps for Palestinian youth are run in the West Bank [Judea and Samaria].

Source: (This article was originally published by Jewish News Syndicate on August 1, 2022. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: MEMRI/jns.org

Prayer Focus
Pray for an international outcry against this blatant poisoning of the minds of children, as they are groomed for lives as terrorists. Cry out to the Lord that all funding from the nations will completely stop until this child abuse comes to an end.

Scripture

[That they] may not be like their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation that did not set its heart aright, and whose spirit was not faithful to God.


- Psalm 78:8

Ministers Briefed on Lebanon Maritime Border Talks, Still Unresolved

by  Itamar Eichner ~ Ynetnews

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Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah

Thursday, 4 August 2022 | Israeli security cabinet ministers were briefed on Wednesday, on the US-mediated negotiations in the maritime border dispute with Lebanon.

According to some ministers, despite progress having been made, not all outstanding matters have been resolved.

US mediator Amos Hochstein was due to return to the region next month.

The ministers were told that although the Karish gas field was not a part of the dispute, drilling was delayed for technical reasons and would not begin before September.

Energy Minister Karine Elharrar said Energean, the company chosen for the drilling, was urged to complete preparations. “Our instructions are to begin gas production as soon as possible,” Elharrar said. “Israel is waiting for the gas to fulfill the needs of its local market and to meet gas export commitments,” she said.

A senior official said it was still unclear whether a deal could be finalized but Israel’s proposals are according to its security requirements, while proposing creative ways to ensure income from gas to both countries.

“An agreement to end the dispute is a good thing for the Israel,” a senior source told Ynet.

“Natural gas production by Lebanon could stabilize that country’s economy and would be to Israel’s advantage,” the source said. “It is a win, win situation and would also provide Israel with a target should our gas rigs be attacked,” he said.

Security officials briefed ministers on the risks in an already volatile situation, should negotiations fail.

If Israel would begin drilling in the Karish field while Lebanon remained without a natural gas source, the Iran-backed Hezbollah group, would be obliged to live up to their threats and attack, possibly leading to war, the officials warned.

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said in a speech last week that he would attack all of Israel’s off shore drilling unless Lebanon’s rights are met.

Hezbollah, in what was seen as a show of force, dispatched three UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles] to the Karish offshore rig last month. All were shot down by the IDF.

Source: (This article was originally published by Ynetnews on August 3, 2022. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Khamenei.ir/commons.wikimedia.org

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Pray for a quick resolution to these negotiations that will indeed be a win-win for both nations. Ask the Lord to stay the hand of Hezbollah, preventing them from interfering in the process and pray that any remaining issues will be resolved.

Scripture

When a man’s ways please the LORD, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.


- Proverbs 16:7

Israel Demands UN Disband Investigating Commission over Anti-Semitic Remarks

by Joshua Spurlock ~ The Mideast Update

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Chair of the UN Commission of Inquiry Navi Pillay

Tuesday, 2 August 2022 | Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid on Sunday sent a letter to the head of the United Nations [UN] calling upon the international body to disband the Commission of Inquiry (COI) investigating Israel and the Palestinians due to anti-Semitic remarks made by one of the members. In his letter to UN Secretary-General António Guterres, which was published by Israel, Lapid highlighted a recent interview by Commission Member Miloon Kothari that included the libel that the “Jewish lobby” exerts substantive control over social media and in which Kothari questioned why Israel is even a member of the UN. Furthermore, Lapid noted that COI Chair Navi Pillay failed to condemn the remarks and instead “chose to defend and excuse them”, claiming they were taken out of context.

“This cannot stand. Slurs about a ‘Jewish lobby’ that acts to ‘control’ the media, are reminiscent of the darkest days of modern history,” wrote Lapid.

“…The fight against anti-Semitism cannot be waged with words alone, it requires action. This is the time for action; it is time to disband the Commission. From Mr. Kothari’s outrageous slurs to Ms. Pillay’s defense of the indefensible, this Commission does not just endorse anti-Semitism—it fuels it.”

Lapid highlighted the fact that multiple nations condemned Kothari’s comments—including the United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union, and Canada—and argued that the COI had shown itself to be biased against Israel.

“The COI has been fundamentally tainted by the publicly expressed prejudices of its leadership, who do not meet the basic standards of neutrality, independence and impartiality required by the United Nations,” wrote Lapid.

This isn’t the first concern about the COI, which was formed by the UN Human Rights Council in May 2021 to investigate alleged human rights violations in Israel and territory controlled by the Palestinians. Around the time the COI released their first report in June—about which Pillay said in a press release on the Human Rights Council website the findings were “overwhelmingly directed” against Israel—the US and 21 other nations voiced concern about the Commission.

US State Department Spokesman Ned Price said on June 7 in a press statement that the US “firmly opposes the open-ended and vaguely defined nature” of the Commission that “represents a one-sided, biased approach that does nothing to advance the prospects for peace.”

In his letter on Sunday, Lapid noted the various nations’ concerns about the COI, saying the “fundamentally flawed nature” of the Commission was seen again in Kothari’s anti-Semitic comments. “This latest shameful episode is a further example of its flawed and biased nature,” said Lapid of the Commission.

In the letter, Lapid directly quotes Kothari as saying in the interview with the Mandoweiss podcast, “We are very disheartened by the social media that is controlled largely by—whether it is the Jewish lobby or specific NGOs, a lot of money is being thrown in to try to discredit us.”

Lapid also included a comment from Kothari in which he stated of Israel, “I would go as far as to raise the question as why they are even a member of the United Nations.”

Lapid asked UN head Guterres to listen for himself to the interview to prove the comments were not taken out of context. Said Lapid, “These anti-Semitic remarks are a stain on the entire United Nations and are not befitting of a person with such a position of responsibility.”

Lapid recalled prior comments from Guterres in which the UN leader said in 2017 “a modern form of anti-Semitism is the denial of the right of the State of Israel to exist,” and that “Israel needs to be treated as any other state, with exactly the same rules.”

In view of Guterres’ past sentiments, Lapid urged him to respond to the anti-Semitic comments emerging from the Commission of Inquiry. Said Lapid, “Excellency, I call on you today to honor your word in this egregious case, to set the record straight… take all necessary measures to bring about the immediate resignation of Ms. Pillay and the other commissioners, and the disbanding of the Commission.”

Source: (This article was originally published by The Mideast Update on August 1, 2022. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today.)

Photo Credit: UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferre/flickr.com

Photo License: Flickr

Prayer Focus
Pray that Prime Minister Lapid’s concerns will be taken seriously and this “fundamentally flawed” commission will in fact be disbanded. Pray that Secretary General Guterres will stand behind his words and condemn such anti-Semitic rhetoric.

Scripture

Save me, O God, by Your name, and vindicate me by Your strength.


- Psalm 54:1

Israel Issuing New ‘Job Seeker’ Entry Permit to Palestinians

by JNS

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Palestinian women cross the Qalandiya checkpoint outside Ramallah.

Wednesday, 3 August 2022 | Israel has started granting Palestinians in Judea and Samaria a new kind of entry permit, designed to decrease the number of illegal border crossings, Israeli media reported on Monday.

The “Job Seeker” permit is being issued to Palestinians who pass security screenings, and enables them to enter Israel 15 times over the course of two months in order to seek out employment, according to Kan News.

The permits are being issued to Palestinians aged 22 and over if they are married, or 27 and over if single. Applicants need to download an app run by Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) and fill out their details before receiving an answer, according to the report.

Kan cited a statement by COGAT as saying that the defense establishment has been working to decrease the phenomenon of Palestinians illegally entering Israel, including, among other means, by securing the “seam zone” and setting up a barrier in Judea and Samaria.

“In the context of the overall effort,” the statement continued, “it was decided to adapt criteria to issuing employment permits in Israel, with the goal being to tighten security supervision on Palestinians entering Israel for work, and to boost enforcement against those in Israel illegally, as well as those who transport and employ them.”

Palestinians who do not find work within the designated timeframe will reportedly be required to thereafter remain outside of Israel for a period of several months.

Source: (This article was originally published by Jewish News Syndicate on August 2, 2022. 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 that this new type of entry permit will be a successful tool in reducing the number of those entering Israel illegally and will also be helpful for those who are legitimately seeking employment.

Scripture

The way of the LORD is strength for the upright, but destruction will come to the workers of iniquity.


- Proverbs 10:29

Joint Israeli-Italian F-35 Drill Signifies Key Milestone in IAF’s International Cooperation

by Yaakov Lappin ~ JNS

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Lockheed Martin F-35, 3D illustration

Thursday, 4 August 2022 | The “Lightning Shield” international exercise involving F-35s from the Israeli and Italian air forces, held in late July in Israel, marked a significant moment in Israel’s military cooperation with partners, an IAF [Israeli Air Force] source has said.

The exercise began on July 24, when four Italian F-35 fighter aircraft entered Israeli air space and two Israeli F-35s accompanied them to Nevatim airbase in southern Israel.

It involved F-35 jets from the IAF’s 116th (“Lions of the South”) and 140th (“Golden Eagle”) squadrons, the Italian 13th Squadron, and the IAF’s Nachson 122nd squadron, which flies special mission aircraft with advanced intelligence-gathering and mission-planning capabilities onboard.

The drill helped boost the operational readiness of the IAF’s F-35 squadrons, as well as broaden its capabilities for what the IAF describes as “potential operational scenarios.”

The IAF, like the US Air Force, is currently testing all F-35s in its inventory for a potential seat-ejection issue, though that is expected to be complete within days.

‘Array of international planes flies into enemy territory’

Capt. N (full name withheld,) the exercise leader from the 116th Squadron, told JNS in recent days that hosting an international drill of this nature in Israel places the IAF “at the forefront of F-35 operators, globally.”

“It is an opportunity to reflect our strengths together with a chance to get to know and learn about our partners in the international arena,” he stated.

The joint exercise and its complex missions are a testament to the strong Israeli-Italian military relationship, which is continuing to grow stronger, said Capt. N.

Israel’s role in such an international coalition ultimately strengthens national security, he added.

In the first flight of the exercise, he recounted that “we drilled war scenarios in which an array of international planes flies into the depth of enemy territory in order to conduct a complex mission.”

On the second flight, the aircrews held a “fundamentals” exercise, which is less familiar to the Italian pilots. This involved low-altitude flights, attack sorties and close air combat.

The exercise featured full Israeli-Italian cooperation—from joint pre-flight briefings, integrated flight formations made up of Israeli and Italian pilots, and joint debriefs.

“The joint learning found expression in all of these stages. Every side expressed its perspective on the mission implementation, and together as a group, we moved forward throughout this week,” said the IAF officer.

Source: (This article was originally published by Jewish News Syndicate on August 3, 2022. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Mike Mareen/Shutterstock/jns.org

Prayer Focus
Thank the Lord for the cooperative relationship that exists between Israel and Italy and pray that it will continue to strengthen. Thank Him that Israel’s role in such an international coalition ultimately strengthens national security. Pray that all of Israel’s recent military alliances will be used by the Lord to protect the nation of Israel and create a safer Middle East.

Scripture

Be exalted, O God, above the heavens, and Your glory above all the earth; that Your beloved may be delivered, save with Your right hand, and hear me.


- Psalm 108:5–6