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

In Response to Mortar Fire from Gaza Strip, Israel Strikes Hamas

by Ilse Posselt

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The IDF struck 4 positions yesterday in the Gaza Strip in response to the mortar fire

Friday, 01 December 2017 | Simmering tensions on Israel’s southern border with Gaza escalated yesterday when a number of mortar shells were fired on Israeli forces from the coastal enclave. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) responded moments later by striking four positions in Gaza that serve as Hamas and Islamic Jihad military strongholds.

“During the past hour… a number of mortar rounds were fired at a military post adjacent to the northern Gaza Strip,” the IDF said in a statement. An army spokesperson indicated that Hamas and the Islamic Jihad terror groups are responsible for the fire, which caused no Israeli injuries.

The attack comes exactly one month after the IDF destroyed a cross-border terror tunnel that the Islamic Jihad terror group dug from the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip into Israeli territory. The tunnel, which the IDF confirmed was still under construction, ran from near the Gazan city of Khan Yunis in the south of the coastal enclave, crossed under the Gaza-Israel border for several meters and had its entry point in Israel near a kibbutz. Fourteen Islamic Jihad terrorists, including two senior commanders, were killed when Israel blew up the tunnel. The terror group vowed vengeance against the Jewish state.

According to the IDF, yesterday’s mortar attack appeared to be retaliation for the tunnel destruction.

As a security precaution, Israeli officials halted train operations running between Ashkelon, the harbor city on the Mediterranean, and Sderot, a town nestled on the Israel-Gaza border. Work on the Gaza border fence was also suspended and farmers working in the area were ordered to evacuate.

A farmer who was in the vicinity of the attack shared his ordeal to Ynetnews. “Five workers were working in the orchard in a plantation near the border. Suddenly there was a series of explosions, one after the other. We dropped to the ground and put our hands on our heads. We thought we were being shot at. The explosions lasted about five minutes. The moment they ended we picked up our tools and bolted. We were really scared. It was all very jolting.”

Source: (Bridges for Peace, 1 December 2017)

Photo Credit: IDFblog

Prayer Focus
Lift up the Israeli citizens living in the South asking God to calm their fears and keep them safe. Pray for the IDF units stationed on the Gaza border to be brave and fearless and have zero tolerance against terror attacks on them and the Israeli citizens.

Scripture

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 71:3

Report: Israel Warned Assad against Allowing Iran to Build Base in Syria

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Report: Iran “plans to build ‘a naval base, possibly for submarines, an air base and arms factories for precision weapons’…” (Iranian submarine, illustrative)

Wednesday, 29 November 2017 | Israel passed a message to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad through an intermediary that it would take military action in Syria if Iran is allowed to establish a permanent military presence in Syria.

Ehud Yaari, Middle East analyst for Hadashot News (formerly Channel 2), reported the story and revealed Iranian plans to build “a naval base, possibly for submarines, an air base and arms factories for precision weapons” and that if Assad “invites Iranian forces to establish themselves in Syria via an agreement of any kind,” Israel will change its current policy towards Syria. Israel has not intervened in the Syrian conflict but has taken action to prevent the transfer of sophisticated weapons to Hezbollah and to prevent military infrastructure being established on its border.

On November 10, BBC News reported that Iran is establishing a permanent military base inside Syria. The Iranian military is said to have established a compound at a site used by the Syrian army outside El-Kiswah, eight miles [13 km] south of Damascus (and 31 miles [50 km] from the Golan Heights). Israel vowed to prevent this, with Netanyahu telling the BBC News, “You know, the more we’re prepared to stop it, the less likely we’ll have to resort to much greater things. There is a principle I very much adhere to, which is to nip bad things in the bud.”

Israel currently operates several field hospitals near the Syrian border as part of “Operation Good Neighbor.” According to the Israel Defense Forces, they have provided aid to 200,000 Syrian citizens living in the Hauran region of southwestern Syria.

Source: (The Israel Project originally published this article in its publication The Tower on 28 November 2017. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Public Domain

Prayer Focus
Beseech God, asking Him to intervene in Iran’s plan to build several military bases in Syria. Lift up PM Netanyahu, the IDF Chief of Staff and military strategists, praying that they will receive God’s wisdom to know how to resolve this threat. Pray for the soldiers who endure the hardships mentally and physically as they protect Israel’s borders.

Scripture

With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the LORD our God, to help us and to fight our battles. And the people were strengthened by the words of Hezekiah king of Judah.


- 2 Chronicles 32:8

Hamas Infiltrator into Israel Caught, Confesses Hamas Tunnel Secrets

by Joshua Spurlock

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IDF Soldiers patrolling Gaza Border (illustrative)

Monday, 27 November 2017 | Hamas has tried many times to sneak terrorists into Israel, so it’s a victory when Israel catches them. Imagine the impact when the arrested perpetrator also unveils Hamas secrets on their tunnel system in the interrogation. That’s what happened a couple of months ago, according to newly declassified information from Israel.

Ahmed Magdi Muhamad Abid of Gaza was caught in September crossing the border into Israeli-controlled territory, and it’s a good thing he was snagged. A press release from the Israel Security Agency (ISA) said that Abid had been recruited by Hamas in 2013 and had been trained in sniping and anti-tank weapons.

Another one of Abid’s activities was digging tunnels for Hamas, which uses the underground structures for both defensive purposes in Gaza, as well as offensive terror tunnels dug into Israel. That made him a treasure trove of information on Hamas activities.

The ISA report revealed that “excessive information about the Hamas’s tunnel structure in the Gaza Strip was received during his interrogation—for both tunnels designed for purposes of attacking Israel and tunnels meant for fighting IDF forces inside the Strip.”

The press release did not reveal how Israel has used that information on the tunnels, but in late October—one month after this arrest—Israel destroyed one of the Gaza terror tunnels into Israel.

The ISA statement did note that Abid’s interrogation “unveiled once again Hamas’s terror tunnel activity [is] designed to promote terrorism against the State of Israel.” The press release further reported that an indictment against Abid was filed in District Court in October.

Israeli Prime Minister’s Office spokesman Ofir Gendelman called the September arrest and successful interrogation a “new blow to Hamas” in a post to Twitter.

And this is becoming a trend: Israeli border security snagged two more infiltrators from Gaza last week.

The IDF spokesperson tweeted on November 22 that the Israeli military saw two persons entering into Israel and “in response to the immediate threat, the troops fired towards the suspects.” One infiltrator was wounded and taken for medical care, while the other one was caught for questioning.

Perhaps more terror secrets will be forthcoming?

Source: (The Mideast Update originally published this article on 26 November, 2017. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today.)

Photo Credit: IDF/Isranet

Prayer Focus
Intercede for the security of Israel’s southern border with Gaza. Give thanks for the vital information that Israel received from the infiltrator who was caught. Pray that the Lord will guide and direct the IDF, enabling them to discover any additional Hamas terror tunnels.

Scripture

For the LORD gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding…


- Proverbs 2:6

Report: Trump May Recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital in Coming Days

by Itamar Eichner and Roi Kais

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President Trump is actively considering when and how to move the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem

Friday, 01 December 2017 | US President Donald Trump is reportedly planning to announce in the coming days that the United States recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and is giving serious thought on how to fulfil his election campaign pledge to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

According to fresh information in Israel, Trump is giving greater thought to the idea, due to domestic political considerations, primarily stemming from reinvigorated pressure by the Republican Party and evangelical Christians.

To that end, Trump and his staff are considering how to avoid signing for a second time the waiver that would leave the embassy in Tel Aviv.

Presidents of both the Republican and Democratic parties have renewed the waiver every six months for years, enabling them to bypass a law that requires that Washington order its Israeli embassy be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Trump promised during his election campaign that he would move the US embassy “to the eternal capital of the Jewish people, Jerusalem.”

While hopes in Israel have so far been dashed that a US president would finally fulfill the embassy pledge, Trump has taken a number of steps that have constituted a departure from previous administration.

Most notably, in May Trump arrived at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, becoming the first sitting US president to visit the ancient Jewish holy site.

Close Trump associates have reportedly recommended that he make the announcement of transferring the embassy in the near future.

In the interim, one of the ideas currently being mooted [raised] is to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, as a gesture for Israel’s 70th independence celebrations [and] as a first step toward the administration’s announcement of its peace initiative between Israel and the Palestinians.

Hopes were raised in Israel this week when US Vice President Mike Pence said on Tuesday that Trump is actively considering “when and how” to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Pence made the comment in remarks at Israel’s Mission to the United Nations in Queens, at an event celebrating the 70th anniversary of the United Nations’ vote calling for the establishment of a Jewish state.

“President Trump is actively considering when and how to move the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem,” stated Pence, after receiving a standing ovation from the crowd.

Officials in Jerusalem say that the Americans are currently examining the ramifications of the recognition.

American intelligence circles may caution Trump against the move, warning of the security-related ramifications that could ensue and danger that it could pose to American embassies around the world.

Rumors of Trump’s planned announcement were met with warnings from Jordan’s King Abdullah II, who said during a visit to the US that “the transfer of the American embassy to Jerusalem at this stage will have repercussions in the Palestinian, Arab and Islamic scene.”

He also added that it would “endanger the two-state solution and could be potentially exploited by terrorists to stoke anger, frustration, and desperation in order to spread their ideologies.

Source: (Ynetnews originally published this article on 30 November 2017. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Navot Miller/wikimedia

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Bring the decision of moving the American embassy before the Lord and ask for His favor to bring it to pass. Pray protection over: those who are involved in the decision-making, Israeli and US relationships with other nations and safety for all residents of Jerusalem.

Scripture

I have set watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem; they shall never hold their peace day or night. You who make mention of the LORD, do not keep silent, and give Him no rest till He establishes and till He makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth.


- Isaiah 62:6-7

Israel, US Work Together to Stop Publication of UN “Blacklist”

by Ilse Posselt

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Nikki Haley called the list, “an attempt to provide an international stamp of approval to the anti-Semitic BDS movement.”

Tuesday, 28 November 2017 | With little over a month to go before bidding 2017 goodbye, many the world over are preparing to wrap up the year’s business before indulging in a December holiday break. Yet even in the run-up to the lull of the traditional festive season, the United Nations (UN) shows little sign of slowing down its anti-Israel activities. In fact, the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) remains hard at work compiling a “blacklist” of companies operating in Judea and Samaria, east Jerusalem and the Golan Heights—areas that the world body hails as “contested”— and hopes to have the list published early next year, The Associated Press reported over the weekend.

While the UNHRC labors to put the finishing touches to the infamous list, Israel – assisted by the United States – is making every effort to prevent its publication. Although the Jewish state has in the past suffered more than its share of bias from the UN in the form of one-sided condemnations and resolutions that blatantly disregard any Jewish connection to the Promised Land, it sees the “blacklist” in a particularly serious light. Both Israel and the US fear that its publication may spell disaster for the Jewish state’s economy by “driving companies away, deterring others from coming and prompting investors to dump shares of Israeli firms,” The Associated Press said.

The US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, called the list “an attempt to provide an international stamp of approval to the anti-Semitic BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) movement. Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, held that the list would turn the UNHRC into “the world’s biggest promoter of BDS” and vowed to “do everything we can to ensure that this list does not see the light of day.”

The list first became a possibility in March 2016, when the UNHRC tasked the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Prince Zeid bin Ra’ad Zeid al-Hussein, to “investigate the implication of the Israeli settlements on Palestinians.”

The businesses slated for inclusion have not been named. Yet an anonymous official revealed that Israeli companies such as Coca-Cola Israel, Teva Pharmaceuticals, Bank Hapoalim, Bank Leumi, communication company Bezeq and bus line Egged will appear on the list alongside American corporations like Airbnb, Caterpillar, Priceline and TripAdvisor.

In October this year, 130 Israeli companies and 60 international corporations, mostly from America and Europe, received warning letters from the UNHRC which stated that their operations in what the world body called occupied or contested territory put them at risk of being added to the “blacklist.”

While the list will carry no legal status and those who appear on it will face no penalty, the threat of publication has already had some negative consequences, with a number of companies who received the warning letters cancelling their contracts to work in Judea and Samaria, east Jerusalem and the Golan Heights.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, 28 November 2017)

Photo Credit: US Embassy TelAviv/wikimedia

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Cry out to the Lord against the UNHRC initiative to publish the blacklist containing the names of companies who operate in Judea and Samaria. Pray for those who have already received letters to take heart and be proud to support Israel. Pray that Danny Danon and his team will have a breakthrough in their fight against this case of economic discrimination.

Scripture

Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all you who hope in the LORD.


- Psalm 31:24

Palestinians vs. Trump: The Battle Begins

by Bassam Tawil ~ Gatestone Institute

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PA President Mahmoud Abbas and US President Donald Trump

Thursday, 30 November 2017 | Over the past year, the Palestinians have managed to keep under wraps their true feelings about US President Donald Trump and his Middle East envoys and advisors. In all likelihood, they were hoping that the new US administration would endorse their vision for “peace” with Israel.

Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas ensured that his spokesmen and senior officials spoke with circumspection about Trump and his Middle East advisors and envoys. The top brass of the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah felt it was worth giving Trump time to see if he was indeed gullible enough to be persuaded to throw Israel under the bus and fork over their demands.

Well, that bus has long passed.

The Palestinians are now denouncing Trump and his people for their “bias” in favor of Israel. Even more, the Palestinians are openly accusing the Trump administration of “blackmail” and of seeking to “liquidate the Palestinian cause.” To top off the tone, the Palestinians are insinuating that Trump’s top Jewish advisors and envoys—Jared Kushner, Jason Greenblatt and David Friedman—are more loyal to Israel than to the US.

The Palestinians’ unprecedented rhetorical attacks on the Trump administration should be seen as a sign of how they plan to respond to the US president’s plan for peace in the Middle East, which has been described as the “ultimate solution.” Although the full details of the proposed plan have yet to be made public, the Palestinians have already made up their mind: Whatever comes from Trump and his Jewish team is against the interests of the Palestinians.

The Palestinian tone makes it clear that the Palestinian leadership and people have already relegated Trump’s peace plan to the trash-bin as nothing more than Israeli-American conspiracy, in collusion with some Arab countries, to impose a solution on the Palestinians and “liquidate” their cause.

To them, the “real” Trump is now apparent. This is how one Palestinian political analyst, Dr. Mazen Safi, reacted to Trump’s proposed peace plan and what he perceives as continued US support for Israel. “The US president and his administration have removed the mask from their face,” he stated. “They are paving the way for a new Israeli aggression on our people and moving the region toward an explosion.”

So what is really behind the Palestinian outrage with the Trump administration?

First, the Palestinians reject the idea of “regional peace” between Israel and Arab countries. The Palestinians maintain that peace between Israel and the Arab countries should come only after, and not before, the Palestinian issue is resolved. The Palestinians fear that any peace agreements between Israel and the Arab countries would come at their expense.

Echoing this fear, the Palestinian daily Al-Quds, which often reflects the views of the Palestinian Authority leadership, pointed out that the recent Arab League foreign ministers’ meeting in Cairo chose to focus on the Iranian and Hezbollah “threat,” breaking from the long-standing traditional obsession of the Arabs with the Palestinian issue. The Palestinians, according to the paper, feel abandoned by their Arab brothers.

“The Arab League meeting in Cairo came out with strong positions against the Iranian threat and didn’t hesitate to classify Hezbollah as a terrorist group,” Al-Quds complained in an editorial. “The meeting ignored the Palestinian cause. We are facing new Arab alliances against Iran, all under American pressure. This will have a negative impact on our cause.”

The Palestinian daily went on to lambast the floating Trump peace plan. It stated that the proposed plan, as published in various media outlets, “Doesn’t serve our interests and aspirations.”

Second, the Palestinians are furious with US threats to shut down the PLO [Palestine Liberation Organization’s] diplomatic mission in Washington. They see the threat as an attempt to blackmail them not file charges of war crimes against Israel with the International Criminal Court. The Palestinians also see the threat as an attempt to force them to resume peace talks with Israel unconditionally.

“The US threat to close the PLO’s diplomatic mission in Washington shows disrespect for the Palestinian rights and blind bias in favor of Israel,” Al-Quds said in the same editorial. “It also coincides with growing hollow talk about a US peace plan that has been endorsed by President Trump.”

Third, the Palestinians are now openly talking about Trump’s Jewish advisors and envoys and their “influence” on him and his administration’s policies. This is something that Palestinian Authority officials had refrained from mentioning in the past year because it rings of out-and-out anti-Semitism. Now, however, Palestinian officials and political analysts do not seem to have a problem talking about the influence of the “Jewish lobby” on Trump’s decision-making process and policies.

Hassan Al-Batal, a political analyst closely associated with the Palestinian Authority, referred in a recent article to what he called “the three Jewish pillars of the Trump peace plan—Trump’s son-in law (Kushner), Middle East envoy (Greenblatt) and the US Ambassador to Israel (Friedman).”

Al-Batal expressed “regret” that the recent meeting of the Arab League foreign ministers chose to condemn Hezbollah and Iran. “Palestine is currently witnessing a crisis with Washington,” he said.

Bassam Abu Sharif, a former advisor to Yasser Arafat, went as far as referring to Trump’s Jewish advisors as a “dangerous clique.”

Abu Sharif said that he had no doubt that “what Kushner and his dangerous clique are planning is destructive and inhumane.” The US, he charged, has one major goal: to take full control of the Middle East and steal its resources for once and for all. This requires—according to their scheme—the liquidation of the Palestinian cause.”

Another political analyst, Talal Okal, who is also linked to the Palestinian Authority and its leadership, accused the Trump administration of “misinformation” and attempting to “blackmail” the Palestinians. Referring to the US demand that the Palestinians refrain from filing charges against Israel with the International Criminal Court and threatening to shut down the PLO’s diplomatic mission in Washington, Okal wrote:

“The US administration is practicing blackmail against the Palestinian leadership by demanding that the Palestinians engage in unconditional negotiations with Israel and that the Palestinians refrain from pursuing war crimes against Israel with the International Criminal Court. It’s obvious that the Trump administration is practicing a policy of misinformation.”

Palestinian political analyst Hani Habib claimed that the Trump administration was preparing to blame the Palestinians for the failure of the next peace process. The Palestinians, Habib said, “must be united in facing all forms of American-Israeli blackmail. The US administration’s threat to shut down the PLO’s diplomatic mission in Washington calls into question its ability to play the role of a fair and honest mediator.”

In an article entitled “Cheap American Blackmail,” columnist Omar Hilmi Al-Ghul complained: “The US administration is once again ignoring Palestinian rights and interests. It’s shamelessly and flagrantly seeking to confiscate the Palestinians’ independent decision-making process.”

Al-Ghul, too, made a reference to Trump’s Jewish team:

“The team surrounding Trump, which is in collusion with Israel, is acting in a way that contradicts what the Palestinian leadership wants—to maintain bridges with the US. The American blackmail of the Palestinian leadership is cheap and miscalculated.”

This conspiracy theory, which claims that Trump’s team cares more about Israel than US interests, is repeated in a statement by Fatah: “The US political blackmail contravenes international laws and resolutions pertaining to the Palestinian issue in particular and the peace process in general. This US position endorses the Israeli policy to end the two-state solution.”

The Palestinians’ rhetorical attacks on the Trump administration are designed to prepare the ground for their rejection of the proposed “ultimate solution.”

The Palestinians want it to be seen as a plan concocted by a few Jewish officials in the Trump administration who are more loyal to Israel than their own country, the US.

These officials, the Palestinians argue, have endorsed the position of the Israeli government and serve as its mouthpiece. That is why, they argue, the Palestinians are unable to accept a plan that is in effect a “Jewish-American conspiracy to eliminate the Palestinian cause.”

The Palestinians are also preparing the stage to accuse some Arab countries of “collusion” with this “conspiracy”—putting them on a collision course with Saudi Arabia.

The Palestinian message to the Arab countries, especially Saudi Arabia, should be seen as a warning shot: Collaborate with the Trump administration in the alleged scheme at your peril.

The anti-Trump Palestinian stance is sounding the death-knell for US administration’s effort to achieve comprehensive peace in the Middle East. Take careful note: these warning shots may well be translated into yet another intifada against Israel under the fabricated pretext that the Americans and Israelis, with the help of some Arab countries, seek to strip the Palestinians of their rights. One wonders when the world will wake up to the fact that those rights have already been stripped from the Palestinians—by none other than their own brainwashing, inciting and corrupt leaders.

Source: (Gatestone Institute originally published this article on 25 November 2017. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Screenshot/YouTube/White House

Prayer Focus
Pray that Israel will trust in the Lord. As tension is rising in Syria and Gaza, the Palestinian Authority is adding to the regional unrest by inciting their people against the Jews and Americans. Implore the Lord to cause this incitement to fall on deaf ears. May God’s will be done.

Scripture

Do not fret because of evildoers, nor be envious of the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb. Trust in the LORD, and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.


- Psalm 37:1-3

Over 230 New Immigrants from Two “Lost Tribes” Come Home to Israel

by Ilse Posselt

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Ben Gurion Airport: families reunited after years, even decades, of separation!

Friday, 24 November 2017 | The promise is ancient, given by the Almighty through the Hebrew prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, Zechariah and Ezekiel. The day would come, the God of Israel pledged, that the children of Israel, whom He had scattered to the four corners of the earth, would return to the land of their promise.

Last week saw yet another part of this prophecy slot into place when 231 new immigrants made aliyah (immigration to Israel) and came home to the Promised Land after millennia in exile. These returning sons and daughters of Israel form part of two “lost tribes,” and made their way from India and Ethiopia respectively to be reunited with family and loved ones who have already immigrated to the Jewish state.

Israel welcomed 162 members of India’s B’nei Menashe or the Sons of Menashe. This small community living in north-eastern India, on a strip of land pocketed between Myanmar and Bangladesh, has been exiled from Israel and separated from their people for nearly three millennia. The Sons of Menashe trace their lineage back to the Assyrian exile from the Northern Kingdom of Israel in 721 BC, walking across the silk route before finally settling down in India and Myanmar. Now, following 2,700 years in exile, another 162 sons and daughters of Menashe have finally come home.

Over the past 15 years, some 3,000 members of B’nei Menashe have already completed the homecoming to Israel and settled in the Promised Land, while an additional 7,000 are still waiting to make the journey.

Minister of the Interior, Aryeh Deri, Deputy Minister of Finance, Yitzhak Cohen, and Michael Freund, Chairperson of Shavei Israel, the Jerusalem-based non-profit that works to return the “lost” or “hidden” Jews, such as the B’nei Menashe, to Israel, attended a special welcoming ceremony for the new immigrants.

“I promise that we will make all of you feel at home,” stated Deri. “Our heart is big enough and has room for each of you. When a Jew meets a Jew, there is an immediate connection. I promise you that the Interior Ministry, under my leadership, will do everything it can to help every Jew—wherever he is in the world—get the appropriate approvals so they can make aliyah to Israel.”

Freund called the homecoming “an exciting day for all of us.” He explained that the new immigrants will spend some time in the Shavei Israel Absorption Center, after which they will settle in Tiberias on the shores of the Sea of Galilee to start on their new lives in the land of their fathers.

“We will do everything we can to ensure that their integration into Israeli society goes as smoothly as possible,” Freund pledged. “More than 2,700 years after their ancestors were exiled from the Land, the B’nei Menashe are at last returning home to Zion.”

Apart from the 162 sons and daughters of Menashe, 69 people also made aliyah from Ethiopia to Israel. These new immigrants reportedly descend from the Tribe of Dan, another of the ten lost biblical tribes of Israel.

Editor’s Note: Bridges for Peace works closely with Shavei Israel, providing funds for transportation and other expenses to bring the B’nei Menashe to Israel. Once they are in the Land, we provide them with practical assistance to help them establish new homes. Please consider joining us in this effort with a donation.  

Source: (Bridges for Peace, 24 November 2017)

Photo Credit: Screenshot/YouTube/Shavei Israel

Prayer Focus
Glorify God as He continues to bring His people back to their Promised Land. Give thanks for their presence which strengthens the Jewish nation. Ask God to comfort the new citizens as they learn the language, find schools, make new friends and root themselves in the land of their inheritance.

Scripture

For behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, that I will bring back from captivity My people Israel and Judah, says the LORD and I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it.


- Jeremiah 30:3

Action
Bridges for Peace works closely with Shavei Israel, providing funds for transportation and other expenses to bring the B’nei Menashe to Israel. Once they are in the Land, we provide them with practical assistance to help them establish new homes. Please consider joining us in this effort with a donation to the New Immigrant Fund.

Netanyahu Meets with 11 African Leaders, Announces New Israeli Embassy in Rwanda

by Ilse Posselt

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Rwandan President Kagame and Prime Minister Netanyahu

Wednesday, 29 November 2017 | Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu left Israel yesterday morning for an official one-day trip to Kenya, the prime minister’s third visit to the African continent in the past 18 months. During his whirlwind stay in the East African country, Netanyahu met with leaders from 11 African nations and announced the opening of a new Israeli embassy in the Rwandan capital, Kigali.

Addressing the media from the tarmac at Ben Gurion Airport prior to his departure, the prime minister revealed that the intention of the trip “is to deepen [Israel’s] ties with Africa, including by establishing connections with nations with which we do not have diplomatic relations.”

Emphasizing Israel’s diplomatic focus over the past two years to forge and strengthen ties with nations on the African continent, Netanyahu stated, “Four [Israeli] diplomatic offices have been opened in Africa in the past two years, and I hope that by the end of today I will be able to announce the opening of yet another Israeli embassy in an African nation. And this is just the beginning,” he promised.

Netanyahu’s trip to Kenya was in honor of the inauguration of the country’s reelected president, Uhura Kenyatta. Due to safety concerns, the prime minister was, however, unable to attend the public inauguration ceremony, which was hosted among 60,000 of Kenyatta’s supporters in the Kasarani stadium in Nairobi.

The prime minister’s plane touched down in Nairobi in time for a celebratory lunch. Netanyahu was the only Western leader invited to attend the festive meal, during which he was seated next to Kenyatta. Surrounded by ten other African heads of state, the prime minister was also the only foreign leader requested to address the guests.

“We want to work with you and each of your countries” Netanyahu told his audience. “We believe in Africa. For each of your initiatives, there will be an initiative of ours to take advantage of the future and make life better and safer for your people.”

Following the lunch, Netanyahu sat down for a series of bilateral diplomatic meetings with the presidents of Botswana, Ethiopia, Gabon, Namibia, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda and Zambia as well as the prime minister of Ethiopia and the vice president of Nigeria. The meetings were aimed at furthering cooperation between Israel and the African nations in fields such as energy, agriculture, technology and security. According to Ynetnews, the heads of state expressed their gratitude to Israel for its assistance in the past and requested the Jewish state’s continued help in areas of agriculture, intelligence and security.

Before the prime minister’s lightning visit drew to a close at dusk and he prepared to fly back to Israel, Netanyahu confirmed that he had kept the promise made before departing the Jewish state regarding an additional Israeli embassy in Africa. During a meeting with Rwandan President, Paul Kagame, Netanyahu informed him that the Jewish state will open an embassy in the East African country.

“We are opening a new embassy in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, as part of expanding Israel’s presence in Africa and deepening cooperation between Israel and African countries,” Netanyahu announced.

The past two years have seen a previously unheard of heyday in Israeli-African relations, with new alliances forged, current relationships strengthened and various partnerships entered into—all to the benefit of both parties. While African nations stand to profit from the Jewish state’s technology, innovation and expertise, Israel can gain the backing of these countries in international forums, like the United Nations (UN).

The relationship renaissance was thrust into the international spotlight in June last year when Netanyahu embarked on what he called a “historic visit” to East Africa. As the first sitting Israeli prime minister to pay an official visit to the continent in over 30 years, Netanyahu spent five days on African soil, stopped in four different nations—Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda—and met with leaders and delegations from seven countries to discuss the way forward for prospective Israeli-African partnerships.

Then, in June 2017, Netanyahu paid a second visit to Africa. This time his destination was Liberia, where he addressed the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), a body that promotes prosperity in the region and represents 15 nations with a combined population of some 320 million.

During his address, Netanyahu vowed, “I believe in Africa. I believe in your future and I believe in our partnership for this future. We want a better future for you, a better future for all of us, and we think we can be your perfect partners… We want to help your soil become more fertile, your water more usable, your cities safer, and your air cleaner. The foundations of cooperation we lay today will last many decades into the future.”

“Israel is coming back to Africa,” the prime minister said. “Africa is coming back to Israel.”

Source: (Bridges for Peace, 29 November 2017)

Photo Credit: Haim Zach/GPO

Prayer Focus
Give thanks to the God of Israel for the strides Israel has made in building relationships and ties on the African continent. Pray for PM Netanyahu as he continues to further cooperation with other African countries. Ask God to safeguard the whole process of setting up the new embassy in Rwanda.

Scripture

Though your beginning was small, yet your latter end would increase abundantly.


- Job 8:7

Send the Rain

by Janet Aslin

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Friday, 01 December 2017 | Before the Israelites entered the Promised Land, Moses spoke to them about many things. One of them was specifically related to water—they would have to depend upon rainfall for their agricultural needs. “For the land which you go to possess is not like the land of Egypt from which you have come, where you sowed your seed and watered it by foot, as a vegetable garden; but the land which you cross over to possess is a land of hills and valleys, which drinks water from the rain of heaven…” (Deut 11:10–11).

Israel is indeed a land with few natural sources of water. The two main sources, the Sea of Galilee (Kinneret) and several large underground aquifers, are at a point of crisis. And, although the nation is a world leader in water conservation practices, use of desalination and reclamation of waste water, Israeli farmers are anxiously awaiting “the rain of heaven.”

A recent report showed that “more than half the water used by Israeli households, agriculture and industry is artificially produced” (www.cjnews.com). Israel leads the world in reclaiming its “gray water” with an astounding 87% purified so that it can be reused for agricultural purposes. But it is not enough to meet the needs of Israel’s farmers. After four years of drought conditions and the reduction of water they receive, the agricultural sector is facing the need to make serious decisions. Reuters recently reported that one farmer had made the difficult decision to dry out a large portion of his acreage.  

When faced with a crisis, it is natural to cry out in prayer. According to the Jewish Virtual Library, “prayers for rain are among the earliest liturgical texts…and during periods of drought, special prayers and supplications combined with fasting.” This is the season for rain in Israel. Abba, send your rain on this dry and thirsty land!

Source: (Bridges for Peace, 01 December, 2017)

Photo Credit: Myriams-Fotos/pixabay

Prayer Focus
Press in and pray for rain in the Holy Land! Rain for the crops, rain for the herds of livestock, rain to wash away the desert dust, rain to prosper the land. Precious rain… a blessing on the dry and thirsty land that will save the Kinneret and fill the underground aquifers.

Scripture

Then He will give the rain for your seed with which you sow the ground, and bread of the increase of the earth; it will be fat and plentiful. In that day your cattle will feed in large pastures.


- Isaiah 30:23

Israel Celebrates 70 Years since the UN Partition Plan

by Ilse Posselt

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Celebration in Jerusalem of UN Decision in 1947

Thursday, 30 November 2017 | On 29 November 1947, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) put to the vote a proposal called the United Nation (UN) Partition Plan for Palestine. It outlined a suggestion for the future of the tiny strip of land wedged between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea—known at that point as Mandatory Palestine—once the British Mandate expired. The plan advocated that the plot of land be carved up and pockets allocated to both the Jewish and Arab populations to create separate, independent states existing next to one another. Jerusalem would become an international city under neither Jewish nor Arab administration.

Seventy years ago, 33 member states gave their nods of approval for the plan. Thirteen said no, while ten states refrained from voting. The plan was adopted as Resolution 181(II). On 29 November 1947, the Jewish people obtained international backing to re-establish a state on parts of the land of their forefathers, the land which God pledged in an everlasting covenant to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Gen. 13:14-17, 15:18 and 17:8).

The proposed borders excluded Jerusalem as well as large pockets of the Jewish historic homeland. Regardless, the Jews embraced the proposal, rejoiced at the prospect of seeing their hope of nearly 2,000 years fulfilled and set about preparations for the rebirth of a nation. The Arabs, on the other hand, rejected the proposal and set about preparations for war to “drive the Jews into the sea.”

The 1947 partition plan—and the Jews’ and Arab’s respective reaction to it—set a number of pivotal events in motion. Nearly six months later, the British Mandate expired at midnight on 14 May 1948. A few hours before the deadline, the Jewish People’s Council approved a proclamation, declaring “the establishment of a Jewish state in Eretz Israel, to be known as the State of Israel.”

Prophecy was fulfilled as Israel was reborn.

Two days later, the ragtag army of the fledgling state was called upon to protect its people in the nation’s first war when a coalition of five Arab armies stormed its borders. The tiny army of Israel was vastly outgunned and outnumbered. Droves of Arabs fled the war-torn country ahead of the invading armies and eventually lost the entire area that they could have declared their own. When the last battle in the war was finally fought nine months later, the tiny army of Israel was victorious.

On Tuesday, the World Jewish Congress and the Israeli mission to the UN hosted an event in honor of the significant anniversary. The celebration was held in the Queens Museum in New York, where the UNGA met seven decades before to vote on the fate of the Promised Land and its people. The hall was redecorated specifically to resemble what it looked like on 29 November 1947 and guests included representatives from the 33 states that voted “yes.”

United States Vice President, Mike Pence, was the guest of honor and delivered the keynote address. Pence said that 70 years ago, “the United Nations declared to the world an ancient truth. That the Jewish people have a national, irrevocable right to an independent state in their ancestral and eternal homeland.”

The US vice president conveyed “congratulations and support” from US President, Donald Trump, whom Pence called, “a champion of Israel.”

Pence continued, “The president sent me with a simple message: Under our administration, America will always stand with Israel. The days of Israel-bashing at the UN are over,” he vowed.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the celebration via a video message sent from Jerusalem. “Warm greetings from Jerusalem to all of you gathered in the actual hall where the UN voted on partition in 1947. This was a truly historic decision. Close your eyes for a moment and imagine the electricity in the air during that vote. In Israel, people were glued to their radios and then broke out dancing in the streets. This was a prelude to Israel’s rebirth as an independent nation.”

“Today we are a thriving democracy that also helps so many people around the world. We also have great friends and allies—first among them the United States.” The prime minister also thanked “President Trump and the American people for their steadfast support of Israel.

“I have no doubt that we will gather together again in another 70 years to celebrate Israel’s continued progress, its prosperity, its power, and the peace that it achieved with its neighbors because of all of you, and all of us,” Netanyahu concluded.

For his part, President Reuven Rivlin posted a video on social media, sharing his memories of 29 November 1947. The Rivlin family, he shared, was huddled around the radio, waiting for the vote’s conclusion. The 9-year-old Rivlin had fallen asleep, only to be awoken by the joyous shouts from his family.

Rivlin continued reminding his audience of the driving force behind the rebirth of the State of Israel: prophecy fulfilled. “We always knew and we know to this day, that our independence, our sovereignty in this land, was not based only on diplomats making votes. And the State of Israel has not flourished into a thriving economy and a vibrant democracy, because of a ‘yes’, a ‘no’, or even an ‘abstain’. The State of Israel, was born out of the 2,000 year old hope of the Jewish people to return to our homeland: to return to Zion, to Jerusalem. But the vote in the UN, 70 years ago, gave Israel something very special: a place among the nations.”

While Israel, the Jewish people around the world and those who stand with the Jewish state remember 29 November 1947 as a date of much rejoicing, the UN itself fails to commemorate the day as the anniversary of the partition plan. Since 1977, 29 November is set aside as the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. Instead of recalling the Jewish acceptance of the plan, the Arab stoic rejection and the consequences thereof, the international body chose this date to invite the global community to stand in camaraderie with the so-called plight of the Palestinians.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, 30 November 2017)

Photo Credit: Hans Pinn/GPO

Prayer Focus
Praise God for the State of Israel! Ask God to bless Israel’s leaders as they steer the nation to a better and safer tomorrow, giving thanks for the US support of Israel.

Scripture

Not a word failed of any good thing which the LORD had spoken to the house of Israel. All came to pass.


- Joshua 21:45

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