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Crisis Deepens for Ethiopian and Ukrainian Jews

Friday, December 17, 2021

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

Israel’s Long Wait for Tanker Plane Key to Iran Strike

by Kate Norman

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Boeing KC-46 aerial refueling tanker

Wednesday, 15 December 2021 | Israel’s contingency plan to thwart Iran’s nuclear development in light of the faltering Vienna nuclear talks could hinge on one snag: back-ordered refueling planes from the US, which will delay delivery until 2024.

There are a lot of pieces to the puzzle. The Biden administration and European powers are borderline frantic to revive the 2015 nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Former US President Donald Trump exited the deal in 2018, and Iran has been increasingly violating its restrictions since then.

Now, multiple rounds of talks in Vienna are going nowhere, as Iran is reportedly demanding much but offering little—insisting on a complete lifting of sanctions before agreeing to return to compliance.

As the current round of talks peter out, the clock is ticking. While the negotiations drag out, centrifuges continue spinning in Iran. The Islamic regime’s nuclear program is marching on, as Iran continues enriching and stockpiling uranium, which is used to develop nuclear weapons.

And experts say that’s just what Iran wants: to run out the clock on the talks while it continues its clandestine nuclear development. If the talks take too long, analysts postulate, the agreement won’t matter at all, as Iran will have achieved a nuclear weapon—or at least made significant progress, rendering any agreement to rein in its nuclear development moot.

Non-diplomatic Option

Enter the Jewish state with its contingency plan: a potential military strike on Iran’s key nuclear sites.

The Israeli military has announced multiple exercises, preparations and increased budgets for action against Iran. Israel has vowed to prevent the regime from achieving a nuclear weapon.

But Iran lies over 1,100 miles (1,800 km.) from the Jewish state. For Israel’s fighter jets and bombers to go the distance, they need tanker planes to refuel in the air.

And there lies the hinge. The Israel Air Forces’ (IAF’s) current refueling planes are over 50 years old. They can still fly, but an upgrade is desperately needed to advance the IAF’s range and capabilities.

This was reportedly a topic of discussion when Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz visited Washington last week to meet with his US counterpart, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III regarding Iran.

Israel reportedly decided to order refueling aircraft from the US over two years ago under the reign of former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but it got lost in the shuffle of Israel’s political crises in which two years and four elections yielded no concrete government until earlier this year.

So the order of eight KC-46 Pegasus refueling planes wasn’t solidified and approved by the US until last March, the Times of Israel reported.

The tankers would increase Israel’s range more than enough to launch an attack against Iran’s nuclear sites. However, US and Israeli officials said the planes have been back-ordered and won’t be ready until 2024, the New York Times reported.

By then, it would be too late to thwart the Islamic regime’s nuclear ambitions.

Gantz reportedly asked Secretary Austin to rush the delivery during their meeting last week in Washington but was told that the Boeing planes are locked in a production backlog.

The US Air Force also wants refueling planes to increase its own presence against China in the Indo-Pacific, the New York Times noted.

Israel could circumvent the need for midair refueling by making a pit stop in Saudi Arabia or the United Arab Emirates—neither of whom have warm, fuzzy relations with Iran. However, neither country would also likely want to directly aid such an attack and risk the Islamic regime’s ire.

Either way, time and options are running out. Maybe the fact that Israel is placing the rush order for the refueling aircraft is in itself enough to up the ante for the US, Iran and the world. It certainly proves how serious the Jewish state is about thwarting Tehran’s nuclear development.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, December 15, 2021)

Photo Credit: USAF Christopher Okula/commons.wikimedia.org

Photo License: wikimedia.org

Prayer Focus
Cry out to the Lord for a solution to this situation that continues to worsen. Pray that if Israeli military action is necessary, He will remove all obstacles and make it possible and successful. However, also pray that He will move on the hearts of global leaders, especially in the US, to stop playing diplomatic games with Iran while the Iranian nuclear program progresses and to use their combined leverage to force Iran into compliance.

Scripture

I know that You can do everything, and that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You.


- Job 42:2

12 UN Ambassadors Tour Israel to Visit Key Sites, Get Briefings from Officials

by JNS

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Ambassadors from 12 countries begin a tour of Israel to help counter ongoing misinformation and bias at the world body, December 2021.

Thursday, 16 December 2021 | At the invitation of Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan and the American Zionist Movement, a delegation of 12 ambassadors to the United Nations and their spouses arrived in Israel on Tuesday.

The delegation includes ambassadors from Albania (who will begin serving on the UN Security Council in January), Argentina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Ecuador, Hungary, Nauru, Palau, South Korea, Samoa, Uruguay and Zambia.

As part of the weeklong visit, participants will tour historical sites such as the Western Wall, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and Arab religious sites; the Yad Vashem World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem; modern entities showcasing Israeli high-tech, innovation and development centers. They will visit the Northern and Southern Commands of the Israel Defense Forces and receive security briefings from military officials; see a Hezbollah terror tunnel and Iron Dome battery; and spend time on the Nevatim Airbase and learn about the F-35 aircraft.

The group is also scheduled to meet with Israeli President Isaac Herzog, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid.

“The delegation of ambassadors is of great importance; it is an opportunity to present to them the truth about the State of Israel. At the United Nations, many lies are spread against Israel, and after a week of comprehensive visits, I am convinced that the ambassadors will return to their countries and the United Nations with an understanding of the challenges facing the State of Israel, and our contributions and solutions to global problems,” said Erdan.

The visit is also being sponsored by the American Zionist Movement [AZM], which is partnering with Erdan and the Israeli government.

“We hope that the ambassadors come away from the experience with a deeper and more realistic perspective of Israel and the threats it faces, as well as an appreciation for the rich and diverse culture of the State of Israel. AZM looks forward to forging new and lasting friendships with the members of the delegation and their countries,” said Deborah Isaac, president of the American Zionist Movement.

Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on December 15, 2021. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Permanent Mission of Israel to the United Nations/JNS.org

Prayer Focus
Pray that this visit by the UN ambassadors will have the desired effect. Pray that they will recognize the difficult issues Israel faces, Israel’s commitment to peace and the constant flow of inventions and innovations that emanates from Israel, making the world a better and safer place for everyone. Ask the Lord for solid relationships to be built with each of these nations, and beseech Him that each will become a solid supporter of Israel at the UN, standing against the anti-Israel lies that are widely accepted by so many nations.

Scripture

How shall I curse whom God has not cursed? And how shall I denounce whom the LORD has not denounced?


- Numbers 23:8

Bennett Returns from UAE Trip ‘with Great Optimism’

by Kate Norman

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Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett just wrapped up his first visit to the UAE.

Tuesday, 14 December 2021 | Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is returning home to Israel “with great optimism” from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the first official visit by an Israeli premier to the kingdom.

“The Israeli prime minister’s successful visit to the United Arab Emirates is another milestone in the development of warm relations and a tremendous partnership forged between the two countries,” reads a joint statement by both nations published in the Emirates News Agency.

During the trip, Bennett invited his host, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan of Abu Dhabi, to visit Israel—which the prince accepted, the Times of Israel reported. The date of the trip has not been announced, however.

Before returning to Israel, Bennett thanked the crown prince for “the very warm hospitality and the in-depth, sincere and significant talks.”

“During the day, we discussed the two countries’ relative strengths,” Bennett added in comments published by his office. “Our goal is to expand ties so that there is not only peace between the leaders but also between the peoples.

“I am leaving here with great optimism that this example of ties between the two countries will be a cornerstone for a wide-ranging network of ties throughout the region.”

The Israeli prime minister was given what he called a “splendid welcome” to the prince’s palace in Abu Dhabi by an honor guard and the kingdom’s foreign minister, Bennett’s office said in a statement.

Bennett’s historic visit follows Foreign Minister Yair Lapid’s high-profile visit to the kingdom in June to inaugurate the Israeli embassy.

Israel and the UAE brought their relations out into the open last year under the landmark Abraham Accords. The two officially normalized ties in a signing ceremony on the White House lawn in September 2020 along with Bahrain.

Since then, Jerusalem and Abu Dhabi have developed a warm relationship filled with cooperation and trade agreements.

And that’s partially what Bennett’s visit was about. Before departing, Bennett said he would be meeting with the crown prince to discuss “ways to further our cooperation in a number of fields, especially strengthening our economic and commercial ties.”

According to the joint statement published after the visit, they discussed “a variety of economic and civic issues” for cooperation, including R&D, technology, water, energy, health, environment, tourism and food security.

Israel and the UAE will establish a joint research and development fund, the statement said, which “will harness leading economic and technological minds” to tackle issues from “climate change and desertification to clean energy and future agriculture.”

Another topic of discussion, though less pleasant, might have been Iran, as Bennett’s visit took place amid unsuccessful talks in Vienna to renegotiate another nuclear deal.

Iran has reportedly been taking a hardline approach to the discussions, demanding a lifting of all sanctions while offering little in return as far as reining in its nuclear development program. The Jewish state has vehemently argued against an international return to the nuclear deal and has vowed that it will prevent Iran from achieving a nuclear weapon.

The UAE, a more moderate and pragmatic Muslim nation, shares Israel’s concern over Tehran’s nuclear ambition—which is likely part of the common ground that Israel and the UAE were able to build a relationship upon in the first place.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, December 14, 2021)

Photo Credit: Avi Ohayon/GPO/commons.wikimedia.org

Photo License: wikimedia.org

Prayer Focus
Thank the Lord for this successful meeting between leaders and for the ongoing relationship between the UAE and Israel. Pray that ties will continue to strengthen, blessing both nations and encouraging other countries in the region to turn from hating Israel and join the ranks of Israel’s new Arab allies.

Scripture

Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it.


- Jonah 3:10

Israeli President Visits Nazareth ahead of Christmas

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Israeli President Isaac Herzog and First Lady Michal Herzog visiting Nazareth, December 14, 2021.

Thursday, 16 December 2021 | [Tuesday night], President Herzog and First Lady Michal Herzog visited the city of Nazareth and met the leaders of the Christian churches in Israel at the Basilica of the Annunciation. The president and the church leaders were photographed in front of the Orthodox Church’s Christmas tree, the largest in the Middle East, and the president spoke in Hebrew and Arabic.

The president began his remarks by noting the importance of this encounter soon before Christmas:

“We are here in order to repeat that we are committed to all the faiths of the Holy Land. May they prosper, and grow, and continue to strike roots, and feel safe, and feel part of the State of Israel. Muslims, Christians, Jews, Druze, and Circassians. All religious communities and faiths are an inseparable part of the State of Israel, and the State of Israel is committed to guaranteeing the freedom of faith and worship of all of them.”

“Just before Christmas and the New Year, we bring good tidings from the Basilica of the Annunciation, from the Holy Land, to the whole world! Tidings of peace, tidings of fraternity, tidings of coexistence, tidings of a war against hatred and racism. I thank you all and wish you happy holidays!”

The President then added in Arabic:

“I stand here as the President of the State of Israel and call on all our brothers and sisters of faith around the world, and especially in the Middle East—Christians, Muslims, Jews, Druze, and Circassians. May we always remember that we all pray to the same God and that we all want lives of peace and partnership based on understanding and fraternity. Only thus, out of our deep shared faith in the Creator, and no less so, out of our faith in humankind, shall we manage to create for ourselves, for all of humanity, the good and promising future that we deserve.”

Nazareth Mayor Ali Salam:

“I commend the president and the first lady on their important visit in Nazareth, especially just before Christmas, the holiday that symbolizes peace and love. We have known each other for many years, and I am sure that the president will continue to assist the whole Arab sector, just as he has done to date.”

Source: (Excerpt from a press release originally released by the Israeli Government Press Office on December 14, 2021. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today.)

Photo Credit: Kobi Gideon (GPO)/press release

Prayer Focus
Praise the Lord for President Herzog’s outreach to Christians in the Holy Land. Pray that the expressions of peace and fraternity from both leaders will indeed be a reality. Pray also that those who would disparage Israel will be silenced by this sincere expression of Israel’s commitment to religious freedom.

Scripture

For the day of the LORD upon all the nations is near; as you have done, it shall be done to you; your reprisal shall return upon your own head.


- Obadiah 1:15

Report: Israeli Strikes in Syria Targeted Chemical Weapons Sites

by Ynet

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Israeli Air Force fighter jet (illustrative)

Tuesday, 14 December 2021 | Israel attacked two chemical weapons facilities in Syria over the past two years, the Washington Post reported Monday.

The facilities were reportedly used by the [Syrian President] Bashar al-Assad regime to manufacture chemical weapons, and according to intelligence sources, the attacks were intended to thwart a Syrian attempt to resume the production of nerve gas.

“There were more signs of them going back into production,” said one of the intelligence officials. Following the first attack, which took place in March 2020, Israeli intelligence discovered additional sites producing chemical weapons, and according to two Western officials, Israel believed this was an effort by Syria to rebuild its chemical warfare capabilities.

The Washington Post said the Israeli military refused to respond to the report, but Western intelligence officials immediately noticed that these attacks were unusual in relation to other attacks in Syria attributed to Israel. While previous attacks targeted pro-Iranian militias or Iranian arms shipments, these attacks were directed against targets part of Syria’s chemical weapons program.

The aircraft fighters that took part in the attack were deep within Syrian soil, near the border with Turkey. The latest attack on June 8 included three targets that were bombed in Damascus and [the] Homs area, killing seven Syrian soldiers, including a senior officer, and an engineer who worked at a top-secret Syrian military lab.

Israel carried out a similar attack one year prior, which was also based on intelligence that Assad’s regime had obtained chemical substances and other means necessary to rebuild its chemical weapons capabilities, on which it is believed to have given up eight years earlier.

“It is a strategic weapon for the regime,” said a Western intelligence official.

The report was based on four US and Western intelligence sources that were exposed to sensitive intelligence during the attacks and were interviewed on condition of anonymity.

On June 8, Syria reported on an alleged Israeli attack coming from Lebanon. According to Syrian media, the explosions were heard in Damascus and in the Homs area, and the announcement was published after the Lebanese media reported that Israeli aircraft were circling in the country’s airspace.

Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published by Ynetnews on December 13, 2021. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Mussi Katz/flickr.com

Photo License: flickr.com

Prayer Focus
Thank the Lord for the intelligence information that fueled Israel’s attempts to keep the Syrian regime from resuming its manufacture of nerve gas. Ask the Lord to protect those Israelis who are involved in carrying out such strikes and those who are providing the intelligence.

Scripture

The LORD will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.


- Exodus 14:14

Lapid’s Visit to Cairo Suggests Improved Relations

by David Isaac ~ JNS

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Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi in Cairo

Monday, 13 December 2021 | Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs Yair Lapid visited Cairo on Thursday, where he met separately with his Egyptian counterpart, Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry, and with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

“Egypt is an especially important strategic partner for Israel. My goal is to strengthen our security, diplomatic and economic relations with Egypt,” Lapid said in a Foreign Ministry statement.

Lapid and el-Sisi discussed a host of issues—foremost, countering Iran and its nuclear ambitions. They also talked about the Hamas-run Gaza Strip and Egypt’s role as a mediator between Israel and the terror group, and deepening peace between Israel and Egypt “in the civilian fields of economics, energy, agriculture and trade.”

“At the strategic level, relations have never been better,” said Eran Lerman, vice president of the Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security (JISS), telling JNS that “there is a deeper change in Egypt’s orientation. It is more Mediterranean. It is more Pharaonic. It is less Arab and it is certainly less Islamic, which makes for an easier framework for partnership.”

Lerman noted that the warming Egypt–Israel relationship is driven by three things: “Turkey, Washington and energy.”

Lerman said the timing of the meeting is interesting, as it comes with Israeli Minister of Defense Benny Gantz in Washington DC, who even mentioned the “improved ties with Egypt and Jordan” in talks with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

“Moreover, [Lapid’s visit] comes directly after the holding in Israel of the Tripartite Mediterranean Summit,” the eighth such meeting between Greece, Cyprus and Israel, which started with a focus on energy but increasingly has a “military dimension,” said Lerman. “It’s an alignment. I don’t use the term ‘alliance’ here. It’s clearly not that between Israel and Egypt. It’s an alignment of forces. It’s driven by a multiplicity of reasons beginning with the word ‘Turkey.’”

‘Egyptians Feel Annoyance and Resentment of Turkey’

“Both sides are working, operating with Turkey in mind,” agreed Paul Rivlin, a senior research fellow at the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies at Tel Aviv University.

While Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s tussles with former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu were perhaps more widely reported in Western media, Erdoğan has been equally critical of Egypt, with which his country has fallen out since el-Sisi deposed Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Morsi in 2013.

“The Egyptians feel annoyance and resentment of Turkey. After all, Turkey supported the Islamic regime that was in power for one year in Egypt. And that won’t be forgotten,” said Rivlin. “Egyptians have long, long memories.”

The main order of business in the meeting, however, was not Turkey, but Iran. “It’s not the most important issue from an Egyptian point of view. They’ve suffered less from Iran than others in the region, but still, they’re beholden to the Saudis and the United Arab Emirates for their help since 2013, and they don’t like the Iranians one bit,” said Lerman.

He said the way Egypt can help is by drawing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad away from the Iranian fold.

“The most important issue for Lapid beyond the Iranian portfolio is his plan for Gaza. The Egyptians are mediators, the conveyor of messages, and they’ve done a remarkable job in pressuring Hamas to keep the Gaza border quiet,” said Lerman. “There has not been one incendiary balloon for a month now. No one’s paying attention to what’s not happening. Sometimes, what doesn’t happen is a very important thing.”

Lapid’s “Economy for Security” plan, which he announced in September, calls for Israel to reconstruct Gaza in return for Hamas maintaining long-term quiet.

“I think Lapid really does believe that peace with the Palestinians is possible,” said Rivlin. “It’s a very remote possibility and…he would like to start some movement that could eventually, one day, result in an end to the current situation which is a kind of stalemate.”

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

Photo Credit: Shlomi Amsalem/jns.org

Prayer Focus
Praise the Lord for the strong relationship and strategic partnership Israel has with Egypt. Pray that Foreign Minister Lapid’s Economy for Security plan will be successful in controlling Hamas and bringing some level of peace with the Palestinians, even though it is may be seen as a “remote possibility.”

Scripture

The LORD will give strength to His people; the LORD will bless His people with peace.


- Psalm 29:11

IDF Pushes ahead with Plan to Fortify North against Rockets

by Yaakov Lappin ~ JNS

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Metulla, a northern Israeli town on the border with Lebanon

Wednesday, 15 December 2021 | The Israel Defense Forces’ [IDF’s] Home Front Command is working intensively to fortify the homes of communities on the northern Israeli border with Lebanon against Hezbollah’s array of rocket and mortar fire threats.

The project, dubbed “Northern Shield,” began in 2018 and received cabinet approval, as well as a partial budget, but it did not receive the required 500 million shekels ([US] $160 million) per year for 10 years due to political instability and the failure to pass a state budget.

This changed when the project received 250 million shekels ([US] $80 million) as part of the new 2022 state budget under the new government.

A joint agency set up by the IDF, the Defense Ministry and the Amigur Assets management company began mapping out homes that are eligible for the construction of rocket-proof fortification.

A senior Home Front Command source told JNS that the project began going operational over the past month in the northern community of Kfar Yuval, which sits directly on the border.

“We thought about how to move forward and decided that the first 100 million shekels [[US] $34 million] will go to nine communities out of the 21 communities located in close proximity to the border. Within each community, homes that lack any secure rooms built to withstand rocket and mortar strikes will be the first candidates,” explained the source.

“In the next stage, we will reach those who have protected structures and improve their concrete barricades,” he said.

“The challenge is very big,” said the source, in no small part due to the fact that some of the homeowners lack building approvals, which are required for constructing new safe zones.

As a result, the authorities decided that to avoid stalling the project, measures would only go ahead in communities where 75% of inhabitants have building approvals.

According to the plans, the Home Front Command will oversee the construction of 54 safe zones in Kfar Yuval. Next year, tenders for building safe zones in several additional communities will be launched.

“As soon as we received the budget of 250 million shekels [US $80 million], we began mapping out 12 communities. We know how many safe zones need to be built as part of the first stage,” said the source.

Homeowners found not to be eligible for the program and who might already have other versions of safe rooms can apply to an exemptions committee. They could claim that the safe room is inaccessible, for example, and the interoffice exemptions committee, which meets once a month to examine applications, could agree with the request.

“We are trying to do this as fast as we can,” said the source. “Civilian homes are Israel’s soft underbelly. We are not preparing for anything specific; rather, we are managing the project.”

The source said that authorities are also “working on regulatory incentives to encourage civilians to build fortification themselves,” he said. Versions of safe zones made of complex materials by companies in Israel and abroad could provide solutions in this regard.

“We want to move as fast as possible and implement,” said the source.

‘Making Them Ready for Missiles and Earthquakes’

Asked if the new fortification could enable civilians near the border to avoid evacuation in the event of a new war, the source replied by saying multiple factors would shape the answer, including the state of civilian resilience.

While a stronger fortification could make the decision to stay put easier, those without the fortification would have “no dilemma,” and evacuate themselves and their families, he said.

Once equipped with safe zones, residents near the border can combine their defenses together with siren alerts and other tools that could enable them to remain in their homes and deal with the conflict.

“It is difficult to say,” said the source. “People are different. Some get up and go, but not everyone has somewhere to go. [Our aim is to] provide people with greater security.”

Ultimately, for the program to complete fortification in 21 communities, it will need an overall budget of 5 billion shekels, or about [US] $1.6 billion. The fortification work is also planned to address other threats in relevant areas, such as earthquakes in Kiryat Shmona.

“We are working with the Housing Ministry on a project that promotes evacuation and reconstruction of buildings, making them ready for both missiles and earthquakes,” said the source.

“It is also important to remember that ‘Northern Shield’ is not only about private homes but public institutions. Our emphasis is on education—special education—health and welfare,” he said. “Ultimately, if those seeing refuge in such places don’t receive fortification, this will bounce back to the IDF, which will need to evacuate people in beds—creating a whole different challenge.”

Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on December 14, 2021. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Flash 90/jns.org

Prayer Focus
Pray for the success of the Northern Shield project. Pray that the fortification of the 54 homes most vulnerable to attack will move forward swiftly and that other communities will be added and completed quickly. But also pray that Israelis will remember that their true protection comes from the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, who is their shield and defender.

Scripture

O Israel, trust in the LORD; He is their help and their shield.


- Psalm 115:9

Israel’s 2021 Immigration Numbers Near Pre-pandemic Heights

by Itamar Eichner ~ Ynetnews

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27,000 new immigrants will have made Israel their home by the end of 2021. (Illustrative)

Monday, 13 December 2021 | Immigration Minister Pnina Tamano-Shata announced Sunday that 27,000 new immigrants will have made Israel their home by the end of 2021.

According to the minister, this marks a significant increase compared to 2020, which saw the number of people making aliyah [immigrating to Israel] drop to 22,000, among other things due to the COVID pandemic.

“This is a very good year—even compared to normal years when there was no COVID,” the minister said at the annual conference of the Israeli–American Community Organization IAC in Miami.

“We are seeing a trend—especially in France and the US, where there is a spike in requests to make aliyah,” Tamano-Shata said and added that the ministry managed to surpass its goal of 25,000 new immigrants this year.

The reason for the increase, according to Tamano-Shata, is related to improvements made by the Immigration Ministry, such as removing certain bureaucratic barriers, establishing digital platforms and “improving the handling of immigration cases via better cooperation with consulates abroad.”

According to the ministry, this year saw a 50% rise in the number of immigrants from Argentina compared to last year.

In the US the number of immigrants increased by no less than 34% compared to 2020, with about 4,000 immigrants set to arrive by the end of the year.

Immigration from France has also seen a significant increase of 41% compared to 2020, with some 3,500 immigrants set to arrive.

In addition, about 7,000 are expected to arrive from Russia and another 2,800 approximately, from Ukraine.

In 2017, the number was slightly higher and reached 29,000 new immigrants—while in 2018, that number reached 30,000, and in 2019, which was the peak year, the number of immigrants reached no less than 35,000 people.

Source: (This article was originally published by Ynetnews on December 12, 2021. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Shmulik Fried

Prayer Focus
Shout for joy and thank the Lord that He continues to fulfill prophecy, bringing His children home from all the places of their dispersion! Pray for these new immigrants and their ability to adjust quickly to their new homeland. Also cry out to the Lord that Bridges for Peace will have the volunteers and other resources to help these new immigrants become happy, functioning citizens of their homeland.

Scripture

Then say to them, “Thus says the Lord GOD: ‘Surely I will take the children of Israel from among the nations, wherever they have gone, and will gather them from every side and bring them into their own land.’”


- Ezekiel 37:21

Conservative Party Aims to Boot BDS from the UK

by Janet Aslin

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Protesters march through Mayfair, London, in support of BDS, November 2017.

Wednesday, 15 December 2021 | British MP (Member of Parliament) Robert Jenrick, a member of Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party, announced this week that a bill banning the BDS (Boycott Divestment, Sanctions) movement will be presented to Parliament in the coming months.

Jenrick made the statement during an online conference hosted by a private diplomatic think tank whose aim is to promote closer ties between Australia, the United Kingdom and Israel.

While the position of the Conservative Party on Brexit, the “hot button” issue of the 2019 general elections, was undoubtedly what determined their landslide victory, the party’s solid opposition of the BDS movement was included in its platform.

Since those elections, the Conservative Party has been working to “ban public bodies from imposing their own direct or indirect boycotts, disinvestment or sanctions campaigns against foreign countries” (2019 Conservative Party manifesto).

The Jerusalem Post quoted MP Jenrick’s remarks during the online session when he said, “I do think BDS is being beaten back here.” According to the article, he went on to say, “There is no political party in the UK that would support BDS today.”

This assessment overlooks Britain’s second largest political party. The British Labour Party, at their conference in September, defined Israel as an apartheid state, and the text of the full motion fell in line with much of the BDS movement’s platform.

The BDS movement has been around for nearly 20 years, emerging on the scene sometime between 2001 and 2005. Modeled after the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa, BDS has faced increasing international opposition as an anti-Semitic movement whose accusations that Israel operates as an apartheid state cannot be substantiated.

The first anti-BDS legislation in the US was passed in 2015 by the states of Illinois and South Carolina. Currently there are a total of 35 US states with anti-BDS laws. Germany, Canada and Austria have passed resolutions condemning the BDS movement as anti-Semitic.

Back to MP Robert Jenrick and his promise of pending legislation to ban BDS in the United Kingdom. Given its current position with a significant majority of Parliament seats, it seems reasonable to expect that the Conservative Party will be able to achieve its commitment to “boot BDS out of the UK” in the very near future.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, December 15, 2021)

Photo Credit: Alisdare Hickson/flickr.com

Photo License: flickr.com

Prayer Focus
Pray for the Conservative Party and their commitment to rid the UK of the BDS movement. Pray that they will be successful in this endeavor, and cry out to Him for their future political success, keeping Israel’s enemies from positions of power.

Scripture

Let all those who hate Zion be put to shame and turned back.


- Psalm 129:5

Strong Rainfall, Thunderstorms Expected Throughout Israel

by Danny Rup ~ Ynet

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A rainy Jerusalem (illustrative)

Tuesday, 14 December 2021 | After a short dry spell, Israel [is] set to see a dramatic shift in the weather, with rainfall and low temperatures for the next several days.

While early Tuesday will be partially cloudy, starting from around noon, rainfall accompanied by thunderstorms and even hail will spread across the country.

The rain will increase gradually, and will be accompanied by strong winds.

Some flooding is expected along the coastal plain.

Throughout the night, the rain will continue, and temperatures will still remain low. It is possible that snow may continue to fall on Mount Hermon, and flood warnings would remain across the coastal areas.

Constant showers are also expected on Wednesday, starting from the northern parts of Israel and later in the center.

The rain will weaken on Thursday and will get stronger on Friday and continue into Saturday.

Rainfall will stop on Sunday and is expected to resume on Monday.

On Tuesday, in the northern city of Haifa, the temperatures will range from 21°C [70°F] during the day to 16°C [61°F] at night. In Tel Aviv, the weather will be similar with a range of 22°C [72°F] during the day and 16°C [61°F] at night.

In the southern city of Beersheva, temperatures will range from 21°C [70°F] throughout the day to 13°C [55°F] at night. In Jerusalem, the temperatures will be cooler, reaching 19°C [66°F] during the day and falling to 12°C [54°F] overnight, while in the southernmost city of Eilat, the weather will remain warm, with 26°C [79°F] during the day and 19°C [66°F] at night.

Source: (This article was originally published by Ynetnews on December 14, 2021. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Brenda Groat/bridgesforpeace.com

Prayer Focus
Thank God for the gift of rain! Pray that it will continue to fall on the Land throughout the rainy season, bringing His blessing to a thirsty land.

Scripture

The LORD will open to you His good treasure, the heavens, to give the rain to your land in its season, and to bless all the work of your hand.


- Deuteronomy 28:12a