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Bringing The Jewish People Home

Friday, December 18, 2020

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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, Bhutan Establish Diplomatic Ties

by Ilse Strauss

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Bhutan is a small landlocked kingdom in the Himalayas neighboring India and China.

Monday, 14 December 2020 | In yet another historic first, Israel and Bhutan on Saturday inked an agreement to establish full diplomatic ties. The deal is no small feat for Jerusalem. The tiny Buddhist-majority kingdom, nestled in the Himalayas and flanked by India and China, has diplomatic relations with just 53 countries, including Canada, Germany, Denmark, Japan and now Israel. The list notably excludes the US, the UK and Russia.

Saturday’s agreement comes on the heels of landmark normalization agreements as part of the US-brokered Abraham Accords with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco.

However, unlike Israel’s Arab neighbors, Bhutan’s historic absence of relations with the Jewish state was not linked to its solidarity with the Palestinians. Rather, it is ascribed to Thimphu’s strict isolation policies that seeks to insulate the nation’s cultural heritage and protect its tiny population of just over 770,000 people from foreign influences.

The agreement is reportedly the fruit of secret talks between the two countries’ foreign ministries aimed at forging a relationship conducted over the past year.

According to Ron Malka, Israel’s ambassador to India, who inked the deal alongside his Bhutanese counterpart, the Bhutanese government reached out to Israel.

“They have been impressed by Israel’s abilities for many years, and their prime minister wanted relations,” Malka told the Jerusalem Post. “We advise them on topics that are important to them, like water management, agriculture and technology…education and professional training as well. They’re very interested in the topic of medicine.”

Israel’s Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi hailed the agreement and thanked the Kingdom of Bhutan, inviting his friend and Bhutanese counterpart Thandi Dorji “to visit Israel to promote cooperation between the countries. I hope that in the next year we will welcome the king of Bhutan in Jerusalem for his premiere official visit to the Jewish state.”

For his part, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took to Twitter to laud yet another landmark for peace, welcoming “the establishment of relations between Israel and Bhutan, the result of another one of Israel’s peace treaties. We are in contact with other countries that want to be part of the trend and establish relations with us.”

Source: (Bridges for Peace, December 14, 2020)

Photo Credit: BoyKat/pixabay.com

Prayer Focus
Pray that this pro-Israel trend among the nations continues, allowing Israel to build a network of true friends across the globe. Pray that Israel will truly be a light to these countries as they come to recognize the faithfulness and blessing of God on His chosen Land and people.

Scripture

Indeed He says, “It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also give You as a light to the Gentiles, that You should be My salvation to the ends of the earth.”


- Isaiah 49:6

Israel to Start Vaccinations Next Week amid Rising Infection Rate

by Kate Norman

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The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine

Thursday, 17 December 2020 | Israel’s leadership and health sector are continuing to push to begin vaccinating the public earlier than planned amid rising numbers of new infections.

The Health Ministry announced Wednesday that they will begin vaccinating next week, starting with frontline health care workers and medical staff. Next, Israelis over the age of 60 and those with preexisting health conditions putting them at higher risk will be inoculated by health maintenance organizations (HMOs).

Then the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) will begin vaccinations, likely by the end of January.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stood on the tarmac at Ben Gurion Airport last week to welcome the first plane loaded with thousands of doses of the Pfizer vaccine. The prime minister vowed that he will lead by example and be the first Israeli to receive the vaccine.

Netanyahu and Health Minister Yuli Edelstein are scheduled to receive the first injections on Saturday night, followed by Israeli President Reuven Rivlin on Sunday.

Israel is set to receive four million more doses of the Pfizer vaccine by the end of December, with another four million expected by the end of March, Channel 12 reported—meaning four million people can be vaccinated, since each person requires two doses.

The government has reportedly set a goal of vaccinating 60,000 Israelis per day once they begin rolling out inoculations next week, meaning by the end of January, two million Israelis will have received their two doses.

Those who will not receive the vaccine—at least in the first stage—are pregnant and breastfeeding women, children under the age of 16, people with severe allergies and those who have already recovered from the virus, according to the Health Ministry.

Today the Health Ministry reported 2,800 new cases of the virus for the second day in a row with a contagion rate of 3.5%. The death count has also passed 3,030.

The government has set a benchmark: if Israel hits an average of 2,500 or more daily cases or if the infection coefficient hits 1.32 or higher, they will impose a “tight restraint” policy for three weeks. This would include closing businesses and schools in areas designated as “red” and “orange,” with high virus numbers.

Israel’s national coronavirus information center predicted that if the current virus trends continue, the Jewish state will hit that benchmark by next week.

Despite the influx of vaccine doses and the impending beginning of inoculations, many government and health officials are calling for another round of lockdowns beginning next week in order to rein in the rising number of infections.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, December 17, 2020)

Photo Credit: U.S. Secretary of Defense/wikimedia.org

Photo License: wikimedia.org

Prayer Focus
Beseech the Lord for His intervention in this critical situation. Pray that the vaccine will be effective against the virus and will be received without reactions or side effects. At the same time, also cry out that He will bless Israel with deliverance from this illness without the need for further restrictions that have such negative societal and economic ramifications.

Scripture

Because you have made the LORD, who is my refuge, even the Most High, your dwelling place, no evil shall befall you, nor shall any plague come near your dwelling; for He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways.


- Psalm 91:9–11

Netanyahu: “We Shouldn’t Go Back to Business as Usual with Iran”

by Joshua Spurlock

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US National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien

Monday, 14 December 2020 | With Iran looking at again expanding its nuclear program, and given projected United States President Joe Biden’s support for the failed Iran nuclear deal in the background, Israel on Sunday issued a warning on the global approach to Iran.

“As long as Iran continues to subjugate and threaten its neighbors; as long as Iran continues calling for Israel’s destruction; as long as Iran continues to bankroll, equip and train terrorist organizations throughout the region and the world; and as long as Iran persists in its dangerous quest for nuclear weapons, and the means to deliver them, we shouldn’t go back to business as usual with Iran,” said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in comments published by his office.

The Israeli advice on Iran comes as Biden is poised to replace US President Donald Trump on January 20. Biden was vice president when former-US President Barack Obama signed the Iran nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The accord relaxed sanctions on Iran in exchange for Tehran reining in their nuclear program. However, as Iran reaped the financial benefits of the deal, they also battled for regional supremacy by backing the Syrian regime, arming rebels in Yemen, funding terror groups and more. That experience has Israel wary of what Biden may do as US president.

Netanyahu, speaking with visiting US National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien, celebrated the steps President Trump has taken to curb Iran’s nefarious deeds. “Both Israelis and Arabs praised President Trump when he pulled out of the failed Iran nuclear agreement, when he reimposed and beefed up tough sanctions on Iran, when he took out the Iranian arch terrorist, Qassem Soleimani,” said Netanyahu.

“When Israelis and Arabs agree on so many things, it makes sense for the world to pay attention. After all, we live in this region. We know something about it.”

Israel isn’t the only country sounding the alarm on Iran right now. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday highlighted prospective legislation in Iran to again enrich uranium to what Pompeo called the “dangerous 20% level”, a step closer to what’s needed for nuclear weapons. Prior to the limits accepted by Iran under the JCPOA, Tehran was enriching nuclear fuel to the 20% level, which is in excess of what’s needed for nuclear energy but is ostensibly done for medical research. Pompeo doubts that’s the intent.

“Iran has provided no credible technical rationale for why it needs to move precipitously to enrich uranium to that level for any peaceful purpose,” said Pompeo in a statement published by the State Department, noting the enrichment “would constitute a serious escalation that moves Iran closer to the ability to obtain a nuclear weapon.”

Pompeo noted that Iran is already violating the JCPOA nuclear restrictions on research, enrichment and the size of its nuclear fuel stockpile.

“The international community must not reward the regime’s dangerous gamesmanship with economic appeasement.  If the Iranian regime seeks sanctions relief and economic opportunity, then it must first demonstrate that it is serious about fundamentally changing its behavior,” said Pompeo.

Among the steps he said Iran needs to take are “ceasing its nuclear extortion and negotiating a comprehensive deal that addresses its development of ballistic missiles and its support for terrorism, unjust detention, and other destabilizing activities in the region” as well as improving its cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Said Pompeo, “The international community has been clear that Iran must begin to fully cooperate with the IAEA without further delay.  Failure to do so should not be met with concessions from the international community, but rather with continued diplomatic and economic pressure and isolation of the Iranian regime.”

Netanyahu noted that President Trump took that very approach to Iran.

“Instead of coddling the tyrants in Tehran, President Trump has adopted the policy of maximum pressure. This is a policy that I have to say is widely supported across the Middle East,” said Netanyahu.

If the world doesn’t keep up the pressure, Netanyahu said the world will face an unprecedented threat from Iran.

“We should all unite to prevent this major threat to world peace. I say world peace because today, the Islamic Republic of Iran is still a nasty neighborhood bully. But, if unchecked, tomorrow Iran will arm itself with nuclear tipped ICBMs [intercontinental ballistic missiles] that can target Europe and America and it will become a global bully, which will endanger everyone,” said the Israeli leader.

“All this must be prevented and all this can be prevented.”

Source: (This article was originally published by the Mideast Update on December 13, 2020. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today.)

Source: Matty Stern/U.S. Embassy Jerusalem/flickr.com

Photo License: Flickr

Prayer Focus
Cry out to the Lord, pleading with Him that the nations will hear and heed the warnings from PM Netanyahu and US Secretary of State Pompeo. Pray that the United States will continue its current strategy for dealing with Iran rather than resurrecting the failed JCPOA and will take a hard line against Iran’s sponsorship of terrorism, which is not just a regional threat, but in fact a global one.

Scripture

Hear my cry, O God; attend to my prayer. From the end of the earth I will cry to You, when my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For You have been a shelter for me, a strong tower from the enemy.


- Psalm 61:1–3

Anti-Semitic Attack on Hanukkiah in Ukraine

by Edward Docks

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Kontraktova Square in Kiev (illustrative)

Tuesday, 15 December 2020 | A Hanukkah menorah [hanukkiah, nine-branched candelabra] placed in the middle of the Ukrainian capital was pulled down last week by a perpetrator who then posted the attack online.

The hanukkiah had been erected in Kiev’s Kontraktova Square by the local Jewish community to mark the holiday of Hanukkah [Feast of Dedication], but was pulled down on Thursday by a local man known for committing acts of anti-Semitism in the past.

Andriy Rachock carried out the attack all whilst streaming it live on Facebook, accompanied by the caption, “Ukrainians we are the power, Jews to the graves.”

He was arrested at the scene.

In his post, Rachok said he wanted to show everyone how to treat foreigners who are taking over the country.

Members of the United Jewish Community of Ukraine said Rachok returned to the square later and attempted to pull down the hanukkiah again but found it had been welded to the ground.

They called on authorities to investigate the act as a hate crime.

In the meantime, the Anne Frank Human Rights memorial in Boise, Idaho, in the United States [had] nine swastika stickers placed on the memorial, accompanied by the words, “We are everywhere.”

Dan Prinzing, executive director of the Wassmuth Center for Human Rights, said what made the incident so sad was “the blatancy of where they [the stickers] were placed, how they were placed and the message they were conveying.”

“We have always felt like the heart of the community and this was a stab in the heart,” he said.

This is the second time the memorial has been vandalized. In 2017, anti-Semitic graffiti spray-painted for four consecutive nights led to nearly [US] $20,000 worth of damage, Prinzing said.

Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published by Ynetnews on December 13, 2020. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Maksym Kozlenko/wikimedia.org

Photo License: wikimedia.org

Prayer Focus
Pray against the evil of anti-Semitism. Beseech the Lord for His protection over His people—in Israel and around the world—from those who would harm them simply because they are Jewish. Pray that the governments of the world will take an increasingly firm stance against such hatred, apprehending and prosecuting offenders to the full extent of the law. Pray for Christians around the world to raise their voices in indignation, declaring their support for the Jewish people and using their influence to fight anti-Semitism in whatever form it might appear.

Scripture

“And they will fight against you, but they shall not prevail against you; for I am with you to save you and deliver you,” says the LORD. “I will deliver you from the hand of the wicked, and I will redeem you from the grip of the terrible.”


- Jeremiah 15:20b–21

The Fruits of Peace: Moroccan Schools to Teach Jewish History

by Kate Norman

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The Moroccan Jewish Museum in Casablanca

Monday, 14 December 2020 | Starting next term, the curriculum for Moroccan primary school students will include Jewish history and culture—a significant first in the region.

On Thursday, Morocco made headlines around the world, as US President Donald Trump announced that the kingdom was the fourth Muslim-majority nation to normalize ties with Israel since August.

The North African nation officially followed the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan in formalizing peace with the Jewish state.

Already the peace is proving to be more than formal or military cooperation.

The new education upgrade “has the impact of a tsunami,” the secretary-general of the Council of Jewish Communities of Morocco told AFP, calling it a “first in the Arab world.”

The decision was originally quietly announced last month in a joint statement by the American Sephardi Federation and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.

“At the core of this effort is enhancing understanding and fostering the connection between Muslims and Jews,” Jewish leaders Malcolm Hoenlein and Jason Guberman wrote in the joint statement last month.

Hoenlein serves as the vice chair of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, and Guberman is the executive director of the American Sephardi Federation. Both organizations have, according to their joint statement, worked closely with the Moroccan kingdom and the Jewish community within Morocco.

“Ensuring Moroccan students learn about the totality of their proud history of tolerance, including Morocco’s philo-Semitism, is an inoculation against extremism,” the joint statement read.

Combat Anti-Semitism, a global movement, praised the move in a Twitter post that included the original joint statement.

“We warmly welcome Morocco’s decision to include Jewish–Moroccan history as part of its school curriculum,” the international organization said. “This action honors the rich history of Jewish life in Morocco and sets the stage for a bright future of continued coexistence.”

The North African nation has strong ties to the Jewish community, as thousands of Jewish people fleeing the Spanish Inquisition in Spain and Portugal found refuge in Morocco. Today in Israel, hundreds of thousands of Jews are of Moroccan Jewish ancestry. And some 3,000 Jews remain in the kingdom—the largest Jewish population in North Africa.

Israeli media is praising Moroccan King Mohammed VI for his positive history with his country’s Jewish minority. Most recently, the king attended the opening of Beyt Dakira, a Jewish community center in the coastal city of Essaouira. In the 18th century, Essaouira was the only city in the Islamic world boasting a Jewish majority population.

King Mohammed VI has also taken a stand against anti-Semitism in the international community, notably within the United Nations arena. Anti-Semitism, he wrote to the international body, is not merely a problem for the Jewish body to cope with, but highlights a society plagued by “failure, inadequacy and an inability to coexist.”

Highlighting Morocco’s Jewish history for the next generation is a natural step in the direction of peaceful coexistence.

Hoenlein and Guberman pointed out in their statement last month that the Moroccan curriculum upgrade was done quietly.

“Tellingly, the curriculum was released without outside prompting or fanfare in the Western press, a testament to this development being a genuine expression of Moroccan values,” the statement noted. “We hope other countries take note and emulate the Kingdom’s exceptional example.”

Source: (Bridges for Peace, December 14, 2020)

Photo Credit: Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin FRCP(Glasg)/wikimedia.org

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Praise the Lord for this miraculous development that could potentially have a profound effect throughout the Arab world. Thank the Lord for the stance taken by the leader of Morocco and ask the Lord for His blessing on that nation. Pray that the curriculum will in fact present the truth and have an immediate and long-lasting effect on the attitudes of Moroccan students. Pray that other Arab nations will follow suit.

Scripture

Be exalted, O God, above the heavens, and Your glory above all the earth; that Your beloved may be delivered.


- Psalm 108:5–6a

Storms Bring Heavy Rain and Flooding across Israel

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Rain in Jerusalem

Thursday, 17 December 2020 | Israel braced for more rain and flooding Wednesday after winter storms that began across the country the day brought overnight flooding in coastal cities.

Many people were rescued from their stranded cars overnight in multiple locations across the country, from Nazareth in the north to Qalansawe in central Israel.

Residents of the central cities of Herzliya and Ramat Hasharon were also rescued by first responders when their homes were flooded.

In Ashdod, local authorities blocked major roads susceptible to flooding in the center of the city, causing disruptions to traffic.

Temperatures were expected to drop further Wednesday while flood warnings also remained in place.

The Meteorological Service said 114 mm [4.5 in] of rain fell in the lower Galilee and Jezreel Valley in the north, the largest amount of precipitation recorded in the past 24 hours.

Flood warnings were also issued in the southern deserts, where roads were closed on Tuesday after the Faran River overflowed.

The current storm was expected to last into Thursday.

Due to the heavy rains, the Sea of Galilee’s water level rose by three centimeters [0.12 in] overnight, standing at 209.935 meters [688.76 ft] below sea level, the Government Water and Sewage Authority reported.

The rains began late Tuesday, clearing dust-laden skies after Israel was hit by a storm from the Sinai Peninsula.

The Environmental Protection Ministry issued a warning of high to very high air pollution across many parts of the country.

In consultation with the Health Ministry, it recommended that sensitive sectors of the population, including those suffering heart and lung problems, the elderly, children and pregnant women, all avoid strenuous outside physical activity.

Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published by Ynetnews on December 16, 2020. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Becca Treharne/bridgesforpeace.com

Prayer Focus
Thank the Lord for rain, which is always a blessing to Israel. Also beseech Him that in His mercy, He will bring an end to the flooding and other aspects of the storm that are threatening the safety of Israelis.

Scripture

For He says to the snow, “Fall on the earth;” likewise to the gentle rain and the heavy rain of His strength. From the chamber of the south comes the whirlwind, and cold from the scattering winds of the north. By the breath of God ice is given, and the broad waters are frozen. Also with moisture He saturates the thick clouds; He scatters His bright clouds. And they swirl about, being turned by His guidance, that they may do whatever He commands them on the face of the whole earth. He causes it to come, whether for correction, or for His land, or for mercy.


- Job 37:6, 9–13

Israel Offers New Terms for Prisoner Exchange with Hamas

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Israel is reportedly prepared to release a selection of Palestinian security prisoners currently held in Israeli prisons (illustrative).

Thursday, 17 December 2020 | What happened: An Egyptian delegation visited Gaza last week to deliver new Israeli terms for a prisoner exchange deal with Hamas.

  • According to Maariv, Israel offered coronavirus aid and vaccines, as well as progress on major infrastructure projects. In addition to that, Israel is also prepared to release a larger selection of Palestinian security prisoners currently held in Israeli prisons.
  • Israeli officials stipulated that prisoners who were either directly or indirectly responsible for the murder of Israelis would not be included in any deal.
  • A senior Hamas source told the Lebanese-based al-Akhbar newspaper that for the first time Israel offered to release hundreds of Palestinians in exchange for Avera Mengistu and Hisham Al-Saye, two Israeli civilians who are being held in the Gaza Strip, along with the bodies of the dead soldiers, Lt. Hadar Goldin and Staff Sgt. Oron Shaul.
  • The source added that the Hamas leadership responded to the new Israeli terms by saying that they are “below expectations,” but agreed to continue to talk under Egyptian mediation. Meanwhile, Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem denied there was any progress on a prisoner swap, calling reports on the issue “Israeli electioneering.”

Context: Israeli security officials believe that a new political opportunity has emerged for a deal due to the steep rise in COVID-19 cases in the Gaza Strip and Hamas’s dependence on Israel to deliver much-needed assistance.

  • There are currently 8,717 active cases of coronavirus in the Gaza Strip. Last month, Hamas’s leader in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, contracted COVID-19.
  • There is concern in Israel that releasing prisoners as part of an exchange deal endangers lives. In 2011, Israel released 1,027 Palestinian prisoners—about a third of whom were serving life sentences for terrorist attacks—in exchange for captive soldier Gilad Shalit. Many of those released were subsequently re-arrested for violence.
  • Avera Mengistu, an Israeli of Ethiopian descent, and Hisham Al-Saye, an Israeli Bedouin, crossed over in Gaza independently in 2014 and 2015 respectively. According to their families, they both suffer from mental health issues. Lt. Hadar Goldin and Staff Sgt. Oron Shaul are thought to have been killed and their bodies captured during Operation Protective Edge in summer 2014, shortly after the cease-fire agreement came into effect that was violated by Hamas.
  • It has been one of the quietest years on the Gaza border in terms of rocket attacks. According to data from the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, there have been 193 rocket launches from Gaza in 2020, compared with 1,403 in 2019 and 1,119 in 2018.

Looking ahead: Progress between Israel and Hamas toward a prisoner exchange deal and possibly on a long-term truce could facilitate major international investment in infrastructure projects in the Gaza Strip. It would also signal a minimal chance for inter-Palestinian reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah.

  • With the prospect of an election in Israel, it remains unlikely that Netanyahu would be willing to pay the “political price” for a prisoner exchange deal with Hamas at the moment.

Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published by BICOM on December 16, 2020. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Grant Durr/unsplash.com

Prayer Focus
Pray for God’s perfect will to be done in these perilous negotiations. Beseech the Lord for wisdom for Israeli leadership as they work to promote peace and cooperation without freeing terrorists who would in fact perpetrate more violence. Pray that any agreement between the parties would have at its core the safety of the people of Israel and a true commitment on both sides to promote cooperation and coexistence.

Scripture

My soul has dwelt too long with one who hates peace. I am for peace; but when I speak, they are for war.


- Psalm 120:6–7

In “World First,” Israel Launches Successful Multitier Air Defense Drill

by Ilse Strauss

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The Iron Dome defense system

Wednesday, 16 December 2020 | In what Israel’s Defense Ministry hailed as a world first, the Jewish state’s three tiers of missile defense systems proved its mettle against a series of simultaneous aerial threats during a large-scale unprecedented air defense drill held this month.

The short, medium and long-range interception systems—the Iron Dome, David Sling and Arrow—were pitted against a number of live-fire aerial threats, including rockets, unmanned aerial vehicles, cruise and ballistic missiles as well as a barrage of precision-guided missiles, ultimately demonstrating its ability to intercept whatever the enemy sends Israel’s way, a “capability that currently only Israel has,” the Defense Ministry said.

For the first time, the three defense systems and batteries were also required to function in an interoperable capability, communicating with one another to repel the host of threats from land and sea concurrently.

The exercise, which the ministry lauded as a “phenomenal success,” focused mainly on gauging the new capabilities of an upgraded version of the medium-range David’s Sling and short-range Iron Dome systems, the Times of Israel reported.

The David’s Sling proved effective against ballistic missiles—projectiles fired along a fixed, predetermined course—and cruise missiles—difficult-to-hit projectiles with the capability to evade air defense systems by altering its trajectory.

For its part, the new generation Iron Dome system intercepted a cruise missile for the first time. Israel’s short-range air defense system was initially developed to intercept simple rockets, but upgrades over the past few years have placed also placed mortar shells, drones and now cruise missiles in the Iron Dome’s crosshairs.

According to the Defense Ministry, “The success of this series of tests represents an important milestone in the operational capability of the State of Israel in its self-defense against existing and future threats in the region.”

Defense Minister Benny Gantz added, “For the first time, [the test] assessed the combined interception capabilities of the multilayered air-defense system of the State of Israel. This is one of the most advanced air-defense mechanisms in the world, and it protects the state from threats near and far.”

The exercise is indeed a historic first. It comes in answer to a decades-old threat that has grown more pronounced in the past few years. In fact, Jerusalem’s multitier air defense system was born from the need to protect the people of Israel against the threats posed by arch-enemy Iran and its terror proxies perched on Israel’s borders.

Hamas has long since fired missiles and rockets on Israeli communities in the south, while communities in the north are in the crosshairs of tens of thousands of Hezbollah rockets.

However, the real threat comes from Hamas and Hezbollah’s terror overlord, Iran, who has worked diligently at supplementing its arsenal of state-of-the-art missiles and drones with long-range cruise and ballistic missiles it hopes to rain down on Israeli cities.

Iran has already shown off its capabilities by launching an attack on Saudi Arabia’s Abqaiq oil facilities last year using cruise missiles and drones.

Faced with a foe equipped with an arsenal of myriad threats, ambitions of global hegemony and a desire to annihilate the Jewish state, Israel’s multitier defense system success is certainly good news.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, December 16, 2020)

Photo Credit: Kobi Gideon/GPO/flickr.com

Photo License: Flickr

Prayer Focus
Praise the Lord for the success of this air defense drill. Thank Him for blessing His people with the skills to develop these remarkable defense systems, but pray that Israelis will continue to remember that the Lord Himself is their shield and defender. Pray that these military innovations will serve as a deterrent to those enemies of God who would attack His Land.

Scripture

Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; but we will remember the name of the LORD our God. They have bowed down and fallen; but we have risen and stand upright.


- Psalm 20:7–8

The UN’s Eternal Hypocrisy on Israel

by Ben-Dror Yemini

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The UN General Assembly hall in New York City (illustrative)

Wednesday, 16 December 2020 | On the day Israel received the happy news of normalization with Morocco, it was business as usual for the rest of the international community, with the UN General Assembly adopting seven draft resolutions against the State of Israel.

It is true that there are other countries in the world. Millions around the world have been transferred to re-education camps, vast territories have been occupied, thousands of civilians have been killed, journalists have been imprisoned and much, much more, but none of these are of interest to the international community. Just Israel.

One of the resolutions reiterates Resolution 194 of the 1948 UN General Assembly, which deals with Arab refugees from “Palestine,” who later became Palestinians.

The decision is a reminder to the world that every person has the right not to be deported from their homeland, and that every Palestinian refugee has the right to their property.

Really? Tens of millions of Europeans became refugees in the first half of the last century. Tens of millions were expelled from their homeland after World War II in precisely the same years as the Palestinian Nakba [Arabic for “catastrophe,” the rebirth of the State of Israel]. Who among them received the right of return? Who got their property back?

Of all the Western countries, only Canada and the United States—and Israel of course—voted against the decision. Germany, unfortunately, voted in favor.

When it comes to the Arab–Israeli conflict, Germany, like all other European countries, automatically supports the Palestinian demand for the “right of return” to their former homes. And according to those who insist on it, this is in fact a demand for the elimination of Israel.

This may not be the intention of Germany or Denmark or France, but when these countries vote over and over again in such a disgraceful and hypocritical way, they are not helping to get the Palestinians to climb down from the tree. Quite the opposite.

There is no chance in the world that the Palestinians will ever drop the demand for the elimination of Israel when it is supported by Israel’s friends in Europe.

It is unclear why Israel has not presented one simple question to Germany: Why do you support the “right of return” when it comes to the Palestinians, but oppose it when it comes to Europe?

And when you keep bringing up the Palestinian Nakba, why do you forget and reject the Jewish Nakba? The Jewish refugees did not declare war on the Arab countries in [which] they lived. Yet they were expelled or forced to flee, and most of them had their property seized and confiscated.

The working definition of anti-Semitism adopted by many countries, including Germany, defines it as, among other things: “Applying double standards by requiring of [Israel] a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.”

So yes, Germany is behaving in an anti-Semitic manner, and there is no reason not to point this out.

Another of the UN draft resolutions passed last Thursday focused on the Golan Heights, which, according to the majority that voted in its favor, is solely Syrian territory. There was not a single word about the Syrian Civil War that has claimed a massive half a million lives. There was not a single word about the fact that the residents of the Israeli side of the Golan Heights enjoy peace and tranquility and not a single one lost their lives in the war.

There was no need to cheapen this newfound peace with Morocco, and certainly not with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan. And we must remember the disgraceful behavior on the day we learned of the agreement with Morocco.

Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published by Ynetnews on December 15, 2020. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Basil D Soufi/wikimedia.org

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Pray for a move of God’s spirit among the nations of Europe, revealing to them the hypocrisy of this stance against Israel and the anti-Semitism that is at its heart. Ask the Lord for a major change among Europe’s leaders that will have a positive and lasting effect for Israel and the Palestinians as well.

Scripture

Consider and answer me, O LORD my God; light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death, lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,” lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken. But I have trusted in Your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in Your salvation. I will sing to the LORD, because He has dealt bountifully with me.


- Psalm 13:3–6 (ESV)