Compassion

Help Bridges for Peace pursue our mission of doing good in the Land of Israel.

Friday, February 1, 2019

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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.

Israel Informs UN That Hezbollah Still Has “Underground Infrastructure” in Lebanon

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The IDF revealed Hezbollah has more underground tunnels on the Lebanese border. (Illustrative)

Thursday, 31 January, 2019 | Israel informed the United Nations of the existence of additional “underground infrastructure” belonging to the Iranian-backed terrorist group Hezbollah along the Israeli–Lebanese border, the Times of Israel reported on Monday.

The newly discovered infrastructure included tunnels heading towards Israel that were not destroyed in the IDF’s [Israel Defense Forces] recent Operation Northern Shield, in which the IDF neutralized six cross-border attack tunnels.

The additional tunnels, the Times reported, are all located in Lebanese territory. An Israeli official said they are known to Israeli intelligence and are within Israel’s operational reach.

An earlier statement by the IDF confirmed the assessment. “The IDF is monitoring…a number of sites where Hezbollah is digging underground infrastructure that has yet to cross into Israeli territory,” the army said on January 13.

The report comes after Hezbollah’s leader Hassan Nasrallah dismissed Israel’s success in locating and destroying the attack tunnels that Hezbollah had built.

“The uncovering of the tunnels does not affect by 10% our plans to take over the Galilee,” Nasrallah said in his first comments on the issue since Israel announced the operation in December.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded to Nasrallah’s threats on Sunday with his own warning that Hezbollah “has good reasons not to want to feel our lethal might.”

Netanyahu observed that Nasrallah’s “people invested a great deal of effort into digging them [the tunnels], and within three weeks we completely deprived him of his weaponry.” Israel’s former IDF chief of staff Gadi Eisenkot backed up Netanyahu’s statement, saying Nasrallah’s claims were “baseless.”

In June 2017, Eisenkot warned that Hezbollah has a presence in “every third or fourth house” in southern Lebanon. He indicated that the group is ensconced in some 240 villages and towns in the area and receives sophisticated weaponry from Iran, some of which is supplied by Russia.

In his speech before the United Nations General Assembly in September 2018, Netanyahu said, “in Lebanon, Iran is directing Hezbollah to build secret sites to convert inaccurate projectiles into precision-guided missiles, missiles that can target deep inside Israel within an accuracy of ten meters.” He also noted that Hezbollah was “using the innocent people of Beirut as human shields” as the missile conversion facility was located right next to Beirut’s international airport.

Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published by The Israel Project in its publication The Tower on January 30, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Israel Defense Forces@IDF/twitter.com

Prayer Focus
Pray that Israel will triumph in this very dangerous and complex situation. Beseech the Lord to empower Israel to face this enemy with the wisdom, power and might of the Lord.

Scripture

Consider and hear me, O LORD my God; enlighten my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death; lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed against him”; lest those who trouble me rejoice when I am moved. But I have trusted in Your mercy; my heart shall rejoice in Your salvation.


- Psalm 13:3–5

Israel Foils Attempted Terror Attack

by Kate Norman

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Israel has prevented a stabbing attack northeast of Jerusalem.

Thursday, 31 January 2019 | Israeli security guards thwarted an attempted stabbing at a checkpoint outside of Jerusalem on Wednesday morning.

Security footage of the attempted attack shows a Palestinian teenager approach a checkpoint guard and lunge to stab him with a kitchen knife before she is shot by another guard. She was fatally wounded.

“A rapid response by additional security forces brought about her neutralization with no injuries to the security personnel,” the Israeli police stated.

The girl was identified as 16-year-old Samah Mubarak from an Arab village northeast of Jerusalem, though her family was originally from the Gaza Strip. Haaretz reported that members of her family said Mubarak had returned ten days prior to the attack from making a religious pilgrimage to Mecca.

Few countries in the world would be demonized for neutralizing an assailant wielding a knife, but Wafa, the official news agency of the Palestinian Authority (PA), put a different spin on the story. Their headline of the event reads, “Israeli forces kill Palestinian teen east of Jerusalem.”

Towards the bottom of the story, after finally mentioning the girl’s attempted attack, the article reads, “The circumstances surrounding the killing remain unclear and largely based on the Israeli version of events,” despite the fact that the Israeli police released footage of the incident to the general public.

Similar lone wolf attacks have created tension within Judea and Samaria recently. Last Monday, a Palestinian man tried to stab Israeli security officials at a checkpoint near the Arab city of Nablus (Shechem) and was also shot dead. Another Palestinian man was shot and injured on January 11 after he tried to stab Israeli troops in Hebron.

Earlier this month, a woman from Judea and Samaria attempted to drive through a checkpoint after being told by the Israeli Border Police officers to stop. Security guards shot her in the lower body, and she was moderately injured.

Why do these attacks continue, even though they are largely ineffective for the Arab agenda and usually result in injury or death of the perpetrator? In that case, the woman was questioned and told officials she had intended “to die” because of family issues, i24 News reported.

Israeli officials have mentioned that sometimes Palestinians appear to plan these attacks as a form of “suicide by cop,” knowing they will be shot dead by Israeli security forces, the Times of Israel reported.

Though the motive for yesterday’s attack is not yet known, the Times also reported that Israeli security has suggested that female Palestinian attackers are often motivated by “personal and domestic issues, more than by ideological considerations.”

Source: (Bridges for Peace, January 31, 2019)

Photo Credit: Israel Police@Israel Police/Twitter.com

Prayer Focus
Pray that the hearts of the Palestinian people will be drawn to the God of Israel, that He will deliver them from the evil that entraps them and give them the desire to walk in His ways, loving life rather than death. Ask the Lord to continue to heighten the senses of the IDF as they face the threat of terror every day.

Scripture

And my soul shall be joyful in the LORD; it shall rejoice in His salvation. All my bones shall say, “LORD, who is like You, delivering the poor from him who is too strong for him, yes, the poor and the needy from him who plunders him?”


- Psalm 35:9–10

Amid Iranian Threats, Russia Reiterates “Commitment to the Maintenance of Israel’s National Security”

by Jo Sarah Stanford

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PM Netanyahu meets with the Russian president’s envoy and the Russian deputy foreign minister to discuss the situation in Syria.

Wednesday, 30 January 2019 | Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Russian officials on Tuesday to discuss security coordination over the increasingly complex issue of Iran, its forces in Syria and Lebanon and its threat to see Israel totally annihilated.

Russian special envoy for Syrian affairs Alexander Lavrentiev and Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Vershinin met with Netanyahu in Jerusalem to “prevent friction” between the countries who have different interests in the region. The Russian officials confirmed their commitment to the “maintenance of Israel’s national security,” the prime minister’s office reported.

Despite being an ally to Syria, Russia maintains a strong, if sometimes turbulent, diplomatic relationship with Israel, though relations have been strained as of late.

Russia is an ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and, from 2015, gave military support to help the regime gain an upper hand during the eight horrific years of civil war.

Iran also provided military support to the embattled Syrian president. However, during their six years of involvement, Iran has taken advantage of the disarray in the civil war, using their support as a cover to funnel weapons to its terror proxy Hezbollah in Lebanon and to amass militia on Syria’s border with Israel.

Since 2017, the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) has taken a more preemptive approach to Iranian aggression, targeting military and terror targets in Syria.

During one such strike in September 2018, Syria mistakenly shot down a Russian military aircraft, believing it to be Israeli. Russia initially blamed Israel for the mishap, claiming the IDF did not give Moscow sufficient warning of the strike. To further exacerbate the issue, Russia then provided Syria with its S-300 surface-to-air missile system.

Relations between Israel and Russia were distant during the months following this event, but Prime Minister Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin soon proved that they could put their differences aside for the benefit of regional security.

Israel, facing threats on so many fronts, needs the help of powerful allies such as Russia.

Israeli Maj. Gen. (ret.) Amir Eshel, former Air Force head, said Israel cannot remove Iran from Syria by military strikes alone.

“There is no military action that is going to get Iran out of Syria,” he told the Times of Israel. “Only a diplomatic effort can get Iran out of Syria, and this diplomatic effort has just one address. It’s called Russia.”

Last week, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov confirmed that Israel’s security was a “top priority” and that Russia was no ally of Iran, the Times reported.

This commitment can only come as a comfort to Israel, as just this week, Iranian officials threatened Israel with an “inferno” of rockets from Hezbollah and Hamas. On Monday Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami, second in command of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps openly boasted to local news sources that their “strategy is to erase Israel from the global political map.”

On Sunday, January 20, following another round of preemptive IDF strikes, a larger than usual missile was launched at Israel from Syria, towards thousands of people enjoying a snow day at the Mt. Hermon ski resort. The Iron Dome launched two interceptors, which quickly destroyed the projectile.

In response, Israel struck Iranian and Hezbollah terror targets at Damascus International Airport and weapons factories intended to turn regular rockets into precision-guided firepower.

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin has warned that if Iran continues in its aggression, Israel may also be forced to target its weapons factories in Beirut, Lebanon—such is the extent of Iranian expansion in the region.

In an address to the US Congress on Tuesday, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats warned that this could lead to a direct confrontation with Iran.

“Iran continues to pursue permanent military bases and economic deals in Syria and probably wants to maintain a network of Shia foreign fighters there despite Israeli attacks on Iranian positions in Syria,” Coats told the Times of Israel.

Israeli President Rivlin echoed his assessment, saying Iran would continue to increase its attacks on Israel.

However, rockets and military attacks are not the only Iranian threat that Israel has to deal with.

At a CyberTech conference on Tuesday, Netanyahu revealed that Israel contends with Iranian cyberattacks on a daily basis.

The prime minister highlighted the vulnerability of critical infrastructures, especially airlines, saying, “…everything today is vulnerable and under attack,” reported the Jerusalem Post. He highlighted Israel’s success in repelling the attacks, marking the achievements made in the cyber arena.

Netanyahu also said Israel hosts 20% of the world’s cyber security companies, second only to the US, according to the Jerusalem Post.

With daily cyberattacks and increased Iranian aggression on Israel’s northern border, strong, mutual relations between Israel and Russia are integral for the security of the Jewish state and the entire region.

Fears are that continued tensions may lead to all-out war, but with the political backing of Moscow, Iran will hopefully reconsider its aggression and withdraw its military forces from Israel’s borders.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, January 30, 2019)

Photo Credit: Benjamin Netanyahu@netanyahu/Twitter

Prayer Focus
Pray that the Russian government will remain true to its stated commitment to protect Israel’s security. Ask Him to continue to use Russia’s influence as a deterrent to an Iranian presence on Israel’s border.

Scripture

I will lift my eyes to the hills—from whence comes my help? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.


- Psalm 121:1–4

Israel Okays Qatari Fund Transfer to Gaza, but Hamas Says No

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Hamas refuses the offer of Qatari funds intended to help the failing economy.

Friday, 25 January 2019 | Israel approved the transfer of [US] $15 million in Qatari money to the Gaza Strip on Thursday, a source in Jerusalem said, but Hamas, the terror group that ruins the poverty-stricken coastal enclave, rejected the money. The money is the third installment of a series of payments aimed at keeping Gaza from collapsing.

Israel decided to approve the Qatari money after lengthy discussions throughout Thursday. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu supported the decision, despite Tuesday evening’s violent flare-up between protesters and IDF [Israel Defense Forces] troops at the border fence between Israel and Gaza. The Qatari money is used to pay Hamas civil servants’ salaries, provide financial support for the needy and finance [US] $10 million worth of diesel fuel for Gaza’s power station.

After Israel approved the transfer, however, Hamas decided to refuse the money. Speaking at a press conference in the Gaza Strip, Hamas official Khalil al-Hayya said the organization had spoken to Mohammed al-Emadi, the head of Qatar’s Gaza Strip Reconstruction Committee, and explained their position.

“Al-Emadi understood why we decided to reject the funds rather than accept them under the terms decided by Israel. Gaza will not be subject to extortion by Israeli election theater,” al-Hayya said, referring to the upcoming elections in Israel.

The transfer of the Qatari funds was halted after violence broke out at the Strip’s border on Tuesday. An IDF Paratroopers officer was lightly wounded by Palestinian gunfire, which was followed by an IAF [Israeli Air Force] strike on Hamas military positions in northern Gaza.

Palestinian sources confirm that al-Emadi entered Gaza on Wednesday through the Erez crosspoint, but arrived without the funds.

In November, Qatar began a six-month, [US] $150 million program to fund civil servant wages and shipments of fuel for power generation in Gaza, offering a measure of reprieve to the blockaded enclave under the control of the Hamas terror group.

Qatar hopes the aid will ease conditions and restore stability, part of efforts to bolster its international standing amid a diplomatic dispute with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf neighbors.

Emadi said earlier this week that Qatar would next push for a roughly [US] $80 million electricity project that would have it effectively manage the Strip’s power supply, buying Israeli electricity in bulk and distributing it across Gaza while collecting payment from Palestinians in return.

“We will fund this project but I want to make sure I have control of the electricity so I can get my money back,” he said of the plan, which would see Qatar build a power substation and network to end the need for costly fuel shipments.

“We need to find a solution for these 2 million people—this is our aim and goal. Not just to deliver money because Israel wants quiet or Hamas wants money.

Source: (Ynetnews originally published this article on January 23, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: QuinceMedia/pixabay.com

Photo License: Pixabay

Prayer Focus
Pray that the Lord will bring Hamas’s reign of terror, including the refusal of funds that the citizens of Gaza desperately need, to a swift and permanent end. Pray that the truly poor and needy among them will no longer suffer because of Hamas’s wicked ideology.

Scripture

Deliver the poor and needy; free them from the hand of the wicked.


- Psalm 82:4

Amid Political Turmoil, Palestinian PM Offers Resignation

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PM Rami Hamdallah offered his resignation amid PA government tensions.

Wednesday, 30 January 2019 | Palestinian Authority [PA] Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah has offered his resignation amid political turmoil in the PA’s ruling faction, the Jerusalem Post reported Tuesday.

It has yet to be determined if PA President Mahmoud Abbas has accepted the resignation.

Hamdallah’s offer of resignation comes after the Fatah Central Council recommended on Sunday that Abbas form a government with members of Fatah and independents.

Fatah is the largest Palestinian faction and is based in the West Bank [Judea and Samaria]. It is headed by Abbas.

The current government, led by Hamdallah, is called the Palestinian National Consensus Government, as it is the result of a 2014 agreement between Fatah and Hamas.

Fatah officials have explained that the reason for dissolving the current government is the ongoing political struggle with Hamas.

The Times of Israel reported that Fatah Central Committee Member Azzam al-Ahmad said on Sunday that the refusal of Hamas to hand control of Gaza to the PA spurred the calls for a new government.

“We plan to form a new government of factions soon in response to Hamas’s failure to undertake its national responsibility in handing over the Gaza Strip to the legitimate PA,” Ahmed said. He added that though Hamas helped form the previous Palestinian government, it would play no role in forming the new one.

Hamas, the terrorist organization that exercises complete political and military control over the Gaza Strip, has blasted the PA’s effort to create a new government without them.

“Fatah’s call for forming a new government consisting of PLO [Palestinian Liberation Organization] factions will solidify the split between the West Bank and Gaza Strip,” said Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum. “Our people are in need of a national unity government that would represent all Palestinians.”

Source: (This article was originally published by The Israel Project in its publication The Tower on January 29, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: محمد الفلسطيني/wikimedia.org

Photo License: wikimedia.org

Prayer Focus
Pray that the Lord will use the division between the Palestinian factions for Israel’s good, that both factions will be weakened while Israel is strengthened.

Scripture

Destroy, O LORD, and divide their tongues, for I have seen violence and strife in the city.


- Psalm 55:9

Amnesty International under Fire for Denying Historical Jewish Connection to Israel

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Amnesty International has released a report denying Jewish connections to holy sites such as the Western Wall.

Thursday, 31 January, 2019 | Amnesty International is under fire for its recent campaign encouraging travel websites to boycott Israel, which denies the historical Jewish connection to the land of Israel, the Jewish Chronicle reported Wednesday.

A statement from the Board of Deputies of British Jews and Jewish Leadership Council blasted the human rights organization for portraying “Jewish access to Judaism’s holiest site, the Western Wall as a reason to criticise Israel.”

The Amnesty campaign targets travel websites, including TripAdvisor and Airbnb, accusing them of encouraging “war crimes” by driving tourism to what it called “illegal settlements” and “occupied Palestinian land.”

The Board of Deputies statement noted that Amnesty had recently “left Jews out of its work on racism and refused to allow the Jewish Leadership Council to host an event at its offices.”

The current campaign and recent snub highlight the organization’s “long record of double standards on Israel.”

NGO Monitor, a Jerusalem-based watchdog group that holds NGO’s accountable for their biases, issued a critical report of the Amnesty campaign.

The NGO Monitor report noted that Amnesty “accuses Israel of creating a ‘settlement tourism industry’ to help ‘sustain and expand’ communities beyond the 1949 Armistice line. Israel’s interest in Jewish archaeology is ‘to make the link between the modern State of Israel and its Jewish history explicit,’ while ‘rewriting of history (which) has the effect of minimizing the Palestinian people’s own historic links to the region.’”

The report also observed, “The possibility that Jews would visit holy sites and want to see archaeological remnants of biblical locations for their religious and historical significance is not entertained.”

The Amnesty report emphasized that “the top three most visited places by foreign tourists in 2017 were all in Jerusalem’s Old City.” Citing this example, the NGO Monitor report noted that this presentation suggested “that this is a serious problem that needs to be solved.” But only by reading a footnote in the Amnesty report does one learn that those three sites are the Western Wall, the Jewish Quarter, and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

The inclusion by Amnesty of the historic church in the list of sites that it accuses Israel of manipulating for political purposes, instead of a historical, religious site, shows that Amnesty also “erases the Christian connection to the Holy Land.”

The denial of the historical connection of Jews to the land of Israel is a typical tactic of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. In one notable example, Abbas said in a December 2017 speech that Jews “are really excellent in faking and counterfeiting history.”

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres criticized the denial of history in a May 2017 speech condemning anti-Semitism at the Simon Wiesenthal Center. “History must be respected. Jerusalem is a holy city for three religions,” Guterres said at the time.

Source: (This article was originally published by The Israel Project in its publication The Tower on January 30, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Soluvo/Wikimedia.org

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Pray that the Lord will silence those who would blaspheme Him by blatantly lying about the nation of Israel and rewriting the history of His people. Pray that Amnesty International will not be successful in its attempts to influence public opinion against Israel or to convince travel websites to boycott Israel.

Scripture

For there is no faithfulness in their mouth; their inward part is destruction; their throat is an open tomb; they flatter with their tongue. Pronounce them guilty, O God! Let them fall by their own counsels.


- Psalm 5:9–10a

“We Remember:” Israel Marks International Holocaust Memorial Day

by Ilse Posselt

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Photos of people around the world holding up the words “We Remember” projected on the grounds of Auschwitz-Birkenau

Friday, 27 January 2017 | Today is the International Holocaust Remembrance Day. It is a day that transcends borders and religions as the world remembers the terrible genocide during which an estimated 6 million Jewish men, women and children were murdered.

On 27 January 1945, Russian forces reached the ‪Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp and opened the gates to the largest Nazi killing center in Europe. Auschwitz has since become a symbol of the Holocaust, representing the depths of evil, cruelty and deprivation. Today, 72 years later, the date continues to echo as a clarion call to remember that which was lost.

This year, the theme of International Holocaust Memorial Day is “How can life go on?”

“The aftermath of the Holocaust and of subsequent genocides continues to raise challenging questions for individuals, communities and nations,” explains the official Holocaust Memorial Day website. “What happens after genocide?” it asks, and what are “our own responsibilities in the wake of such a crime. There are few known answers.”

The theme chosen for 2017 echoes the words of author and Holocaust survivor, Elie Wiesel, “For the survivor death is not the problem. Death was an everyday occurrence. We learned to live with death. The problem is to adjust to life, to living. You must teach us about living.”

Nearly 60 years after the terrible days of World War II and its unspeakable repercussions for European Jewry, a number of those who lived through the nightmare drafted a Survivor’s Declaration. 

“The Age of Holocaust Survivors is drawing to a close,” it reads. “Before long no one will be left to say I was there, I saw, I remember what happened. All that will be left will be books of literature and research, pictures and films, and multitudinous testimony. The Holocaust, which established the standard for absolute evil, is the universal heritage of all civilized people.”

To assist in creating eternal remembrance in the run up to this year’s memorial, the World Jewish Congress launched the “We Remember” campaign. The initiative had hundreds of thousands of people of all faiths, backgrounds and nationalities sharing images of themselves holding up the words “We Remember” on social media. With some 200,000 contributors from as far as Pakistan and Peru to South Africa and Sweden, the project reached nearly 100 million people around the world.

Participants included Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Reuven Rivlin, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman as well as high-level European and American law-makers.

Last night, as sunset ushered in the start of International Holocaust Memorial Day, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that “the hatred and intolerance that drove [the Holocaust]” continues to plague the world today. Speaking at Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial museum in Jerusalem, Netanyahu said that although anti-Semitism is on the rise in Europe, the largest threat comes from the Middle East. “The greatest danger that we face, of hatred for the Jewish people and the Jewish state… comes from Iran,” he proclaimed. “It comes from the ayatollah regime that is fanning [the] flames [of anti-Semitism] and calling outright for the destruction of the Jewish state.”

The Prime Minister confirmed that he would do whatever necessary to stop Iran from attaining nuclear weapons. “As prime minister of Israel, I will not be silent,” Netanyahu said. “We will take all the measures we need to defend ourselves, and we will take all the measures necessary to prevent Iran from getting the means of mass murder to carry out their horrible plans.”

Netanyahu also had a word of warning for those who wish the Jewish people harm. “The regime that spawned the Holocaust ended up in the dustbin of history.” That should be “a lesson for Iran [and] every enemy of the Jewish people and the Jewish state.”

According to Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics, there are currently roughly 200,000 Holocaust survivors living in Israel. The bureau estimates that by 2020, the population will diminish by 23%.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, 27 January 2017)

Photo Credit: World Jewish Congress/Facebook

Prayer Focus
Pray for God’s protection and blessing on the remaining Holocaust survivors as they live out the rest of their lives. Beseech the Lord that He would raise up and anoint those in the next generation, including Christians, who would continue to tell the story of the Holocaust with power and authority, that its lessons will not be lost to succeeding generations.

Scripture

The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry. The face of the LORD is against those who do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth. The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles.


- Psalm 34:15–17

Action
Bridges for Peace provides regular food parcels filled with all the makings of nutritious meals to nearly 23,000 needy Israelis every month. Many of these are Holocaust survivors, who struggle to make ends meet, keep the heat on during the cold, wet winter months and put wholesome food on the table.

Bridges for Peace wants to extend that hand of love, support, physical sustenance and friendship to these precious survivors who have suffered such terrible cruelty. But we can’t do so without your help. Would you please consider giving a generous donation to our Food Program to ensure that we can put nutritious food on our Holocaust survivors' tables?

Jewish Agency Head Warns: “Anti-Semitism in Europe is Now a Raging Crisis. Again.”

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Jewish Agency Chairmain, Isaac Herzog, warns that anti-Semitism is rampant in Europe.

Friday, 25 January 2019 | The Jewish community in Europe is under threat from an anti-Semitic “plague,” Jewish Agency chairman Isaac Herzog warned in a keynote speech at the European Parliament in Brussels on Wednesday, ahead of International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27.

JNS reported that Herzog made the remarks in an address to a European Jewish Congress event. “We can no longer ignore the fact that Jews are once again unsafe in the streets of Europe,” said Herzog.

“Anti-Semitism in Europe is now a raging crisis. Again. And it must be stopped. As it pertains to anti-Semitism, we are facing among the darkest periods of Jewish history in Europe, in recent times. There are far too many examples to cite,” Herzog added, noting that this sentiment is shared across the board among Jews in Europe.

“When 90% of European Jews say anti-Semitism has increased in their home country, we understand we are dealing with a plague,” Herzog said. He warned that “30% of Europeans do not know anything about the Holocaust” and called this “a threat.”

The European Commission published a special Eurobarometer on the perceptions of anti-Semitism on Tuesday, which revealed that despite a sharp rise in anti-Jewish hatred on the continent, “respondents are of the opinion that antisemitism has remained the same (39%), decreased (10%) or have no opinion (15%).” The report said, “These respondents form a majority in 22” of the 28 countries surveyed.

“Over half of Europeans (54%) believe that the conflicts in the Middle East have an influence on the way Jewish people are perceived in their country,” the survey stated. “A majority share this opinion in 13 member states, mainly in Northern and Western Europe.”

A previous survey published last December by the EU [European Union] Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) showed that the majority of Jews living in Europe have been affected by anti-Semitism. 28% of respondents said that they had been harassed at least once in the past year, with those being visibly Jewish most prone to attacks. The data also revealed that 34% of respondents avoid visiting Jewish events or sites because they do not feel safe and 38% have considered emigrating because they did not feel safe as Jews in Europe.

The EU survey was released just two weeks after CNN reported on the “frightening” increase of anti-Semitic incidents across Europe.

Herzog reacted to the sobering findings, calling “on EU states, who have yet to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s working definition of anti-Semitism, as they have been asked to do by the Council of the EU, to do so urgently.”

He concluded: “This should not be a matter of politicized debate. We must unite the efforts and goodwill of all Europeans, so that we can again overcome hatred and move our societies towards progress.”

Source: (This article was originally published by The Israel Project in its publication The Tower on January 24, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: לעד ברמי Elad Brami/wikimedia.org

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Pray that all the EU states will adopt the Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s working definition of anti-Semitism as a basis for identifying and dealing with this evil in their nations. Cry out to the Lord for His protection to rest on every Jewish person in the Diaspora, and ask Him to spur them on to make aliyah (immigrate to Israel).

Scripture

Save us, O LORD our God, and gather us from among the Gentiles, to give thanks to Your holy name, to triumph in Your praise.


- Psalm 106:47

Israeli Delegation Arrives in Disaster-stricken Brazil

by Jo Sarah Stanford

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The IDF sent 130 soldiers to Brazil to assist with search and rescue efforts after a dam collapse.

Monday, 28 Jan 2019 | An Israeli search and rescue team touched down in Brazil Sunday night, just 48 hours after a dam collapse, which so far has killed 58 people and left 300 missing.

On Friday, disaster struck Minas Gerais, Brazil, when a dam full of mine tailings burst and sent a river of sludge towards workers in the mine’s accommodation and canteen facilities. During the mudslide, a bus full of people was also swept away.

Fifty-eight people have already been confirmed dead, but with 300 people still missing, the death toll is expected to rise.

Rescue efforts were hampered on Saturday morning as the search was suspended amid fears a second dam would burst. Authorities prepared to evacuate up to 24,000 people in the flood zone, but the water levels were drained and the danger subsided, allowing the search to resume.

Nearly 200 people have been rescued so far.

Soon after the disaster, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu offered assistance to his Brazilian counterpart President Jair Bolsonaro. Bolsonaro quickly accepted and Israel mobilized a 130-strong team of search and rescue specialists along with medical personnel, mostly from the IDF (Israel Defense Forces). By Sunday night, after a 14 hour flight, they had touched down in Brazil.

According to the IDF, the team will provide expertise in search and rescue, using technologies “including advanced cellular location, naval sonar and drones.”

Netanyahu said the rescue team has “extensive knowledge that has accumulated in many years of significant activity in dozens of disasters and attacks around the world, and with this experience we will be able to save lives and contribute a great deal to the locals in locating and rescuing victims,” reported the Jerusalem Post.

This is Israel’s first aid and rescue team dispatched to Brazil, but just one of many sent out when disaster strikes anywhere around the world.

Israel has a long history of helping other countries in times of crisis. Its first humanitarian mission was in 1953, just five years after the founding of the modern nation. When an earthquake hit Greece, killing over 1,000 people, Israel dispatched nearby navy ships to give assistance. Since then, Israel has helped over 140 countries.

Regardless of where disaster strikes—whether it be terror, war or natural disaster—the Jewish state is quick to provide live-saving advice and technologies to other developing nations and send response teams—even to countries that are not on friendly terms with Israel.

In more recent years, Israel has dispatched teams to Haiti after the earthquake in 2010, where they treated over 1,100 people, performed 319 surgeries and delivered 16 babies. After a typhoon struck the Philippines in 2013, affecting seven million people, Israel set up a field hospital, sending hundreds of tons of medical and humanitarian supplies. They also sent teams when earthquakes hit Turkey (2011), Nepal (2015) and Mexico (2017). Israeli technology has also been vital in fighting recent wildfires in California, USA.

From 2016–2018, the IDF embarked on Operation Good Neighbor, helping Syrian civilians caught in the crossfire of the civil war. Over the course of two years, 10,000 people were given medical treatment and hundreds of tons of food, clothing and medical supplies were freely provided.

Israel’s selfless acts of kindness—even to those who seek its destruction—speak to the heart of the Jewish nation. Israel comprises of just 0.11% of the world’s population, yet it far outweighs other nations when it comes to helping in times of disaster. This constant and rapid response comes from the Jewish concept of tikkun olam, meaningrepairing the world.”

Dating back to the time when God established a covenant with Abraham, saying, “I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing (Gen. 12:2 emphasis added), the Jewish people have taken this mandate very seriously. Pouring out blessings isn’t something Israel does, it is part of the Jewish state’s very identity.

The Jerusalem Post reported comments from an air force commander in charge of a recent rescue delegation: “As I see it, [the aid missions are] part of the Jewish identity that obliges each and every one of us to aid people in time of need, anywhere in the world. I have no doubt that whenever and wherever help will be needed, we will arrive.”

Source: (Bridges for Peace, January 28, 2019)

Photo Credit: Israel Defense Forces@IDF/Twitter

Prayer Focus
Praise God for Israel’s willingness and superior ability to render assistance to Brazil as the nation faces disaster. Pray that their advanced technologies and vast experience will be to Brazil’s aid, and ask the Lord to bless and strengthen Israel as they remain committed to aiding people anywhere in the world in their time of need.

Scripture

I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing.


- Genesis 12:2

Paralympic Committee Strips Malaysia of Hosting Privileges for Barring Israeli Athletes

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Malaysia is stripped of Swim Championship hosting rights as Foreign Minister Abdullah refuses the Israeli team visas.

Tuesday, 29 January 2019 | Malaysia had its right to host the 2019 World Para Swimming Championships stripped by the International Paralympic Committee [IPC] for its decision to bar Israeli athletes from competing.

“All World Championships must be open to all eligible athletes and nations to compete safely and free from discrimination. When a host country excludes athletes from a particular nation, for political reasons, then we have absolutely no alternative but to look for a new Championships host,” IPC President Andrew Parsons said in a statement released Sunday. “The Paralympic movement has, and always will be, motivated by a desire to drive inclusion, not exclusion. Regardless of the countries involved in this matter, the IPC would take the same decision again if it was to face a similar situation involving different countries.”

The IPC said when it signed its agreement allowing Malaysia to host the championships, the Asian nation’s government gave its assurances that all athletes from all nations would be allowed to compete. The statement observed that Malaysia subsequently experienced a “change of political leadership and the new Malaysian government has different ideas.”

The IPC statement said the governing body would seek a new venue that could host the championships at about the same time this coming summer so as not to upset the training schedules of the athletes.

The ban on Israeli athletes is the policy of Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who was elected last May.

In August, Mohamad told an interviewer, “Anti-Semitic is a term that is invented to prevent people from criticizing the Jews for doing wrong things.”

Earlier this month, the Israeli athletes planning to compete in the championships raised concerns that they had not received visas to enter Malaysia.

The following week, Malaysia’s Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah said that the cabinet decided that Israelis will be barred from all events hosted by Malaysia.

“Even if we have already committed to hosting an event, they will not be allowed (into the country),” Abdullah said at a press conference.

The president of FIDE, the international chess federation, recently reiterated his organization’s insistence that Israelis be able to compete in all international tournaments. In December, the FIDE relocated a tournament from Saudi Arabia because it would not grant visas to Israeli competitors.

Source: (This article was originally published by The Israel Project in its publication The Tower on January 28. 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: U.S. Department of State/wikimedia.org

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Praise God for this decision against the bigoted policies of the Malaysian government and for the prayers and the outcry that precipitated it. Thank Him for the courage of the IPC leadership who took a strong stand against anti-Semitism and the mistreatment of Israeli athletes.

Scripture

But Israel shall be saved by the LORD with an everlasting salvation; you shall not be ashamed or disgraced forever and ever.


- Isaiah 45:17

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