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What Would Jesus Do?

Friday, February 12, 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.

The ICC and the Palestinian “State”

by Alan M. Dershowitz~Gatestone

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The ICC’s chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda

Thursday, 11 February 2021 | The highly politicized International Criminal Court [ICC] just declared statehood for Palestinians. They did it without any negotiation with Israel, without any compromise and without any recognized boundaries. They also did it without any legal authority, because the Rome Statute, which established the ICC, makes no provision for this criminal court to recognize new states. Moreover, neither Israel nor the United States ratified that treaty, so the decisions of the ICC are not binding on them. Nor is this divided decision binding on signatories, since it exceeds the authority of the so-called court.

I say “so-called” court because the ICC is not a real court in any meaningful sense of that word. Unlike real courts, which have statutes and common law to interpret, the ICC just makes it up. As the dissenting judge so aptly pointed out, the Palestine decision is not based on existing law. It is based on pure politics. And the politics of the majority decision is based in turn on applying a double standard to Israel—as the United Nations, the International Court of Justice and other international bodies have long done.

There are numerous other groups—the Kurds, the Chechens and the Tibetans among them—who claim some degree of independence. Yet neither the ICC nor other international organizations has ever given them the time of day. But the Palestinians—both in the West Bank [Judea and Samaria] and Gaza—who have refused to negotiate in good faith and have used terrorism as their primary claim to recognition, have been rewarded for their violence by this decision.

Israel, which has offered the Palestinians statehood in exchange for peace on several occasions, has been punished for its willingness to negotiate and its determination to protect its citizens from Palestinian terrorism.

There are so many serious war crimes and other violations of humanitarian laws occurring around the world that the ICC deliberately ignores. The chief prosecutor sees as one of her roles to focus attention away from Third World countries—where many of these crimes occur—and toward Western democracies. What could be a better target for this perverse form of “prosecutorial affirmative action” than Israel? I say perverse because the real victims of such selective prosecution are the citizens of these third world countries whose leaders are killing and maiming them.

Israel, on the other hand, has the best record on human rights, the rule of law and concern for enemy civilians than any nation faced with comparable threats.

According to British military expert Richard Kemp: “No country in the history of warfare has done more to avoid civilian casualties than Israel did in Operation Cast Lead.”

Israel’s Supreme Court has imposed daunting restrictions on its military and has provided meaningful remedies for criminal acts committed by individual Israeli soldiers.

The role of the ICC, according to the treaty, is to intrude on the sovereignty of nations only if those nations are not capable of administering justice. The principle of “complementarity” is designed to allow courts in democratic nations, like Israel, to address their own problems within the rule of law. Only if the judiciary totally fails to address these problems does the court have jurisdiction—even in cases involving parties to the treaty, which Israel is not.

The United States should reject the ICC decision not only because it is unfair to its ally Israel, but because it sets a dangerous precedent that could be applied against the United States and other nations that operate under the rule of law. Israel should challenge the decision but should cooperate in any investigation, because the truth is its best defense. Whether an investigation conducted by the ICC can produce the truth is questionable, but the evidence—including real time video and audio—will make it more difficult for ICC investigators to distort reality.

All in all, the ICC decision on Palestine is a setback for a single standard of human rights. It is a victory for terrorism and an unwillingness to negotiate peace. And it is a strong argument against the United States and Israel joining this biased “court,” and giving it any legitimacy.

Alan M. Dershowitz is the Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law, Emeritus at Harvard Law School and author of the book, Guilt by Accusation: The Challenge of Proving Innocence in the Age of #MeToo, Skyhorse Publishing, 2019. His new podcast, “The Dershow,” can be seen on Spotify, Apple and YouTubeHe is the Jack Roth Charitable Foundation Fellow at Gatestone Institute.

Source: (This article was originally published by Gatestone Institute on February 9, 2021. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today.)

Photo Credit: Stine Merethe Eid/wikimedia.org

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Pray that this ludicrous decision by a false court with no jurisdiction will be recognized for the preposterous political move that it is. Beseech the Lord that no one will be successful in leveraging it to convince the world that a Palestinian state actually exists.

Scripture

A faithful witness does not lie, but a false witness will utter lies. The wisdom of the prudent is to understand his way, but the folly of fools is deceit.


- Prov. 14:5, 8

IDF: Iran Can Enrich Enough Uranium for a Bomb within Four Months

by Lilach Shoval~Israel Hayom via JNS

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Uranium-enrichment centrifuges at Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility

Thursday, 11 February 2021 | Iran could develop a nuclear bomb within two years and Hezbollah will not seek an all-out war, according to the IDF [Israel Defense Forces] Military Intelligence Directorate’s annual threat-assessment report, which was made public on Tuesday.

The report, which focuses on the security challenges Israel can expect to face over the next 12 months, estimates that the Islamic Republic can enrich enough uranium to make one bomb within four months. Iran currently has 1,300 kilograms [2,866 pounds] of uranium enriched to 4% and 17 kilograms [37.4 pounds] enriched to 20%, according to the IDF. In order to manufacture a single nuclear device, Iran will need 40 kilograms [88 pounds] of uranium enriched to 90%.

The Iranians have not pressed on with their nuclear project since the assassination of key nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, which was attributed to Israel, as they have not found a replacement for him yet, according to the assessment. However, it notes that Tehran is breaching the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action nuclear agreement.

In addition, the IDF estimates that Iran-backed Hezbollah and other terrorist groups will likely initiate more “limited offensives” against Israel over the coming year, which would force Israel to either minimize or stop its activities in Syria. However, such offensives would have to be carried out without harm to Israeli civilians, which would likely lead to Israel escalating the conflict. To this end, Hezbollah has trained a special “shock unit,” according to the report.

Currently, the IDF believes Hezbollah possesses an arsenal of several dozen precision-guided missiles, rather than the hundreds that have been reported by some. For now, the IDF believes it still has an edge over Hezbollah on this front.

Meanwhile, despite an initial interruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic, Israel’s enemies, most of which are suffering from severe economic, social and public health crises, have barely diverted any of their efforts from rearmament and force build-up. This applies to Iran and its proxies in Syria, Iraq and Yemen, to Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) in Gaza and to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

In general, the IDF believes that its campaign against Iranian entrenchment in Syria—or the so-called “war between wars”—has successfully countered Iran’s goal of establishing a significant military presence in Syria, but has not prevented the regime in Tehran from pressing on with those efforts anyway.

The IDF believes that due to its successes against Iran in Syria, the Islamic Republic has pivoted toward enhancing its already robust military presence in Iraq and Yemen, from which its proxies can launch attacks on Israel using long-range missiles or armed drones. These more advanced and more powerful weapons are easier to smuggle into Iraq and Yemen than Syria or Lebanon, but the greater range also gives Israel more time to defend itself.

In the case of a drone attack from Yemen, for instance, the assessment estimates the IDF would have roughly six hours to see the attack coming and counter it.

The report also said that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad will look to improve relations with his neighbors and attempt to return to the Arab League as well as rebuild his army, in particular the air defense divisions. Large swathes of Syria, mainly in the north, will continue to remain under Kurdish or Turkish control, according to the assessment. Al-Assad is still reluctant to act against Iran’s continued entrenchment in his country and is unlikely to change his mind in the coming future.

On the Palestinian front, although Hamas is seeking a long-term ceasefire arrangement with Israel, the current quiet on the Gaza border is very fragile.

The IDF also doubts the upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections the Palestinian Authority plans to hold in May and July respectively will be successful.

Hamas and PIJ, according to the assessment, will continue solidifying their power in Gaza, with an emphasis on their rocket arsenals, while trying to silence those calling for attacking Israel.

Regarding the new administration in Washington, the report estimates that it will be far more involved globally than its predecessor, which could provide some advantages for Israel.

Source: (This article was originally published by Israel Hayom via JNS on February 10, 2021. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Tehran Times/jns.org

Prayer Focus
Thank the Lord that He has heard and answered the many prayers for Israel to be successful in thwarting attempts to create an Iranian stronghold in Syria. Pray that He will move powerfully on Israel’s behalf, granting great wisdom to her leaders as they strategize responses for an uncertain and potentially explosive future.

Scripture

“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.”


- Jer. 15:20b–21

Israeli Hospital Claims May Have Found Cure for COVID-19

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Researchers at Tel Aviv’s Ichilov Hospital announced it has seen positive results in preliminary trials for a cure for COVID-19 (illustrative).

Monday, 8 February 2021 | An Israeli hospital claims it may have a cure for COVID-19, according to a report by KAN News.

Researchers at Tel Aviv’s Ichilov Hospital on Thursday announced it has seen positive results in preliminary trials for a cure for COVID-19.

Professor Nadir Arber from the Integrated Cancer Prevention Center at the hospital tested a medication he has been developing on patients in moderate and serious condition suffering from the virus with a 95% positive result.

Arber says the medicine, named EXO-CD24, is inexpensive and effective and must be given once daily for five days.

Of the 30 patients that were given the drug, 29 showed a marked improvement within two days and were released from the hospital three to five days later.

One patient also recovered but her recovery took a few days longer, the hospital said.

After such positive results, the hospital appealed to the Health Ministry’s Helsinki Committee to request to extend the trial to more patients.

The Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem also reported on a possible cure. The hospital administered a drug called Allocetra to 21 patients in critical condition who suffered from underlying conditions. According to the doctors, 19 patients recovered within six days and were released from the hospital on average after eight days.

The drug was developed by Professor Dror Mevorach, the director of Research Center for Rheumatology and Internal Medicine, to deal with overactive immune systems that cause secretion of cytokines.

Source: (This article was originally published by Ynetnews Institute on February 4, 2021. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: National Cancer Institute/unsplash.com

Prayer Focus
Praise the Lord for this incredible development in the fight against COVID-19. Pray that further testing will be approved and the drugs released for use as quickly as is safely possible. Pray that countless lives will be saved through their use—in Israel and around the world.

Scripture

Be my strong refuge, to which I may resort continually; You have given the commandment to save me, for You are my rock and my fortress.


- Ps. 71:3

Netanyahu: Golan Heights “Will Remain Forever Part of Israel” 

by JNS

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on a tour of the Golan Heights

Wednesday, 10 February 2021 | Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office pushed back against US Secretary of State Tony Blinken over his comments that stopped short of endorsing the Trump administration’s recognition of the Golan Heights in 2019.

In an interview with CNN on Monday, Blinken said while he supports Israel controlling the Golan Heights for now, he cast doubt on whether or not Israel had the legal right to control the region in the long-term.

“As a practical matter, the control of the Golan in that situation I think remains of real importance to Israel’s security,” he told CNN news anchor Wolf Blitzer. “Legal questions are something else, and over time, if the situation were to change in Syria, that’s something we look at, but we are nowhere near that.”

Former President Donald Trump recognized Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights in 2019. Last November, Blinken’s predecessor, Mike Pompeo, made a rare visit to the Golan Heights, where he said “this is a part of Israel and [a] central part of Israel.”

In a statement, Netanyahu’s office said that “the Golan Heights will remain forever a part of the State of Israel.”

“The Israeli position is clear. In any possible scenario, the Golan Heights will remain Israeli,” added the statement.

Advisers to US President Joe Biden have said America would not change its stance on the Golan.

The US State Department did not respond to a JNS request for clarification on the status of the Golan Heights.

Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published by JNS on February 9, 2021. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Kobi Gideon/GPO/jns.org

Prayer Focus
Thank the Lord that the opinion of world leaders does not determine Israel’s boundaries—He does. Pray that Israel will stand strong in its position and will not be intimidated or politically manipulated into any agreement that is contrary to His will.

Scripture

For the help of man is useless. Through God we will do valiantly, for it is He who shall tread down our enemies.


- Ps. 108:12b–13

Coalition to Press UNICEF to Demand Palestinians Stop Militarizing Children

by JNS

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A Palestinian child plays with a toy gun on his father’s shoulders at the Al Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem’s Old City.

Wednesday, 10 February 2021 | Ahead of the second annual Palestinian Child Soldier Week, the Coalition to Save Palestinian Child Soldiers announced that their goal this year was to press UNICEF [United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund]—the “global leader in children’s rights”—to issue a statement demanding that Palestinian militant groups stop using children as combatants.

Palestinian Child Soldier Week is a global movement to end the use of Palestinian children as soldiers. It will be observed this year from February 14–19.

The purpose of the week is to raise awareness of a problem the coalition charges has been treated as a “minor issue” by organizations such as UNICEF, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International—possibly for “political reasons.”

“For decades, [this] systemic issue has been ignored or brushed off as unrelated individual incidents,” said the coalition in a statement. “Without pressure or consequences for using this practice, systemic Palestinian child militancy has flourished.”

The coalition noted that for decades, minors have been used in various military capacities by Palestinian militant groups, including the PLO [Palestinian Liberation Organization], Hamas, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Children have been used by these organizations as soldiers, suicide bombers, terrorists, tunnel diggers, mules for explosive devices and human shields, particularly in mass organized riots. They have also been used by these groups as couriers, spies and lookouts.

“The phenomenon of institutionalized racist, anti-Semitic, militarized education, child-training camps, and mass propaganda encouraging wanton violence from stabbing to rock-throwing are part of the systemic child militancy developed by [these] organizations,” stated the coalition, noting the physical, mental and developmental harm of these activities on the children.

The coalition called upon UNICEF to demand that Palestinian militant organizations adhere to the 2007 Paris Principles, an international agreement supported by UNICEF that rejects any use of minors (17 years of age or younger) in military conflicts, whether by state or non-state actors.

The coalition noted that every year, nearly 10,000 Palestinian children are trained in “terrorist ‘summer camps.’”

Between the years 2015 and 2016 alone, more than 30 Palestinian children were enlisted to commit stabbing attacks in what became known as the “knife intifada [uprising]” in Israel. Those attacks have continued with the latest occurring January 25 by Atallah Mohammad Rayan, 17, who attempted to kill a female Israel Defense Forces soldier at a junction near Ariel. Rayan was killed in the attack.

The previous month, Mahmoud Omar Kameel, 17, a Palestinian teenager from Jenin, was killed on December 21 after he twice tried to shoot Israeli border police in Jerusalem’s Old City.

Source: (Excerpt of an article originally published by JNS on February 8, 2021. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Muammar Awad/Flash90/jns.org

Prayer Focus
Pray that there will be an international outcry against this atrocious use of children as combatants and the racist, anti-Semitic, militarized education to which they are subjected. Pray that UNICEF and other so-called children’s rights organizations will be called to account for their deliberate and inexcusable neglect of Palestinian children for political reasons.

Scripture

But You, O Lord, are a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering and abundant in mercy and truth.


- Ps. 86:15

New Report Exposes Hezbollah Missile Sites Near Beirut Charity-run Schools

by Yaakov Lappin~JNS

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Hezbollah’s supporters

Tuesday, 9 February 2021 | A new report has shed light on Hezbollah’s systematic use of civilian infrastructure to shield its missile storage and launch sites in Lebanon.

The report, produced by the Israeli Alma Research and Education Center for geopolitical affairs, highlights a social charity called the Islamic Shiite Waqf Committee in Burj al Barajneh foundation that has been cynically used by Hezbollah to store an array of medium-range Fateh 110 missiles in close proximity to sites such as a high school in Beirut.

“This is a continuation of a report that we published in July 2020, which exposed 28 Fateh 110 missile sites in greater Beirut,” Maj. (res.) Tal Beeri, who directs Alma’s research department, told JNS.

“Following our publication, we continued extracting data from the information collected while discovering and uncovering new information. Within this framework, we acted to uncover the identities of the landowners and building owners [where] the Hezbollah sites are located,” he stated.

That research led Alma to the Shiite Waqf Committee in Burj el-Barajneh, a social charity that has been active for 25 years and recognized as a supporter of Hezbollah.

Alma was able to pinpoint seven compounds related to the foundation: its main compound (which includes offices, a conference hall and a religious gathering place) and six school compounds, some of which are suspected of being used to store missiles intended for future use against Israel.

It didn’t take long for the charity to emerge as the common denominator between the sites found to be storing missiles, said Beeri. Alma’s July report highlighted two compounds—a sports center and an education center—belonging to the charity.

Following that lead, “We said, OK, if we are talking about compounds that we know have Hezbollah launch sites, let’s search for more sites belonging to this charity that can be used by Hezbollah as missile sites with ‘civilian envelopes,’” said Beeri, describing the research process. “We know that this is how they work.”

The use of civilian associations for, among other objectives, human shielding, is a core pattern of Hezbollah, seen in past cases such as its use of the “Green Without Borders” environmental group as a cover for activity on the Lebanese–Israeli border, as well as using a civilian demining organization for cover.

“We also know that the Islamic Health Organization that deals with medical affairs throughout the Shiite community in southern Lebanon also smuggled weapons and operatives in ambulances during emergencies,” noted Beeri.

Based on this familiar pattern, Alma searched Beirut for additional Islamic Shiite Waqf Committee in Burj al Barajneh compounds, finding seven structures that are suspected to have been used for missile attacks.

“One is the charity’s central branch. We also found six educational facilities. We cross-referenced these with places we know to be launch sites and found that four of these sites are used as launch sites,” explained Beeri, who spent 20 years as an intelligence officer in the Israel Defense Forces [IDF] specializing in Lebanon and Syria.

“We know with certainty that launch sites always appear near missile storage centers,” he added. “This enables rapid deployment-and-fire for Hezbollah.”

“Hence, this leads us to a very high degree of confidence in assessing that at least some of the charity’s structures are being used to hide Fateh 110 missiles in Beirut. These sites include launch sites and very likely storage centers near the launch sites. It is a case of classic human shielding,” said Beeri.

“You Only Need One”

The Fateh 110 lies at the heart of Hezbollah’s ambitions to convert unguided projectiles into guided missiles. With a range of 300 kilometers [186 miles], it can place most of Israel in its sights, said Beeri.

It is produced in Syrian weapons plants under Iranian auspices and in Iranian missile factories. The Syrian equivalent of the missile is known as the M600.

In recent years, Iran and Hezbollah have been attempting to set up industrial precision guided missile factories on Lebanese soil, said Beeri.

“According to estimates, they still have ‘only’ tens of precise missiles. But you only need one to hit the IDF Central Headquarters in Tel Aviv to achieve a victory picture,” he cautioned.

Civilian Populations “Live among the Targets”

In a recent speech, IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi warned that terror armies located on Israel’s borders—made up of tens of thousands of combatants—are armed with industrial weapons. “They aim, openly and declaratively, their fire at Israeli civilians,” he warned. “The threat of rockets and missiles is the most significant. The scope has grown; the warheads have grown. They are trying to improve the accuracy. This issue reached significant dimensions.”

“Who would have thought that terror organizations—what we today call terror armies—would be armed with precise missiles, or cruise missiles, or cyber capabilities, or electronic warfare? The technology changed the world,” he said. “When it is available, it is also available to radical Islam and fundamentalism. When they meet, the result is a challenge.”

The chief of staff called for a paradigm shift to tackle these threats. “The enemy chose to locate itself, including its rockets and missiles, in urban areas. It deliberately ignores international law. It intends to fire all of this at Metula, Afula, Haifa and greater Tel Aviv. It is distributed in villages in southern Lebanon and Beirut. Hence, it is a must that we—the IDF, Israel and the international community—adapt ourselves to ways we must and are entitled to fight.”

While civilians would be given a chance to evacuate, the IDF will afterwards strike such targets, he said.

Civilian populations “live among the targets,” cautioned Kochavi. “They live on the battlefield. Every fifth home in Lebanon is a missile storage base or an anti-tank position or a command post.”

Referring to these warnings, Beeri noted that Kochavi identified these structures as military targets that must be struck in a future war to prevent harm to Israeli civilians.

“Hezbollah’s human shielding doctrine is well known, but each time we are surprised anew when we discover new ways that it does this, the way they use charities to serve their military activities,” said Beeri.

“Without a civilian infrastructure, Hezbollah’s military capabilities can’t live. We are peeling this layer by layer—every time we peel, we discover more.”

Source: (Excerpt of an article originally published by JNS on February 8, 2021. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Gabriele Pedrini/Shutterstock/jns.org

Prayer Focus
Beseech the Lord for an end to this unjust and inhumane use of civilian populations as human shields. Pray that the international community will join with Israel in condemning Hezbollah’s use of civilians to hide its weapons, cold-heartedly placing them in the midst of the battlefield. Cry out to Him that Israel will be successful in finding a way to protect Israeli citizens without endangering the lives of families and children in Lebanon.

Scripture

When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when a wicked man rules, the people groan.


- Prov. 29:2

Watchdog Report Details Dozens of “Flagrant’ Anti-Semitic Incidents on Campus

by JNS

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A woman holds a sign opposing anti-Semitism at a rally.

Friday, 5 February 2021 | The campus watchdog group, Alums for Campus Fairness (ACF), released a groundbreaking report on Thursday outlining the 50 most flagrant anti-Semitic incidents at American universities and detailing recommendations for alumni to combat bigotry at their alma maters.

Some of the most alarming examples recorded include swastikas spray-painted in a Jewish professor’s office, the resignation of a student government vice president due to harassment for her Zionist identity and a performer at a school-sponsored conference inviting the audience to join in his “anti-Semitism song.”

The report, titled Guide to Protect Jewish Students, included the most abhorrent anti-Semitic incidents out of a sample of more than 2,000 that occurred over the past three years on the campusses of US colleges. The report divides incidents into five categories: Campus Activities; Vandalism, Harassment and Hate Speech; Virtual Antisemitism; In the Classroom; and Campus Policy. Incidents are classified as anti-Semitic using the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA’s) working definition of anti-Semitism.

“Across the nation, Jewish students are targeted, harassed and discriminated against because of who they are and what they believe. AEPi [Alpha Epsilon Pi, the worldwide Jewish college fraternity] members were assaulted at Towson University, NYU students burned an Israeli flag, a University of Michigan professor refused to write a recommendation letter for a student to study abroad in Israeland vandals defaced the UMass Amherst Hillel on Holocaust Memorial Day. This is only a snapshot of what Jewish students are up against,” said ACF executive director Avi D. Gordon.

“It is more important now more than ever for alumni to mobilize and combat this hate. ACF’s report outlines the steps alumni should take to help protect Jewish students on campus and curb rising antisemitism,” he added.

The report recommends that alumni press their alma maters to adopt the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism; swiftly and unequivocally condemn hate; mandate staff training on anti-Semitism and anti-Israel bias; take precautions against Zoombombing; and issue prompt statements condemning BDS [Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions] resolutions, among a number of other actions.

“Jewish students are regularly subjected to hate, fear and discrimination on campus,” said Eric Schorr, ACF’s chapter leader at Columbia University. “It’s extremely troubling to see this uptick in anti-Semitism across the United States. Students, alumni and university administrators must work together to take appropriate steps to not only condemn hate, but to prevent and eradicate it.”

Source: (This article was originally published by JNS on February 4, 2021. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: AndriiKoval/Shutterstock/jns.org

Prayer Focus
Pray for the Lord’s protection on Jewish college students in the United States and globally. Pray that this report will be taken seriously, causing alumni en masse to demand the eradication of racism, bigotry and all forms of anti-Semitism on campuses around the world.

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.


- Ps. 61:1–3

Israel Builds Housing for Guatemalans Who Lost Homes in 2018 Volcano Blasts

by JNS

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The Israeli-built housing development in Guatemala

Thursday, 11 February 2021 | Israel’s embassy in Guatemala recently finished its housing development in the town of Escuintla for families whose homes were destroyed in the 2018 Fuego volcano eruption.

On January 31, Israel’s Ambassador to Guatemala and Honduras Mattanya Cohen personally handed over the deeds to all 39 families receiving new houses. The homes sit on “Jerusalem Capital of Israel Street,” the 19th street in Guatemala with that name.

“The State of Israel promised, and we are happy,” said Cohen in a statement. “Israel will always continue to assist our friend and ally Guatemala.”

Israel and Guatemala have seen growing ties in recent years. In May 2018, Guatemala moved its embassy to Jerusalem just two days after the United States opened its own mission in the city, which was recognized as and declared Israel’s capital by the Trump administration in December 2017.

The blast in June 2018 killed more than 190 people—more fatalities than any previous activity caused by Fuego, which is one of Central America’s most active volcanoes.

Following the blast, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu offered Israeli medical and logistical aid to Guatemala. A team of Israeli doctors and members of the Israeli emergency organization IsraAid also flew out to the Central American nation to help locals. Israel’s ZAKA emergency service also provided equipment and necessities such as blankets, medicine, first aid kits and water purification tablets.

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

Photo Credit: Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs/jns.org

Prayer Focus
Praise the Lord for the relationship between Israel and Guatemala and for the Guatemalans’ obvious love for Israel and especially for the city of Jerusalem. Thank Him for this incredible blessing from Israelis to Guatemalans and pray that these homes will be the beginning of a new life for families who have lost everything.

Scripture

In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem: “Do not fear; Zion, let not your hands be weak. The LORD your God in your midst, the Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”


- Zeph. 3:16–17

Israel and Greece Sign Tourism Agreement

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Israel and Greece signed a bilateral agreement on tourism cooperation (illustrative).

Thursday, 11 February 2021 | Israel and Greece on Monday signed a bilateral agreement on tourism cooperation providing hope to an industry which has come to a standstill because of the COVID crisis. Israeli Minister [of Tourism] Orit Farkash-Hacohen told Greek Minister [of Tourism] Harry Theoharis that she looked forward to welcoming Greek and other visitors to Israel, as it continues to vaccinate its population and position itself as a healthy post-COVID destination.

Following a working meeting between the ministers, they signed an agreement to strengthen the cooperation in the fields of research and training in tourism, as well as to promote joint packages and initiatives between the tourism industries in both countries.

“Signing an agreement on international tourism when the skies are closed and vacations seem far away is a beacon of hope. It is a reminder to those working in the entire industry that we are working to make sure they reopen as soon as possible,” Farkash-Hacohen said. “Like always, tourism is a two-way street. Any and all agreement must be mutual, allowing the citizens of both countries the same positive experiences that trips and vacations can provide.”

Farkash-Hacohen called on tourists to visit Israel. “I want to take this opportunity to encourage Greek people and everyone else: make Israel your post-COVID destination. Israel has something for everyone: the snow-capped Hermon and Negev Desert; modern Tel Aviv and ancient Jerusalem; family vacations, backpacking trips and religious experiences—we have them all.”

“Israel is leading the world in the efforts to vaccinate its population against the pandemic. This means Israel will also be a safe and healthy destination,” Farkash-Hacohen concluded. “After a year of limited travel and a lot of stress, a vacation is in order—and I am certain Israel can provide you with the perfect experience.”

Greek Minister Theoharis stated: “It is of great satisfaction that we concluded the agreement on cooperation in the field of tourism between Greece and Israel. This agreement is part of the strategic plan of the Greek government and aims to enhance significant partnerships with countries of the wider Mediterranean region. Apart from the ties of friendship, Greece shares with Israel the same belief that tourism is a central lever for development in a modern, sustainable and profitable orientation. Let’s also not forget that for our country, the tourism market of Israel is particularly important. In 2019, we hosted around 715,000 Israeli visitors. This number has ranked Israel as the 9th country in terms of tourist arrivals for Greece.”

Source: (This press release was originally published by the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs on February 8, 2021. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: pxhere.com

Prayer Focus
Thank the God of Israel for this agreement and for the relationship Israel enjoys with Greece. Thank Him that there is hope for the tourism industry and pray that things will open up soon, allowing tourists to enjoy both Israel and Greece and pilgrims to again find their way to the country where He says He has placed His name forever.

Scripture

Many nations shall come and say, “Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths.”


- Mic. 4:2a