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Friday, February 17, 2023

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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 to Boost Security in Capital Following Deadly Terror Attacks

by JNS

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The scene of a terrorist attack in which an Israeli Arab drove a car into people waiting at a bus stop

Wednesday, 15 February 2023 | Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and senior Jerusalem municipal officials have agreed on a series of measures to increase security in the capital following a wave of terrorist attacks.

The plan includes reinforcing security and police units, concentrating intelligence and operational efforts and improving civilian protection in the city, particularly at bus stops.

Some 300 bus stops defined as high-priority and currently unprotected will be reinforced immediately, with the Prime Minister’s Office [PMO] allocating a designated budget. The Jerusalem municipality will, in the next phase of the project, reinforce the remaining approximately 700 bus stops within its jurisdiction using a future funding allocation by the PMO.

“In light of the recent spate of difficult incidents throughout the country in general and in the capital in particular, my government has been working day and night in order to restore the sense of security to the citizens of the State of Israel,” said Netanyahu in a statement.

Added Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion: “I thank Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the entire PMO team for the rapid response and finding an immediate solution for the personal security of the residents of Jerusalem.”

Israel’s Security Cabinet on Sunday approved a series of counter-terrorism measures, including reinforcing Israel Police and Border Police units in Jerusalem and expanding operations against inciters and supporters of terrorism.

Netanyahu emphasized that security forces would take focused action against terrorists and that there would be no collective punishment.

The prime minister said earlier Sunday that Israel’s governing coalition would this week pass legislation to strip the citizenship of terrorists and expel them from the country. The declaration came after a terrorist attack in Jerusalem’s Ramot neighborhood that claimed the lives of Yaakov Israel Paley, 6, his brother, Asher Menachem Paley, 8, and 20-year-old Alter Shlomo Lederman.

On Monday, Israeli soldier St.-Sgt. Asil Sawaed, 22, died from wounds sustained earlier in the day in a terrorist attack at a checkpoint to Shuafat in eastern Jerusalem. It came just hours after a teenager was stabbed and lightly-to-moderately injured in a terrorist attack in the Old City of Jerusalem.

In late January, seven people were killed and several others were wounded in a terrorist shooting attack at a synagogue in Jerusalem’s Neve Ya’akov neighborhood.

Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on February 14, 2023. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90/jns.org

Prayer Focus
Pray that Prime Minister Netanyahu’s initiatives will curtail terror attacks in the city of the Great King and restore safety to its streets. Cry out to the Lord for the peace of Jerusalem; beseech Him for an end to the violence.


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.

- Zephaniah 3:16–17a

Israel’s Recognition of Communities in Biblical Heartland Draws Backlash

by Kate Norman

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Israeli communities in Judea under construction

Wednesday, 15 February 2023 | A spate of terror attacks over the past few weeks in Jerusalem has left 11 people dead and many more wounded. The Palestinians praise the terrorists as resistance fighters, considering the spilling of Jewish blood as bringing them closer to an independent state.

As the saying goes, however, the best revenge is living well. And in the face of the Palestinian attempts to frighten Israelis out of their homeland, the Jewish state is responding by digging their roots deeper into the Land of Israel.

On Sunday, the Israeli Security Cabinet announced that it would “unanimously authorize” nine Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, the biblical heartland of Israel.

The communities include Avigil, Bet Hogla, Givat Harel/Haroeh, Givat Arnon, Mitzpe Yehuda, Malachei Hashalom, Ashael, Sde Boaz and Shaharit, the cabinet announced in a statement published by the prime minister’s office.

The decision was made, the statement said, after consultations with Israel’s prime minister, defense minister, finance minister, national security minister and strategic affairs minister.

“These communities have existed for many years,” the cabinet noted in the statement. “Some have existed for decades.”

The cabinet further announced that Israel’s Civil Administration Higher Planning Committee will convene soon to “approve the construction of new residential units in existing communities in Judea and Samaria,” with the media reporting an expected 10,000 new units.

Judea and Samaria is the setting for numerous significant biblical events. The area includes Bethlehem, where Ruth met Boaz and the birthplace of King David and Yeshua (Jesus); Hebron, the tomb of the patriarchs and matriarchs: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca and Leah; Shechem, where Joseph was buried, near the site where God told Abram that He would give the Land to his descendants; Shiloh, where Hannah begged God for a son and where she later brought Samuel and dedicated him to the service of the Lord, where the Tabernacle stood for 369 years. These biblical sites and so many more lay sprawled across the heart of the country.

International Response

The international community, however, calls the area the “West Bank,” a reference to when the land, which lies on the west bank of the Jordan River, was under Jordanian control from 1948 to 1967. To the international community, the Jewish communities are not simply Jewish people planting roots in their ancient biblical homeland; they are “illegal settlers.”

Unsurprisingly, the Arabs, the descendants of Ishmael who claim the land as their own, are livid at the Jewish people, the descendants of Isaac, to whom God promised the Land, as Israel takes this step of authorizing Jewish communities in the disputed territory.

The Palestinian Mission to the United Nations is responding by preparing a Security Council resolution to condemn the Jewish state for its action, two diplomats told the Times of Israel.

In addition, foreign ministers from the United States, France, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom issued a joint statement yesterday condemning Israel’s decision.

“We strongly oppose these unilateral actions,” the statement read, as quoted by the Jerusalem Post,” adding that the steps “only serve to exacerbate tensions between Israelis and Palestinians and undermine efforts to achieve a negotiated two-state solution.”

Israel was also condemned by the European Union’s foreign policy chief, the United Nations secretary-general as well Jordan, Egypt, Turkey and Norway, the Times of Israel reported.

Nonetheless, hours after the joint statement was released, the Jerusalem Post reported that the Israel Defense Forces Higher Planning Council for Judea and Samaria will meet on February 22 “to advance new building projects.” Israel is unlikely to be deterred from responding to terrorism by digging in its heels and planting its roots further into the biblical heartland.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, February 15, 2023)

Photo Credit: Trocaire/commons.wikimedia.org

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Pray that the prime minister and his team will act with great wisdom and discernment as they respond to this recent spate of terror attacks. Pray that the Lord will comfort the families of those who were murdered and heal those who were wounded as well. Pray that the international community will use every kind of influence they have to pressure the Palestinians to end this wave of senseless killing and cease blaming Israel for the actions of terrorists.


Consider my enemies, for they are many; and they hate me with cruel hatred. Keep my soul, and deliver me; let me not be ashamed, for I put my trust in You.

- Psalm 25:19–20

‘This Is the True Face of Israel’

by Ilse Strauss

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Israel’s search and rescue team training to provide aid during a disaster

Tuesday, 14 February 2023 | A heroes’ welcome awaited the delegation when they touched down at Ben Gurion International Airport last night. The special reception was well deserved. For the past week, the team of more than 160 Israeli search and rescue experts had worked nonstop in subzero temperatures in a country and among a people not their own. They had tirelessly combed through piles of unstable rubble that was once apartment blocks and family homes for signs of life. And in less than seven days, they had managed to save 19 civilians trapped under collapsed buildings in southeastern Turkey after a mammoth 7.8-magnitude earthquake decimated the region.

On Monday—six days after arriving in the disaster area—the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) announced that its search and rescue delegation has concluded its efforts to locate, rescue and treat victims as part of the “Olive Branches” humanitarian aid mission. The team was coming home.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was at Ben Gurion to welcome the delegation back. “The entire people of Israel are proud of you,” he told them. “You saved 19 worlds…”

“The entire people of Israel followed your rescue operation with great emotion. You went on behalf of the country and you brought great honor to the State of Israel. We saw you in action in the cold, in difficult conditions around the clock in the most sacred work a person can do—saving the lives of others,” Netanyahu continued.

“You did something else,” the prime minister added. “You showed the entire world the true and beautiful face of the State of Israel: a small country with a huge soul, a country that rushes to help others around the world and in the harshest conditions, out of humanity and the highest morality. This is the true face of Israel.”

Sakir Ozkan Torunlar, Turkey’s ambassador to Israel, was also there to welcome the team who came to his people’s aid in their time of need. “The government of Israel was among the first to provide its team,” he said. “I salute all who were among those who landed in the disaster zone and immediately started their task. You saved 19 Turks…followed by a field hospital being erected in less than 24 hours and becoming operational.”

“Thank you very much for your efforts,” Torunlar said, presenting the head of the Israeli delegation with a bouquet of flowers.

The majority of the 160-member delegation comprises of reservists and volunteers. These men and women make the choice to leave families, jobs and the comforts of home behind to help—often at great personal cost.

The commander of the group, Col. Golan Voch, recounted the touching story of rescuing a nine-year-old child trapped two stories underground. Throughout the course of the 30-hour rescue, an Israeli paramedic stayed with the child to provide first aid and comfort—despite the fact that the paramedic lost his own daughter in a car accident two years ago.

The search and rescue team was, however, not the only group of Israelis helping Turkey. A 230-member strong Israeli medical delegation operating a field hospital in one of the hardest hit areas remained behind and will continue its activities in the upcoming days, the military said. So far, the field hospital has treated more than 400 people wounded in the quake, including a number of Syrian refugees. After treating a young Syrian boy, the only surviving member of his immediate family, the child’s uncle told the Israeli nurse, “You treat us better than our own people.”

Apart from the boots on the ground, Israel also dispatched 15 planes carrying 60 tons of medical supplies, water, blankets, winter gear, tents and water purification stations.

Looking at all the delegation from tiny Israel has accomplished, is it any wonder that the nation is proud?

But the Israelis themselves were not the only ones to notice. Outpourings of love and appreciation—adorned with hearts and the flags of Israel and Turkey proudly side-by-side—have flooded the IDF’s platforms on social media.

“Love İsrail from Türkiye,” wrote one social media user. “We are now brothers forever,” wrote another. “Thank you very much IDF and all Israeli helpers. You are our heroes,” said a third. “Thank you for everything, the people of Elohim. We will never forget this and always remember.” And so it continues.

Israel’s efforts in Turkey over the past week are nothing new though. Over the last seven decades, with little fanfare and minimal press coverage, the country has provided humanitarian aid to more than 140 disaster-stricken nations, a number of which still refuse to maintain diplomatic relations with Israel. Regardless of where catastrophe hits, the Jewish state is often the first on the frontlines, flying thousands of miles, to bring doctors and nurses, rescue workers, medical supplies, equipment and more to devastated areas. In fact, the tiny country’s huge heart of compassion and care is often most clearly visible in a nation far from home, helping a people who are not their own survive the rubble of their shattered lives.

Israel responds to these disasters almost instinctively, with an innate desire to help, to heal and to restore, blessing the nations of the world, just as God promised the father of the Jewish people some four millennia ago: “I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Gen. 12:3).

This is indeed the true face of Israel.


Thanks to the generosity of Christians around the world, Bridges for Peace had the honor of helping the Israeli team save lives in Turkey. Before the team took off for the disaster area, we outfitted them with the thermal underwear, fleeces, gloves, hats, scarves and headlamps they needed to function optimally in the subzero temperatures.

We want to thank you for partnering with us in Israel’s rescue efforts. The Israeli team might have concluded its mission and has now returned home, but history stands as a witness that this will not be the last tragedy or disaster, and this will not be the last time a team from Israel is dispatched to give aid in the aftermath of a tragedy or disaster. Your gift to our Crisis Assistance Fund enables us to respond to tragedies or disasters as and when they occur, encouraging, strengthening hands that help and providing resources. Will you give today to ensure that we have enough to act immediately in times of need?

Source: (Bridges for Peace, February 14, 2023)

Photo Credit: Israel Defense Forces/flickr.com

Photo License: Flickr

Prayer Focus
Praise God for this team of selfless rescuers and the light they were able to bring to the darkness and chaos in Turkey. Pray that their influence will continue to change many hearts toward Israel long after they have returned home. Pray also that the 19 who were saved will recognize that it was the God of Israel who is responsible for their rescue.


He sent His word and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions.

- Psalm 107:20

Israel Warns Iran against Disguising Weapons Shipments as Earthquake Aid

by Kate Norman

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Weapons sent from Iran to Gazan terrorists, which the IDF intercepted in 2014.

Friday, 10 February 2023 | Nations and humanitarian aid groups from around the world are joining to offer assistance in the wake of the earthquake in Turkey and Syria on Monday that has so far left over 20,000 people dead. Among the helpers are arch foes Israel and Iran.

A video circulating social media on Wednesday showed an unexpected sight: an Israeli plane, proudly waving Israeli flags and carrying humanitarian aid equipment, sitting on a tarmac in Turkey—mere feet away from an Iranian plane. It’s not a sight you see every day.

While both states are joining the flood of nations and entities willing to help the devastated nations of Turkey and Syria, Israel has issued a warning to Iran not to take advantage of the situation.

The Jewish state will not hesitate to strike if Iran attempts to smuggle weapons into Syria amid the humanitarian aid cargo, an unnamed Israeli military official told Saudi Elaph newspaper yesterday.

The official told the Saudi newspaper that “there is information indicating that Iran will take advantage of the tragic situation in Syria” to transport weapons to its terror proxies in Syria as well as the Lebanon-based Hezbollah terrorist group.

Such an attempt, the official warned, would result in a “firm military response from us without hesitation,” as quoted by the Times of Israel.

Though Israel never comments on its alleged involvement in air strikes over Syria, top brass in Jerusalem have acknowledged over the past few years that the Jewish state has conducted hundreds of strikes in the war-torn state to prevent Iran from entrenching itself and strengthening its proxies in the region. Many of the strikes were against weapons shipments from Iran to its terror puppets via Syria.

Most recently, Israel was accused of conducting a strike in Syria last month, targeting a convoy of trucks coming from Iraq, the Jerusalem Post reported, which were reportedly attempting to smuggle weapons amid food and other supplies.

Olive Branch

In an operation that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) dubbed “Olive Branch,” Israel responded to Monday’s devastating earthquake by dispatching a team of 150 search and rescue experts on Tuesday. Racing against the clock and the frigid winter conditions, the Israeli team has rescued 17 victims out of the debris as of Thursday night, the Times of Israel reported.

The IDF also sent 15 planes carrying hundreds of tons of humanitarian aid cargo and a 230-person team on Wednesday to set up a field hospital in Turkey. The hospital was set to begin treating patients on Thursday night, the Times of Israel reported.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday in a statement published by his office that Syria had requested help from Israel and that he had ordered that Israel provide it, even though the two countries are enemies. The Syrians did not appear to accept Israel’s outstretched olive branch, however, as Syrian officials later denied that the earthquake and war-stricken nation had requested help from Israel.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, February 10, 2023)

Photo Credit: Israel Defense Forces/flickr.com

Photo License: flickr

Prayer Focus
Pray that the Iranian government will have the human decency not to use this tragedy as a means to smuggle arms to its proxies. Cry out to the Lord that Israel will not be forced to take action to protect itself from Iranian entrenchment.


“I will deliver you from the hand of the wicked, and I will redeem you from the grip of the terrible.”

- Jeremiah 15:21

Two Children Among Three Civilians Murdered in Jerusalem Terror Car Ramming

by Joshua Spurlock ~ Mideast Update

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The aftermath of a terror attack in Jerusalem (illustrative)

Monday, 13 February 2023 | Two brothers, aged 6 and 8-years-old, were among three Israelis murdered when a terrorist drove a car into a crowd at a Jerusalem bus stop on Friday. An off-duty Israeli police detective arrived at the scene and shot and killed the terrorist. A recap of the attack posted to the Israeli police Twitter page reported the car was “speeding” toward an intersection and “rammed innocent people who were waiting at the bus station.” The Israeli police also confirmed the terrorist was a resident of the Palestinian neighborhood of Isawiya.

In response, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday said the Security Cabinet was set to discuss “a more wide-ranging operation” against terrorists and their supporters “while avoiding—as much as possible—harm to those who are not involved.”

In Netanyahu’s comments, he noted the horrific incident highlighted the different reactions to an act of terrorism. “In recent days we have once again seen the immense difference between the brutality of our enemies and the humanity of our people. Our enemies murder young children in Jerusalem and celebrate their murder while we are rescuing young children in Türkiye and praising their rescue,” said Netanyahu.

The Israeli leader offered condolences to the families of the three persons murdered in the attack: Yaakov Israel Paley and his brother Asher Menachem, and Alter Shlomo Lederman, a 20-year-old seminary student, who Netanyahu noted was married just months ago. He said they are praying for the recovery of the father of Yaakov and Asher, who Netanyahu noted remained hospitalized.

Netanyahu also commended the police officers who “eliminated the terrorist at the scene and thereby prevented an even worse attack.”

The car ramming was the second multiple fatality terror attack in Jerusalem in a span of two weeks, following the shooting outside a synagogue on January 27 that killed seven. In Friday’s attack, Israel’s Magen David Adom paramedic service reported that in addition to those murdered, multiple persons from the incident were hospitalized.

United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the US “strongly condemned” the latest attack. “The deliberate targeting of innocent civilians is repugnant and unconscionable. The United States extends our deepest sympathies to the injured, and we stand firmly with them in the face of this attack.”

Germany’s Foreign Office also condemned the attack on Twitter, but implied Israel was partly to blame for being attacked in view of the stagnant Israel–Palestinian peace talks. Said the post, “We condemn in the strongest possible terms today’s car attack in East #Jerusalem. Our thoughts are with the families of the victims and we wish those injured a swift recovery. To deprive terrorism of its breeding grounds, political dialogue & more cooperation are urgently needed.”

Germany did not clarify that the Palestinians have repeatedly refused to join the Abraham Accords peace process.

Israel blamed in part the Palestinian Authority (PA) for making government-funded payments to terrorist families. “I’m shocked by this dreadful terror attack. This is the direct consequence of the relentless incitement by Palestinians and the ‘pay-for-slay’ PA policy,” Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs Deputy Director General for Public Diplomacy Emmanuel Nahshon posted to Twitter.

In the wake of the attack, support for Israel in the Arab world continued. The Bahrain Ministry of Foreign Affairs, an Israeli ally, issued a statement stating their “strong condemnation of the terrorist attack.”

Meanwhile, Israeli Police Commissioner Yaakov Shabtai made it clear how Israel would be approaching acts of terror: “Israel police officers are at the forefront of security efforts; we will continue to fight terrorism—in Jerusalem and anywhere else.”

Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published by the Mideast Update on February 12, 2023. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today.)

Photo Credit: Israel Police/commons.wikimedia.org

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Pray for the family of the two young brothers who were murdered in this car ramming, and for the young wife and family of Alter Shlomo Lederman who was also killed. Pray that the international community will notice the difference between Israel and her enemies so poignantly expressed by Prime Minister Netanyahu, moving them to side with Israel against bigotry, hatred and violence.


Then you shall again discern between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve Him.

- Malachi 3:18

Teenage Terrorists Becoming a Concerning Trend for Israel

by Haim Goldich, Gilad Cohen and Einav Halabi ~ Ynet

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Mosques, schools and social networks are some of the platforms used to incite violence against Israelis and Jews

Wednesday, 15 February 2023 | The involvement of Palestinian teenagers, some as young as 13, in terrorist activity has become a concerning trend for Israel, which came to light in the three terror attacks that took place on Israeli soil in the last few weeks.

The most recent attacks in the capital on Monday involved a 14-year-old and a 13-year-old, both residents of east Jerusalem.

Another 13-year-old attacker carried out a shooting in the Silawan or City of David neighborhood of Jerusalem last month.

“We are witnessing a pattern with minors and we need to be aware of this,” said Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai at the scene of the attack on Monday in the Shuafat refugee camp.

Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich blamed mosques, schools and social networks for inciting to violence against Israelis and Jews.

“Kids go out to murder Jews only because they are Jewish,” he said. “They grow up in a violent and inciting society that brainwashes them to hate Israel.”

The international research and policy institute IMPACT-SE, which analyzes schoolbooks and curricula for compliance with UNESCO [United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization]-defined standards on peace and tolerance, examined the curriculum taught in the Islamic boys’ school at the Shuafat refugee camp.

They found that some textbooks consist of content that encourages the pupils to sacrifice themselves.

For example, an Arab textbook on the subject of reading comprehension included a story that glorifies a suicide attack in which Palestinians “cut the throats of enemy soldiers” and “wear explosive belts.”

The descriptions are accompanied by an illustration of Israeli soldiers who were shot to death by an armed Palestinian.

A lesson in an Islamic education book, published last September by the Palestinian Ministry of Education in Ramallah, dedicates a whole chapter to teach that martyrdom is a “duty” in fighting enemies, and that it brings honor and glory, as well as guarantees entry into heaven.

The book even has the pupils write about attacks carried out by Palestinians, and teaches them that whoever doesn’t sacrifice himself is weak.

Source: (This article was originally published by Ynetnews on February 14, 2023. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Israel Defense Forces/commons.wikimedia.org

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Plead with the Lord for an end to this horrific indoctrination of children, which is nothing short of child abuse. Pray that those responsible for lying to these children and teaching them to hate will be brought to justice, and ask the Lord to enlighten the eyes of Palestinian young people to grasp the truth that Israel is not the enemy as they have been taught.


You shall destroy those who speak falsehood; the Lord abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man.

- Psalm 5:6

Abbas: Palestinians to Seek Full Membership at United Nations

by JNS

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PA President Mahmoud Abbas addresses the UN General Assembly in New York.

Monday, 13 February 2023 | Palestinian Authority [PA] chief Mahmoud Abbas said on Sunday that Ramallah will seek the passage this week of a United Nations [UN] resolution granting “Palestine” full membership at the international body, according to the official Palestinian Wafa news agency.

Speaking at an Arab League summit in Cairo, Abbas emphasized that the Palestinians remain committed to confronting the “racist” and “extremist” Israeli government, which he claimed was ” targeting Al-Aqsa Mosque and all our sanctities.”

“The battle raging over Jerusalem did not only begin on the day of its occupation in 1967, but several decades prior to that, and even before the Balfour Declaration which was issued by the colonial powers, led by Britain and America. The declaration was aimed at getting rid of the Jews in Europe and establishing the so-called Jewish national home in Palestine, to be an outpost to safeguard the interests of these colonial countries,” said the PA chief.

The 1917 Balfour Declaration spelled out London’s support for the establishment of a “Jewish national home” in what was then British-ruled Mandatory Palestine. Signed by then-British Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour, the declaration is considered the historic precursor to Israel’s creation in 1948.

“Supporting Jerusalem and strengthening the steadfastness of those staying there and in its environs is a religious duty and a humanitarian and national imperative,” said Abbas.

“Just as our people rejected the Balfour Declaration and its results, we also rejected all attempts to liquidate our cause or falsify the facts about it. We rejected [former US President Donald Trump’s peace] deal of the century, and we refused—and we still refuse—to move the US embassy or any other embassy to Jerusalem,” he added.

The UN General Assembly in late December approved a resolution, at the behest of the PA, calling on the International Court of Justice [ICJ] to “render urgently an advisory opinion” on what it called Israel’s “prolonged occupation, settlement and annexation of Palestinian territory.”

The ICJ announced on Wednesday a July 25 deadline for state bodies and organizations to submit documents pertaining to Israel’s presence in Judea and Samaria.

In response to the UN resolution, the Israeli Security Cabinet decided, among other measures, to withhold taxes and tariffs collected on behalf of the PA, in an amount equal to that which Ramallah paid to terrorists and their families in 2022 under its “pay-for-slay” policy.

Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich has since signed an order doubling that amount.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that his governing coalition will this week pass legislation in the Knesset [parliament] to strip the citizenship of terrorists and expel them from the country.

The Security Cabinet would convene to prepare for a more wide-ranging operation against “those who carry out terrorism, and their supporters, in eastern Jerusalem and in Judea and Samaria, while avoiding—as much as possible—harm to those who are not involved,” he added.

The comments come after a deadly terrorist attack in Jerusalem claimed the lives of 6-year-old Yaakov Israel Paley, his 8-year-old brother, Asher Menachem Paley, as well as 20-year-old Alter Shlomo Lederman.

Source: (Excerpt from article originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on February 12, 2023. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: YouTube/jns.org

Prayer Focus
Pray again for the United Nations to come to its senses and stop this onslaught against Israel by the Palestinian leadership bent on Israel’s destruction.


Do not keep silent, O God! Do not hold Your peace, and do not be still, O God! For behold, Your enemies make a tumult; and those who hate You have lifted up their head. They have taken crafty counsel against Your people, and consulted together against Your sheltered ones. They have said, “Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation, that the name of Israel may be remembered no more.”

- Psalm 83:1–4

Israel Passes Law to Revoke Israeli Citizenship of Terrorists Paid by PA

by Sivan Hilaie ~ Ynet

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The Knesset

Thursday, 16 February 2023 | The Knesset [Parliament] on Wednesday passed a law to revoke the citizenship or residency of convicted terrorists who receive funding from the Palestinian Authority [PA] for carrying out attacks against Israelis.

The bill passed into law after the third and final reading with a majority of 94 supporters against 10 opponents. Only the legislature’s Arab parties opposed the bill.

The new law refers to a person who was convicted of committing a terror attack, sentenced to prison and received compensation from the PA, be it himself or someone else on his behalf.

Should all of these conditions be met, the interior minister will notify the court of his intention to revoke the individual’s Israeli citizenship within a week—with the terrorist being allowed to appeal the decision to the court.

After serving their sentence in Israeli prison, the Palestinian terrorism convict will be deported from Israel to territories under PA rule or the Gaza Strip. Lawmakers argue that the payments make the PA legally liable for the convict.

Otzma Yehudit MK Limor Son Har-Melech, whose husband was killed in a terrorist attack 20 years ago, said: “On this emotional day, when the law to strip terrorists from their citizenship passes into law, I see my husband standing next to me.”

“My man, who loved Israel, its people, and the Torah [Gen.–Deut.]. He was taken from us in a terrorist attack and I am glad that we’re doing justice in Israel,” she added.

Bereaved families of terror victims who arrived at the Knesset were thankful for the bill passing. Meirav Hajaj, the mother of Lt. Shir Hajaj, who was killed in a 2017 terrorist attack in Jerusalem, said, “This is the first step to deterrence.”

Coalition whip and bill author MK Ofir Katz said prior to the vote that “we announce that whoever committed a terror attack, whoever murdered, aided to carry out attacks and received payments from the PA, will be deported to Gaza.”

“Those who do so will not be able to enter Israel to visit or work. I propose this law after we previously attempted to pass it with no success. I want to express my gratitude to the families of terror victims who are here with us.”

Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published by Ynetnews on February 15, 2023. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Number 10/flickr.com

Photo License: Flickr

Prayer Focus
Praise the Lord that so many victims of terror have received a modicum of justice. Also pray that Meirav Hajaj’s words will indeed come true and that this will be “the first step to deterrence.”


He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two; He burns the chariot in the fire.

- Psalm 46:9

Start-up Nation to the Rescue in Turkey

by Kate Norman

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The Israeli search and rescue team used advanced drones to hover over areas and pinpoint where rescue teams needed to focus their efforts (illustrative).

Thursday, 16 February 2023 | When the 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck Turkey and Syria on February 6, Israel was among the first to answer the call for help and dispatch a team of search and rescue experts.

In what the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) called “Operation Olive Branch,” the Jewish state deployed a team of 150 search and rescue workers to Turkey just a day after the earthquake struck. And another day after that, 15 IDF planes carrying hundreds of tons of humanitarian and medical equipment as well a team of 230 volunteers landed in Turkey to establish a field hospital.

In addition to manpower and humanitarian supplies, Israel—nicknamed the “Start-up Nation”—also sent advanced technology to shine light into the dust and debris-covered darkness and save lives.

The day after the earthquake, Israel’s Stolero Group, in cooperation with Azerbaijani AKTA group, dispatched state-of-the-art technologies from multiple Israeli tech companies to work with local rescuers as well as a private Stolero rescue mission, the Jerusalem Post reported, citing a statement from the company.

“The AS-Holdings (Stolero) delegation was able to carry out its extensive work in the field thanks to AKTA, our Azerbaijani partners who established an NGO to promote the development of the country’s overall cybersecurity and ecosystem, as well as PAVO Group, our Turkish partners who set up the field infrastructure, including communication, to manage the entire operation,” the company’s statement read, as quoted by the Jerusalem Post.

“The delegation was comprised of representatives from Magal Security Systems, Polaris Solutions and XTEND, each of which brought its most modern technology to detect and rescue life beneath the ruins,” the statement continued.

The team deployed to the collapsed building-ridden Turkish city of Kirikhan, the Jerusalem Post reported, near the Syrian border.

AS Holdings vice president of strategy and business development Ruthie Rubin-Gross described to the Jerusalem Post how the mission utilized Israeli technology to save lives.

She described the scene as “a disaster, with fallen buildings.” Amid the chaos, local and international rescue teams were scattered around operating in different sites, making it difficult to know which areas had already been searched for survivors.

Using the technology from Magal Security Systems, which secures strategic locations, the team established a mobile control center to divide the city and deploy rescue teams to different sectors, keeping them updated with real-time information on an app.

“You can see where the search and rescue teams are and track them via GPS on the phone and when you get accurate data you get a broader picture,” Rubin-Gross said.

The team then used advanced drones from Xtend to hover over areas and pinpoint where rescue teams needed to focus their efforts, even using thermal cameras to find and gather information about survivors.

Xtend CEO Aviv Shapira said: “What we did in the past few days is we allowed search and rescue teams to use drones using a virtual reality control, and they can control drones and robots easily instead of going into dangerous situations.”

Polaris also provided “sophisticated thermal imaging and detection designed to accurately direct the rescue units to the survivors in an environment where every second made the difference between life and death,” Solaris said in a statement, quoted by the Jerusalem Post.

As Turkish, Israeli and international search and rescue teams braved the wintry conditions and worked side by side to pull as many survivors as possible from the rubble, every second counted. That’s when technology can make all the difference, shaving off valuable seconds, minutes and hours, saving lives and bringing a small ray of hope into a hopeless situation.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, February 16, 2023)

Photo Credit: CC0 Public Domain/pxhere.com

Photo License: pxhere

Prayer Focus
Praise the Lord for these remarkable advanced technologies that Israel was able to send to Turkey to assist rescue operations and save lives. Thank God that Israeli innovations and ingenuity once again blessed the nations at a time of greatest need.


“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

Israeli Foreign Minister Arrives in War-torn Ukraine

by JNS

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Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen arrives in Ukraine for a solidarity visit ahead of the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of the European country.


Thursday, 16 February 2023 | Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen arrived in Ukraine on Thursday for a solidarity visit ahead of the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of the European nation.

Cohen is the first Israeli minister to travel to the war-torn country since the conflict erupted on February 24, 2022.

“I came to say that Israel stands by Ukraine and the Ukrainian people in its difficult hour,” tweeted Cohen upon his arrival.

Cohen is slated to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba. He will also attend a ceremony for the permanent reopening of the Israeli embassy in the Ukrainian capital, and tour Babyn [Babi] Yar, where the Nazis and their local collaborators massacred 34,000 Jews over two days during the Holocaust.

Cohen arrived in Kyiv by overnight train from neighboring Poland. Due to security concerns, the trip was not announced until Thursday morning when he reached Bucha, the site of alleged Russian atrocities.

“It is impossible to remain indifferent in the face of the terrible sights and horror stories that I have heard and been exposed to here. Israel condemns any intentional harm to innocent people,” said Cohen.

Ahead of the visit, Kyiv submitted to Jerusalem a set of demands, including that the Israeli government issue a clear statement condemning Russia’s invasion and in support of Ukraine’s territorial integrity.

Kyiv is reportedly also requesting approval for a loan of [US] $500 million, backing for Zelenskyy’s peace plan calling for a total withdrawal of Russian forces from Ukrainian territory, access to medical services and treatment in Israel and the joint development of missile defense technology.

Russia has warned Israel against arming Ukraine, after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu indicated he was considering providing military assistance to Kyiv, and was willing to mediate between the sides.

During his visit to Israel last month, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that Jerusalem should be doing more to support Ukraine from a security perspective.

Standing alongside Netanyahu, Blinken said that “Russia’s ongoing atrocities” underscore the importance of “providing support for all of Ukraine’s needs—humanitarian, economic and security.”

Israel has refrained from providing weapons directly to Ukraine, as doing so could risk undermining the Jewish state’s security.

Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on February 16, 2023. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Israeli Foreign Ministry/jns.org

Prayer Focus
Pray that Israel will have great wisdom as it walks the tightrope between the West and Russia. Pray that the Jewish nation will be able to assist Ukraine in many ways but will not be pressured into actions that jeopardize the security of Israel.


I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye.

- Psalm 32:8