Print Friendly, PDF & Email

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 under Fire: Gaza Border Erupts into Heaviest Fighting since 2014 War

by Ilse Strauss

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Some of Hamas targets struck by IDF in retaliation for attacks from Gaza

Monday, 19 February 2018 │ The security situation in the south of Israel escalated sharply over the weekend when the border between the Promised Land and the Gaza Strip erupted into the heaviest fighting since the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and Hamas, the terror group ruling the coastal enclave, faced each other on the battlefield during Operation Protective Edge, the 50-day war in the summer of 2014. After two straight days of attacks on Israel from Gaza, the weekend’s tally of clashes stands at one bombing, two rocket attacks and three waves of retaliatory airstrikes on terror targets in the Strip.

The stage for the weekend of conflict was set on Friday during a Palestinian demonstration on the Gazan side of the border. The army suspects that the riot was used as a guise to place an explosive device attached to a Palestinian flag on the security fence. The bomb detonated on Saturday afternoon, wounding four Israeli soldiers as they patrolled the border. The wounded soldiers, two of whom suffered severe injuries, were airlifted to a hospital in Beersheva.

IDF Spokesperson, Brig.-Gen. Ronen Manelis condemned the incident as “a severe terrorist attack that has the potential to destabilize the region.” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the attack “serious” and vowed that the Jewish state would “respond in kind.”

True to his word, Israel’s retaliation was swift and immediate. In what the military describes as “large-scale” action, IDF fighter jets hit 18 Hamas terror targets in Gaza—including two military compounds, a weapons factory, training facilities and a cross-border attack tunnel—in two waves of strikes over Saturday afternoon and into the night. An IDF tank also targeted two Hamas observation posts.

Commenting on the day’s flare up, Hamas said that it held Israel responsible for any escalation in the Strip. Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the second-largest terror group operating in the coastal enclave, was a bit more outspoken in its response, pledging that “Gaza’s guns are ready and the arms of its sons will spread rage against the siege and aggression.”

Just before 22:00 on Saturday night, Code Red air raid sirens screamed through the south of Israel, leaving residents of the Gaza border communities with less than 30 seconds to find shelter. A rocket fired from Gaza hit the roof of an Israeli civilian home. Miraculously, the projectile failed to detonate on impact and the damage caused was minimal.

Following a tense but calm Sunday, last night saw another rocket launched from Gaza on Israel, marking the second consecutive night of conflict in the south. The projectile exploded in an open area and caused no injury or damage.

In response, the IDF said in a statement that it struck “underground infrastructure” in the Gaza Strip early this morning. According to Israel’s i24NEWS, the army’s statement likely references “a network of underground tunnels built by Hamas and other factions in the Strip meant for… launching attacks in Israeli territory.” 

While there has been no immediate claim of responsibility for the bomb or either of the two rocket attacks on the Jewish state, Israel holds Hamas, the terror group that has ruled Gaza and its people since 2007, accountable.

“Hamas is responsible for anything that happens in the Strip and whatever comes out of it, both over and underground,” the army said in a statement.

The events of the past three days marked the second consecutive weekend marred by escalations aimed at violating Israel’s sovereign borders and harming civilians. The previous weekend’s attack took place in the north, when the Islamic Republic of Iran launched a drone from Syria into the Promised Land. The Jewish state eliminated the drone, took out the launch site and struck eight Syrian and four Iranian military targets. The Israeli fleet of warplanes was, however, met by a hail of Syrian anti-aircraft fire and fragments of an exploding missile damaged an F-16s, prompting its two-man crew to eject to safety. The jet crashed in the Lower Galilee.

The clash signaled the first overt military action between Jerusalem and Tehran and prompted speculations whether the Promised Land’s northern border will serve as the battlefield for the first Israel–Shia war.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, 19 February 2018)

Photo Credit: IDF Spokesperson

Prayer Focus
Declare that the prediction of war will cease and cry out to God for safety and protection of the Israeli communities near Gaza! Pray also for the protection of the IDF soldiers serving along the border. Thank God that the four soldiers are alive! Pray for Israel’s leadership, who must make the decisions when and how to retaliate against the enemy.

Scripture

Do not be afraid of sudden terror, nor of trouble from the wicked when it comes; for the LORD will be your confidence, and will keep your foot from being caught.


- Proverbs 3:25-26

Pro-Hezbollah Website Says Group Could Have 500,000 Rockets Pointed at Israel in a Year

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

(Illustrative)

Friday, 16 February 2018 | A pro-Hezbollah website boasted that in a year, the Iran-backed terror group could have 500,000 rockets, which, according to an expert, would give Hezbollah the ability to “saturate Israel with rockets,” making the next war “nasty,” Adam Kredo reported Wednesday for the Washington Free Beacon.

An article at the Dahiya website, a Lebanese pro-Hezbollah site, claimed that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad rejected a request by Russian President Vladimir Putin to remove the 70,000 missiles Iran has deployed across Syria. Assad, according to the article, has ordered his army to build and camouflage missile silos to allow Hezbollah to build its rocket arsenal in Syria alone to reach 500,000.

“The ability for Iran to move weaponry into Syria is only limited by Iran’s transportation fleet and what they have available in their arsenal,” Jonathan Schanzer, a former Treasury terror financing expert and currently senior vice president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies told the Free Beacon. He added that this makes matters difficult for Israel as “Iran is exploiting the fog of war and it’s working.”

“The strategy may now be emerging: saturate Israel with rockets from two northern fronts and overwhelm their air defenses,” Schanzer assessed. “Israel has some big decisions ahead. The longer they wait to neutralize this threat, the more nasty that two-front rocket arsenal becomes.”

Source: (The Israel Project, in its publication The Tower, originally published this article on 15 February 2018. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Screenshot/YouTube/South Front

Prayer Focus
Continue to ask God to hinder the missiles pointing at Israel and to confuse the enemy’s plans. Pray for Israel’s leadership, as they have serious decisions to make and for Prime Minister Netanyahu as he is appealing to the world leaders, who shamelessly act as bystanders. Remind God of His covenant with Israel.

Scripture

May the LORD answer you in the day of trouble; may the name of the God of Jacob defend you; may He send you help from the sanctuary, and strengthen you out of Zion…


- Psalm 20:1-2

Israel Foils Islamic Jihad Plot to Assassinate Defense Minister

by Yoav Zitun

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

The community of Nokdim, where Defense Minister Liberman lives, as seen from the Herodian

Monday, 19 February 2018 | Israeli security forces have arrested members of an Islamic Jihad terror cell that was planning to plant a bomb on a road Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s convoy was set to travel on, it was cleared for publication Sunday morning.

This is the second time in recent years that the Shin Bet [Israeli internal security organization] has uncovered a plot to kill Lieberman, who lives in the Nokdim settlement in Gush Etzion. Last time was during Operation Protective Edge, when Lieberman was the foreign minister and Hamas sought to target his convoy.

The Islamic Jihad cell members were aware of past failed attempts and believed they would be more successful if they planted the explosive on the minister’s travel route. However, they were apparently deterred by the heavy security surrounding Lieberman.

Another terror cell operating in the Bethlehem area was also broken up in joint operation conducted by the Shin Bet, the IDF [Israel Defense Forces] and the Israel Police. The cell was planning to carry out shooting attack against IDF soldiers and Israeli civilians in the Gush Etzion area. Overall, six terrorists were arrested.

One of the terrorists arrested, Awad Mahmoud Awad al-Asakra, 25, from the Rafidia neighborhood of Bethlehem, is an Islamic Jihad member who was placed under administrative detention for two years between 2015 and 2017 for plotting to carry out an attack.

Another suspect, Mohammed Ali Ibrahim al-Asakra, 32, also from Rafidia, was imprisoned by Israel twice in the past for his activity in Islamic Jihad and his involvement in preparing an explosive device and planning an attack against IDF forces.

The Shin Bet’s investigation found that the cell purchased explosives to prepare the bomb and approached terror elements in the Gaza Strip for funding.

When they failed to secure the funding, they decided to prepare a dummy bomb in an effort to get money and recognition, so they could carry out even more attacks. The dummy bomb was seized when they were arrested.

The investigation also revealed one of the cell members wanted to be arrested so he could receive a prisoner’s salary from Islamic Jihad.

Overall, six terrorists were arrested. The suspects will be indicted Sunday at the Judea Military Court.

Source: (Ynetnews originally published this article on 18 February, 2018. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Michael Jacobson/Wikimedia.org

Photo License: wikimedia.org

Prayer Focus
Pronounce the enemies’ creative ideas to target and kill high-profile Israeli citizens null and void. Claim God’s protection over the Shin Bet, as they “go in” to dismantle terror cells and arrest terrorists. Thank God for continually leading them with intelligence that will ultimately save lives.

Scripture

Deliver me, O my God, out of the hand of the wicked, out of the hand of the unrighteous and cruel man. For You are my hope, O Lord GOD; You are my trust from my youth.


- Psalm 71:4-5

Israel Helps Australia Capture Terrorists Who Attempted to Blow Up Plane

by Ilse Strauss

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

(illustrative)

Thursday, 22 February 2018 │ Dire circumstances have forced the Israelis to hone their intelligence skills to a fine art. There was simply no other alternative. With its people in the crosshairs of every terror group in the neighborhood, Israel had to evolve into one of the world’s leading experts in anti-terrorism. The lives of its civilians depended on it. The success rate of the Jewish state’s intelligence apparatus speaks for itself, with more than 400 major terror attacks in the Promised Land thwarted during 2017 alone.

Israel is also more than eager to share its hard-earned anti-terror skills and vital intelligence with countries seeking to defend its people from the threat of suicide bombers and gun-wielding terrorists.

Yesterday, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) lifted a gag order to reveal how the Jewish state’s assistance prevented a major catastrophe when the IDF’s elite Military Intelligence Unit 8200 foiled an Islamic State attempt to blow up a plane flying from Australia in August last year. 

“The unit provided exclusive intelligence that led to the prevention of an air attack by the Islamic State in 2017 in Australia,” a senior IDF officer said. “The foiling of the attack saved dozens of innocent lives and proved Unit 8200’s position as a major player in the intelligence fight against the Islamic State.”

According to The Times of Israel, yesterday’s admission marks a highly unusual move for Israel, who prefers to remain mum on the workings of Unit 8200, the Israeli Intelligence Corps unit responsible for gathering and analyzing intelligence from electronic communication, using highly sophisticated information technology.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu corroborated the army’s statement during an address to Jewish American leaders in Jerusalem yesterday afternoon. “We revealed today that the Israeli intelligence services thwarted the downing of an Australian plane, an unimaginable slaughter. This is just one of the dozens of terrorist attacks that we have stopped around the world. [The intelligence services] deserve all the support we can give, not only for protecting the citizens of Israel, but for protecting people all over the world.”

The incident in question occurred last year on 15 July when two brothers—Khaled Khayat and Mahmoud Khayat—attempted to bomb an Etihad Airways flight en route from Sydney to Abu Dhabi. Acting on the command of a senior Islamic State (ISIS) commander, the older Khayat brother sent his unsuspecting younger sibling to board the flight carrying an explosive device concealed as a meat-mincer. The bomb was built using high-grade military explosives sent by air cargo from Turkey.

For unknown reasons, the brothers abandoned the plan at the last minute and the older Khayat left the airport with the bomb still in the meat-mincer, while his younger sibling boarded the flight.

When their attack failed, the brothers set about hatching another plan of mass murder, this time to release highly toxic hydrogen sulfide gas into a public area.

According to The Times of Israel, the Australians were oblivious to the two brothers and their evil intent—until Israel informed them on 26 July 2017. The two siblings were taken into custody three days later. 

Speaking at the time of the arrest, Australian Federal Police Deputy Commissioner, Michael Phelan, called it “one of the most sophisticated plots that has ever been attempted on Australian soil. If it hadn’t been for the great work of our intelligence agencies and law enforcement over a very quick period of time, then we could well have a catastrophic event in this country.”

Australia confirmed Israel’s role in preventing the bombing. Home Affairs Minister, Peter Dutton, told radio station 2GB that the Jewish state was “directly” involved in uncovering the plot. “The Etihad flight was almost blown out of the sky and would have resulted in hundreds of people losing their lives so we are very grateful for the assistance Israel provided in that matter.”

Source: (Bridges for Peace, 22 February 2018)

Photo Credit: StockSnap/pixabay.com

Prayer Focus
Lift up the unknown, unrecognized IDF soldiers from the elite units, who work tirelessly, around the clock and behind the scenes to stop terror attacks around the globe. Praise God for the many lives that were saved and that will be saved in the future. Pray that Israel will receive more recognition for their efforts against terrorism worldwide.

Scripture

Thus says the LORD who made it, the LORD who formed it to establish it the LORD is His name: call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.


- Jeremiah 33:2-3

Thumbs up for Arrow 3: Israel Successfully Tests Long Range Missile Interceptor

by Joshua Spurlock

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Launch of Arrow-3 missile interceptor (illustrative)

Tuesday, 20 February 2018 | Israel’s longest-range missile defense system underwent a successful interceptor test flight by Israel and the United States on Monday, and the sides were clearly excited over the results. “The success of this test is a major milestone in the operational capabilities of the State of Israel and its ability to defend itself against current and future threats in the region,” Israel’s Ministry of Defense said in a press release.

The test was carried out in the middle of the night in central Israel and involved launching a missile interceptor from the system, known as the Arrow-3. That system, the longest-range version of the Arrow—or Hetz in Hebrew—is part of a multilayered missile defense system in Israel that includes the Iron Dome, the David’s Sling and the Arrow-2 systems. The Arrow-3 interceptors were delivered for operational use to Israel last year.

The test of the Arrow-3—which the press release said is “designed to defend against ballistic missile threats outside the atmosphere”—was jointly carried out by the Israel Missile Defense Organization and the US Missile Defense Agency.

The Arrow-3 is not just a joint project between militaries for Israel and the US, but for their industries as well. Israeli company Elbit and American company Boeing were among the various entities involved in building the advanced missile defense system.

Israel faces numerous missile threats from a variety of enemies, including Iran—which has made efforts to develop missiles capable of exiting earth’s atmosphere and is feared to be pursuing the extremely long-range intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs).

In the face of Iran and other threats, the United States has long partnered [with] Israel’s missile defense [as] an important priority.

Source: (The Mideast Update originally published this article on 19 February 2018. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today.)

Photo Credit: Public Domain/wikimedia.org

Prayer Focus
Give thanks to the Lord for Israel’s innovative edge that ensures protection of the nation on many fronts. Pray that as Israel prepares for all the missiles facing them, they will have enough funds to build more missile interceptor units. Also pray that Israelis will always depend on God rather than on human intelligence.

Scripture

The LORD is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation; He is my God, and I will praise Him; My father’s God, and I will exalt Him. The LORD is a man of war; The LORD is His name.


- Exodus 15:2-3

Paratroopers Prepare for Full Self-reliance in Lebanon War Scenario

by Yoav Zitun

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

The Chief of the General Staff, Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, visited the Paratroopers Brigade during a military exercise in southern Israel (illustrative).

Friday, 16 February 2018 | A commando force of the 101st Paratrooper Battalion “Elapidae” is making its way through the night by the light of the moon towards a Hezbollah command center. They engage in a close-range gun fight and sustain injuries, but they succeed in their mission and capture the target with its precious contents: Hezbollah intelligence and operational data.

They are deep in enemy territory and their supply of food and ammunition can last until the next morning, but they may have to stay behind enemy lines for days or even weeks and aerial supply options are limited.

The above scenario is what the IDF Paratrooper Brigade has recently been training for. At first, they trained in the south, in preparation for a Gaza campaign, and then in the north, in preparation for a two-front campaign.

Although the soldiers train and practice military maneuvers from morning to night during basic and advanced training, it is the mental and logistical challenges that can prove decisive in the event of a war in Lebanon.

The assumption is that Hezbollah’s best units are positioned in south Lebanon, at the front line. For that, the IDF will send a vicious wave of fighting infantry units together with tanks, armored personal carriers (APCs) and D9 bulldozers assisted by artillery.

Hezbollah units’ return from the Syrian civil war, bloodied but battle tested and with renewed confidence, together with the recent exchange of warnings between Israel and the Shiite militia, highlight the extent of battle readiness in the north.

The Paratrooper Brigade has carried out a number of large scale parachute exercises in the past few years—and not just to justify their name. The brigade’s recent training missions included massive amounts of heavy, live munitions, dropped by F-16s near the ground forces.

They trained in the woodlands of Mt. Carmel as its topography and foliage is very similar to that of south Lebanon.

A combat pilot who participated in the drills said: “We opened an air command center for the joint operations unit to oversee and synchronize operations. Despite the wintery weather, we provided the ground forces with full air support including evacuation of the wounded.”

Anticipating the difficulties in resupplying troops, the battalion’s intelligence platoons is also studying more mundane details: The locations of gas stations, for fuel, as well as local pharmacies.

“The goal is to advance as secretly and quietly as possible,” explained Capt Yanun Lavian, a 101st battalion company commander, to Ynet. “No matter how little food, water and sleep you have, you need to be able to make do with what’s available and be fully energized, mentally and operationally. In south Lebanon, the rules are different.”

Combat units need to be independent and the details differ by level of command. “A battalion commander must think of how to move large amounts of troops and equipment to a certain place; and a company commander has to consider how to feed his troops each day; while an individual soldier must consider from whence the enemy will appear,” he continued.

We know the next war will be different

To optimally illustrate what awaits the soldiers in battle, as part of the exercise, food was hidden among homes that are under construction, and which were captured by the forces, in the Druze town of Daliyat al-Karmel.

They opened cabinets and discovered fruits and vegetables, oil, rice and canned food, which they cooked for themselves. “They added chlorine tablets to the water so they can drink it and fill up their bottles for the road ahead,” one of the officers recounted.

Troops also found gas stations which they made use of. One structure representing a Lebanese pharmacy and medical supplies store was left for the troops to find. “The name of the game there is self-reliance,” said the officer.

The brigade’s senior officer said there was room for improvement. “We analyze reports debriefings from the 1982 Lebanon War, but we know this time it will be different. We are without tanks; we only have what we carry on our backs.”

In addition to learning how to subsist on local food and water, some soldiers underwent instruction in how to care for and fix the battalion’s weapons, and in the case they come across the enemy’s weapons cache, the soldiers learnt how to operate Kalashnikov rifles as well.

In one exercise, paratroopers, alongside the elite Unit 669, practiced rescuing a downed pilot while Hezbollah attempted to capture him. Urgent medical care lasting 12 hours or more, until a rescue helicopter could come, is an entirely realistic scenario.

“We are practical in our training,” said one senior officer. “The real scenario is far from anyone’s imagination. Mental strength is essential in fighting deep in southern Lebanon. A combat soldier understands that much is asked of him and that the Hezbollah forces he is facing may be larger or more heavily armed than he might expect.”

The terminology being used has changed. IDF officers are calling Hezbollah an army and not merely a guerilla organization. “Hezbollah has been strengthened, they take more initiative and are more capable than before… The possibility that the Lebanese army will fight alongside Hezbollah is also taken into consideration,” said an officer.

Two years ago, a senior officer of the northern command described Hezbollah as the strongest military in the Middle East after Israel. For the Paratrooper company commanders, that is a good thing. They are on their way to becoming a conventional army and the IDF brass believes that no conventional army in the region can beat the Israeli army.

In battle against an unconventional force, there are unique challenges that change the rules of the game. But the fact that Hezbollah has gained a lot of experience (in Iraq and Syria) serves the interests of the IDF.

“We are preparing the soldiers for a lot of uncertainty and for the long haul. The main difference regarding combat deep in southern Lebanon is the factor of self reliance. We are going to fight a professional army that has been tried and tested on various combat fronts during the past few years,” said Major Gal Carmi of the 101st Battalion.

Source: (Ynetnews originally published this article on 04 February 2018. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: IDF/Wikimedia

Photo License: wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Continue to intercede for the IDF soldiers in their many different units, as each one is training for a very specific task. Pray for mental strength, understanding of logistical challenges and the strategies to use in a confrontation with Hezbollah and Syrian forces. Ask God to keep each soldier in the palm of His hands.

Scripture

For I, the LORD your God, will hold your right hand, saying to you, Fear not, I will help you. Fear not, you worm Jacob, you men of Israel! I will help you, says the LORD and your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.


- Isaiah 41:13-14

Israel Takes Polish PM to Task for Claiming “Jewish Perpetrators” in the Holocaust

by Ilse Strauss

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Israeli journalist, Ronen Bergen, questioning Polish PM Morawiecki at the Munich Security Conference

Tuesday, 20 February 2018 │ The leader of Poland has managed to tally up quite a reputation for Holocaust denial, anti-Semitism and a gross disregard for one of the most painful chapters in Jewish history. The reputation is hardly undeserved. Over the past few weeks, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has, after all, passed a highly contested Holocaust law that criminalizes questioning Polish crimes committed during the Holocaust. On Morawiecki’s watch, Warsaw also froze Holocaust survivors’ property restitution bill and is now moving towards banning kosher slaughter. Moreover, the Polish PM was photographed proudly paying his respects to a Polish underground movement known to collaborate with the Nazis during World War II. 

Yet over the weekend, Morawiecki dropped a bomb shell that arguable stunned even his most ardent critics. Speaking during Munich Security Conference on Saturday afternoon, the Polish leader alleged that the Jews had a hand in their own genocide.

Morawiecki’s comment came in reply to a question posed by veteran Israeli journalist, Ronen Bergman. Bergman, the son of two Holocaust survivors, both of them from Poland, wrote about the exchange in a Ynetnews op-ed, “In the name of my mother, the Holocaust survivor.”

“I listened to the Polish leader talk about economy, energy and other Polish-related issues,” Bergman writes. “He spoke about everything, apart from the issue everyone wanted him to address: The legislation prescribing prison time and a fine for accusing Poland and the Poles of taking part in the Holocaust. This legislation, which has created a major global controversy and sparked a lot of anger in Israel, wasn’t important enough for Morawiecki.”

When the time came for the question-and-answer session, Bergman stood up, fully intending to ask a general question about the law. “[B]ut I was suddenly flooded with memories. My entire family, my late mother and my father and their families, experienced the Holocaust. Few survived. Most were killed. The Holocaust has been hanging over our heads as a big shadow our entire life.”

A visibly shaken Bergman proceeded to pour out his confusion before the Polish PM, posing the questions that have arguably burned in a number of Jewish hearts. “Both my parents were born in Poland,” he began. “When the war started, they lost much of their families because their neighbors, their Polish neighbors, snitched to the Gestapo that they are holding Jews. My mother was able to save much of her family because she heard during the night that her neighbors were going to reveal them to the SS the next morning. After the war my mother swore that she would never speak Polish for the rest of her life. Not even a single word.”

Bergman paused, then forged ahead, “If I understand correctly, after this law is legislated, I will be considered a criminal in your country for saying this.”

Morawiecki listened to the tale with an air of bored indifference. “The Polish prime minister was neither confused nor impressed,” Bergman shared in his op-ed. “He is faced by a man with a lump in his throat talking about how his family was exterminated in the Holocaust, and he stares as me at if he is examining some kind of nuisance.”

But when Morawiecki’s answer came, it spoke of something well beyond boredom or confusion. “It is extremely important to first understand that of course it is not going to be punishable or seen as a crime to say that there were Polish perpetrators as there were Jewish perpetrators, as there were Russian and Ukrainian perpetrators, not only German perpetrators.”

According to Morawiecki, the law aimed to guard against ascribing Nazi crimes committed in Poland during the Nazi occupation to the Polish government and people. During the course of 2017, he explained, Polish embassies had to respond to 260 claims referring to “Polish death camps.”

“There were no Polish death camps,” he continued, “there were no Polish concentration camps. There were German Nazi death camps…”

The Polish leader further claimed that his people generally came to the aid of their “Jewish brothers and sisters” during World War II and that it is growing increasingly complicated to draw a clear distinction between Holocaust victims and perpetrators. “We cannot agree with mixing perpetrators with victims,” he held.

Morawiecki’s statement left Bergman “flabbergasted,” his eyes “filled with tears of pain and rage.”

He is far from the only one incensed by the Polish PM’s words and a host of Israeli politicians have accused Morawiecki of anti-Semitism.

Yair Lapid, chairman of the Yesh Atid political party, insisted that Israel recalls its Polish ambassador. “The Jewish state will not allow the murdered to be blamed for their own murder,” Associated Press quoted him as saying.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is also in Munich for the conference, decried the statement as “outrageous.”

“There is a problem here of an inability to understand history and a lack of sensitivity to the tragedy of our people,” Netanyahu said in a statement. “I intend to speak with him forthwith.”

The Israeli prime minister made good on his promise in a telephone call to his Polish counterpart on Sunday. Netanyahu told Morawiecki that there was no basis for comparing the actions of Poles and Jews during World War II.

The Holocaust, Netanyahu pointed out, was aimed at annihilating Jews and thus put all Jewish people under a death sentence. Morawiecki’s remarks, he said, were unacceptable, adding that the role that Poland played in the Holocaust could not be erased from history through a distortion.

What was Morawiecki’s response to the firestorm and Netanyahu’s call? The Polish prime minister took to social media with a rather nondescript tweet that failed to address any of the questions of accusations. “Dialogue about this most difficult history is necessary, as a warning. We will conduct such dialogue with Israel.”

Source: (Bridges for Peace, 20 February 2018)

Photo Credit: Screenshot/YouTube/Ynet

Prayer Focus
Pray for the Jewish people living abroad under these daunting circumstances, where truth is falsified and persecution is becoming a reality once again. Ask God to direct their hearts to a safe place, the Promised Land, where the blessed memory of those who died in the Holocaust is cherished and used as a springboard for a nation to rise, stand and say, “Never again!”

Scripture

Many are my persecutors and my enemies, yet I do not turn from Your testimonies. I see the treacherous, and am disgusted, because they do not keep Your word. Consider how I love Your precepts; revive me, O LORD, according to Your lovingkindness.  


- Psalm 119:157-159

Israel, Palestinians Face Off at United Nations Security Council

by Ilse Strauss

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

UN flag flying at New York headquarters

Wednesday, 21 February 2018 │ The Palestinians arguably wield a number of unconventional weapons in their battle for the destruction of Israel. Firm favorites in their arsenal include detonating suicide bombs on buses and family restaurants; firing rockets at schools and homes; and terror attacks aimed at murdering unarmed civilians. Yet perhaps one of the Palestinian’s most effective weapons is feeding a highly emotive victim narrative to a generation so consumed with social justice that it fails to examine the tale for truth before jumping on the Israel-bashing bandwagon.

Yesterday, Palestinian Authority (PA) President, Mahmoud Abbas, took this trusty weapon from the armory again. His battlefield? The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) in New York. Yet this time Israel was not his only target. Abbas also had the US in his crosshairs.

“We are the descendants of the Canaanites that lived in the land of Palestine 5,000 years ago and continuously remained there to this day,” he charged. “The Palestinian people built their own cities and homeland and made contributions to humanity and civilization witnessed by the world. They established institutions, schools, hospitals, cultural organizations, theaters, libraries, newspapers, publishing houses, economic organizations, businesses and banks, with wide regional and international influence.”

The PA president failed, however, to substantiate his grandiose declarations with facts, evidence or tangible examples of the alleged thriving Palestinian institutions prior to Israel’s rebirth.

Abbas continued to regale his audience with an elaborate fabrication of Palestinian history in the Promised Land and concluded his narrative by painting a picture of present-day Palestinians as a peace-loving nation, committed to harmony and non-violence.

According to the man who told the Palestinian youth to spill their blood for the Temple Mount; who rewards terrorists who murder Israelis with salaries for life; and who names schools, centers and public squares after convicted murderers, “Our position is clear. We refuse to use weapons of any kind… We continue to spread the word of peace. We refuse to engage in violence and are building schools and hospitals, industrial areas and agriculture… We fight against terror everywhere in the world.”

Despite setbacks like the Oslo Accords and Camp David, Abbas continued, the Palestinians have remained steadfast in their “efforts to attain peace”—as opposed to Israel and the US that are obstructing the peace process.

Abbas, who has called for the replacement of the US as a central mediator in the peace process since President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital late last year, charged that “[t]o solve the Palestine question, it is essential to establish a multilateral international mechanism emanating from an international conference… We also demand this—other officials in the international community, an international conference that responds with international legitimacy.

Such an international Middle East peace conference, he added, would hopefully take place by mid-2018 and accept the State of Palestine as a full UN member. “We call on the Security Council to do this.”

Both Israel and the US countered the Palestinian attack with what the US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, called some “hard truths.”

Haley, who was joined by Trump’s Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt and White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, delivered a direct message to Abbas. “Our negotiators are sitting right behind me, ready to talk,” Haley said. “But we will not chase after you. The choice, Mr. President, is yours.”

According to Haley, the fate of the Palestinian people boiled down to their leader’s decision to take them down one of two paths. “There is the path of absolutist demands, hateful rhetoric, and incitement to violence. That path has led, and will continue to lead, to nothing but hardship…” Haley warned.

“Or there is the path of negotiation and compromise,” she continued. “History has shown that path to be successful for Egypt and Jordan, including the transfer of territory. That path remains open to the Palestinian leadership, if only it is courageous enough to take it.”

Abbas was, however, unable to benefit from the words of advice, as the PA president had chosen to leave the meeting shortly after he stepped from the podium.

Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, addressed the UNSC on the Jewish state’s behalf. Pointing out the PA president’s conspicuous absence, he said, “I expected Mr. Abbas to stay with us and have a dialogue. Unfortunately, once again he is running away.”

“Look what just happened in this room,” Danon pointed out. “Mr. Abbas came in, he put his demands on the table and he is expecting you to deliver the results. It’s not going to work that way. Today once again, rather than driving just 12 minutes between Ramallah to Jerusalem, he has chosen to fly 12 hours to New York to avoid the possibility of peace.”

“Mr. Abbas, you have made it clear, with your words and with your actions that you are no longer part of the solution. You are the problem.”

For his part, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s critique on Abbas’s address cut straight to the heart of the matter. “Abbas did not say anything new. He continues to run away from peace and continues to pay terrorists and their families $347 million.”

Source: (Bridges for Peace, 21 February 2018)

Photo Credit: Silje Bergum Kinsten/Wikimedia.org

Photo License: wikimedia.org

Prayer Focus
Bring this never-ending cycle of the peace process before the Lord and boldly ask for His will to be done. Thank God for granting wisdom to Nikki Haley and Danny Danon, giving them creative and truthful arguments every time the UN assembles and Abbas tries to humiliate Israel. Let us continue to fill the heavenlies with God’s promises of the land given to Israel.

Scripture

Earth, do not cover my blood; may my cry never be laid to rest! Even now my witness is in heaven; my advocate is on high. My intercessor is my friend as my eyes pour out tears to God…


- Job 16:18-20

In Historic Deal, Egypt Agrees to Buy $15 Billion of Natural Gas from Israel

by BICOM

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Natural gas drilling rig in Israel’s Tamar field

Wednesday, 21 February 2018 | The partners in Israel’s Tamar and Leviathan natural gas fields have signed a landmark $15 billion deal to export natural gas to Egypt over the next decade.

Delek Drilling told the Tel Aviv stock exchange that Noble Energy Mediterranean signed an agreement with Egypt’s Dolphinus Holdings Ltd for the sale of 64bn cubic meters of natural gas.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed “the historic agreement” which “will bring billions to the country and will aid in the education, health and welfare of Israeli citizens.”

The deal, which has no start date at present, will involve half of the gas coming from the active Tamar gas field. The other half will come from the Leviathan field, which is in development and expected to begin operations in 2019.

It is not yet clear how the gas from both fields will be transported to Egypt. Delek Group, which controls Delek Drilling, said a number of options were being considered, including connecting Egypt to Israel’s own transmission network and using the pipelines to the east Mediterranean and Jordan.

Israel’s Minister of National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Resources Yuval Steinitz hailed the announcement as the most significant deal with Egypt since the 1979 peace accord.

The controlling shareholder of Delek Group, Yitzhak Tshuva, said the deal would “strengthen the relationship between Israel and its neighbours and increase economic cooperation between them”.

The Leviathan and Tamar natural gas fields were discovered in 2010 and are thought to contain 800 billion cubic meters of gas. Since early 2017, gas from Tamar has been exported to a Jordanian chemical manufacturing plant on the Dead Sea.

Source: (The Israel Project, in its publication The Tower, originally published this article on 20 February, 2018. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Ashernet

Prayer Focus
Praise the Lord for Israel’s vast diversity of natural resources and that they are able to provide to other nations, including their immediate neighbors, Jordan and Egypt. Ask God to be the orchestrator of this huge, historic natural gas deal between Israel and Egypt, as the finances are needed desperately.

Scripture

A land in which you will eat bread without scarcity, in which you will lack nothing; a land whose stones are iron and out of whose hills you can dig copper. When you have eaten and are full, then you shall bless the LORD your God for the good land which He has given you.


- Deuteronomy 8:9-10

Rain Has Fallen, But Will It Be Enough?

by Janet Aslin

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Friday, 23 February 2018 | Meteorologists have wavered back and forth about whether or not to call the winter of 2017-18 a continuation of the drought Israel has experienced over the four previous years. December was abnormally dry but the month January produced a fair amount of precipitation. This resulted in a cautious pronouncement in late January from Water Minister Yuval Steinitz, “The large quantity of rain that has fallen in the past few days brings us to 90% of the annual average for the season, and enables us to avoid declaring a drought year, at least for the time being” (Globes).

Currently the water level in the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) is 0.7m (2.3 ft) below the Lower Red Line and 1.17m (3.84 ft) above the Black Line. This is good news when compared with the level in early December which was a mere 5.08cm (2 in) above the Black Line! However, in his earlier report, Steinitz went on to say that, even with January’s rainfall, “this summer the Kinneret is still expected to drop below the Black Line, for the first time ever.” The Black Line is the historic low point of the Kinneret, the point at which pumps are exposed and it becomes physically impossible to take water from the lake.

With these indicators in mind, all agreed that we were not out of the woods yet and much was dependent on February’s rainfall. The first part of February was unseasonably warm and dry. However, last weekend the country was blessed with a winter storm with heavy rainfall that began on Friday evening (February 16) and continued through the next day. Jerusalem received 42 millimeters (1.65 in) over the two days while similar amounts fell in the coastal and northern regions.

Typically December, January and February are the rainiest months in Israel so we might expect the possibility of rain to be nearly over. Taking a look at the two-week forecast, however, there is an encouraging possibility of rainfall, especially next first week. We can also take comfort from knowing that the “latter rain” can fall in March and April. We are still expecting a season of rain.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, 23 February 2018)

Photo Credit: Diego Torres/pixabay.com

Prayer Focus
Never give up hope! Persist in prayer for rain to fill the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) far beyond all the lines that limit our expectation of miracles and rain. The season for rain is still here, so cry out to the Lord for rain in the Holy Land, His beloved land.

Scripture

Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.


- James 5:17-18

Free Weekly Israel Prayer Update & News



Prayer Updates