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Friday, February 4, 2022

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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.

Houthi General: Missiles, Drones can “Reach Tel Aviv and Eilat Port”

by JNS

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Brig. Gen. Abdallah Al-Jafari said that Israel is in the Houthi’s crosshairs.

Thursday, 3 February 2022 | Yemeni Brig. Gen. Abdallah Al-Jafari announced that Houthi missiles and drones are able to reach Israel.

According to a Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) report, Jafari said in an interview on Iran’s Al-Alam TV on January 31 that the United Arab Emirates [UAE] would also be targeted.

“The very same missiles and drones that have reached the UAE today will reach Tel Aviv and the Eilat Port,” said Jafari.

As for the UAE, he said, “Some of the targets that have been defined will be announced in the coming days. Personally, I expect that the Burj Khalifa and Expo 2020 [Dubai] will be targeted.”

Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on February 2, 2022. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Youtube/JNS.org

Prayer Focus
Thank the Lord that the UAE forces were able to intercept and destroy the ballistic missile recently fired at them by the Houthis, neutralizing the attack with no damage to people or property. Pray that the Yemeni brigadier-general’s further warnings will prove to be nothing but saber rattling. Pray that every target in the Houthi’s crosshairs will be protected and that these threats will come to nothing.

Scripture

Then I will encamp at my house as a guard, so that none shall march to and fro; no oppressor shall again march over them, for now I see with my own eyes.


- Zechariah 9:8 ESV

Gantz Arrives in Bahrain as Regional Tensions Spike

by Elior Levy ~ Ynetnews

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Manama, Bahrain

Thursday, 3 February 2022 | Defense Minister Benny Gantz landed in Bahrain Wednesday afternoon on an unannounced visit amid heightened tensions in the Gulf after missile attacks on the United Arab Emirates [UAE] by Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi movement.

According to a Defense Ministry announcement, it was the first time an Israeli defense chief had visited the Gulf nation since Manama and three other Muslim-majority nations, including Gulf neighbors the UAE, normalized ties with Jerusalem in 2020 as part of the Abraham Accords brokered by the Trump administration.

The ministry also stated that Gantz and his entourage entered Saudi Arabia’s airspace en route to Bahrain, the first time an Israeli military plane was permitted to do so publicly.

During his visit to the Bahraini capital, Gantz would sign a memorandum of understanding with his Bahraini counterpart Abdulla bin Hasan Al Nuaimi during the two-day visit, the first of its kind between the Jewish state and a Gulf state.

The former Israeli military chief is also slated to meet with Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, military Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Theyab bin Saqer Al Noaimi and Royal Bahrain Naval Force Commander Commodore Mohammed Yousif al-Asam.

The Boeing 707 on which the defense minister arrived has a distinguished past since it was first commissioned by Egypt in the 1950s. It was marked with the tail number 01 and served as the Egyptian president’s [aircraft].

On November 19, 1977, the aircraft landed at Lod Airport with Egyptian President Anwar Sadat on board on his first historic visit to Israel which initiated the peace process between the once bitter enemies.

In 2005, the aircraft was converted for commercial use by Slovenian aircraft refueling service Omega Air before being put into service in the Israeli Air Force’s 120th Air Force Squadron in 2011.

Source: (This article was originally published by Ynetnews on February 2, 2022. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Droodkin/Commons.wikimedia.org

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Pray that attempts by Iran to further destabilize the region through their proxy in Yemen will continue to be thwarted. Thank the Lord for Israel’s growing relationship with Bahrain and other Gulf states and for the memorandum of understanding signed between them.

Scripture

Let all those who hate Zion be put to shame and turned back.


- Psalm 129:5

Israel and India Celebrate 30 Years of Diplomatic Relations

by JNS

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Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett meets with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the UN Climate Change Conference.

Monday, 31 January 2022 | Israel and India celebrated 30 years of diplomatic relations on Saturday, with each country lighting up historic sites and special video addresses by their leaders.

Israel–India ties were formalized on January 29, 1992. Since then, the countries have been working together on initiatives ranging from agriculture and high-tech to security.

“India and Israel have a gehri dosti [deep friendship],” Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said on Saturday evening. “Today we honor 30 years of diplomatic relations between Israel and India, 30 years of a wonderful partnership, a deep cultural connection, military and economic cooperation.”

He thanked [Indian Prime Minister Narendra] Modi for his leadership and noted that although India is much larger than Israel, the two states have much in common: “A rich history, inherent warmth of our peoples and our cutting-edge innovation and technology. The ties between Israel and India are strong, and together they will only grow stronger. The opportunities are endless.”

Modi spoke in Hindi, but his speech was widely translated into English by the local India press.

The prime minister said that while the establishment of formal ties 30 years ago marked a new chapter in Israel–India relations, the “history between us is age-old.”

He said that “for centuries, the [Jewish] community has stayed in India in a harmonious environment without any discrimination, and has grown. It has made an important contribution in our developmental journey.”

Israel lit up its Masada fortress for the occasion, and India its Teen Murti Haifa Chowk [memorial in New Dehli] with a special logo that was designed to commemorate the occasion. The logo features a Star of David and the Ashoka Chakra [wheel with 24 spokes representing Buddhism, which appears in the center of India’s flag], together forming the number 30.

Several high-profile visits, including a trip by Bennett to India, are expected to take place this year to mark the occasion.

Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on January 30, 2022. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: JNS.org

Prayer Focus
Praise the Lord for the long-standing friendship that Israel shares with India. Pray that the ties between the two nations will only continue to grow stronger, and upcoming high-profile visits will be successful in further cementing the relationship. Ask the Lord to reveal Himself to this nation as they see His faithfulness to Israel.

Scripture

Then it shall be to Me a name of joy, a praise, and an honor before all nations of the earth, who shall hear all the good that I do to them; they shall fear and tremble for all the goodness and all the prosperity that I provide for it.


- Jeremiah 33:9

Israel: Iran Nuclear Breakout Could Occur “within a Space of Weeks”

by Israel Kasnett ~ JNS

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Illustration of an Iranian ballistic missile

Friday, 28 January 2022 | Israel faces threats like no other country—among them an Iranian regime developing nuclear weapons and supplying proxies such as Hezbollah with hundreds of thousands of rockets. The terrorists behind these threats view Israel’s destruction as the only solution to their problems.

The current ongoing negotiations in Vienna between the United States, European countries and Iran over the latter’s return to the 2015 nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), hit a new snag this week as three American negotiators quit, allegedly over US Special Envoy for Iran Robert Malley’s soft approach to Iran’s belligerence.

While people like Malley appear to be untroubled by the idea of a nuclear Iran, Israel remains worried. Efraim Inbar, president of the Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security, told JNS that an Iranian nuclear breakout could occur in a span of time as short as “about a month,” according to reports based on governmental sources in the United States and Israel.

A new report by the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) concludes in a similar assessment that Iran “already has the capabilities required for a breakout to a nuclear weapon within a space of weeks.”

The Iran threat played a large role in encouraging Gulf countries like Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates to sign the Abraham Accords with Israel in 2020. These relationships continue to grow and have become even more important as Iran marches towards nuclear breakout.

An INSS delegation on Monday presented Israeli President Isaac Herzog with the report, who said, in response: “Today, there is an emerging regional understanding that the future of the Middle East is a future of cooperation. In the face of the Iranian threat and its dangerous proxies in the region, we must cooperate with our friends…This is a regional interest of the highest order.”

The problem, according to the report, is that Israel “lacks an integrated, consistent and long-term strategic approach with respect to the challenges it faces.”

‘Develop a Strategy if Iran Violates the Agreement’

Many experts in Israel believe that America should push for a stronger and better deal with Iran. If that is unachievable, then it should impose heavy sanctions on Iran backed by a credible military threat.

INSS managing director Brig.–Gen. (res.) Udi Dekel thinks a return to the JCPOA “is the least worst option than the others.”

“Among the negative options, there are no good options for Israel,” he told JNS.

Going back to the JCPOA, Dekel believes, will give Israel time “to beef up our capabilities” should a military intervention become necessary.

The INSS report does, however, suggest that Israel “prepare for a nuclear agreement between Iran and the powers, as well as for the absence of any agreement. There is a need to build a credible military option to stop Iran from achieving a nuclear weapon, preferably in coordination with the United States.”

According to Dekel, since the United States “will not attack Iran,” Israel must “coordinate and cooperate with the US, of course.”

It is better for Israel “to achieve an understanding with the US and together develop a strategy if Iran violates the agreement,” he added.

According to the INSS, the three main threats facing Israel in 2022 include Iran’s nuclear activity, the conflict with the Palestinians and violence among Israeli Arabs. In the past, INSS researchers identified a difference in the scale of these concerns. Now, they contend that these threats “are equal in their severity, and that the main challenge is to define an integrated way of dealing with all three.”

The report noted that Iran is the central challenge, as it “continues to strive for a nuclear threshold and remains determined to build up its military options to threaten Israel in several areas along its borders.”

The report then claims the Palestinian issue “is a very serious challenge to the vision of Israel as a Jewish, democratic, secure and moral state—particularly due to the drift towards a one-state reality.”

‘A Change in the National Order of Priorities’

Taking a more left-wing approach, the INSS said the Palestinian conflict “is not a secondary arena that can be contained by empty delusions about ‘limiting the conflict.’”

The INSS report points to last May’s “Operation Guardian of the Walls,” when Israel was forced to respond to the thousands of Hamas rocket attacks coming from Gaza as proof that “the absence of a solution to the Israeli–Palestinian conflict poses a serious threat to Israel’s identity as a Jewish and democratic state, and to its status on the international stage.”

At the time, a large number of Israeli Arabs sided with the Palestinians and rioted in mixed Jewish–Arab communities, including Lod, Ramle, Jaffa and Akko. They attacked Jews on the street, destroyed property and looted and burned synagogues.

INSS concluded that this “convergence of challenges demands a change in the national order of priorities, focusing on restoring government control within the country and healing the rifts between different groups in society.”

But the INSS approach ignores the root cause of violence in Arab communities—namely, culture.

According to Inbar, “Arab violence in Israel seems to have cultural roots that have not been treated by the education system.”

Inbar does, however, agree that Israel’s “lack of effective policing in the Arab sector is also a factor.”

Commenting on the report, said Dekel, “our message this year is that we cannot [ignore] the other important challenges that we have. We cannot assume we can focus on Iran and relegate these issues as secondary in importance.”

While it is plausible that the Israeli public would like to see a heavier focus on domestic issues, not everyone agrees that the Iran issue must be put on par with Arab violence or the Palestinian issue.

The Palestinian issue is not resolvable for the time being, and Arab violence can be brought under control with intense policing, harsher punishments for crimes and a massive crackdown on illegal weapons.

According to Inbar, “the most acute problem is Iran.”

He elaborated on that, saying “neither the Palestinians nor the Arabs in Israel present a national security problem of Iranian magnitude and urgency.”

Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on January 27, 2022. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Allexxandar/Shutterstock/JNS.org

Prayer Focus
Pray that the Israeli leaders will have great wisdom as they deal with the three main threats they face in 2022. Cry out to Him for success in bringing Arab violence under control and managing the “unresolvable” situation with the Palestinians. Also beseech the Lord that Israel will know how and when to “cooperate with their friends” in confronting the Iranian nuclear threat, which is “a regional interest of the highest order.”

Scripture

Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom; I am understanding, I have strength. By me kings reign, and rulers decree justice.


- Proverbs 8:14–15

Israeli Security Forces Thwart Terrorist Infrastructure in Jordan Valley Region

by JNS

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Israeli security forces work together to thwart terrorist infrastructure.

Wednesday, 2 February 2022 | Hundreds of Israel Defense Forces [IDF] soldiers, Border Police and Israel Police officers took part in a security operation on Sunday night in the Jordan Valley region, the Israeli military announced on Monday.

The operation was aimed at thwarting terrorist activity and confiscating weapon infrastructure in the area, said the IDF.

Security forces arrested nine suspects, who were transferred to Border Police officers for questioning, and seized 16 illegal vehicles, a handgun and stolen military ammunition, it continued.

“During the troops’ activities, violent riots were instigated in a number of locations, during which dozens of Palestinians hurled rocks and an IED [improvised explosive device] at IDF troops. The troops responded with riot dispersal means to restore order,” said the military.

“The operation is part of ongoing counterterrorism efforts to thwart terrorism in the area, which wounds and kills innocent people,” it added.

Security forces conduct regular counterterrorism raids throughout the West Bank [Judea and Samaria].

Last month, the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet), working with the IDF and the elite Counterterrorism Unit, arrested four Palestinian terror suspects accused of taking part in a deadly attack near Homesh, north of Nablus. Israeli yeshivah [religious school] student Yehuda Dimentman, a father of one, was shot and killed in the attack.

Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on January 31, 2022. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: IDF Spokesperson's Unit/JNS.org

Prayer Focus
Pray that Israel’s ongoing counterterrorism efforts in the area are successful in ending terrorist attacks and bringing Arab violence under control. Beseech the Lord that the security forces’ regular counterterrorism raids throughout the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) will result in an end to the senseless loss of life due to terror.

Scripture

A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; but it shall not come near you. Only with your eyes shall you look, and see the reward of the wicked.


- Psalm 91:7–8

Ukraine’s Jewish Community in Danger as Russian Troops Mass at Border

by Israel Kasnett ~ JNS

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Bachevsk, Ukraine, October 2021: Control sign at the entrance to the Ukrainian checkpoint from Russia

Tuesday, 1 February 2022 | A possibly imminent invasion by Russian troops into Ukrainian territory has the world on edge as leaders and experts try to guess Russian President Vladimir Putin’s next steps and prevent what could become the largest military action in Europe since World War II. For Israel, the focus and concern lies with Ukraine’s Jewish community in its Donbas region, where Jews have lived relatively free and safe. Now, their lives could be in mortal danger as they will be caught in the crossfire if war breaks out between Ukraine and Russia.

The Israeli government last Sunday convened a number of top officials to discuss contingency plans on the immediate absorption of Ukrainian Jews, should the urgent need arise. Jewish organizations estimate that some 75,000 Ukrainians living in the eastern part of the country—many of them elderly—are eligible for Israeli citizenship under the Law of Return, which allows immigration to those who have one Jewish grandparent.

Mark Levin, executive vice chairman and CEO of the National Coalition Supporting Eurasian Jewry, told JNS he is “following the situation closely.”

He said he hopes not to see a military incursion, but acknowledged that the decision “all comes down to one person.”

So sure are Ukrainians that Russia will launch an attack that even civilians are taking up arms to protect their homeland.

Western nations, however, are still trying to determine whether Putin is serious or not.

While US President Joe Biden sent a strong signal to Russia, threatening that he would unleash sanctions against it should it invade Ukraine, he seemed less sure about predicting the future during a press conference in the White House back on January 19.

At first, Biden appeared to demonstrate his belief that Russia will cross the Ukrainian border, saying, “My guess is he will move in,” but later seemed to waver when he said “I don’t think he’s made up his mind yet.”

If Putin does decide to invade Ukraine, Biden warned that “he’ll pay a serious and dear price for it.”

US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman seemed more certain about her prediction, saying on January 26 at the Yalta European Strategy event via teleconference that the United States believes Putin remains poised to move against Ukraine sometime in the coming three weeks.

“I have no idea whether he’s made the ultimate decision, but we certainly see every indication that he is going to use military force sometime perhaps [between] now and the middle of February,” she said.

At a news conference at the Pentagon on January 28, Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, also acknowledged the high probability of a Russian offensive, noting that more than 100,000 of its troops—and supplies—are positioned at the Ukrainian border, including ground, naval and air forces, special operators and personnel trained in electronic warfare, cyber warfare, command and control, and logistics.

Israel has a good working relationship with both Ukraine and Russia, and so due to the sensitivity of the issue and not wanting to offend either party or be seen as taking sides, officials are treading carefully.

‘There is Total Paranoia’

Ze’ev Khanin, of the department of political studies at Bar-Ilan University and currently a visiting professor in Israel Studies at Potsdam University, told JNS that Israel is not interested in the conflict escalating since it might be forced to choose sides.

He also said an escalation “may increase Russia’s interest to react to the American sanctions in other areas that are sensitive to American interests, like Syria.”

This could “harm or even abort Moscow–Jerusalem understandings over Syria and limit Israeli activities there,” said Khanin.

For the past several years, Israel has carried out numerous missions in Syria, many according to foreign reports, in an effort to block Iran’s attempt to use Syria as a forward base and a land bridge to deliver sophisticated game-changing weapons to its Lebanese Shiite proxy Hezbollah.

Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on January 31, 2022. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Fire-fly/Shutterstock/JNS.org

Prayer Focus
Pray that a Russian invasion into Ukraine simply does not happen. Ask the Lord to strengthen the resolve of the Ukrainian military to protect its borders, and cry out to Him for the safety of the Jewish people who are caught in these very dangerous conditions. Ask the Lord to grant Israel the ability to maintain its neutrality in this very sensitive situation, and pray that many Ukrainian Jews will choose to make aliyah.

Scripture

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.


- Psalm 83:1–3

Action
We are watching the situation unfold with great concern. Our Project Rescue team in Ukraine has reached out to us with an urgent appeal for assistance as they work against the clock to save Jewish lives. In the face of the looming threat, they have stepped up their efforts to help rescue as many Ukranian Jews as possible and bring them to safety in Israel. Now, more than ever, we need our Christian friends around the world to support our team in their crucial efforts. Your gifts to Project Rescue will enable us to save Jewish lives in Ukraine.

Israel Slams Amnesty International over “Diplomatic Lynch against the Jewish State”

by Israel Kasnett ~ JNS

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A sign displaying the logo of Amnesty International

Tuesday, 1 February 2022 | A new report by Amnesty International UK set to be published today accuses Israel of “apartheid” and “institutionalized and systematic discrimination against Palestinians.” Amnesty said it has “concluded that Israel has perpetrated the international wrong of apartheid as a human-rights violation and a violation of public international law.”

The report accuses “almost all of Israel’s civilian administration and military authorities, as well as governmental and quasi-governmental institutions” as being involved “in the enforcement of the system of apartheid against Palestinians across Israel and the OPT [Occupied Palestinian Territories] and against Palestinian refugees and their descendants outside the territory.”

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid was quick to condemn the report in a press release on Monday. He said Amnesty is “another radical organization that echoes propaganda with no serious examination. Instead of seeking facts, Amnesty quotes lies spread by terrorist organizations.”

He said the accusations against Israel are “a delusion divorced from reality.”

“Israel is not perfect, but it is a democracy committed to international law and open to scrutiny, with a free press and strong Supreme Court,” said Lapid, noting that Amnesty does not make the same accusation against Syria “an ‘apartheid state’—a country whose government murdered half a million of its own citizens—nor Iran, or any other corrupt and murderous regime in Africa or Latin America.”

“I hate to use the argument that if Israel were not a Jewish state, nobody in Amnesty would dare argue against it, but in this case, there is no other possibility,” he said.

The organization said it has based its findings on decades of field research “collecting evidence of violations of international human rights and humanitarian law in Israel and the OPT, and on publications by Palestinian, Israeli and international organizations in addition to academic studies, monitoring by grassroots activist groups, reports by UN agencies, experts and human rights bodies and media articles.”

The report, titled “Israel’s Apartheid Against Palestinians: Cruel System of Domination and Crime Against Humanity,” accuses Israel of “institutionalized segregation and discrimination against Palestinians, as a racial group, in all areas under its control amounts to a system of apartheid, and a serious violation of Israel’s human-rights obligations.”

Amnesty UK is not the only organization to accuse Israel of apartheid.

In April, Human Rights Watch [HRW] released a similar 213-page report titled, “A Threshold Crossed,” which accused Israel of committing crimes against humanity—namely, of apartheid and persecution.

That report also came under heavy criticism for its anti-Israel bias, ignoring of Palestinian rejectionism, downplaying the complexities of the Arab–Israeli conflict and the application of double standards when discussing Israel.

‘Clearly Timed to Exploit Lawfare Initiatives’

Gerald Steinberg, president of NGO Monitor said:

“For 20 years, Amnesty International has been a leader in NGO campaigns to demonize Israel, based on twisting and exploiting the evils of the South African apartheid regime in order to promote hatred. This false and immoral agenda singling out the nation-state of the Jewish people is a major cause of 21st-century anti-Semitism and is the polar opposite of the universal principles embodied in real human rights. This campaign is also a betrayal of everything that Peter Benenson, the founder of Amnesty, stood for.”

According to NGO Monitor, the publication “breaks no new ground and is not meaningfully different from the discredited HRW and B’Tselem reports from 2021, yet Amnesty says they took over four years to produce it.”

NGO Monitor also accused Amnesty of whitewashing and downplaying “the history of extreme violence directed at Israeli civilians by Palestinian terrorist organizations, including the anti-Jewish riots during the [May] 2021 conflict [with Hamas in Gaza]. Fittingly, the only mentions of the word ‘terrorist’ in the entire document utilize scare quotes for paraphrases or quotations of Israeli sources.”

The research institute also noted that the report’s release “is timed to bolster a forthcoming March 2022 report from UN Special Rapporteur Michael Lynk that will advance similar allegations, and influence the UN Human Rights Council’s Commission of Inquiry.”

“Amnesty’s recommendations are a clear call for the elimination of Israel,” said NGO Monitor.

‘Pour More Oil on the Fire of Anti-Semitism’

Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement that the report “consolidates and recycles lies, inconsistencies and unfounded assertions that originate from well-known anti-Israeli hate organizations, all with the aim of reselling damaged goods in new packaging. Repeating the same lies of hate organizations over and over does not make the lies reality, but rather makes Amnesty illegitimate.”

Foreign Ministry spokesman Lior Hayat said in an online conference on Monday that Amnesty “never contacted us to ask our opinion on any information in the report. This shows the true goal of Amnesty, and they unfortunately lost their way.”

“This is a purely anti-Semitic report,” he charged. “This report will pour more oil on the fire of anti-Semitism taking place in the streets of Europe and America.”

The ministry’s statement added that the report “denies the State of Israel’s right to exist as the nation-state of the Jewish people. Its extremist language and distortion of historical context were designed to demonize Israel and pour fuel onto the fire of anti-Semitism.”

It called on Amnesty to “withdraw from the report which is set to be published.”

Arsen Ostrovsky, chair and CEO of the International Legal Forum, told JNS that like the HRW report, this latest one “is just the latest intensified attack in these organizations’ longstanding and relentless campaign of lawfare and vilification against the State of Israel.”

Calling the report “one-sided, libelous and baseless,” Ostrovsky called on Amnesty UK, “which has been beleaguered by charges of institutionalized racism,” to get “its own house in order first, before lecturing Israel.”

Ostrovsky lambasted Amnesty for its blatant call to dismantle the Jewish state and for writing a report that is “replete with malicious lies, gross distortions of truth and fabrications of law while peddling unhinged hate, incitement and racism.”

B’nai B’rith International President Seth Riklin and CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin also condemned the report in a statement, saying, “The reality is that Israeli Arabs sit in Israel’s current government and on Israel’s Supreme Court. They have the same right to vote as all Israelis. They have their own media. Arabic is an official language of Israel. Amnesty’s libelous claim of ‘apartheid’ is simply baseless.”

The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, Anti-Defamation League, American Israel Public Affairs Committee, American Jewish Committee, B’nai B’rith International and the Jewish Federations of North America issued a statement rejecting the report, saying it “presents an unbalanced, inaccurate, and incomplete review and instead inexplicably focuses on one aim: to demonize and delegitimize the Jewish and democratic State of Israel.”

The organizations accused Amnesty of committing “a double injustice: It fuels those anti-Semites around the world who seek to undermine the only Jewish country on earth, while simultaneously cheapening and downplaying the horrific suffering that was a result of apartheid in South Africa.”

The statement said the report “disregards the fact that Israel’s robust democracy grants its Arab citizens full rights and equality, includes an Arab Muslim nationalist party in Israel’s governing coalition, as well as a history of senior Israeli Arab governmental officials, including Supreme Court justices, government ministers, high-level diplomats, military officers and members of Knesset [Parliament].”

Ronald S. Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress, also sharply criticized the report, saying: “By issuing this one-sided and blatantly politicized report which totally ignores both Palestinian acts of terrorism and Israel’s obligation to defend its citizens against such terrorism, Amnesty International UK is consciously participating in the ongoing insidious campaign to demonize the State of Israel.”

Editor’s Note:

The evidence makes it abundantly clear that Israel is not an apartheid state—exactly the opposite actually. Israel is the one state in the Middle East where everyone, regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, gender or belief, has an equal opportunity to thrive. Cheryl Hauer, international vice president, unpacks the accusation of Israel as an apartheid state and show it baseless in her article Israeli Apartheid? No Way!

Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on January 31, 2022. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: paintings/Shutterstock/JNS.org

Prayer Focus
Pray that the outrageous accusations made in this report will be seen for what they are: anti-Semitic rhetoric from an organization that has been demonizing Israel for years. Thank the Lord for those nations that are speaking out against the report, and pray that it will not serve to “pour oil on the fire of anti-Semitism” around the world.

Scripture

For the LORD will vindicate his people and have compassion on his servants.


- Psalm 135:14 ESV

Bennett: Israel to Rollout Laser-based Defense System within a Year

by Itamar Eichner ~ Ynetnews

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The Iron Dome, Israel’s current short-range defense system, will be replaced by a new laser defense system.

Wednesday, 2 February 2022 | Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said on Monday that the IDF [Israel Defense Forces] will begin utilizing a high-end laser-based interception system within a year, despite defense officials previously predicting such a system would not become operational before 2025.

Speaking at the 15th annual conference of the Institute for National Security Studies, Bennett said the military will “bring the system into action first experimentally in the south, and later elsewhere in an operational capacity.”

“The system will allow Israel to be surrounded by a laser wall that will protect it from missiles, rockets, drones and other threats.”

According to the premier, the new system will eventually replace the highly reliable Iron Dome air defense system currently utilized in all parts of the country and effectively eliminate the high costs incurred by operating it.

“If we can intercept a missile or rocket with an electric pulse that costs only a few dollars, we will by all accounts neutralize the ring of fire Iran has set up around our borders,” Bennett said.

“This new generation of Israeli air defenses will also serve our friends in the region, who are also exposed to severe threats from Iran and its proxies.”

The prime minister also condemned the ongoing aggressions perpetrated by the Islamic Republic and its proxies across the Middle East as Tehran tries to negotiate the revitalization of the tattered 2015 nuclear agreement with world powers in Vienna.

“While the Iranian foreign ministry is sitting in Vienna with world superpowers, Tehran’s Revolutionary Guard is busy acting like the neighborhood bully by attacking the Emirates and elsewhere. That is the definition of negotiations under fire,” he said.

“We will continue to stand up to them in any way. No agreement will bind our hands from acting for our protection.”

“The Israeli strategy remains the same in the case of an agreement, which in any case buys very little time, as well as in the event the agreement falls through. In both cases, our campaign continues.”

Source: (This article was originally published by Ynetnews on February 1, 2022. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

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

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Praise the Lord for this new laser-based interception system and pray that it will be operational sooner rather than later. Pray that it will indeed be successful in intercepting missiles and rockets and neutralizing the “ring of fire” that Iran has set up around Israel’s borders. Thank the Lord for PM Bennett’s strong words and resolve to stand against Iranian aggression in whatever form it takes.

Scripture

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. Behold, all those who were incensed against you shall be ashamed and disgraced; they shall be as nothing, and those who strive with you shall perish.”


- Isaiah 41:10–11

Helping Hand: Israel Has Offered Aid to Lebanon Several Times

by Yoav Zitun ~ Ynetnews

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Beirut, Lebanon, floundering in the midst of an economic crisis

Thursday, 3 February 2022 | Defense Minister Benny Gantz said on Wednesday that Israel recently offered aid to the Lebanese army as the country reels under a crushing economic and political crisis.

“Unfortunately, Lebanon has become an island of instability. And the citizens of Lebanon are not our enemies, so this year I have offered aid to Lebanon four times, including last week through the commander of UNIFIL,” Gantz said in a pre-recorded speech broadcast at the annual conference of the Institute for National Security Studies.

“We seek to provide focused aid to the Lebanese army, which is suffering from a shortage of basic supplies and has lost more than 5,000 troops that left it recently while Hezbollah is growing in strength under Iran’s auspices.”

Over the last two years, Lebanon has been facing an unprecedented economic crisis, causing many of the country’s civil services to collapse, including chronic gas shortages and rolling blackouts in large parts of the nation.

The defense minister also described the coming year as crucial for Israel’s strategic and economic interests in the Middle East, namely stopping the Iranian nuclear program.

“We’ve turned the Abraham Accords from a declaration of intent into a reality of economic and security cooperation. These actions strengthen the stability of the region and create a moderate front which includes countries which the agreements with have yet to mature,” he said.

“This year, we will have ample opportunities to strengthen these bonds and Israel’s security interests. The same goes for European states that help us immensely with our efforts to block Iran, and for other Gulf countries and for Turkey. Assessing the situation soberly, in accordance with our common interests, and while maintaining and strengthening our deep and important alliance with Greece and Cyprus.”

Source: (This article was originally published by Ynetnews on February 2, 2022. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Bernard Khalil/Flickr.com

Photo License: Flickr

Prayer Focus
Pray that Israel’s offer of aid to Lebanon will be accepted as that nation suffers in economic and political crisis. Pray also that this year will indeed see Israel strengthening relationships with countries throughout the region, bringing stability and creating a united front against Iran, its proxies and its nuclear ambitions.

Scripture

“The LORD will cause your enemies who rise against you to be defeated before your face; they shall come out against you one way and flee before you seven ways.”


- Deuteronomy 28:7

Herzog to Visit Turkey Next Month, Erdoğan Says

by Itamar Eichner ~ Ynetnews

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Istanbul, Turkey

Friday, 28 January 2022 | Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said late on Wednesday that he would be hosting President Isaac Herzog for an official visit to Turkey as early as next month.

Details, including the final date for the visit and its duration, were still being discussed between the two countries.

Herzog will be the first Israeli leader to visit Turkey since relations soured between the two countries in 2018, with the return of ambassadors, in the wake of riots along the Israeli–Gaza border.

Erdoğan and Herzog had spoken during the detention of an Israeli couple suspected of photographing the presidential residence in Istanbul last year.

Erdoğan also called his Israeli counterpart to express condolences for the death of his mother earlier this month.

According to Turkish media reports, Erdoğan instructed senior Hamas officials to leave Turkey, some indicated the president was reevaluating ties with the terror group and has begun limiting its ability to act on Turkish soil.

Certain reports also said Hamas officials were not granted long-term visas to stay in Turkey and that some Hamas members had been detained for questioning in Istanbul before being deported.

Israeli officials said they had no confirmation of the reports but added that if they were accurate, they could indicate a real change in Turkey’s policy towards Hamas.

The officials said the relations between Ankara and Jerusalem depended on Turkey’s stance towards the terror organization.

The officials said that they regarded the latest reporting with some suspicion, because Erdoğan sees Hamas as part of the Islamic Brotherhood and is still an active patron of Hamas in Gaza.

Jerusalem was also concerned over the news that the Turkish president intended to appoint his close ally, Opok Olotash, to be the next ambassador to Israel.

Olotash is seen by the Foreign Ministry as holding strong anti-Israeli and even anti-Semitic views.

He stands at the head of the Turkish Foreign Ministry center of strategic studies and had published an article claiming Israel had no right to exist on Palestinian lands and was guilty of ethnic cleansing.

He also attacked the UAE’s [United Arab Emirates’] decision to forge diplomatic relations with Israel on his Twitter feed, calling the diplomatic ties agreed on in the 2020 Abraham Accords as abnormal.

Olotash had studied at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and speaks Hebrew.

According to reports denied by the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem, Turkey was informed that Olotash would not be accepted by Israel as ambassador.

Sources versed in Israel–Turkish relations said on Wednesday that his appointment should not be accepted, but voiced concern that Jerusalem would not oppose it, in exchange for action taken by Erdoğan against Hamas in Turkey.

The dialogue between the two countries intensified recently. Foreign Minister Yair Lapid spoke with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu in a first such conversation in 13 years.

Source: (This article was originally published by Ynetnews on January 27, 2022. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Anna Berdnik/unsplash.com

Prayer Focus
Pray that dialogue will continue between Israel and Turkey, resulting in a warming of relations. Ask the Lord to strengthen President Herzog as he visits Turkey, and pray he discovers that Turkey has indeed changed its policy toward Hamas. Also beseech the Lord that Israel will be successful in securing a replacement for Opok Olotash, whose anti-Semitic views make him unacceptable to serve as Turkish ambassador to Israel.

Scripture

No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment you shall condemn.


- Isaiah 54:17a