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What Will We Do Now?

Friday, February 7, 2020

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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.

One Day, Three Terror Attacks in Israel on Soldiers, Police

by Kate Norman

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Near the site of the car-ramming attack

Thursday, 6 February 2020 | In just over 12 hours, terrorists executed three attacks in Israel: a car ramming that seriously wounded a soldier and injured 11 others, a shooting attack in the Old City that left a Border Police officer lightly injured, and a drive-by shooting in the biblical heartland that left another soldier injured.

A popular entertainment spot in Jerusalem turned into a scene of chaos just before 2 a.m. when a car swerved into a group of Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers, injuring 12, including one soldier who was seriously wounded and taken to the hospital for surgery. The attacker sped into the group of soldiers from behind, injuring as many as possible before fleeing the scene. There were no warnings ahead of time of a possible attack, so the perpetrator most likely did not plan it but saw an opportunity when the soldiers were crossing the street across from Jerusalem’s popular First Station, the police spokesman told i24News. A few of the soldiers on scene chased the perpetrator but were not able to load their weapons and fire in time, Israel National News reported.

“This happened in seconds,” the IDF spokesman told reporters. “We understand that some soldiers tried to put magazines into their guns and tried to go after the car, but this happened quickly.”

Security forces are still on the hunt for the attacker, though they did find the vehicle abandoned in a community outside of Bethlehem.

An emergency medical provider told Israel National News that he treated the 20-year-old soldier in serious condition “after he suffered a full-system-trauma.”

“Due to the nature of the incident, United Hatzalah’s Psychotrauma and Crisis Response Units were dispatched to the scene and treated eight people who were suffering from emotional or psychological shock,” the volunteer EMT added.

The soldiers were members of the elite Golani Brigade who had just finished up their heritage tour—an opportunity for IDF soldiers to travel around to different cultural sites in and around Jerusalem to experience what they are defending—before heading to the Western Wall for their swearing-in ceremony.

Hours later, another terror attack took place—this time in Jerusalem’s Old City. A Palestinian shot at police officers near the Lion’s Gate entrance that leads to the Temple Mount, lightly injuring one officer in the hand before nearby officers shot the terrorist dead.

And just an hour later, another Israeli soldier was lightly injured in a drive-by shooting in Judea and Samaria (the so-called West Bank). Security forces are on the hunt for the terrorist, who fled the scene.

These attacks came just a day after Hamas, the terror group that controls the Gaza Strip, called for attacks on the Jewish state. Tensions in the region have been high since the release of US President Donald Trump’s peace plan, known as the “Deal of the Century,” which the enraged Palestinian leadership has referred to as the “slap of the century.” Hamas responded to today’s attacks with glee, claiming in a statement that “the revolution waging in the West Bank cities and in Jerusalem is the implementation of the Palestinian people’s decision to expel the occupation from the West Bank and free it of settlers.”

Source: (Bridges for Peace, February 6, 2020)

Photo Credit: Jenna Solomon/bridgesforpeace.com

Prayer Focus
Cry out to God for an end to the violence. Pray for a speedy recovery, both physical and emotional, for those who have been injured. Beseech the Lord for His supernatural protection over every member of Israel’s military, and pray that every perpetrator will be found and brought to justice.


LORD, how they have increased who trouble me! Many are they who rise up against me. Many are they who say of me, “There is no help for him in God.” But You, O LORD, are a shield for me, my glory and the One who lifts up my head.

- Psalm 3:1–3

Tensions Increase on the Gaza Border

by Matan Zuri and Yoav Zitun

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A rocket being launched from Gaza into Israel (illustrative)

Monday, 3 February 2020 | Sirens blared for a second time Friday evening as rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip at border communities in southern Israel.

Earlier the Iron Dome intercepted one of the rockets and shrapnel caused some damage to homes in the town of Sderot.

This is the third time in one day that projectiles were fired from Gaza.

A cluster of balloons carrying an explosive device detonated over Sderot in the early evening hours.

Ofir Libstein, mayor of the Sha’ar Negev regional council, said the silence of the Israeli government in the face of rocket fire on the citizens in the area is immoral and unacceptable. “While everyone is talking about the annexation of the West Bank [Judea and Samaria] I suggest the government first extend its authority over our communities,” Libstein said. “I demand they take responsibility for our security.”

Visitors were expected in the area as a local flower and music festival that sees thousands of visitors every year opened Friday. The military positioned warning systems in case of attacks, though organizers say nothing can alert them to incendiary or explosive devices carried by balloons that are dispatched from the Strip.

IDF [Israel Defense Forces] officials say that the military holds Hamas responsible for what is happening in the Gaza Strip and it will carry the consequences for any action against Israeli citizens.

Both Hamas and the Palestinian Authority have rejected the Trump peace plan revealed Tuesday, which would allow Israel to annex all of its Jewish settlements, along with the Jordan Valley, in the West Bank.

Hamas has vowed that “all options are open” in responding to the proposal, but is not believed to be seeking another war with Israel.

Source: (Ynetnews originally published this article on January 31, 2020. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo License: Wikimedia.org

Photo Credit: paffairs_sanfrancisco/wikimedia.org

Prayer Focus
Pray again for the citizens of Israel who live within the range of constant rocket fire from Gaza. Seek the Lord for their protection, comfort and courage, especially for the children. Also pray that the government of Israel will indeed take every possible action to bring safety to these communities that have lived under the threat of terror for so long.


Arise, O God, plead Your own cause; remember how the foolish man reproaches You daily. Do not forget the voice of Your enemies; the tumult of those who rise up against You increases continually.

- Psalm 74:22–23

Israel and Sudan to Normalize Ties

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Sudanese leader Lt. Gen. Abdel Fattah al Burhan

Wednesday, 5 February 2020 | What happened: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met Monday with Sudanese leader Lt. Gen. Abdel Fattah al Burhan, chairman of the Sovereignty Council of Sudan, during a visit to Uganda. Both leaders said they would begin “cooperation leading to normalization of relations.”

  • The meeting was facilitated by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, who Netanyahu also met. Discussions centered on possible direct flights between Israel and Uganda as well as the opening of an embassy in Jerusalem. Museveni would only commit to “studying” the issue.
  • Netanyahu highlighted the conversation he had with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Sudan’s behalf, saying “Sudan is headed in a new positive direction” while adding that al-Burhan was keen to modernize his country and end its isolation.
  • Reports in the Israeli media speculated that the first step towards normalization of bilateral relations would be allowing Israeli commercial airliners to fly over Sudan, dramatically reducing flight times to Latin America.
  • KAN Radio, citing a senior Sudanese military official, reported that the Netanyahu–al-Burhan meeting was facilitated by the United Arab Emirates [UAE], with the knowledge of Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Sudan, according to the report, wants the US to remove it from the list of states sponsoring terrorism.
  • Channel 13 reported yesterday that Israel and Morocco have been in secret talks about normalizing their relations. As part of a trilateral deal involving the US, the Trump Administration could recognize Morocco’s sovereignty over occupied Western Sahara in return for steps towards normalizing relations with Israel.

Context: Popular demonstrations began in Sudan in December 2018 due to deteriorating economic conditions and led to the ousting of President Omar al-Bashir. Over the past year an uneasy collective council—currently called the Sovereignty Council of Sudan—has led the country, with al-Burhan at the head.

  • Sudan under the Bashir regime was an international pariah due to its support for terrorist groups and alleged genocide in Darfur. It was also known as a transit point for Iranian arms to Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Israel allegedly bombed a weapons convoy inside Sudan in 2009, a weapons factory in 2012, and a munitions warehouse in 2014.
  • In recent years Sudan has broken from the Iranian-led “resistance” axis, pivoting towards Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt and other moderate Arab states. In the wake of the revolution last year, Gulf states reportedly provided Sudan with at least $1.5 billion in financial aid.
  • The transition away from the Bashir regime has been turbulent, with ongoing demonstrations and bloody crackdowns. The Sudanese military still dominates the country in an uneasy alliance with civilian political groups.

Looking ahead: The meeting between Netanyahu and al-Burhan comes less than a month before Israel’s election on March 2nd. The historic meeting will likely burnish Netanyahu’s credentials as a global statesman, following the Israeli premier’s visits last week to Washington and Moscow. It remains to be seen what tangible steps Israel and Sudan take towards normalization, and whether Uganda—as long promised—establishes an embassy in Jerusalem.

Source: (Bicom originally published this article on February 4, 2020. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo License: Wikimedia.org

Photo Credit: Kremlin.ru/wikimedia.org

Prayer Focus
Pray for great wisdom for Prime Minister Netanyahu as he works tirelessly to expand Israel’s presence across the continent of Africa and to build alliances within the Arab world. Pray for strengthening ties with Uganda, a Ugandan embassy in Jerusalem and God’s will and timing in normalization of relations with Sudan.


As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the LORD is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him. It is God who arms me with strength, and makes my way perfect.

- Psalm 18:30, 32

Look at all that Water!

by Janet Aslin

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Waterfall in the Golon Heights

Thursday, 6 February 2020 | Last week I spent four days on the Golan Heights, taking part in an organized prayer tour. Our Israeli guide was experienced, knowledgeable and obviously loved the opportunity to introduce us to the rich history of his country. He was also very enthusiastic about the recent rainfall and rarely missed an opportunity to point out “all that water.”

On the first day, I happily looked to the right or to the left at whatever body of water he was pointing out. Sometimes it was a small stream rushing alongside the bus, other times it would be a shallow pool of gigantic proportions in the field that we were passing. We saw waterfalls and reservoirs that were full to the brim. The second day was more of the same—we’d get some history of the Druze village we were passing through and then the familiar call in a voice filled with wonder, “Look to the right. See all that water!”

I’m sorry to admit that on the third day I found myself thinking, “Enough already! I have looked at so much water. I really want to know the name of that community I see in the distance and not have my attention drawn to another stream running at full strength.” Just as quickly as the thought came, I felt remorse. As visitors to the Land, those of us on the tour bus could not begin to understand the joy that our Israeli guide felt when he saw “all that water” after years of drought. He could not contain it.

As one who loves Israel and the Word of God, I am familiar with passages such as: “For the land which you go to possess is not like the land of Egypt from which you have come, where you sowed your seed and watered it by foot, as a vegetable garden; but the land which you cross over to possess is a land of hills and valleys, which drinks water from the rain of heaven a land for which the LORD your God cares; the eyes of the LORD your God are always on it, from the beginning of the year to the very end of the year” (Deut. 11:10–12). Rainfall reminds the Jewish people of God’s care for them and for the Land He has given them as an inheritance.

We did not pass the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee); we just saw it from the Golan Heights. I understand from our Israeli guide that when the snow on Mt. Hermon melts and flows into the Kinneret, it may reach its full capacity for the first time in decades. And, after years of pumping water that had begun to deplete the aquifers, they are now being replenished and those involved in agriculture on the Golan can breathe a sigh of relief. May this be the return to many years of plentiful rainfall during Israel’s winter, rainy season!

Source: (Bridges for Peace, February 6, 2020)

Photo Credit: wowtravelblogs.com/YouTube/screenshot

Prayer Focus
Thank the Lord for the incredible blessing of “all that water.” Pray that He will continue to bless Israel with the water it needs for agriculture and the needs of the Israeli people. May they lift their voices in praise to the One who opens the heavens and pours blessings on His children!


Be glad then, you children of Zion, and rejoice in the LORD your God; for He has given you the former rain faithfully, and He will cause the rain to come down for you—the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month. The threshing flows shall be full of wheat, and the vats shall overflow with new wine and oil. So I will restore to you the years that the locusts have eaten.

- Joel 2:23–25a

Liberman Ditches Prospects of Unity Government

by Attila Somfalvi and Alexandra Lukash

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Liberman said the next government will be a Zionist and liberal government.

Wednesday, 5 February 2020 | Yisrael Beytenu Chairman Avigdor Liberman said on Tuesday the next government will not be a unity government, but a Zionist and liberal government.

“I know there won’t be a unity government, but a Zionist and liberal government,” Liberman said in an interview at the Ynet studio. “The public wants a government and prefers a Zionist and liberal one—and that’s what needs to be done.”

After Israel’s last round of elections in September ended in a stalemate, Liberman insisted he would only join a unity government consisting of his Yisrael Beytenu party, alongside the country’s two major parties, Likud and Blue & White, who were both unable to establish a viable majority government due to an ongoing political impasse.

The Moldovan-born lawmaker did not elaborate on his favorable composition of the next government but doubled down on a promise he made during the last election campaign to not join a government which includes far-right members of Knesset, Bezalel Smotrich and Rafi Peretz.

After the previous elections, Liberman demanded Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu part with his “ultra-Orthodox-messianic bloc,” which consisted of the premier’s ruling Likud party, the ultra-Orthodox parties and the Yamina alliance of far-right parties led by Peretz and Smotrich, alongside New Right party leaders Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked.

Liberman also rejected any possibility of sitting with the ultra-Orthodox parties and the predominately Arab Joint List, which he called ‘non-Zionist’ and ‘anti-Zionist’ respectively.

Source: (An excerpt of an article originally published by Ynetnews on February 4, 2020. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo License: pixabay.com

Photo Credit: edu_castro27/pixabay.com

Prayer Focus
Ask the Lord for a resolution to the leadership deadlock that keeps the Israeli government in limbo. Pray for all of Israel’s political leaders, beseeching Him that they will put aside their personal ambitions and choose what is best for the nation.


The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes. Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the hearts.

- Proverbs 21:1–2

EU’s Top Diplomat Visits Tehran for Nuclear Talks

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EU Policy Chief Borrell and Iranian President Rouhani met on Tuesday.

Thursday, 6 February 2020 | What happened: Josep Borrell, the EU [European Union] high representative, visited Iran yesterday to kick start efforts to save the JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action] nuclear deal.

  • Borrell met with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani as part of a two-day visit to Tehran.
  • Rouhani told Borrell that Iran: “Was ready… to cooperate with the European Union to resolve problems” facing the deal and that Tehran is ready to “return to the commitments” if other parties reciprocate. He also told Borrell that Iran would continue to allow IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] inspections.
  • Borrell said he was visiting Iran in an attempt to “keep in touch with everybody… to stabilize the region and to create mutual understanding or at least to build trust,” although the EU has not yet released an official statement of Borrell’s words to his Iranian counterparts.
  • Borrell earlier visited Jordan where he met with King Abdullah II and Foreign Minister Safadi. Borrell said the EU “will continue to support Jordan.” 

Context: Borrell’s visit comes at a difficult time for the European Union. The departure of the UK last Friday deprives the body of diplomatic clout and places more authority and influence with the so-called E3 group of the UK, France and Germany.

  • Iran has steadily withdrawn from its commitments under the 2015 JCPOA nuclear deal. In successive violations in 2019 it increased its stockpile of enriched uranium, increased the percentage to which it is enriching uranium, restarted previously prohibited research and development, developed prohibited advanced centrifuges, and restarted enrichment at the Fordow nuclear facility.
  • After the assassination of Qassem Soleimani on January 2nd, the Iranian cabinet released a statement announcing that Iran will no longer adhere to its remaining nuclear deal commitments but has not announced any further details. 

Looking ahead: Borrell’s visit was intended to maintain lines of communication and did not involve a proper attempt to resolve issues regarding the Iran nuclear deal.

  • The E3 announced on January 14 that they were referring Iranian violations of the nuclear deal to the dispute resolution mechanism. This began a long process that could end with the UN [United Nations] Security Council voting to reimpose sanctions on Iran, but Russia and China will likely veto such a move.
  • The Iranian Foreign Ministry repeated on Monday its previous position that it will not enter bilateral talks with the US until all sanctions are lifted.

The Iranian strategy for now is to try and maintain the status quo until after the US election when they know whether they have to deal with a second Trump term or a new Democratic President.

Source: (Bicom originally published this article on February 4, 2020. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: EU Debates | eudebates.tv/Screenshot/Youtube

Prayer Focus
Pray that the EU and other international bodies will recognize the danger of entering into agreements that might further the nuclear ambitions of the Iranian government that has proven itself to be untrustworthy and bent on regional—if not world—domination.


Hear my cry, O God; attend to my prayer. From the end of the earth I will cry to You, when my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For You have been a shelter for me, a strong tower from the enemy.

- Psalm 61:1–3

Palestinian Authority to Sever Relations with US and Israel

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President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu revealing the new Middle East Peace Plan.

Tuesday, 4 February 2020 | What happened: Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas said that he will cut all ties with the US and Israel, including security cooperation. The move is part of his response and rejection of President Trump’s Israeli–Palestinian plan.

  • Abbas made the announcement in Cairo on Saturday when he addressed a meeting of the Arab League that backed the Palestinians in their opposition to the US plan and called for a Palestinian state based on the pre-67 borders with east Jerusalem as its capital.
  • Abbas said that Palestinian institutions decided in 2015 to end security coordination with Israel, but hadn’t yet implemented that decision. “Now, following the gross violation of the agreements by Israel, we have made it clear that it will bear responsibility for all of its acts.”
  • Abbas said he refused to discuss the plan with Trump by phone, or to receive even a copy of it. Abbas added: “Trump and his administration want me to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. But it is neither Jewish nor anything else. There are two million Christian Russians in Israel and even among the Ethiopian immigrants who moved to Israel, only a small percentage are Jews. So what recognition of a Jewish state are they talking about?” Prime Minister Netanyahu and Blue and White leader Benny Gantz strongly condemned Abbas’s speech.
  • Mortars, rockets and explosive balloons were fired from the Gaza Strip, and in response the Israeli Air Force attacked Hamas military targets. There were also minor clashes between Palestinian protestors and Israeli troops at a number of locations in the West Bank [Judea and Samaria].

Context: Security cooperation between the Palestinian Authority Security Forces (PASF) and the IDF [Israel Defense Forces] has proved vital in preventing terrorist activity by Hamas in the West Bank and other violent activity directed against Israelis.

  • The PA also has intelligence cooperation agreements with the CIA [Central Intelligence Agency], which continued even after the Palestinians began boycotting the Trump administration in 2017.
  • On Thursday, CIA Director Gina Haspel secretly visited Ramallah and met with PA General Intelligence Service Director Majed Faraj.
  • In private discussions before the Arab League meeting Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Aboul Gheit urged moderation, while the United Arab Emirates’ foreign minister called on Abbas not to reject the US plan outright.
  • Diplomats from three Gulf Arab states—Oman, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates (UAE)—attended the unveiling of the plan at the White House, but have since claimed that they were not privy to the details of the plan before the event.
  • Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt issued statements that called for renewed talks between Israel and the Palestinians without directly criticizing the plan.
  • Prof. Eyal Zisser from Tel Aviv University assessed Abbas’s response: “He is an 85-year-old leader who is nearing the end of his political career; he is out of touch with reality and is primarily preoccupied with the question of how he will be remembered by history and with the legacy that he will leave for the Palestinian people once he’s gone.”
  • According to Alex Fishman, the security analyst in Yediot Ahronot: “From Israel’s perspective, this is a strategic warning about impending chaos in the West Bank, at least until after the elections in Israel. Abbas apparently expects such a deep breakdown in Israeli–PA relations to create a sense of security emergency in Israel: the West Bank will begin to bubble over, the crisis in the economic relations between the two sides will worsen, and the Palestinian issue will dominate the Israeli conversation.”
  • Israeli officials have in the past been dismissive of Abbas’s threats and it is unclear if they will now be implemented. The Palestinian Authority has not yet halted security coordination with Israel, a senior Palestinian official told the Times of Israel: “Until now, the coordination is ongoing, but relations are extremely tense.”

Looking ahead: Abbas has announced that he will present his own peace plan, based on the 2002 Arab peace initiative, to the UN [United Nations] Security Council on February 11.

  • Later this week a PLO [Palestine Liberation Organization] delegation is expected to visit Hamas leaders in Gaza to agree a joint position against the US plan.
  • Israel’s Blue and White party intends to put the US plan to a vote in the Israeli parliament shortly. A new poll published this morning by the Israel Democracy Institute found that 45% of Israelis believe Israel should recognize a Palestinian State and 38% say it should not.

Source: (Bicom originally published this article on February 3, 2020. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Fox Business/Screenshot/Youtube

Prayer Focus
Pray that Mahmoud Abbas will choose the wise path and not make rash decisions that will further the conflict. Pray that security coordination will continue and beseech the Lord that the PA will at least be willing to enter into negotiations with Israel.


Deliver me, O LORD, from evil men; preserve me from violent men, who plan evil things in their hearts. They continually gather together for war.

- Psalm 140:1–2

Music Therapy for Israeli Children Suffering from PTSD

by Matan Tzuri

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A child in a bomb shelter in southern Israel

Friday, 31 January 2020 | A new study shows the therapeutic effects of music on children living in communities near the border with the Gaza Strip and suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The study, conducted by Dr. Moshe Bensimon of the Department of Criminology at Bar-Ilan University, sought to explain how music could assist in treating children after a traumatic event, as the constant rocket threat near the Gaza border forces parents to seek original solutions to calm their children’s panic and anxiety.

Bensimon interviewed dozens of music therapists who treat children from Gaza-bordering communities that are subjected to repeated acts of aggression by Gaza terror groups, mainly rocket fire.

Bensimon then formulated practical models and tools to examine how music could relieve patients’ symptoms.

“The use of music brings enjoyment, empowerment and gives control back to the patients,” Bensimon said.

“The more you repeat this action, it creates a new experience and re-frames the trauma. This way, the traumatic memory is perceived as less scary and intimidating for children from Gaza-bordering communities.”

Therapists strongly recommend that parents use music as part of their child’s coping process because music gives children a sense of control and stability and puts them in a game-like state of mind, which is considered to be a wholesome experience.

Treatment by music detaches the patients from reality and gives way to their imagination to navigate through different social situations.

Source: (Ynetnews originally published this article on January 26, 2020. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: David Katz/The Israel Project/wikimedia.org

Photo License: wikimedia.org

Prayer Focus
Praise the Lord for the healing properties of music. Ask the Lord to bring the needed resources to these families that they might use music and other innovative processes to calm their children and bring relief from ongoing fear and anxiety. Pray that the Lord Himself will be their deliverance.


The LORD your God in your midst, the Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.

- Zephaniah 3:17

You can make a difference in the lives of the thousands of young Israelis who have suffered from acts of terror. Bridges for Peace, through its Victims of Terror program, partners with the Koby Mandell Foundation to sponsor a summer camp for children who have suffered the trauma of losing loved ones in terror attacks. Please prayerfully consider a generous donation to our Victims of Terror fund so that we can help to bring comfort and healing to more and more of Israel’s traumatized young people.