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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.

Palestinian Leaders Vote to Withdraw Recognition of Israel

by Ilse Posselt

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Wednesday, 17 January 2018 | Palestinian leaders voted on Monday evening to withdraw recognition for Israel and suspend security coordination with the Jewish state. The Palestinian Central Council, the second highest decision-making body in the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), made the decision at the end of a two-day meeting in Ramallah.

The council said in a statement that it will no longer be bound by the 1993 Oslo Peace Accords. The vote thus orders the PLO, which is considered the official representative of Palestinians internationally, to rescind its recognition of Israel and cease any security cooperation until such time as the Jewish state “recognizes the state of Palestine” based on pre-Six Day War lines, hands over east Jerusalem to the Palestinians and ceases any construction activity in Judea and Samaria. The Palestinians, the statement added, would also make every effort to seek full statehood recognition from the United Nations.

Should the PLO decide to implement these recommendations, the repercussions for the Israeli-Palestinian situation could be dire. However, at this point it remains unclear whether the vote is binding or enforceable. A similar decision taken in 2015 by the council to suspend security coordination with the Jewish state never took effect.  According to Israeli media, the final decision will rest [with] Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas.     

Yet judging by the PA president’s anti-Semitic diatribe over the weekend, it is not hard to guess at Abbas’s conviction on the matter. Addressing the council on Sunday, Abbas called Israel “a colonial project that had nothing to do with Judaism,” a claim that stands in direct contradiction to the Bible, in which Israel, and particularly Jerusalem, is promised to the Jewish people on a number of occasions, The Mideast Update points out.

Apart from the anti-Semitic libels, the PA president also charged Israel with “ending the Oslo agreement” and called on the council to “revise all the agreements signed between the PLO and Israel…” According to the PA president, it was up to the Palestinian leaders seated in front of him to decide “where we go from here.”

The 1993 Oslo agreement signaled the birth of the PA, which was called into existence to govern Palestinian communities in Judea and Samaria. The agreement also formed the foundation for the PLO recognizing the existence of Israel for the first time and the beginning of negotiations between the Israel and the PLO. While the Palestinians have thus far walked turned down every opportunity for peaceful coexistence in the 25 years since, security cooperation between Israel and the Palestinians remains ongoing and is widely considered one of the few successful take-aways from Oslo.    

The weekend’s rare Palestinian Central Council meeting was aimed at formalizing a way forward following the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The Palestinians claim part of the City of Gold as the capital of their future state and thus decry the US’s decision as an attack on their bid for statehood. Moreover, Abbas charged that the move disqualifies America from acting as a future mediator in peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, 17 January 2018)

Photo Credit: Screenshot/YouTube/TDC

Prayer Focus
Cry out to God as the enemy slanders His name by continuously ridiculing the Jewish state and stirring up hatred among the Arab residents in Judea and Samaria. The deception and lies of the Palestinian Authority (PA) have also infected many nations of the world. Ask God to guide and encourage the nation of Israel and her leaders from deep within as they must bear the constant aggression of the PA and its global allies.

Scripture

With their mouths the godless destroy their neighbors, but through knowledge the righteous escape.


- Proverbs 11:9

US Cuts Contribution to UNRWA in Half, Following Its History of Corruption, Terror Support

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Thursday, 18 January 2018 | The Trump administration announced on Tuesday that it was conditioning roughly half of a periodic contribution to UNRWA (the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East). The administration will transfer roughly $60 million immediately, but the remaining pledge of $65 million has been withheld “for future consideration.” The administration had previously indicated that funding would be withheld in response to a lack of movement towards peace by the Palestinian leadership.

UNRWA has long been accused of ignoring its mandate to alleviate the plight of Palestinian refugees and instead promoting incitement against Israelis, including even sheltering terrorists. With their actions, the organization has directly facilitated terrorism.

UNRWA has filled high-level positions with senior Palestinian terrorists, including Hamas members such as Suhail al-Hindi. UNRWA facilities are also used for Palestinian terrorism. In December 2017, a terror tunnel was discovered under two UNRWA schools. During the 2014 Gaza war, at least three Hamas weapons caches were found in UNRWA facilities, while a Hamas terror tunnel was found in a booby-trapped UNRWA clinic.

The organization’s staff in Gaza, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria has also been embroiled in incitement of terrorism and anti-Semitism. In February 2017, UNRWA launched a global fundraising campaign using a photograph of a child in war-torn Syria, giving would-be donors the false impression that the scene of destruction was in the Gaza Strip.

UNRWA officials further promote incitement against Israel. The NGO watchdog group UN Watch published two reports just last year––one in February 2017 and a second one in April 2017––detailing more than 60 examples of UNRWA educational staff engaged in incitement on social media: by “celebrating the terrorist kidnapping of Israeli teenagers, cheering rockets being fired at Israeli civilian centers, endorsing various forms of violence, erasing Israel from the map, praising Hitler and posting his photo, and posting overtly anti-Semitic videos, caricatures, and statements.”

Schoolbooks used in UNRWA facilities in Gaza and the West Bank [Judea–Samaria] have been found to display extreme anti-Israel and anti-Jewish sentiments. In one textbook, Zionism is described as a colonialist ideology devoted to moving European Jews to Israel and displacing Arabs. The textbooks also teach that Jewish holy places—including the Western Wall, the Cave of the Patriarchs, and Rachel’s Tomb—are actually Muslim holy sites that Jews are appropriating.

In addition, UNRWA is perpetuating the refugee crisis by using a unique criterion for defining Palestinian refugees. A recent census by the Lebanese government found that the number of Palestinian refugees in the country is only 38% of the 450,000 UNRWA claims, drawing renewed scrutiny regarding the agency’s commonly cited total of 5 million refugees across the region.

UNHCR, which is tasked with dealing with the world’s refugees (aside from Palestinians) in 110 countries, has a staff of less than 7,000, according to latest available figures. In contrast, UNRWA, which is responsible only for Palestinian refugees has over 30,000 employees.

An internal UN audit in 2010 found that UNRWA was particularly vulnerable to “misappropriation, graft and corruption” in its “procurement, partner selection, food and cash distribution, hiring and promotions, and other areas.” The UN audit also found that UNRWA’s oversight arrangements were deficient.

Source: (Excerpt of article originally published by The Israel Project in its publication The Tower on 17 January 2018. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Screenshot/YouTube/HonestReporting

Prayer Focus
Beseech God to lead the government of Israel in the immediate future, asking Him to show them how to prepare, deal with and react to possible attacks as a result of the USA’s decision to withhold millions from the UN body – UNRWA. Beseech God for wisdom in your own government, asking for the exposure of any humanitarian organizations that promote terrorism and who are not good stewards of tax payers’ money.

Scripture

A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, loving favor rather than silver and gold.


- Proverbs 22:1

Trump Warns ‘Last Chance’ to Fix Flawed Iran Nuke Deal

by Joshua Spurlock

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US President Donald Trump

Monday, 15 January 2018 | 120 days from now the international Iran nuclear deal could be dead if Europe and the United States can’t agree on a revised approach to the Islamic Republic. US President Donald Trump last Friday waived sanctions against Iran as part of their involvement in the deal, but the American leader warned in comments posted to the White House website it would be the last time he would do so without a supplemental international agreement that toughens restrictions on the Iranian nuclear and missile programs. According to media reports in The Independent and other publications, President Trump’s next opportunity to address sanctions is 120 days later.

“I am waiving the application of certain nuclear sanctions, but only in order to secure our European allies’ agreement to fix the terrible flaws of the Iran nuclear deal,” said Trump on Friday. “This is a last chance. In the absence of such an agreement, the United States will not again waive sanctions in order to stay in the Iran nuclear deal.”

Trump’s warning was heard clearly in Israel, and they’re already telling Europe to listen too.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke with French President Emmanuel Macron on Saturday evening. According to a summary of that talk posted to Prime Minister’s Office spokesman Ofir Gendelman’s Twitter feed, Netanyahu told Macron that “Trump’s statement should be taken seriously and that those who wish to keep the deal should fix it.”

A senior US administration official said in separate comments that a US-Europe agreement on Iran must include restrictions on Iran’s ballistic missile program, limitations to keep Iran’s expected nuclear weapons “breakout period”—the time it would take to rapidly develop such weapons if they chose to do so—to at least a year and removing the “sunset clause” that concludes nuclear inspections after a set number of years.

That official, whose comments on condition of anonymity were also posted to the White House website, said they’ve already been discussing the issue with European allies. “So those [talks] have been quite far advanced in terms of making clear to our European allies what we expect of them, and also in agreeing on an assessment of the nature of the Iranian problem, and in seeking a collective way forward to try to counter the different aspects of that problem,” said the official.

Trump has also called upon Congress for revised legislation threatening sanctions on Iran that addresses similar concerns and that’s not all he ultimately wants to see. In his comments, Trump called upon all American allies to cut off all funding to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, designate all of Hezbollah—not just its so-called military wing—as a terrorist organization and take other steps to address Iran’s destabilizing activities around the globe.

Meanwhile, US Representative to the United Nations Nikki Haley also called upon that international body to address Iranian missile activity, support for terror, human rights violations and other misdeeds. Even though the Iranian nuclear deal prohibits certain sanctions on Iran in exchange for their cooperation in the agreement, Haley said addressing the other concerns can still “be taken outside of the nuclear deal.” But if the world refuses to cooperate to keep from upsetting the Iran deal, Haley warned the nuclear pact isn’t worth the cost.

“If we cannot achieve international consensus on [addressing the non-nuclear concerns], then it will become even clearer that the nuclear deal is an impediment to peace,” said Haley. “We must not allow the Iranian regime to use the nuclear deal to provide it with cover to violate all manner of international norms and UN resolutions.”

Source: (The Mideast Update originally published this article on 14 January 2018. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today.)

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore/wikimedia.org

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Pray that PM Netanyahu will have favor with global leaders as he labors to sternly warn and educate them regarding the danger and threat of Iran. Intercede for nations to support the US’s call to stand with Israel and join in the effort to prevent or fix the debacle which the Iranian nuclear deal has always been.

Scripture

Let not mercy and truth forsake you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart, and so find favor and high esteem in the sight of God and man.


- Proverbs 3:3-4

Israel Destroys Third Terror Tunnel in Two Months, Warns Don’t “Try Us”

by Joshua Spurlock

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IDF spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus announces a Q&A session on the recent demolition of a tunnel under the Kerem Shalom border crossing

Monday, 15 January 2018 | The war below ground to defend Israel continued over the weekend, as the IDF [Israel Defense Forces] destroyed the third Hamas terror tunnel in two months, according to the IDF Spokesperson’s Twitter feed. The latest tunnel ran in the area of the Kerem Shalom crossing from Gaza into Israel, a location that directly impacted the people of Gaza. IDF spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus noted in a video on Twitter that the tunnel not only violates Israeli sovereignty, but also puts at risk the operations of the Kerem Shalom humanitarian crossing, which he noted is where 5 million tons of humanitarian goods enter Gaza from Israel per year.

A separate video by Col. Koby Heler on the IDF Spokesperson Twitter feed said the tunnel ran under the crossing itself, while another Twitter post said that the crossing would not be open the day after the IDF destruction of the tunnel “following an assessment of the situation.”

Meanwhile, Lt. Col. Conricus said that the IDF “does not wish to escalate the situation, however we hold the Hamas terrorist organization responsible for any acts of aggression against the State of Israel or its civilians and we will continue to defend our borders and sovereignty.” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had an even sterner warning to Gaza’s terrorists: Don’t test us.

“We are systematically eliminating the tunnel infrastructure of Hamas and Islamic Jihad; they should not try us,” said the Israeli leader in comments released by his office on Sunday.

Not only did the tunnel put the Kerem Shalom crossing and its humanitarian goods at risk, it also cost the people of Gaza a lot to build the terror tunnel. Prime Minister’s Office Spokesman Ofir Gendelman said in his own Twitter post that the tunnel “was dug in order to send terrorists into Israel and to smuggle advanced weaponry. It had cost millions at the expense of poor Gazans.”

The danger could have been even higher. The tunnel’s path intersected gas and diesel fuel lines according to another IDF video posted to Twitter showing the tunnel’s location.

Terror tunnels have been a weapon of choice for Hamas for years, including for use in kidnapping efforts. After destroying tunnels during the last major conflict with Hamas, Israel isn’t waiting for the next war to destroy more threats to their people.

In comments released by his office Saturday night after the tunnel was destroyed, Netanyahu termed the tunnel a “main Hamas terrorist infrastructure” and said, “We are responding to aggression against the State of Israel and are taking vigorous and systematic action against hostile infrastructures.”

Source: (The Mideast Update originally published this article on 14 January 2018. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today.)

Photo Credit: Screenshot/IDF Spokesperson Twitter

Prayer Focus
Thank God the IDF detected and destroyed the terror tunnel running underneath the Kerem Shalom crossing. Continue to pray for wisdom, ideas and protection as the IDF is determined to protect its borders and Israel’s sovereignty with zero tolerance for Hamas’ schemes.

Scripture

As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the LORD is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him.


- Psalm 18:30

IDF Discovers, Safely Detonates Explosive Device Planted at Joseph’s Tomb

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Joseph’s Tomb, as it appeared in the early 1900s

Thursday, 18 January 2018 | A bomb that was planted in a cell phone, apparently to be detonated remotely, was discovered at Joseph’s Tomb during a security sweep of the structure before an estimated 1,000 Jewish worshipers were slated to arrive, The Jerusalem Post reported Tuesday.

The tomb, which is located in Nablus, the site of the biblical city of Shechem, is located in Area A, under full control of the Palestinian Authority [PA]. The tomb is one of two holy sites in Area A that remains under Israeli control. Access to the tomb for worshipers is usually arranged with Israeli security forces.

Israeli security services safely detonated the bomb.

Protesters stoned the Israeli officers as they entered and exited the shrine, but no injuries were reported.

Over the years Joseph’s Tomb has been the target of vandalism, including arson, most recently in October 2015, when hundreds of rioters set fire to the shrine, before they were chased away by Palestinian Authority police. Though PA President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the 2015 attack as “actions that violate law and order, and which distort our culture, our morals and our religion,” the PA is required by the Oslo Accords to protect holy sites under its jurisdiction.

Source: (The Israel Project originally published this article in its publication The Tower on 16 January 2018. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Public Domain/Wikimedia.org

Prayer Focus
Give thanks for the marvelous job the IDF and Israel’s security forces are doing to protect worshippers from terror attacks in sacred places. Ask God to lead, guide and protect them with His knowledge in these difficult places and circumstances. Also ask Him to command the angels to camp around the holy sites to protect them from vandalism and arson.

Scripture

The LORD shall preserve your going out and your coming in from this time forth, and even forevermore.


- Psalm 121:8

A Rainy Month

by Janet Aslin

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(illustrative)

Wednesday, 17 January 2018 | While December was a dry month in Israel, January began with a significant amount of moisture falling in the northern, coastal and central areas of Israel. Over the period from January 3rd through January 6th, the level of the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) rose 7 centimeters (2.75 in). During the two weeks since the initial January storm, rain has continued intermittently. As of the writing of this article, Jerusalem has received 140 millimeters (5.5 in), Haifa 204 millimeters (8.0 in) and Mitzpe Harashim, a community in the north which is also known as “the wettest place in Israel,” has received 271 millimeters (10.7 in).

While these rain storms are certainly something to give thanks for, the water situation in Israel is still in crisis. The water levels in the Kinneret are an indication that many here in Israel use to determine the health, or lack thereof, of Israel’s water supply. In early December the water level was a mere 5 centimeters (2 in) above the black line, the level below the pipes which are used to take water out of the lake. As a result of the rains, primarily in January, the water level of the Kinneret is now 0.63 meters (2.06 ft) above the black line. This is a move in the right direction, but the Kinneret is still 1.24 meters (4.07 ft) below the lower red line, the point at which the ecological balance is damaged and water quality begins to be compromised.

Until the rain began to fall in January, this winter had been Israel’s driest on record in 18 years. This week we have seen several gentle rainfalls in Jerusalem. Beginning Sunday evening through Monday morning we received 16 mm (0.62 in) and for this we do give thanks. However, we also continue to pray that abundant rains will fall during the remainder of the rainy season.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, 17 January 2018)

Photo Credit: Michael Gaida/pixabay.com

Prayer Focus
Praise the Lord for the gentle rain that saturates the extremely dry land, watering the grass in the field and slowly, slowly raising the water level of the Kinneret. Give thanks and continue to pray for a season of rain that will bring the current drought to an end and fill the dry underground aquifers to build up a water reserve once again.

Scripture

God thunders marvelously with His voice; He does great things which we cannot comprehend. For He says to the snow, fall on the earth; likewise to the gentle rain and the heavy rain of His strength.


- Job 37:5-6

After Losing Father to Terror, Son Wages War against BDS

by Itamar Eichner

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A logo of the BDS movement

Tuesday, 16 January 2018 | The son of Richard Lakin, who was murdered in a terror attack in Jerusalem in October 2015, has been nominated to head a new government-backed organization to take on the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement [BDS].

Micah Lakin-Avni’s father was one of three people who were murdered in a terror attack in the East Talpiot in Jerusalem on October 13, 2015, at the height of the wave of terror.

Since his father was killed, Avni has waged a legal campaign against Facebook in a quest to wash out the incitement to terror that has flooded its virtual walls.

The new non-profit organization was established at the behest of Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud), who also serves as minister of strategic affairs and information.

The most recent weapon in the ministry’s arsenal against BDS will operate in the form of a public benefit company and will be charged with the task of assisting Israel in its public relations efforts, countering attempts to tarnish the country’s name on the international stage and calls to impose boycotts.

The group will be funded by the government, which has so far pumped NIS 128 million [US $36.5 million] into its coffers. Jewish philanthropists in the Diaspora are also expected to fund the project, which is expected to boost its overall budget to ballpark figure of between NIS 256 million [US $73 million] and NIS 512 million [US $146 million].

Both the lower and upper end of the estimate would constitute an unprecedented investment in any organization instituted to fight the BDS.

A well-known figure in the capital market world, Avni will lead the organization on a voluntary basis. He is the founder and CEO of The Peninsula Company, which provides credit to small and medium-sized businesses in Israel. He also serves as the chairman of an Israeli credit card association.

Richard Lakin, the 76-year-old American Israeli, was murdered in a brutal attack when two Palestinian terrorists—Baha Aliyan, 22, and Bilal Ranem, 23, both from Jabel Mukaber—boarded the line 78 Egged bus on Olei HaGardom Street in East Talpiot, a neighborhood also known as Armon HaNatziv, one armed with a gun and the other with a knife.

Beginning their bloodletting as the bus was still traveling, three died of their wounds and ten others were wounded. Haim Haviv, 78, and Alon Govberg, 51 were also killed in the attacks.

Immediately after the massacre, Avni began his personal struggle against incitement on social media, publishing articles in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal on the subject.

Avni also filed a billion-dollar lawsuit against Facebook for enabling Hamas, a terror organization, to utilize its network and for enabling incitement to terror. Following the legal battle, all pages affiliated with Hamas and its leaders were removed from the social media giant.

“Our enemies understand that they can’t beat us militarily so they try to conduct a war against us using calls for boycotts and delegitimization,” Avni said on Wednesday. “I welcome the initiative of the Ministry of Strategic Affairs as a model of cooperation between the Jewish people in the Diaspora and the Israeli government.”

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

Photo Credit: Public Domain / wikimedia.org

Prayer Focus
Lift up Micah Lakin-Avni, praying for endurance, brilliance and God’s wisdom as he is going to look the Israel-haters in the eye, counter their attempts to tarnish Israel’s name and neutralize their efforts of economic warfare against Israel and its supporters. Also pray for his family as they support him in this endeavor, asking for protection for all of them.

Scripture

My voice You shall hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning I will direct it to You, and I will look up. For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness, nor shall evil dwell with You.


- Psalm 5:3-4

South African Zulu King Warns Government against Downgrading Ties with Israel

by Ilse Posselt

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South African Zulu President Zwelithini

Tuesday, 16 January 2018 | Last month South Africa’s ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC) announced its intention to loosen diplomatic ties with Israel and downgrade its embassy in Tel Aviv to a liaison office. The decision, the ANC explained, served both as a show of solidarity with the alleged suffering of the Palestinian people and condemnation of the US’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Although such a move would be to the detriment of South Africans, the announcement hardly came as a surprise. In recent years the relationship between South Africa and Israel has been fraught at best. While the two countries retained diplomatic ties, South Africa has become a leading voice in condemning Israel, accusing the Jewish state of Apartheid practices and endorsing the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

Yet while the ANC works to distance itself from Israel, the constitutionally-recognized king of South Africa’s largest ethnic group has issued an urgent request to the ruling party to maintain close ties with the Jewish state, citing the importance of South Africa’s relationship with Israel.

King Goodwill Zwelithini, monarch of the roughly 12.5 million members of the country’s Zulu nation, hailed the Jewish state’s dedicated efforts to curb the devastation of drought and the spread of HIV/Aids in South Africa. During an address to the ANC’s top leadership last week, including newly elected party president, Cyril Ramaphosa, he explained that he has enjoyed a close relationship with Israel and South Africa’s Jewish community for nearly a decade, in which Israeli expertise have benefitted South Africans. Moreover, he warned that South Africa should refrain from becoming embroiled in issues of which it has little knowledge.

Referring to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Zwelithini cautioned the leaders against interfering “in things we know nothing about… because we will find that the people that we involve ourselves with… are the same people that work in ways that can help us with our drought issues. They can change that and make our dams our source of life,” the king urged.

Israel’s cutting-edge breakthroughs in water technology are, however, not the only way in which it blesses South Africa, Zwelithini said. In 2009, the Zulu monarch issued a decree introducing medical circumcision for boys to curb the rampant spread of HIV/Aids in the country. In the nine years since, more than 700,000 boys have been circumcised. And Israel, he highlighted, played a leading role in the initiative.

“There are two offices [clinics] that have been built by Jewish organizations [The South African Zionist Federation and South African Friends of Israel] in this Kingdom. They came here because I requested them to come. They built these offices [clinics] the day I announced circumcision on the 6th December 2009,” Zwelithini held.

The South African Zionist Federation applauded the monarch’s statement, adding that it “implores the ANC to take note of the call of the Zulu king, who represents a major constituency of the ANC.”

Zwelithini is not the only South African leader to ask the ANC to retain ties with Israel. Last week, leader of the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP), Reverend Kenneth Meshoe penned an open letter to Ramaphosa, requesting that he reconsiders the prospective downgrade.

“I cannot understand why, when many African countries are now warming up to and improving their relations with Israel… the ANC does the opposite by resolving to downgrade our embassy in Tel Aviv, and thus sour relations with Israel, a democratic country that has so much to offer to South Africa,” the ACDP leader said.

According to Meshoe, South Africa “has many challenges in areas where Israel has specialized technology… Israel is a world leader in innovation and technology that can benefit South Africa.”

Yet despite calls to the contrary, Ramaphosa, who is likely to become South Africa’s president following the 2019 elections, remained adamant and reaffirmed over the weekend that the plans to downgrade the South African Embassy in Israel will go ahead.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, 16 January 2018)

Photo Credit: Reinhardth/Wikimedia.org

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Appeal to God to favor the voices in the wilderness who have the courage to publicly stand with Israel in the wake of South Africa’s very strong efforts in support of the boycott movement. Pray for men like King Zwelithini and Rev. Meshoe who understand the importance of partnering with Israel. Ask God to enlighten the eyes and hearts of South Africa’s leadership to the importance of withdrawing their decision to downgrade the embassy and cut ties with Israel.

Scripture

If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.


- 2 Chronicles 7:14

Netanyahu, Modi Sign Nine Agreements Boosting Israel, India Ties

by BICOM

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PM Netanyahu and PM Modi at a conference (illustrative)

Wednesday, 17 January 2018 | Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a formal meeting with his Indian counterpart Monday as the two countries signed nine deals to boost bilateral relations.

Netanyahu and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailed the “dawn of a new era” in their relations after signing agreements in defense, agriculture and aviation.

In natural gas and oil, they agreed to strengthen cooperation in exploration, production and research and development. They will advance academic ties and start-ups. The two countries also signed cooperation deals in cyber-defense, security and science.

Netanyahu said after meeting Modi in Delhi that “India and Israel are living proof not only that democracy works but they demonstrate something deeper––the intrinsic value of freedom which I believe is the intrinsic value of life. India stands out in the community of nations because over 2,000 years the Jews of India have never experienced anti-Semitism as our people experienced in so many other lands. This is a tribute to your civilization, to your tolerance, to your humanity.”

In response, Modi said: “I have a reputation for being impatient to get results and so do you, PM Netanyahu. We will strengthen our cooperation in areas that affect the lives of our people—agriculture, science and technology and defense.”

Netanyahu said the two nations had great potential to work together to improve the lives of their citizens, mentioning specifically an “idea of revolutionizing Indian agriculture as we’re revolutionizing Israeli agriculture––precision agriculture that goes down to the individual plant,” whilst Modi held out an invitation for “more and more Israeli people, businesses and companies to come and work in India.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu also mentioned the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks. “Indians and Israelis remember too well the savagery of the horrific terrorist attacks. We fight back, we never give in,” he said.

Indian National Security Adviser Ajit Doval met his Israeli counterpart Meir Ben-Shabbat, where they discussed security, counter-terrorism and defense cooperation. A joint statement after the talks said they agreed “strong measures against terrorists, terror organizations, those who sponsor, encourage or finance terrorism or provide sanctuary to terrorists and terror groups.”

Source: (The Israel Project originally published this article in its publication The Tower on 16 January 2018. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Kobi Gideon/Ashernet/GPO

Prayer Focus
Ask God to bless the relationship between Israel and India; PM Netanyahu and PM Modi. Pray for God’s protection over them and the agreements they signed to secure the ‘dawn of a new era’ in the relationship between the two countries. Thank God for their vision to revolutionize each other’s nations and for India that strongly opposes terrorism and denounces the funding and encouragement thereof.

Scripture

And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands for us; yes, establish the work of our hands.


- Psalm 90:17

Israel the First and Only Country to Aid Cholera-stricken Zambia

by Ilse Posselt

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Electron microscope view of Vibrio Cholerae, bacteria that causes cholera

Friday, 12 January 2018 | The signs of the looming epidemic started early in October 2017. Within days, the infectious disease claimed its first victims and the number of those infected had risen alarmingly. By the end of the month, the proverbial writing was on the wall: Lusaka, the capital of Zambia, was caught in the grips of a deadly cholera outbreak. The disease, which is spread through contaminated water, can cause severe dehydration and death within hours if left untreated.

Today, some three months after the start of the epidemic, the situation in the East African nation is dire—and continues to deteriorate. The death toll in Lusaka alone now tops 60 and nearly 3,000 cases of cholera have been reported. In an attempt to curb the outbreak, schools have been shut tight, public gatherings banned, street vending outlawed and the army is patrolling the streets of the capital to ensure adherence to a strict curfew.

With the epidemic showing no sign of letting up, only one country has rushed to the aid of the disaster-stricken nation. An Israeli team from the Sheba Medical Center, the Jewish state’s largest hospital, arrived in Zambia on Friday. The team includes physicians, water engineers, tropical medicine experts and epidemiologists. A second delegation, comprising a more physicians, nurses and a lab technician, was set to touch down in Lusaka today.

The Director of Sheba Medical Center’s Israel Center for Disaster Medicine and Humanitarian Response, Dr. Elhanan Bar-On, heads up the team from Israel. Dr. Bar-On spoke to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency from Lusaka on Tuesday, explaining that they have evaluated the situation and have managed to identify several sources of the outbreak. Roughly half a million people living in one of the worst-hit and poorest parts of Lusaka are exposed to contaminated water drawn from wells dug close to sewage-infested soil. The team from Israel advised the government accordingly and access to the affected wells have subsequently been blocked.

The experts from the Jewish state have also been treating patients at the Lusaka National Heroes Stadium, a sports field that has been converted into a cholera treatment center following the outbreak, NoCamels reports.

According to Sheba Medical Center’s Director General, Dr. Yitzhak Kreiss, the delegation from Israel hopes to bring relief to as many Zambians as possible. “The innovative medical expertise and tactics employed by our experts are today being dedicated to helping the people of Zambia and saving as many lives as possible from the tragic cholera outbreak. Sheba Medical Center’s goal, which echoes the ethos of Israel, is to save lives and make a positive global impact.”

Israel’s selfless efforts in Zambia are but one example of the Jewish state’s steadfast commitment to assist those in need.

Israel’s population is but a tad over 8.5 million. The slight strip of land that constitutes the Jewish state is ranked 190th in land size in the world. Moreover, the country has limited resources of its own, domestic matters that require its funds, manpower and expertise and borders that need constant protection from neighbors calling for its annihilation.

Despite these factors, the Jewish state is considered among the best in the world when it comes search-and-rescue operations, medical aid and constructing field hospitals, humanitarian efforts and disaster relief. Moreover, a team from tiny Israel is often the first, most experienced and best prepared on the scene when disaster or epidemic strikes.

Ten years after the rebirth of the State of Israel, the people of the Promised Land insisted that the state develop and implement an official humanitarian aid agenda. The six decades since have seen the Jewish state remain true to that vision, coming to the aim of more than 140 disaster-stricken nations.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, 12 January, 2018)

Photo Credit: Public Domain/wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Rejoice in the Lord as Israel has come to the rescue of the people in Zambia who are suffering from contaminated water that causes cholera. Give thanks for the expertise that Israel has and is willing to share by sending assistance that ranges from water engineers to nurses and disease control experts. Intercede for the nation to be water-wise and for relief and healing of their physical agony.

Scripture

The LORD will guide you continually, and satisfy your soul in drought, and strengthen your bones; you shall be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.


- Isaiah 58:11

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