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Caring for the Community

Friday, January 20, 2023

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Every week, we post seven to ten news stories from Israel with a suggested prayer focus and scripture for each one, guiding readers how to pray for Israel’s most urgent needs. This Prayer Update is also sent to over 18,000 subscribers every Friday by e-mail. Please contact us at intl.office@bridgesforpeace.com if you would like to receive this Prayer Update by e-mail.

US Sending Ammo Stored in Israel to Ukraine

by Kate Norman

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The US is reportedly sending ammunition stockpiled in Israel to Ukraine.

Thursday, 19 January 2023 | The United States is drawing from a massive stockpile of ammunition in Israel to replenish Ukraine’s severely depleted inventory in its fight against the Russian invasion.

The US stockpiles arms and ammunition in Israel for the US military to use in case of conflict in the region, the New York Times reported, and has also allowed the Israeli military to draw from the stockpile in emergencies.

After Russian President Vladimir Putin’s forces invaded Ukraine last February, the conflict has devolved into a war of attrition, with experts predicting that victory will boil down to whose ammunition holds out the longest. Ukraine’s stockpile reportedly has been depleted severely, forcing the besieged nation to rely on shells donated by Western allies.

Keeping Ukraine’s defenses locked and loaded has depleted Washington’s own stockpile and is outpacing the combined ammunition production speed of the US and Europe, as Ukrainian militias fire more than 90,000 artillery shells each month.

Washington therefore decided to dip into two stockpiles: one in Israel and the other in South Korea. The US and Jerusalem agreed to ship some 300,000 155-millimeter (6-inch) shells to Ukraine, the New York Times reported, citing US and Israeli officials, half of which have already been shipped, bound for Poland before final delivery to Ukraine.

To preserve its relations with Moscow, Israel has opted to send humanitarian aid to Ukraine rather than weapons. Israel must ensure that Russia, who maintains a strong presence in Syria and control over the Syrian skies, does not close Syrian airspace to Israeli jets, who regularly conduct air strikes against terrorist groups in the region.

Jerusalem reportedly feared that the US drawing from its stockpile in Israel would anger Russia, the New York Times reported, when the idea was first pitched last year. US Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III discussed it with then-Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz, the Times reported, citing an Israeli official.

Gantz then reportedly put it to the Israeli cabinet for discussion. The cabinet approved the decision, which, the New York Times reported, was an effort to stay in good standing with Washington—and because the stockpile is property of the US military. The proposal was given final approval by then-Prime Minister Yair Lapid.

Israeli officials also told the New York Times that this does not signal a shift in Israeli policy on providing Ukraine with weapons but was merely giving Washington the thumbs up to use its own ammunition as it pleases.

A spokesperson for the Israeli military also told the New York Times: “Based on a US request, certain equipment was transferred to the US DOD [Department of Defense] from its stockpiles” in Israel.

Hours after the New York Times report was published, an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) source told the Jerusalem Post that Washington will replenish what was taken out of its stockpile in Israel and that it would not affect Israel’s readiness for a regional conflict.

Washington’s stockpile in Israel reportedly goes back to the 1973 Yom Kippur War. After airlifting weapons to restock the Israeli forces, the US established a weapons supply in the Jewish state for use in emergency.

The stockpile, called the War Reserve Stocks for Allies-Israel (WRSA-I), is managed by US CENTCOM and includes storage in several locations in Israel which only American military personnel can access, the New York Times reported, citing a former US arms inspector.

Israel has drawn on the supply twice: the 2006 Second Lebanon War with the Hezbollah terror group and in the 2014 conflict with Hamas in Gaza, according to a Congressional Research Service report from last year.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, January 19, 2023)

Photo Credit: User:Bukvoed./commons.wikimedia.org

Photo License: wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Pray that this movement of ammunition stockpiles from Israel to Ukraine will be done judiciously, helping to provide the Ukrainian army with the supplies they need to stand against Russian aggression without endangering Israel’s ability to defend itself should war break out. Pray that this does not in any way signal a change in the relationship between the US and Israel.

Scripture

I will lift up my eyes to the hills—from whence comes my help? My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.


- Psalm 121:1–4

Unpacking the Main Challenges of Israel’s New Chief of Staff

by Yossi Yehoshua ~ Ynet

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The IDF’s new Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi

Tuesday, 17 January 2023 | On Monday morning, Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi officially stepped in as the new IDF [Israel Defense Forces] chief of staff replacing Aviv Kochavi, who will leave the military after 40 years of service.

Kochavi’s term wasn’t perfect, and although he had many successes in improving the IDF’s lethal capabilities and implementing advanced technology, he also left Halevi with many challenges.

During his tenure, Halevi will face three main operational tasks: Preparing the military for the next war; the Iranian nuclear issue; and the Palestinians.

As far as the Iranian issue, even though the preparedness to attack the country’s nuclear targets suffered a setback at the beginning of Kochavi’s term, it is now safe to say the plan is “back on track.” The only thing that is lacking is the means, which will come in the near future.

When it comes to the Palestinian issue, Halevi will be required to prepare for the worst-case scenario—the collapse of the Palestinian Authority, and a subsequent mass wave of terror that will follow.

Halevi will also have to address mundane matters, which are no less pressing: The condition and quality of the food at military bases and medical services within the army.

Halevi received a painful reminder of these internal problems only a day earlier when Corporal Dennis Zinoviev died in an accidental grenade explosion at one of the military bases.

Another important task is formulating a strategy on the issue of manpower shortage in the IDF. Does it mean the military is missing officers? Not yet. Are the crème of the crop choosing to prolong their stay in the army? Absolutely not.

Thus, the IDF needs to implement a wagering agreement with the Finance Ministry to significantly increase the pay of the officers.

Source: (Excerpt from article originally published by Ynetnews on January 16, 2023. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Israel Defense Forces Spokesperson's Unit/commons.wikimedia.org

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Beseech the Lord for an outpouring of wisdom for Lt. Gen. Halevi as he takes over as IDF chief of staff. Pray specifically for the three operational tasks he is facing: preparing the military for war; Iran; and the Palestinian issue. Cry out to God for answers to internal issues as well, and the resources to make sure everyone in the IDF is appropriately cared for and officers are fairly compensated. Also pray that Lt. Gen. Halevi himself will turn to the God of Israel for answers.

Scripture

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes.


- Proverbs 3:5–7a

Study: Israel a World Leader in Volunteering, ahead of the US, Switzerland

by Efrat Forsher ~ JNS via Israel Hayom

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Rabbi Menachem Traxler, director of volunteering for Colel Chabad, with members of the Israel Defense Forces organizing gifts for children.

Monday, 16 January 2023 | Israeli President Isaac Herzog was presented on Monday with the results of the annual survey on volunteerism in Israel, which showed that almost half of the population (42.5%) engage in such activities to various degrees.

The study, which included 503 participants, found that Israel is one of the leading countries in volunteering, along with Canada (79%), Britain (63%), Australia (57%), New Zealand (51%) and ahead of Switzerland (39.9%), the Netherlands (39%) and the United States (25%).

It further showed a balance between male volunteers (42.6%) and female ones (42.2%). In terms of age groups, 34% aged 18–34 said they volunteered on a regular basis, as well as 47.9% aged 35–54 and 42% aged 55 and older.

In addition, Israelis with tertiary education and those with higher-than-average incomes reported higher rates of volunteering. Sector-wise, the highest rate of volunteering was reported among the ultra-Orthodox (60%).

Most respondents said they preferred to volunteer in areas of welfare and assisting disadvantaged populations, followed by education, health, environment, religion and social change.

Upon receiving the survey, Herzog said, “Today, perhaps more than ever, it is up to us to boost social involvement and choose to see what unites us and brings us closer, not what divides and separates us.”

The poll was conducted by the National Council for Volunteering and the Hebrew University’s Center for the Study of Civil Society and Philanthropy with the help of the Welfare and Social Affairs Ministry.

Originally published by Israel Hayom.

Source: (This article was published by the Jewish News Syndicate via Israel Hayom on January 15, 2023. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Pantry Packers/jns.org

Prayer Focus
Praise the Lord for the heart of service that exists in so many Israelis. Pray that President Herzog’s admonition to “choose to see what unites us and brings us closer, not what divides and separates us,” will become reality, especially during a fractious time in Israeli society.

Scripture

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity.


- Psalm 133:3

Many Israelis Suffer from Food Insecurity

by Janet Aslin

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Needy Israelis rummaging through discarded food in search of something to eat

Thursday, 19 January 2023 | On Tuesday, the National Insurance Institute (NII) released a report showing nearly one million Israelis were living with food insecurity in 2021. More than half, some 665,000 Israelis, were children. Although the unemployment rate is less than in 2021 when many lost jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic, the cost of living has increased significantly leaving the situation basically unchanged in 2022.

The US Department of Agriculture defines food insecurity as “the limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods.” In plainer terms, it can be defined as having to choose between buying food or diapers, parents going without meals so their children can eat or whole families going to bed hungry.

The statistics from the report are sobering. According to the Times of Israel, “16.2% of families and 21.1% of children are living with food insecurity.” The elderly are also affected, with 12% falling into that category.

The ultra-Orthodox and Arab Israeli populations face much higher rates than other groups. In addition, the report found that food insecurity was worse in Jerusalem and northern areas of the country.

Yoav Ben-Tzur from Israel’s Welfare Ministry told Walla!News, “We see the weaker populations in society, in the periphery and in the cities, giving up basic meals due to severe economic hardship. Every day, hundreds of thousands of children in Israel go to schools without a good lunch.”

The fight against food insecurity is happening at several levels. Governmental programs as well as privately run organizations that provide food to those in need are doing their parts. Although the NII report reflected a slight drop in numbers since the last report in 2016, there is obviously still a long way to go.

As one of the private organizations providing food to those in need, Bridges for Peace represents Christians from around the world whose hearts are filled with compassion. We strive to obey the instruction Jesus (Yeshua) gave: “For I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink” (Matt. 25:35).

Since 1990, Bridges for Peace has operated a food bank in Jerusalem, providing tons of nutritious food to new immigrants, Holocaust survivors, needy Israeli families and widows and orphans in crisis situations. At present, we help more than 24,000 Israelis in need every month put food on the table. In 2006, we also launched the Feed a Child Program, which provides hot lunches to 340 children from poverty-stricken homes. Often, that is the only nutritious meal they will have all day.

As the NII report has shown, the work is not done. There are still those who are hungry. Bridges for Peace stands ready to do its share in the fight against food insecurity in Israel. Please consider joining us by sending a generous donation to our Food Project.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, January 19, 2023)

Photo Credit: Sylvia Large/bridgesforpeace.com

Prayer Focus
Pray for those in Israel who are suffering the most with food insecurity, especially the elderly, children and those in minority populations. Pray for the governmental and privately run programs that are dealing with this serious issue. Also cry out to the Lord for Bridges for Peace and the work we are doing to make sure vulnerable Israelis are not forced to choose between food and other necessities of life. Pray that Christians around the world will continue to give generously as we care for these, His brethren, in His name.

Scripture

“Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’”


- Matthew 25:37–40

ADL Poll: American Belief in Anti-Jewish Tropes “Cause for Concern”

by Kate Norman

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Protestors’ signs reveal some terrible anti-Jewish tropes.

Friday, 13 January 2023 | A report published by the Anti-Defamation League [ADL] yesterday showed that the number of Americans who believe anti-Semitic tropes has doubled since 2019. The ADL said that the results of its poll “show several trends that are cause for concern.”

The ADL has been measuring American anti-Semitism since the 1960s and has recently partnered with the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago (NORC) and the One8 Foundation to “study the research literature on bias and anti-Semitism, convene academic and communal leaders and conduct qualitative interviews,” according to the report.

The report released yesterday was based on a survey of over 4,000 people between September and October 2022, with a margin of error of 2.06%.

The survey showed that 85% of Americans believe at least one anti-Jewish trope, compared to only 61% in 2019. Some 20% believe six or more anti-Jewish tropes, up from 11% in 2019, which the report noted is “the highest level measured in decades.”

The results revealed that 20% of Americans agreed with at least six of the anti-Semitic stereotypes, the highest number since 1992 and up 9% from 2019.

Some 3% of the American population believe in all 11 tropes included in the survey. Three percent of the American population amounts to about eight million people, the ADL noted—more than the Jewish population of the US.

The survey tropes included: Jews stick together more than other Americans; Jews in business go out of their way to hire other Jews; Jews are more loyal to Israel than to America; and Jews have too much power in the business world, among others.

The belief in those anti-Semitic stereotypes showed a correlation with anti-Israel opinions, according to the report. Of the people surveyed, 40% said they believe that Israel treats the Palestinian people as the Nazis treated the Jews, 18% said they were uncomfortable spending time with someone who supports Israel and 23% said they believe Israel can get away with anything because its supporters control the media.

The results also showed that more young adults (21%) agree with more of the anti-Israel statements in the survey than older adults (11%).

These anti-Israel beliefs are dangerous, as the ADL reported that it has “seen the ways in which criticisms of Israel can exceed policy critiques and instead morph into traditional anti-Jewish conspiracy theories and anti-Semitic tropes as well as be weaponized to malign or increase hostility toward Jews generally.”

And the correlation is high between adults who believe in anti-Jewish tropes and those who hold anti-Israel positions, though it is much higher for older Americans than younger.

“Those of us on the front lines have expected such results for a while now—and yet the data are still stunning and sobering,” ADL CEO Jonathan A. Greenblatt said, as quoted by the Times of Israel. “There is an alarming increase in anti-Semitic views and hatred across every metric—at levels unseen for decades.

“From Pittsburgh to Charlottesville to the near-daily harassment of Jews in our greatest cities, anti-Semitic beliefs lead to violence,” Greenblatt warned. “I hope this survey is a wake-up call for the entire country.”

The ADL said it is going to dive deeper into its research findings over the next few months and release its findings on anti-Semitism among different parts of the population and what lies behind people’s belief in anti-Semitic and anti-Israel beliefs.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, January 13, 2023)

Photo Credit: ArizonaLincoln (talk)/HoppingRabbit34 at English Wikipedia/commons.wikimedia.org

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Pray that the results of this survey will indeed be a wake-up call for all Americans. Cry out to the Lord that people will realize that in a society that purports to be committed to fighting bigotry and hatred, it is unconscionable that anti-Semitism has been mainstreamed and hatred of Israel is allowed to flourish unchecked. Pray that Christians will raise their voices against every form of this evil and that the truth will be heard.

Scripture

Let all those who hate Zion be put to shame and turned back. Let them be as the grass on the housetops, which withers before it grows up.


- Psalm 129:5–6

Israeli Bus Attacked in Judea; No Injuries Reported

by JNS

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Israeli security forces at the scene of a shooting attack on a bus on Route 90 in the Jordan Valley.

Monday, 16 January 2023 | A bus carrying Israelis along the Route 60 highway in Judea came under gunfire on Sunday.

Nobody was injured in the apparent attack, although the bulletproof vehicle sustained damage.

The bus was traveling from Kiryat Arba, located adjacent to Hebron, to Jerusalem.

Authorities closed the highway in both directions following the incident, with the IDF [Israel Defense Forces] saying it was investigating.

Earlier Sunday, a Palestinian man was killed by Israeli forces after attacking them with a knife near Ofra in Samaria.

The Israeli troops were being stoned by Palestinians when the assailant exited his vehicle and charged at the force, attempting to take one of the soldiers’ weapons.

The soldiers opened fire, killing the terrorist.

That attack came just hours after two Palestinian terrorists were killed while attempting to carry out a drive-by shooting against soldiers near Jaba, 5 miles [8 km.] southwest of Jenin in Samaria. The terrorists were named as Amjad Adnan Khalilia, the head of Islamic Jihad’s ordinance unit, and Wa’iz a-Din Basim Hamarah.

Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on January 15, 2023. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Flash90/jns.org

Prayer Focus
Pray for God’s supernatural protection over every Israeli in the land and cry out to Him that any and all attacks planned against His people will fail. Also pray that the Lord will bless Israel’s security forces with new and effective strategies that will be successful in bringing an end to the violence and death.

Scripture

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


- Isaiah 54:17a

Over 90 Countries Call for Israel to Lift Sanctions against Palestinian Authority

by Kate Norman

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More than 90 countries called for Israel to reverse sanctions against the Palestinian Authority (PA).

Wednesday, 18 January 2023 | More than 90 countries on Monday called for Israel to reverse sanctions and punitive measures it had levied against the Palestinian Authority (PA) in response to the PA’s push to have the International Court of Justice (ICJ) investigate Israel.

Last month, the PA pushed the ICJ to issue an advisory opinion on the legality of the Israeli “occupation” of Judea and Samaria (the so-called “West Bank”), Gaza and eastern Jerusalem. The resolution was passed by a United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) vote of 87 to 16, with 53 abstentions.

In response, Jerusalem issued punitive measures against the PA. Israel deducted money from taxes it collects on the PA’s behalf, an amount equivalent to the PA’s “Pay-for-Slay” policy in which it financially rewards terrorists and their families. Instead, Israel took NIS 139 million (US $40.1 million) and channeled it to Israeli victims of terror.

Jerusalem also halted all Palestinian building projects in Area C of Judea and Samaria, which is under Israeli military and civilian control. Israel also penalized PA officials by denying certain benefits, such as the travel permit for the PA foreign minister.

Rather than entering into peace talks with the Jewish state to settle the conflict, the PA has been waging battle in the international arena, often wielding the UN as a sword against Jerusalem.

Israel’s response did not sit well with the international community, however, according to the statement on Monday by over 90 nations.

“We express our deep concern regarding the Israeli government’s decision to impose punitive measures against the Palestinian people, leadership and civil society following the request by the General Assembly of an advisory opinion by the International Court of Justice,” the statement reads.

“Regardless of each country’s opinion on the resolution, we reject punitive measures in response to a request for an advisory opinion by the International Court of Justice, and more broadly in response to a General Assembly resolution, and call for their immediate removal,” the letter concluded.

The 90 signatory states included 24 of the 27 European Union states—with the only absentees being Austria, Croatia and Hungary—as well as 57 members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Brazil, Japan, Mexico, South Africa and South Korea.

A few countries who either opposed or abstained from the original UNGA resolution to seek the ICJ’s opinion also signed their name to Monday’s statement. Those who originally opposed the measure but signed the letter calling for Israel to reverse its punitive measures include Estonia, Germany, Italy, Lithuania and Romania.

Israel condemned the letter. “The Palestinians use political terrorism and try to take advantage of the distorted mechanism of the UN to harm Israel,” Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan wrote on Twitter, “but this is a meaningless statement and every country that signed it made a mistake because it played into the hands of the Palestinian incitement and only removed any chance of reconciliation.”

Source: (Bridges for Peace, January 18, 2022)

Photo Credit: Jernej Furman/flickr.com

Photo License: Flickr

Prayer Focus
Pray that Israeli leaders will have great wisdom as the war with the Palestinians heats up on this international, political battlefield where the weapons of choice are propaganda and deliberate deception. Pray for a true awakening at the UN, for truth to be heard and embraced.

Scripture

Be exalted, O God, above the heavens, and Your glory above all the earth; that Your beloved may be delivered, save with Your right hand, and hear me.


- Psalm 108:5–6

Netanyahu Predicts Massive Increase in Western Aliyah

by JNS

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Israeli Aliyah and Integration Minister Pnina Tamano-Shata (back row, seventh from the right) welcomes new immigrants from North America at Ben Gurion International Airport.

Tuesday, 17 January 2023 | Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told cabinet ministers that Israel will experience a massive increase in aliyah (immigration) from Western countries, including the US.

Netanyahu said that Israel’s future entry into the US Visa Waiver Program, combined with Israel’s strengthening economy, will attract more Jewish American immigrants.

“Israel’s economy is getting stronger; we will outpace the United States, and we have already outpaced Europe,” Netanyahu said, in comments reported by Israel Hayom.

Netanyahu made this prediction during his weekly cabinet session on Sunday, adding that events could unfold the way they did when he liberalized Israel’s foreign currency market during the 1990s.

“Look at what we did with these reforms,” Netanyahu said in reference to the liberalization of Israel’s foreign currency market. “At the time, you could not move money out of Israel, and people warned that our measures would open up the floodgates. But then the exact opposite happened. Foreign currency actually moved to Israel.”

Netanyahu went on to say that Zionism could not be safeguarded “by fencing it in or by restricting citizens’ movements.”

Israeli Regional Affairs Minister Ron Dermer said that Israel should seize the moment by joining the US Visa Waiver Program.

“There is a window of opportunity that will remain open for several months; we might not be able to do this afterwards, and the US ambassador is eager to help us,” Dermer reportedly told the cabinet.

Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on January 16, 2023. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Nefesh B'Nefesh/jns.org

Prayer Focus
Praise God for the strength of Israel’s economy. Pray that the prime minister’s predictions of an increased aliyah from the west will prove true. Also pray that the Israeli government will have wisdom and move according to His plan vis-à-vis the US Visa Waiver Program.

Scripture

For God will save Zion and build the cities of Judah, that they may dwell there and possess it. Also, the descendants of His servants shall inherit it, and those who love His name shall dwell in it.


- Psalm 69:35–36

Israel Calls on World Leaders to Help Secure Release of Hamas Captives

by JNS

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From left to right: Hadar Goldin, Oron Shaul, Avera Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed. The bodies of IDF soldiers Goldin and Shaul, and Israeli civilians Mengistu and al-Sayed, are being held by Hamas in Gaza.

Thursday, 19 January 2023 | Israel’s Foreign Ministry on Tuesday revealed that it had sent a letter to world leaders calling on them to help secure the release of Israelis being held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

The letter was sent to UN Secretary–General António Guterres, president of the International Committee of the Red Cross Mirjana Spoljaric Egger and Pope Francis, among others.

Hamas on Monday released an undated video purportedly of Israeli captive Avera Mengistu, who crossed into the Gaza Strip on his own accord in 2014.

Hamas is also holding Israeli Hisham al-Sayed, who in 2015 also crossed into Gaza of his own volition, as well as the bodies of two IDF [Israel Defense Forces] soldiers, Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin, who were killed in action during Operation Protective Edge in 2014.

In the missive, the ministry noted that Mengistu has been held for over eight years “in flagrant violation of international humanitarian law, without providing information about his health condition and without providing any way for him to contact his family or receive visits by the Red Cross.”

Foreign Minister Eli Cohen said that the government would “continue to act on the international stage to reveal the cruel face of the Hamas terror group until the [hostages] are returned home.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed on Tuesday that Mengistu is alive.

“Israel has not stopped efforts to return Avera Mengistu and the rest of our captives and missing people,” he said, adding: “Yesterday, we received further confirmation of what we knew all along—that Avera is alive. This is a young man who is not fully healthy, and the responsibility for his fate rests entirely in the hands of Hamas.”

Last month, Pope Francis met with the families of the Israelis being held captive by Hamas, and offered prayers for their swift and safe return.

Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on January 18, 2023. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Montage of courtesy photos by JCPA/jns.org

Prayer Focus
Cry out to the Lord for His intervention in this awful situation. Pray that the nations will indeed use whatever leverage they have to secure the release of prisoners being held in “flagrant violation” of international law by Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Pray that Avera Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed will be returned safely. Also pray for their reentry into Israeli society after many years in captivity. Pray also that the bodies of Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin will be returned to their loved ones.

Scripture

Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.


- Psalm 82:4 ESV

Israeli Arab Doctor Becomes Israel’s Youngest Medical Professor

by Kate Norman

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Dr. Watad specializes in autoimmune diseases, particularly rheumatoid arthritis.

Tuesday, 17 January 2023 | An Arab Israeli doctor has earned the title of youngest physician to become a professor at the Tel Aviv University Faculty of Medicine.

Dr. Abdulla Watad, 35, hails from the Arab village of Jatt, which lies halfway between Tel Aviv and Haifa. Watad specializes in autoimmune diseases, particularly rheumatoid arthritis. He works at Sheba Medical Center near Tel Aviv as a senior rheumatologist and has co-authored over 200 peer-reviewed scientific articles.

After graduating medical school in Genoa, Italy, Watad started work at the Sheba center in 2013, Israel21c reported.

Watad told Ynetnews that early on in his residency, he approached Prof. Yehuda Shoenfeld, one of Sheba’s senior autoimmune disease experts, who became his mentor. Watad completed a study on antibodies in rheumatoid arthritis and presented his findings in Nice, France, in 2014.

“From there, it’s all history,” Watad told Ynetnews.

The young physician credits his success, Ynetnews reported, to hard work and the help of his mentors, Professor Shoenfeld as well as Prof. Howard Amital, director of Sheba’s Institute for Autoimmune Diseases.

“Being an Arab is always something really interesting in Israel because we would like to be involved in the daily work and research and also treating patients,” Watad said in a video by Sheba Medical Center. “And to be fair, at Sheba, I never felt there is discrimination between Arab or non-Arab.”

“And this is thanks to the manager and the head of this hospital that they can really give all the support regardless of your background,” Watad added.

In defiance of the “apartheid state” libel, the Jewish state’s health care system is, according to left-wing Haaretz newspaper, “a model in Jewish–Arab Equality and Coexistence.”

According to the aforementioned article, which was published in 2017, 42% of nursing students are Arab, 38% of pharmacists are Arab, as are 16% of medical students in 2015—which, Haaretz noted, was nearly proportionally equivalent to the Arab population of Israel. The article also noted that 62% of the pharmacists at the mega drugstore chain Superpharm are Arabs.

The co-director of Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem told the Jerusalem Post in 2021 that of its 5,000 employees, between 20% and 25% are Arab, which is proportionate to the rate of Arab patients treated by the hospital. Prof. Jonathan Halevy added that after running the hospital for 31 years, “there have never been tensions among the staff on an ethnic basis. We are all united by the mission to work for the patients.”

Source: (Bridges for Peace, January 17, 2023)

Photo Credit: Laboratoires Servier/commons.wikimedia.org

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Praise the Lord for this story of equality and coexistence in Israel. Pray that Dr. Watad will have many opportunities to share his story of the inclusiveness of the Israeli medical system as living proof that the accusation of Israeli apartheid is an outrageous lie.

Scripture

A trustworthy witness will not lie, but a false witness declares lies.


- Proverbs 14:5 NASB