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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.

Netanyahu Meets with World Leaders to Push for Changes to Nuclear Deal

by Itamar Eichner

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PM Netanyahu with Canadian PM Justin Trudeau at the World Economic Forum in Davos

Thursday, 25 January 2018 | Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Davos, Switzerland, as part of his participation in the World Economic Forum’s annual summit. Netanyahu also leveraged his attendance in the event to speak with other heads of state in an attempt to convince them to push for changes to the nuclear agreement with Iran.

At the conclusion of the premier’s meeting with his German counterpart, Netanyahu said, “It was a significant meeting, in which we naturally spoke of the Iranian nuclear agreement. I told her that by my estimate the only viable option right now is putting in real—rather than cosmetic—changes to prevent Iranian nuclearization. Otherwise, its nuclearization is assured by the agreement’s current promulgation.”

“I expressed my gratitude for Chancellor Merkel’s real commitment to Israel’s security,” the prime minister continued. “She also reiterated that commitment herself. She said she understood our concerns regarding the agreement, but did not necessarily concur with the manner in which we wanted to go about handling it.”

“That’s something for the powers—Europe and the United States—to work out amongst themselves anyway,” Netanyahu explained. “But Merkel understood (the agreement) impacts our concerns, and things that threaten our very existence. She has proven her commitment in several instances in the past. I’m pleased our positions have been understood full well.”

Netanyahu also met with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel and Swiss President Alain Berset Wednesday morning, and spoke to them about the nuclear deal, appealing to them to make use of the window of opportunity created following President Donald Trump’s declaration giving the deal “one last chance” before sanctions are imposed again.

The prime minister further elucidated he did not intend to allow Iran to militarily entrench itself in Syria and that Israel would take active measures to prevent that from occurring.

On the Palestinian issue, Netanyahu said he could not compromise on Israel’s security needs in any prospective future settlement. In addition, he outlined changes currently taking places in the Middle East and the opportunities created in their wake.

The prime minister also iterated to the world leaders his desire to deepen economic and technological collaborative ties with their respective countries. In his meeting with Swiss President Berset, for instance, the two heads of state agreed that new actions needed to be undertaken to engender new tracks for economic cooperation between the two countries.

A message published later by the Prime Minister’s Office stated Netanyahu had invited the world leaders he met with in Davos to visit Israel.

Source: (Excerpt of article originally published by Ynetnews on 24 January 2018. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Amos BenGershom/GPO

Prayer Focus
Give thanks for all the opportunities and successful meetings PM Netanyahu was able to have with world leaders. Pray that his words urging them to take action against the Iranian nuclear weapons program will be effective. Continue to ask the Lord to grant him wisdom as he lobbies to gain global support against this threat.

Scripture

The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes.


- Proverbs 21:1

American Vice President Tells Israeli Parliament: Jerusalem US Embassy to Open Before 2020

by Joshua Spurlock

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US Vice-President Mike Pence addressing the Knesset

Tuesday, 23 January 2018 | In a stirring speech to the Israeli parliament that touched repeatedly on biblical themes, United States Vice President Mike Pence listed the patriarch Abraham and King David as evidence of the deep connection between Israel and Jerusalem. Given that level of support, it’s not surprising that he offered one of the clearest timelines yet on when the United States will move its Israeli embassy to the capital of Israel.

“Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. And, as such, President [Donald] Trump has directed the State Department to immediately begin preparations to move the United States Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem,” said Pence to applause according to a copy of his speech on the White House website. “In the weeks ahead, our administration will advance its plan to open the United States Embassy in Jerusalem, and that United States Embassy will open before the end of next year.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu later thanked Pence and President Trump again for recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin strongly called upon other nations to drop their “hypocrisy” and recognize Israel’s capital city as well.

“[Trump’s decision] tore the mask of hypocrisy that characterized and still characterizes the attitude of the international community to the capital of Israel. A hypocrisy expressed in a boycott of the location of embassies, a de facto boycott of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and in the delusional decisions taken at UNESCO and other international fora,”said Rivlin to Israeli diplomats in comments released by his office.

“Now we must move from being on the defensive to taking the initiative, and clearly call on the nations of the world to stop boycotting Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Seventy years have passed, this boycott has no justification, and our allies must join the United States.”

Pence believes the Jerusalem decision ultimately furthers peace in the Middle East, and expressed that on Monday to the Israeli parliament, also known as the Knesset. “By finally recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the United States has chosen fact over fiction,” said the American VP. “And fact is the only true foundation for a just and lasting peace.”

Pence also reiterated Trump’s position that the US is “not taking a position on any final status issues, including the specific boundaries of the Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem.”

Pence made it clear that peace between Israel and the Palestinians “will require compromise,” but he also made it clear one area where compromise is not an option. Said Pence, “You can be confident in this: The United States of America will never compromise the safety and security of the State of Israel. Any peace agreement must guarantee Israel’s ability to defend itself by itself.”

Pence also expressed appreciation for the Israeli “declared willingness to resume direct peace negotiations” with the Palestinians, and then turned to the other side and said that “today, we strongly urge the Palestinian leadership to return to the table. Peace can only come through dialogue.”

PM Netanyahu and US VP Pence at the Prime Minister’s residence in Jerusalem

During a dinner with Pence, Netanyahu expressed his willingness to seek peace once again. “As countries in the region increasingly realize that Israel is not their enemy but a great ally of their wishes for a better future, the chances grow for a broader reconciliation,” said the Israeli leader on Monday in comments released by his office.

“Israel will continue to work with President Trump’s able representatives… to advance peace with all our neighbors, including the Palestinians. The sooner the Palestinians accept the truth about the millennial connection of the Jewish people to this land and to this city, the sooner we can work together to reach an historic agreement that will create a better future for both our peoples.”

Netanyahu also commended Pence for his “magnificent speech” to the Knesset. “You saw people standing up again and again, applauding you, applauding the principles that guide your policy, applauding the genuine friendship that emanates from your heart,” said Netanyahu. “It was a powerful expression of the enduring bond between our two countries and of your personal commitment to Israel, the commitment of President Trump and your entire delegation.”

Pence, who quoted from the Hebrew Scriptures a half dozen times during the speech, doesn’t just see the Bible as history—but forward-looking as well.

Said the American vice president in his speech, “We will ‘pray for the peace of Jerusalem;’ that ‘those who love you be secure;’ that ‘there be peace within your walls; and security in your citadels.’ And we will work and strive for that brighter future where everyone who calls this ancient land their home shall sit ‘under their vine and fig tree and none shall make them afraid.’”

Source: (The Mideast Update originally published this article on 22 January 2018. Time-relate language has been modified to reflect our republication today.)

Photo Credit: Amos Ben Gershom/GPO/Ashernet (Pence addressing Knesset)

Photo Credit: Avi Ohayon/GPO (Pence and Netanyahu at the prime minister's residence)

Prayer Focus
Give thanks for the current fruitful relationship between the United States and Israel. Thank the Lord that a firm commitment has been made in the plans to move the US embassy to Jerusalem. Pray for continued understanding between the leaders of the two countries and ask God to grant favor with regard to the peace process.

Scripture

You will enjoy the fruit of your labor. How joyful and prosperous you will be!


- Psalm 128:2 NLT

Israeli Security Officials Thwart Two Would-be Terrorists

by Elisha Ben Kimon

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Tapuach Junction, where the terror attack took place

Wednesday, 24 January 2018 | A border policeman neutralized two would-be terrorists armed with knives at the Tapuach Junction Tuesday, thwarting their attack. The policeman was unharmed.

The two would-be terrorists, aged 15, arrived at the junction from the direction of Nablus and headed towards the bus station at the junction.

A border policeman stationed at a nearby post noticed them and alerted the troops stationed at the junction.

The soldiers initiated the suspect arrest protocol, first calling on the suspects to stop.

When the two youths failed to respond, a border policeman fired some shots into the air, which prompted one of the terrorists to draw his knife and move on the soldiers.

In response, the soldier then shot at the terrorists’ lower bodies, incapacitating them.

Border Police said the terrorists were arrested, have received medical attention on site and were taken to receive further treatment.

The head of the Samaria Regional Council, Yossi Dagan, was notified of the attempted attack by Samaria Brigade Commander Col. Gilad Amit. “We thank the security forces and the Border Police for their resourcefulness, which saved lives today,” Dagan told the commander.

“We also wish to make it clear to all those who wish us harm, the population here is strong. Terror will not break us. We’ll continue building here in Samaria. I ask the government to provide the proper response to this terror by building and strengthening the place and its residents,” Dagan said.

Tuesday’s attack came on the heels of the Havat Gilad shooting attack two weeks ago, which claimed the life of resident Raziel Shevah.

A little over a month prior, 19-year-old Sgt. Ron Kokia, who was waiting for the bus in Arad, was stabbed to death outside the mall in the city.

Around a fortnight earlier, a Palestinian stabbed an Israel border policeman in the West Bank Square near Ramallah, leaving him moderately wounded before being shot by security forces.

The spasmodic instances of violence had already showed signs of once again picking up pace when five days earlier a 46-year-old security guard was stabbed in his upper body and seriously wounded by a terrorist on Jerusalem’s Jaffa Street, outside the city’s central bus station.

Source: (Ynetnews originally published this article on 23 January 2018. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Yudkey/Wikimedia.com

Photo License: wikimedia.com

Prayer Focus
Beseech God to intervene as stabbing and other terror attacks are increasing against the Israeli security forces and soldiers in Judea and Samaria. Thank Him for the vigilance that, this time, helped to thwart a possible attack. Continue to lift them up, praying for their safety and ability to face the challenges they encounter each day while protecting Israel and her citizens.

Scripture

Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You. In God I will praise His word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear. What can flesh do to me?


- Psalm 56:3–4

Palestinian President Calls on EU to “Swiftly” Recognize State of Palestine

by Ilse Posselt

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PA President Mahmoud Abbas delivering statement at the EU headquarters in Brussels

Tuesday, 23 January 2018 | Yesterday, as US Vice President Mike Pence addressed the Knesset (Israeli government) in Jerusalem, assuring the people of the Promised Land of the US’s unequivocal support, Palestinian Authority (PA) president, Mahmoud Abbas, delivered a speech of his own. Unlike Pence’s address, the message that Abbas offered was not based on biblical, historical and archaeological fact. Instead, the PA president presented an emotive narrative in a bid to garner sympathy and backing from an audience he hailed as “a true friend and partner.”

Speaking at a press conference at the European Union (EU) headquarters in Brussels, Abbas called on the member states of the EU to “swiftly” recognize the state of Palestine, a move which he said would bolster the Palestinians’ faith in the prospect of peace. His comments came ahead of a meeting with EU foreign affairs chief, Federica Mogherini, and 28 foreign ministers of EU member states.

“We truly consider the European Union as a true partner and friend, and therefore we call its member states to swiftly recognize the state of Palestine,” Abbas began.

The PA president was quick to assure his audience that there would be no “contradiction between recognition and the resumption of negotiations.” Instead, he held, the gesture “would encourage the Palestinian people to keep hoping for peace, and to wait until peace is brought about. It will open the doors to peace and it will encourage the Palestinian people to keep on abiding by the culture of peace that has disseminated through it for generations.”

While Abbas boasted about the Palestinians’ alleged culture and traditions of peace, he remained conspicuously silent about Palestinian leaders’ ongoing custom of inciting its people to violence against the Jewish state and the PA’s commitment to paying salaries to those who have committed acts of terror against Israelis.

Israel has long-since stressed that the unilateral recognition of “the state of Palestine” will harden the Palestinians’ stance as far as negotiations are concerned and will thus diminish the chances of reaching a final peace deal. The Jewish state holds that lasting peace can only be reached once both parties come to the negotiation table without preconditions.

Abbas, who holds that the Trump administration’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel disqualifies America from acting as a future mediator in peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, also used yesterday’s press conference as a platform for what The Times of Israel calls a bid to “woo the European Union, in the hope it would volunteer to replace Washington as the main sponsor of the peace process.”

“The EU,” the PA president said, “should play a political role in this Middle East peace process in order to reach a just solution on the basis of internationally recognized terms and decisions.”

For its part, the EU assured Abbas of the bloc’s support for its ambitions of a Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as capital. “I want to reassure President Abbas of the firm commitment of the European Union to the two-state solution with Jerusalem as the shared capital of the two states,” said Mogherini.

As of 14 September 2014, 136 of the 193 United Nations’ member states, including the majority of Arab and Muslim nations, have given their official recognition for the State of Palestine. Most of the EU countries have, however, made no such move yet. Sweden is currently the first and only of the EU’s 28 nations to have recognized Palestine while it was already an EU member. A further seven, namely the Czech Republic, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, Malta and Cyprus, gave their nod of acknowledgement before they became EU member states.

Following Abbas’s speech yesterday, Slovenian Foreign Minister, Karl Erjavec, announced his hope that his country’s lawmakers would also vote to join the bloc of EU countries that acknowledge Palestine. Erjavec, who met with Abbas on the sidelines of the EU address, expressed his hope that such a move would “strengthen Palestine’s negotiation in the Middle East peace process.”

Source: (Bridges for Peace, 23 January 2018)

Photo Credit: Screenshot/YouTube/Ruptly

Prayer Focus
Pray that PA President Abbas would not be able to present his government and people as peace-loving while the practice of incitement toward violence and financial reward for terrorism continues. Pray that the Palestinian Authority will be held accountable for its actions.

Scripture

A faithful witness does not lie, but a false witness will utter lies.


- Proverbs 14:5

Israeli Embassy in Jordan to Reopen, Resume Full Activity

by Ilse Posselt

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PM Netanyahu meeting with Israeli ambassador Einat Schlein and embassy security guard, “Ziv,” after their return from Amman in July 2017

Friday, 19 January 2018 | Israel said last night that its embassy in Jordan will reopen and “return to full activity immediately.” The announcement comes nearly six months after the embassy was forced to close its doors and embassy staff left for Israel in the wake of an attempted terror attack at the embassy compound in July 2017, in which an Israeli security guard shot and killed his Jordanian attacker in self-defense.

“Israel and Jordan reached an agreement following the events at the Jordanian embassy…” the prime minister’s office announced in a statement. “Israel attaches great importance to its strategic relations with Jordan, and the two countries will act to advance their cooperation and to strengthen the peace treaty between them. The Israeli Embassy in Jordan will return to full activity effective immediately.”

The announcement, The Jerusalem Post reports, signals the end of “one of the worst crises in Jordanian-Israeli relations since the two countries signed a peace treaty in 1994.”

The incident that strained ties between the two countries and led to the embassy closing its doors occurred on 23 July 2017. A Jordanian worker, who was at the Israeli embassy compound to replace furniture, snuck up behind an Israeli security officer and stabbed him in the neck with a screwdriver, lightly wounding him. Acting in self-defense, the official shot his assailant, killing him. A second Jordanian bystander was hit by a stray bullet and later succumbed to his wounds.

In the immediate aftermath of the attack, Jordan issued a decree forbidding the security official from returning to Israel until a full investigation into the incident had been conducted. For its part, the Jewish state refused to allow the Jordanians to question the official, citing diplomatic immunity according to the Vienna Convention.

The brief standoff between Jerusalem and Amman had the potential to escalate into a calamity. Yet, thanks to diplomatic efforts from both sides well as the US, all embassy staff, including the security official and ambassador Einat Shlain, arrived in Israel 24 hours later. Relations between the two countries did, however, remain strained. In the nearly six months since the attack, the embassy doors stayed closed and Jordan refused to allow Shlain or any other embassy staff to return to their posts until the security official was put on trial over the incident.

Jordan was first to announce that the bout of diplomatic tensions have been resolved. Petra, the Jordanian state news agency, quoted a government spokesperson saying that the Israel Foreign Ministry sent the Hashemite Kingdom an “official memorandum” in which it expresses its “deep regrets and apologies” over the incident at the embassy. According to the Jordanians, Israel offered to compensate both the families of the attacker and the bystander as well as launch an investigation into the incident.

Israel’s statement, which followed closely on that of the Jordanians, confirmed that the embassy would reopen. It also stressed the importance that the Jewish state places on its relations with its Hashemite neighbor, but did not address the alleged apology or financial reparation. It also explained that “Israel will continue to examine the materials collected in connection with the event in July 2017” and a decision whether to launch a legal investigation will be taken “in the coming weeks.”

Source: (Bridges for Peace, 19 January 2018)

Photo Credit: Ashernet/GPO

Prayer Focus
Praise God that diplomatic relations between Israel and Jordan have calmed to the point that the Israeli embassy has been reopened. Ask God to fully restore the relationship between the two countries. Pray for PM Netanyahu and Ambassador Shlain as embassy operations return to normal.

Scripture

By the blessing of the upright the city is exalted, but it is overthrown by the mouth of the wicked. He who is devoid of wisdom despises his neighbor, but a man of understanding holds his peace.


- Proverbs 11:11-12

Gaza Strip is on Verge of Collapse Because Hamas is Preventing its Rehabilitation

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Woman gathering wood for fuel in Gaza Strip

Wednesday, 24 January 2018 | The infrastructure in the Gaza Strip is crumbling, Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin said during a tour of southern Israel bordering the Hamas-run territory, because the terrorist group is “preventing rehabilitation” of the territory it rules, The Times of Israel reported Sunday.

Rivlin called on the world to recognize “that the ones who are preventing rehabilitation are Hamas.” He added that “Israel is the only one in the region, that whatever the situation, transfers basic essentials to the residents of Gaza, so that they can sustain the body and mind.”

Rivlin’s observations comport with those made by other observers in recent years.

The Times of Israel’s Avi Issacharoff reported in March 2016 on a scheme where Hamas enriched itself using Qatari money that was intended to build homes for Gazans. Although the homes were meant to be free, Hamas charged families $40,000 each, ostensibly to connect utilities, collecting an estimated $38 million to fund its other activities.

Palestinian affairs correspondent Khaled Abu Toameh pointed out a month earlier that Hamas has prioritized building up its terror infrastructure over rebuilding Gazan homes, writing that “the last thing Hamas cares about is the welfare of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.”

In December 2014, Neri Zilber observed that, while Fatah and Hamas fight over control of Gaza’s reconstruction, “Israel, of all the parties involved, has shown the greatest degree of flexibility towards a Gaza Strip still ruled by Hamas.”

Source: (The Israel Project, in its publication The Tower, originally published this article on 23 January 2018. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Screenshot/YouTube/One Nation

Prayer Focus
Pray for Israel's leadership and for the IDF serving along the border of the Gaza Strip. Ask God to give wisdom to know what actions to take as Hamas uses humanitarian funds to further their terrorist activities against the State of Israel. Lift up the soldiers serving there as they have to be alert at all times to respond to threats from Hamas.

Scripture

In the day when I cried out, You answered me, and made me bold with strength in my soul.


- Psalm 138:3

2017 Anti-Semitism Report Shows Hike in Worldwide Anti-Jewish Incidents

by Itamar Eichner

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Anti-Semitic graffiti in Venezuela (illustrative)

Monday, 22 January 2018 | The Ministry of Diaspora Affairs on Sunday released the 2017 Anti-Semitism Report, which indicated a substantial increase in racist incidents against Jews in Europe, especially in the western parts of the continent.

According to the report, which serves as a yearly status report on trends and incidents concerning hate crimes against Jews, the past year marked a record number of anti-Semitic incidents in Britain since 1984, when Community Security Trust (CST), a charity that aims to shield British Jews from anti-Semitism, began documenting anti-Semitic incidents in the kingdom.

2017 saw a 78% increase in incidents of physical violence against Jews in the UK and a 30% increase in all anti-Semitic incidents in the country.

The report noted that there was an increase in the number of anti-Semitic incidents in Germany, partly due to the rise of the extreme right. The refugee crisis in Germany led to the strengthening of right-wing nationalist parties, which brought with them an anti-Semitic discourse to the political system through their attempt to bolster national pride in the country’s heritage and history by reducing the responsibility of the German people for the Holocaust.

Many in the country’s Muslim communities also exhibited blatant anti-Semitism, as was evident in demonstrations in the country after the United States recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, in which calls for the destruction of Israel were heard.

Many alarming anti-Semitic incidents also took place in France last year. Despite government action to prevent hate crimes against Jews as part of their “Fight against racism, anti-Semitism and xenophobia” and a decrease in the number of incidents, France faced serious incidents such as the murder of a Jewish young woman, Sarah Lucy Halimi.

Apart from the murder that sparked a public outcry, several kosher restaurants were set on fire in arson attacks, and an appreciable number of violent incidents against Jews were reported.

Though the country that, according to the ministry’s report, saw the biggest hike in violent incidents against Jews was Ukraine, registering an increase of more than 50% in violent incidents against Jews.

This is happening against the backdrop of the trend of renewed nationalism in Eastern Europe and attempts to whitewash and glorify the figures of nationalist leaders and movements of the past responsible for the murder and expulsion of Jews during World War II and the period before it.

The country has reported dozens of desecrations of Jews monuments, tombs, museums and synagogues, mostly in the city of Odessa.

In May, the PEW Research Center, a nonpartisan American think tank based in the US, conducted a study of 2,000 residents in each of Central and Eastern Europe’s 18 countries.

The study found that 20% of the respondents did not want Jews in their country and 30% did not want Jews as neighbors. In addition, 22% of Romania’s citizens and 18% of Polish citizens were interested in denying the right of Jews to citizenship in their country.

The report also presents likewise worrisome occurrences in the United States.

According to the report, the alt-right, which rose to prominence in the march in Charlottesville in which demonstrators were heard chanting “Jews will not replace us,” gained strength during President Donald Trump’s fist year in office.

There has also been an increase in anti-Jewish and anti-Israeli sentiments among radical leftist movements, especially on college campuses, which continued with anti-Israeli propaganda that caused Jewish students to feel insecure and afraid to express any pro-Israel or Zionist views.

The rising threat of refugees and the alt-right

The report noted that the increasing population of refugees and immigrants, who arrived in Europe in recent years, is becoming a significant risk factor for Jewish communities.

According to surveys conducted, more than 50% of the refugees in Western Europe, most of them Muslims, hold anti-Semitic views. Following Trump’s declaration on Jerusalem, calls for “Death to Israel” were chanted and Israeli flags were burned in several European capitals for the first time in years.

Extreme right-wing parties in Western Europe have also scored exceptional achievements in terms of public support. Campaigns by alt-right parties in France, Britain, and Germany expanded the proliferation of anti-Semitism into the center of political discourse, which was reflected in an increase in anti-Semitic rhetoric by government officials.

The report also said that Islamist anti-Semitism continues to be the main and most dangerous threat to Jewish communities, and that it inspired Sarah Halimi’s murder in Paris.

At the same time, incitement from extremist Islamic states and institutions continued unabated this year and gave religious and normative legitimacy to attacks on Jews.

Another rising threat to Jews worldwide is what the report refers to as the “new anti-Semitism”—anti-Jewish sentiment hid under a guise of anti-Zionism or anti-Israeli rhetoric.

The report stated that international institutions such as the United Nations and UNESCO continued to present double standards and attempts to diminish the connection of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel, the Temple Mount, Jerusalem and the Tomb of the Patriarchs.

It further claimed that there is ongoing anti-Semitic incitement by the Palestinian Authority: Systematic use of religious and other anti-Semitic narratives to foster hatred of Israelis and Jews among its citizens.

As an example, it mentions the controversial speech of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who said during a meeting of the PLO’s Central Council in Ramallah that “Israel is a colonial project that has nothing to do with the Jews.”

Meanwhile, a comprehensive survey conducted by the World Zionist Organization ahead of the International Holocaust Remembrance Day revealed that 83% of those surveyed reported that they were exposed to anti-Semitism on the Internet and on social media, 59% believe that the politicians in their country are anti-Semitic to a certain extent and 51% of respondents said they were afraid to wear Jewish symbols in public.

Jacob Haguel, deputy chairman of the World Zionist Organization, commented that the “worrying results of the survey prove once again that anti-Semitism does not disappear from the world, and that all necessary measures must be taken into consideration (in battling it).

The writing is, and always was, on the wall—Diaspora Jews suffer from manifestations of anti-Semitism, many of them are afraid to demonstrate their Jewishness, believe that the politicians in their country are anti-Semitic and do not report incidents of anti-Semitism that have become routine.”

Minister of Diaspora Affairs Naftali Bennett said in response to the data, “Anti-Semitism is the dangerous fuel that has forever inflamed our enemies.

“We must make sure that every Jew anywhere in the world can live his life safely and proudly. We must act in every way we can to combat modern anti-Semitism in order to ensure the security of the Jewish people, in Israel and in the Diaspora.”

Source: (Ynetnews published this article on 21 January, 2018. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Public domain/wikipedia.org

Prayer Focus
Intercede for the Jewish people all over the world as they face violence, are forced to hide their Jewish identity and some are even unwelcome in the land of their birth. Ask God to create in their hearts a desire to return to Israel, the land of their inheritance, where they can be safe and live their Jewish identity to the full.

Scripture

Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: They shall again use this speech in the land of Judah and in its cities, when I bring back their captivity: The LORD bless you, O home of justice, and mountain of holiness!


- Jeremiah 31:23

January Rain Continues

by Janet Aslin

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(illustrative)

Friday, 26 January 2018 | It has been a wonderfully “wet” week in Jerusalem as well as in other parts of the country. According to Ynetnews, Israel’s meteorological services said that “the January figures brought about a slight change in trend” [from four consecutive years of drought]. In addition Ynetnews reported that “Metro-Tech now estimates that rainfall in February will be average and may increase markedly in March.” This is very good news indeed.

Late last week, a particularly strong storm dropped a significant amount of rain, especially in the northern part of the country. In one northern Galilee village, 45 millimeters (1.8 in) of rain fell overnight (Thursday) as a result of the storm. The Times of Israel said that “the rest of the country also experienced significant rainfall with Jerusalem receiving 23mm (0.9 in), Haifa 19mm (0.74 in), Tel Aviv 15mm (0.59 in) and even Beersheva, the desert metropolis in the south, an unexpected 10mm (0.39 in).

Rain is in the forecast for the upcoming weekend in many parts of the country. Snow is expected on Mount Hermon and the higher elevations. The water levels in the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) continue to creep up as a result of the rainfall that Israel has been experiencing. However, experts say “there is a great shortage of water in the Sea of Galilee and the water reservoirs for agriculture and the aquifers, where the deficit created in four years of drought is still substantial” (Ynetnews).

Source: (Bridges for Peace, 26 January 2018)

Photo Credit: Skitterphoto/pixabay.com

Prayer Focus
Thank the Lord as He is fulfilling His promises to send rain in its due season, rain to water the crops and rain to quench the dry and thirsty land—the land of Israel that He cares for. Continue to pray with hope and expectation for an abundant season of rain!

Scripture

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.


- Deuteronomy 11:12

Trilingual Song to be Sung at UN to Commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day

by Itamar Eichner

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Friday, 19 January 2018 | On International Holocaust Remembrance Day, January 27, three Israeli performers will sing a stirring song in Hebrew, English and Arabic, dedicated to the catastrophe’s survivors, at a United Nations (UN) ceremony marking the somber day.

“And a million eyes are gazing at me now, I am the last one left to tell (the story),” go the lyrics of the song “The Last Survivor,” written by Moshe Klughaft and composed by Amir Benayoun, who will be joining Miri Mesika and David D’Or onstage in singing the song.

“Every day, some 40 Holocaust survivors die in Israel, and this song declares their desire—to never cease sharing their account,” said Klughaft, the song’s writer. “While writing it, I imagined a future reality in which there will only be one Jew left alive who experienced the Holocaust. The song was written with him in mind.”

The UN ceremony will be attended by ambassadors from all over the world as well as Holocaust survivors in honor of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, which correlates to the liberation of the Auschwitz Concentration Camp. It also marks 30 years since the Walk of Life event was initiated.

Israeli ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon, who invited the singing delegation to the event, said, “Especially at the UN, where we are exposed to modern anti-Semitism, there is a need to declare loud and clear: never again!”

In the words of the song’s composer, Amir Benayoun, “Soon there will be no more survivors left to speak. Our duty is to be their voice. We will have to combat Holocaust denial and this song, in three languages, will be one of the tools.”

Ahead of the performance at the UN, a music video was recorded with the participation of Holocaust survivors from the Israeli organization “Amcha,” which offers psychological and social services to Holocaust survivors and their families, who were filmed alongside photos of themselves as children.

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

Photo Credit: geralt/pixabay.com

Prayer Focus
Pray that the words of this song will touch the hearts of those who listen on International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Remember the remaining Holocaust survivors, praying that they will have good health, joy and peace in their hearts. Remember to continue to pray for Danny Danon as he labors to stand against one of Israel’s worst enemies, the biased UN.

Scripture

To console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.


- Isaiah 61:3

Action
Each month Bridges for Peace brings hope to elderly Holocaust survivors as we deliver packages of food and words of encouragement. Please consider sending a donation to our Food Program so we can do even more.

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