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International Holocaust Remembrance Day—The World Remembers
by Ilse Strauss
Thursday, 27 January 2022 | Today is the annual International Holocaust Remembrance Day. It is a day that transcends borders and religions as the world remembers the terrible genocide during which an estimated six million Jewish men, women and children were murdered.
On January 27, 1945, the Red Army Russian forces reached the Auschwitz–Birkenau extermination camp in Poland and opened the gates to the largest Nazi killing center in Europe. The Russian forces found only 4,500 people inside. Ten days before the Red Army came, the Nazis sent nearly 60,000 starving prisoners on what became known as death marches, grueling treks for miles on end in extreme temperatures. Nearly half of those who marched through the gates of Auschwitz at the Nazis’ command did not return, perishing from exposure and exhaustion, their bodies depleted from years of malnutrition and illness.
Some 1.1 million people—90% of them Jewish—died at the hands of the Nazis and their collaborators in Auschwitz. The camp has since become a symbol of the Holocaust, representing the depths of evil, cruelty and deprivation.
In 2005, the United Nations designated January 27 as the International Day of the Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust, and today, 77 years after the Red Army liberated Auschwitz, the date continues to echo as a clarion call to remember what was lost.
Now in its 17th year, a number of countries participate in International Holocaust Memorial Day every January 27 and host events to remember the terrible legacy of the Holocaust, with the day even considered a national event in the United Kingdom.
The Jewish state, for its part, honors this occasion, yet has another day—Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) starting at sunset on the 27th day of the biblical month of Nisan—set aside to mourn the six million people who perished simply because they were Jewish.
The theme of this year’s International Holocaust Memorial Day is “Memory, Dignity and Justice.” The theme advocates for safeguarding the historical record of what happened and remembering the victims.
“The writing of history and the act of remembering brings dignity and justice to those whom the perpetrators of the Holocaust intended to obliterate,” the UN says on its website.
At the same time, the theme also seeks to challenge the distortion of history as anti-Semitism often rears its ugly head in Holocaust denial. While today is set aside as a solemn remembrance of the horrors of the Holocaust with many across the world vowing “never again,” it is tragic that anti-Semitism—the virulent, consistent and perpetual prejudice against the Jewish people that has plagued the offspring of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob for millennia and ultimately served as the catalyst for the persecution, pogroms, expulsion, genocide and the Holocaust—is once again rampant. In fact, according to a report released by the Jewish Agency and World Zionist Organization on Monday, 2021 was the most anti-Semitic year in a decade.
According to report by the Holocaust Survivors’ Rights Authority, there are currently roughly 165,880 Holocaust survivors living in Israel. Some 15,324 survivors passed away since the last International Holocaust Memorial Day in 2021, a tragic daily average of 42 fatalities, with many of them succumbing to COVID-19.
Source: (Bridges for Peace, January 27, 2022)
Photo Credit: Erica Magugliani/Unsplash.com
Pause for a moment of silence, remembering the horror of the millions of Jewish people brutally murdered by the Nazi regime. Give thanks that there is a day set apart for the world to remember together and together pray that it will never be allowed to happen again. As the number of Holocaust survivors diminishes, pray for creative ways that can be used to keep the memory alive.
They said in their hearts, “Let us destroy them altogether.” They have burned up all the meeting places of God in the land… Do not forget the voice of Your enemies; the tumult of those who rise up against You increases continually.
Bridges for Peace provides regular food parcels filled with all the makings of nutritious meals to more than 23,000 needy Israelis every month. Many of these are Holocaust survivors who struggle to make ends meet; keep the heat on during the cold, wet winter months and put food on the table. Bridges for Peace wants to extend a hand of love, support, physical sustenance and friendship to these precious survivors who have suffered such terrible cruelty. But we can’t do so without your help. Would you please consider giving a generous donation to our Food Program to ensure that we can put nutritious food on our Holocaust survivors' tables?
Iran Pushing to Increase Ballistic Missile Range to Cover Europe
by Lt. Col. (ret.) Michael Segall ~ JCPA
Thursday, 27 January 2022 | While negotiations in Vienna on the nuclear issue continue sluggishly without a breakthrough, Iran continues to exert pressure and threaten the negotiating partners. Moreover, Iran is more than just implying that it has other options if no arrangement is reached, including linking the advanced nuclear capabilities it has reached in the past year and its ballistic missiles that could reach Europe.
A conservative Iranian newspaper close to the regime recently reported that a solid-fuel engine tested in Iran could increase Iranian missile range to 5,000 kilometers (3,000 mi.), threatening European countries. The newspaper also praised President [Ebrahim] Raisi’s government, which, unlike its predecessor, exhibits an uncompromising negotiating position with the West, particularly in the realm of developing Iran’s missile capabilities.
Through the recent engine tests and the launch of satellites at the end of December 2021—in the midst of nuclear negotiations—Iran has made it clear that it does not intend to compromise on the issue of missile development during the nuclear deal negotiations.
The New Engine, Composite Rocket and a 5,000-kilometer Range
Iran’s Farhikhtegan newspaper reported on January 15, 2022, that Iran aspires to increase its ballistic missile range and that its development of a 5,000 kilometer-range [3,106 mi.-range] missile is “closer than ever.”
The newspaper, which belongs to the Open University (Azad-e-Islami) and is associated with the conservatives of the Iranian regime, quoted recent remarks by Brig.–Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, commander of the Revolutionary Guards’ Aerospace Corps. They interpreted his remarks as an indication that Iran plans to increase its range of ballistic missiles.
Gen. Hajizadeh announced a “successful test” of a new Satellite Launch Vehicle (SLV) engine called the “Raafe.” Hajizadeh appeared before clerics in Qoms and said that over the past two years, a series of tests had been carried out on a solid-fueled satellite launcher rocket. The commander of the Revolutionary Guards’ Aerospace Corps also revealed that the body of the new satellite launcher is of composite design, not metallic. The design and removal of liquid fuel pumps lighten the rocket, allowing for longer ranges or larger payloads. Hajizadeh added that Iran’s aviation and missile ability could not be curbed through “assassinations, threats, and sanctions.”
According to the Farhikhtegan newspaper, the test indicates significant progress in the missile field. The newspaper added that although Iran has announced that it does not want to build ballistic missiles with a range of more than 2,000 kilometers [1,242 mi.], the new engine could allow it to pass that range and even approach the 5,000-kilometer [3,106-mi.] range.
The newspaper recalled 2017 remarks by Gen. Hossein Salami, commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps, to the Europeans that if they wanted to bring the issue of Iran’s missile capability into the nuclear talks, Tehran could increase its missile range so that the range would cover the distance between Iran and Europe.
The United States considers Iran’s satellite launchers to be a violation of Security Council Resolution 2231, which was approved in July 2015. According to the resolution, Iran was “called upon” not to take any action involving ballistic missiles “designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons.”
Iran’s space programs, which were “dormant” under Rouhani, were accelerated as part of the Iranian response to the US exit from the nuclear deal and now also serve as leverage for pressure on the West during the nuclear talks.
Iran’s Conservatives, the Missile Test and the Vienna Talks
Farhikhtegan, the conservative newspaper, criticized former President Hassan Rouhani, writing: “While the Rouhani-led government had tried to curtail the country’s missile tests and space drills to prevent any criticism from the West during the Vienna talks, the current government does not want to find favor in the West…And, in fact, Ibrahim Raisi’s government sees these experiments as a means of pressure on the other side of the talks.”
The newspaper mentioned that the West had already made considerable efforts to bring Iran’s missile and regional activities into the framework of the nuclear talks in Vienna (until the end of Rouhani’s government). However, Tehran, while negotiating to revive the nuclear deal, is working aggressively to remove the issue of missiles from the talks.
Farhikhtegan praised the Raisi government, noting that “while there appears to have been some progress in the nuclear talks, the West has not stopped threatening Iran through escalating sanctions. Therefore, Tehran insists on the core issues to persuade the West to take clearer positions…Tehran’s strong emphasis on strengthening its military capability shows that as Western pressure intensifies, Iran will expand its military testing, in addition to increasing the scope of its regional campaign.”
On December 30, 2021, Iran launched a liquid-fueled Simorgh space launch vehicle (SLV). However, it appears that the launch failed because its satellites failed to enter into orbit. Following the launch, Iran fended off criticism in the West of the launch, arguing Iran had the right to launch satellites.
The US Defense Intelligence Agency found that “the new Simorgh (Safir-2) SLV could be capable of ICBM ranges if configured as a ballistic missile.”
Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs on January 25, 2022. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)
Photo Credit: Hossein Velayati/commons.wikimedia.org
Photo License: wikimedia.org
Pray that the world’s leaders will not allow themselves to be bullied by Iran but instead take the necessary steps to curb the threat of nuclear terrorism from a nation that has publicly advocated for the destruction of the nation of Israel and the United States.
For there is no faithfulness in their mouth; their inward part is destruction; their throat is an open tomb; they flatter with their tongue. Pronounce them guilty, O God! Let them fall by their own counsels; cast them out in the multitude of their transgressions, for they have rebelled against You.
In Historic Move, Israeli President to Pay First-ever Official Visit to UAE
by Itamar Eichner ~ Ynetnews
Wednesday, 26 January 2022 | Isaac Herzog will travel to the United Arab Emirates next week, in what is set to be the first official visit by an Israeli president to the Gulf state.
During the two-day visit, Herzog is set to meet with Crown Prince of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Vice President and Vice Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, representatives of the Jewish community and other local officials.
In addition, he will open “Israel Day” at the Expo 2020 in Dubai, where the Jewish state has its own pavilion. The president is also set to visit Abu Dhabi.
“We are privileged to make history by making the first visit of the president of the State of Israel to the United Arab Emirates,” Herzog said in a statement. “I believe that this new and courageous partnership will bring about positive change in the Middle East and inspire the whole region.”
He added that he is hoping the visit will contribute to creating “a better, more tolerant and more secure world for future generations. I thank Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed for his kind invitation, which is a historic opportunity to deepen the bonds of friendship between our people.”
The visit comes a month and a half after Prime Minister Naftali Bennett made the first official visit by an Israeli leader to the UAE in December.
The UAE became the first Arab state in recent history to normalize ties with Israel under a US-sponsored initiative dubbed the “Abraham Accords” after the biblical patriarch revered by Jews, Christians and Muslims.
Shortly after Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco also joined the initiative.
Photo Credit: i24NEWS English/youtube.com
Give thanks for the deepening of ties between Israel and the UAE, praying that this relationship will be based on integrity, mutual trust and openness. Pray that other Arab nations will follow the lead of the UAE in normalizing relations with Israel.
He who walks with integrity walks securely, but he who perverts his ways will become known.
IDF Commander: War Drill Has “Significantly Improved Readiness” for Combat against Hezbollah
by Yaakov Lappin ~ JNS
Friday, 21 January 2022 | A war drill conducted by the Israel Defense Forces’ [IDF’s] 74th armored battalion in the Golan Heights has significantly improved its readiness for combat against Hezbollah, the battalion’s commander has said.
Lt.–Col. Ofer Tchorz, commander of the Merkava 4 Tank 74th battalion, a part of the 188th armored brigade, told JNS that the training period has allowed his personnel “to prepare for the next war and improve our readiness.”
The exercise simulated combat against Hezbollah in Lebanon, in which the battalion would have to navigate hilly terrain and take on a heavily armed enemy that uses guerilla warfare tactics and fights out of populated areas in Lebanon, stated Tchorz.
The four-day live-fire battalion-wide exercise capped off a three-month training period, he added.
“It was intensive and empowering,” said the commander. “We’ve spent three months training in the Golan Heights beginning with the individual soldier and the level of the tank crew, and rising up to the battalion-wide drill, which we held last week,” said Tchorz.
The exercise follows a lengthy period of operational border protection duties that the battalion held on the Lebanese border, lasting almost eight months.
During the drill, the tanks teamed up with infantry units, combat engineers and artillery units, as well as with the Israeli Air Force during some parts of the exercise.
“We understand that in next war, the only way in which each part of the army can bring its strength to the table and bridge one another’s gaps is through combined combat,” said the officer. “This is how we deliver maximum efficiency.”
Compared to the 2006 Second Lebanon War, an IDF tank battalion in 2022 has undergone far more extensive training, said Tchorz.
“Prior to 2006, the IDF, including the Armored Corps, was dealing with the Second Intifada, with urban combat and arrests,” he said. “The biggest problem was with the tank crews; they did not train on their platform. They were conducting activities on foot in Judea and Samaria.”
Today, he explained, “the situation is completely different. For example, in the past two-and-a-half years, the 74th battalion did not get off its tanks, whether in training or in its operational duties, which it did this on-board tanks the whole time. So our readiness is considerably higher. This is one of the lessons of 2006. We are training far more than we did in the past. We have also significantly improved our training techniques.”
The tanks are also equipped with Rafael Advanced Defense System’s revolutionary Trophy active protection system, which intercepts guided anti-tank missiles and rocket-propelled grenades, greatly boosting the tank crew’s survivability on the battlefield. The system also contributes to the tank’s offensive capability by tracking down the source of fire instantly, and then enabling the unit to share enemy location data on the military’s digital command and control network, clearing the path for rapid and precise return fire.
“The platform and its technologies have become significantly more advanced,” said Tchorz. “We have new capabilities on-board the tanks that give us far higher effectiveness and lethality.”
Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on January 20, 2022. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)
Photo Credit: IDF Spokesperson Unit/JNS.org
Ask the Lord to grant wisdom and understanding to IDF Chief of Staff Lt. General Aviv Kochavi along with the head of the northern command, Maj.-General Amir Baram and all those under them who are defending Israel’s border with Lebanon and Syria. Give thanks for the training that enables all divisions to operate in unity and from their particular strengths.
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye.
Israel’s Hospitals on Verge of Collapse amid Rise in COVID Cases
by Adir Yanko ~ Ynetnews
Monday, 24 January 2022 | Israel’s hospitals on Sunday warned of their inability to cope with the influx of patients caused by the spread of the highly transmittable Omicron variant of coronavirus.
According to several hospitals, the Omicron’s spread, consequent surge in COVID cases, uptick in seriously ill coronavirus patients—as well as the frequent quarantine of medical workers—have all brought the health system and its workers to the brink.
The Kaplan Medical Center was forced to close its gates to ambulances due to an overload of patients and a lack of medical staff, many of whom are in quarantine due to exposure to COVID.
Kaplan’s dedicated COVID ward is currently full to capacity with 80 coronavirus patients.
According to several staffers, even when space is made available, the wait for hospitalization can take hours, which is another sign of the system’s inability to cope with the huge uptick in patients.
“There was a patient here who waited 12 hours for a hospital bed in the coronavirus ward,” said Ronit Ilsar, the head of nursing in Kaplan’s Emergency Medicine department.
Prof. Stephen Melnik, director of one of the internal medicine wards at Kaplan, echoed Ilsar’s sentiment.
“Most patients are older; the most ill among them are not vaccinated or those who have not received the third dose of the vaccine, and there are also two patients who received a fourth vaccine but fell ill shortly after.”
“The load is heavy, both professionally and physically. I mostly take my hat off to the auxiliary staff and the nurses who work and work for hours on end,” said Melnik.
The director of Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem, Prof. Yoram Weiss, says that no less than 380 employees are in quarantine.
“The result is that we are constantly compromising on the nursing care for patients,” says Weiss, adding that despite the infection spike, the illness itself seems milder.
“We have 140 patients, but unlike the Delta wave, the illness is less severe,” said Weiss, who estimates that the wave of infections will begin to subside towards the end of next week, but the relief in the hospitals will be felt only later.
“It usually takes two weeks for hospitals to feel the calm, certainly when it comes to critical care and intensive care. That is something to keep in mind.”
The panel of health experts, advising the cabinet on the pandemic, warned on Sunday of diminishing level of health care in hospitals in light of the surge of COVID patients and the rising number of medical teams absent due to the virus.
The panel also said that special measures were needed to protect the population at risk from infection with the fast spreading Omicron variant.
The panel said the government must provide means to ensure a Green Pass that includes proof of vaccines or negative tests for mass crowded events and venues catering to the elderly population.
Photo Credit: Amos Meron/Commons.wikimedia.org
Photo License: wikimedia.org
As the world at large battles similar issues with COVID, pray that the nation of Israel, God’s chosen people, would lead the way in acknowledging that He alone is able to direct our paths and provide understanding of how to cope with this medical crisis.
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.
Report: 2021 the Most Anti-Semitic Year in a Decade
Tuesday, 25 January 2022 | The year 2021 was the most anti-Semitic in the past decade, according to a report released Monday by the Jewish Agency and World Zionist Organization [WZO].
The average number of recorded incidents was more than 10 per day, though the organizations said that significantly more likely occurred but were not reported.
The main types of incidents were vandalism, destruction, graffiti, desecration of monuments and propaganda.
“Anti-Semitism is not a new term, but a term that reinvents itself. Jewish communities around the world face the challenges of a rising and ever-changing anti-Semitism,” said Raheli Baratz-Rix, head of the Department for Combating Anti-Semitism and Enhancing Resilience at WZO.
The report showed the steepest incline in events during the month of May, tied to Jerusalem Day, Shavuot [Feast of Weeks], Al-Quds Day, Eid al-Fitr [Islamic holiday celebrating the end of the month-long Ramadan fast] and Nakba Day [“Catastrophe” day, when Arabs commemorate the rebirth of the state of Israel], as well as the Hamas–Israel war and mixed-city riots.
In addition, there were several incidents tied to COVID-19—mainly expressions in the digital space and at rallies—linking COVID vaccines and restrictions to Holocaust motifs or anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.
Europe saw the highest number of incidents, with close to 50% of all reported anti-Semitic acts taking place on the continent. The United States was second with 30% of the year’s incidents, including a 100% increase in the number of anti-Semitic incidents in New York (503 in 2021, compared to 252 the year before) and a 59% increase in Los Angeles.
Canada and Australia also saw a spike compared to previous years.
“It is the duty of every country to provide its citizens with security and to protect them in every event that takes place on its land, including the Jewish community,” said Baratz-Rix. “At the same time, the State of Israel will always continue to be an anchor for every Jew who desires it.”
The Jewish Agency and WZO report comes on the heels of a report published on Sunday by the Israeli Diaspora Affairs Ministry detailing a surge in anti-Semitic rhetoric on five social-media channels.
According to that report, there were 3.5 million anti-Semitic posts written by 422,000 users on Twitter, 4Chan, 8Kun, BitChute and Stormfront.
Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on January 24, 2022. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)
Photo Credit: American Jewish Committee/Twitter/JNS.org
Turn to the Lord in prayer and petition, asking Him once again to scatter the enemies of His people. Pray for governments to stop turning a blind eye to anti-Semitic acts and to prosecute the offenders.
“Rise up, O LORD! Let Your enemies be scattered, and let those who hate You flee before You.”
Report: 54 Palestinian Terror Attacks Took Place in Israel in 2021
Thursday, 27 January 2022 | The total number of Palestinian terror attacks in 2021 reached 54, according to a report published on Wednesday by the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center.
It said that despite incidents related to Israel’s 11-day conflict last May with Hamas in the Gaza Strip, the scope of terrorism in the West Bank [Judea and Samaria] and Jerusalem remained similar to that of past years going back to 2017.
By comparison, 40 attacks were carried out in 2020, while 34 were recorded in 2019 and 55 in 2018.
Three Israeli civilians were murdered in attacks during 2021 with 34 injured. Twenty of the attacks occurred in greater Jerusalem, and one took place in Jaffa.
Knife attacks increased. Thirty incidents were recorded, compared to 19 in 2020, while 12 shootings and eight vehicle-ramming attacks took place, noted the report. Three attacks combined multiple means of assault.
In addition, 1,700 rock-throwing incidents and 350 firebombings were reported in 2021.
Photo Credit: Nasser Ishtayeh/Flash90/JNS.org
Pray that Israel’s security forces, especially those who are undercover, will discover the plans of terrorists before they are accomplished. Pray that lone wolf terrorists will talk about their plans in advance so they can be stopped. Ask the God of all comfort to overwhelm the families of the Israelis killed in terror attacks last year with His tender mercies.
He [God] frustrates the devices of the crafty, so that their hands cannot carry out their plans.
Israeli Ministries Meet to Plan Possible Airlift of Ukrainian Jews
Wednesday, 26 January 2022 | Top Israeli government officials and leaders of Jewish organizations held a meeting on Sunday to discuss the possibility of evacuating Jews from Ukraine if Russia invades.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has been amassing troops at the two countries’ borders since the fall, reportedly including the placement of weapons such as ballistic missiles, with some estimates of an impending crossing or invasion early this year.
According to a report in Haaretz, the meeting was held with members of the National Security Council, the Prime Minister’s Office, the Foreign Affairs Ministry, the Defense Ministry, the Diaspora Affairs Ministry, and the Ministry of Transport and Road Safety.
It also included representatives from the Jewish Agency for Israel and Nativ, which maintains connections with Jews in former Soviet countries.
Jewish organizations estimate that some 75,000 Ukrainians living in the eastern part of the country, many of them elderly, are eligible for Israeli citizenship under the Law of Return, which allows immigration to those who have one Jewish grandparent.
Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on January 24, 2022. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)
Photo Credit: Haim Zach/GPO/JNS.org
Cry out to God on behalf of the Jewish residents of eastern Ukraine, many of them elderly, proclaiming that He is their shield and strength. Pray that the different ministries within the Israeli government who are involved with the decision of an airlift will seek wisdom from God and will coordinate their response to this crisis.
The God of my strength, in whom I will trust; my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge; my Savior, You save me from violence.
This dire situation is very close to our hearts. We have received urgent appeals from our team in Ukraine and need the help of Christians around the world to save Jewish lives. Our Project Rescue team has saved Jewish people from eastern Ukraine under fire, in many cases being protected from extreme danger in supernatural ways and guidance from above. Now our team is facing the latest looming threat and is working frantically to bring as many Jewish people as possible to safety. Now, more than ever, they need their Christian friends around the world to help them return to Israel. There is no time to wait and think about helping. This is a time for action. Your gifts to Project Rescue will enable us to help the Jews of Ukraine.
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