Help us bless the people of Israel.

Friday, July 10, 2020

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

We are now also releasing a weekly video news brief with the most important Israel-related news highlights from the week to keep you updated and help you pray for the peace of Jerusalem. 

Iranian Terror Proxies Call for Unity to Fight Israel

by Ilse Strauss

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Anti-Israel demonstrations in San Francisco

Tuesday, 7 July 2020 | Hamas and Hezbollah have much in common. Both appear on a number of countries’ list of designated terrorist organizations. Both are Iranian proxies that answer to terror overlords in Tehran, and both stack their weapons caches thanks to the generosity of Tehran. Both are perched on Israel’s border within easy striking distance of civilian populations—Hamas in the south and Hezbollah in the north. Both have the destruction of Israel as a raison d’etre and have faced Israel on the battlefield repeatedly to achieve that goal. Had Hamas not been Sunni and Hezbollah Shiite, the two might have been terror peas in a pod.

According to Arab media, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh dispatched a special terror chief-to-terror chief missive to Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah, calling for the two organizations to lay aside that lingering difference and “unite ranks” in an effort to stymie Israel’s efforts to apply sovereignty to Judea and Samaria as well as the Jordan Valley in line with US President Donald Trump’s peace plan.

The Hamas message, delivered to Hezbollah in Beirut, claimed that the prospective move presents “grave dangers” to the Palestinian cause. Haniyeh’s writ failed to explain how Israeli sovereignty in 30% of the biblical heartland to coexist alongside a prospective independent Palestinian state on 70% of the contested area equates to “grave dangers.”

Both Hamas and Hezbollah subsequently released statements. Hezbollah decried Israel’s sovereignty plans as “aggression against the Palestinian people,” Associated Press reported, and called for “unity” to “confront” the Jewish state.

“The Palestinian people are capable of confronting this plan,” the statement vowed.

The two terror groups cozying up comes less than a week after sworn arch enemies Hamas and Fatah—the so-called secular political party headed by Mahmoud Abbas governing 2.5 million Palestinians in parts of Judea and Samaria—announced they were laying aside years of bitter feuding, hatred and bloodshed to face the prospect of Israeli sovereignty as a united front.

The announcement of a budding Hamas–Fatah alliance failed to spark much interest, with many claiming that the feuding factions have cried wolf too many times in the past and that this stab at unity will go in the same direction as every previous attempt at unity—nowhere.

However, Hamas and Fatah on Monday night conducted the second joint press conference in a week. “We are sending a message, first and foremost, to the occupation: we are united; even if there are disagreements here and there, they are superficial and normal,” Hamas political bureau member Hussam Badran said during an interview on Palestine TV.

Addressing the feud that erupted in 2007 year in the Battle of Gaza when Hamas fighters seized control of the Gaza Strip, murdering Fatah officials and driving the rest from the coastal enclave—and continued to simmer for more than a decade, Fatah Central Committee member Ahmad Hilles said: “The occupation has imposed a battle upon us that forces us to act differently.”

Could Israel face a united trio of Hamas, Hezbollah and Fatah on and within its borders? For the time being, Jerusalem doesn’t seem overly concerned.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, July 7, 2020)

Photo Credit: Adambro (talk)/commons.wikimedia.org

Photo License: wikimedia.org

Prayer Focus
Pray that any plans for Hamas, Fatah and Hezbollah to present a united front in aggressive actions against Israel will not succeed. Beseech the Lord that the leadership of these three terrorist organizations will fail in their attempts to use Israel’s plan to extend sovereignty as an excuse for more violence.

Scripture

LORD, how they have increased who trouble me! Many are they who rise up against me. But you, O LORD, are a shield for me, my glory and the One who lifts up my head.


- Psalm 3:1, 3

Over a Quarter Million Israelis in Danger of Losing Unemployment Benefits

by Gad Lior

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Closed stalls and shops in Jerusalem’s fresh produce market

Tuesday, 7 July 2020 | Hundreds of thousands of Israelis who lost their jobs or [were] put on unpaid leave because of coronavirus could be left without full or even partial unemployment benefits due to the emergency measures put in place by the government ending at the end of [June].

Nearly a million Israelis lost their jobs or [have] been put on unpaid leave since the start of the COVID-19 epidemic in Israel and the subsequent economic crisis, representing the highest unemployment numbers in decades.

The end of emergency measures put in place over three months ago would leave over 134,000 Israelis who were furloughed in March and April without government aid, while 128,000 more will receive only partial unemployment benefits.

The Finance Ministry has yet to formalize a plan to extend the benefits.

If no solution is found, about 262,000 Israelis will be left with no source of income or adequate financial aid.

Data by Bituach Leumi (The National Insurance Institute) and the Welfare Ministry show the unprecedented steep climb in unemployment throughout the country in comparison to [unemployment] numbers before March 1.

Most Israeli cities and towns recorded a sharp rise in unemployed.

Jerusalem, the most populated city in Israel, recorded the biggest spike in the country, with 9,139 unemployed before the epidemic and 82,450 now, representing an 804% increase.

Tel Aviv, which had 8,707 unemployed on March 1, has seen a 573% increase, with 58,589 people in need of unemployment benefits at the moment.

Other major cities in Israel have also seen a rise of nearly 500% in unemployment, with Haifa registering 28,796 jobless compared to 4,346 before the epidemic; and Beersheva registering 20,182 compared to 3,647.

But the communities hit the hardest by the crisis appear to be in the Arab sector. The city of Kfar Qasim recorded a rise of nearly 1,722%, with 2,387 jobless compared to 131 on March 1.

The southernmost city of Eilat was the hardest hit among the major cities, due to severe economic damage caused by the epidemic to the tourism industry, which the city’s working population heavily relies on. It has recorded a rise of about 1,138% in unemployment, with 1,152 jobless on March 1 compared to 14,257 right now.

The National Insurance Institute said that most of the unemployed are part of Israel’s middle class, [and the] Haredi population appears to be low on the [unemployment] list.

Bituach Leumi chief Meir Spiegler also called for the increased unemployment benefits to be extended.

“Being unemployed is not a profession, and we have a moral and humane duty as a society to care for those who have lost their ability to provide and extend the unemployment eligibility,” said Spiegler.

Welfare officials compared the unemployment numbers to a “ticking time bomb” that if not neutralized, will cause hundreds of thousands of Israelis to plunge into poverty.

Finance Ministry officials said that employers should reinstate workers currently on unpaid leave, and the government will provide them with financial aid instead of continuing to pay unemployment benefits.

The ministry, however, said they are working on an outline to extend the benefits beyond the current deadline.

Editor’s Note: With no end to the coronavirus pandemic in sight, millions across the world are facing a bleak economic future. Israel is no different. Estimates say that half a million Israelis could be unemployed by 2021, and with a quarter of a million in danger of losing the unemployment benefits that would have helped pay rent, put food on the table or send their kids to school, the situation is dire. We continue to receive calls for assistance from people who desperately require a helping hand. It is our heart to reach out with that helping hand, and we are trusting the Lord to provide the funds to do so. Thank you for your donations that enable us to continue feeding, continue blessing and continue showing Christian love the people of Israel during these turbulent times.

Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published by Ynetnews on June 28, 2020. The article has been edited for length, and time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Terry Mason/bridgesforpeace.com

Prayer Focus
Remind the Lord of His wonderful promises to sustain His people in their land. Ask Him for an extension of unemployment benefits for as long as is necessary and pray that He will move quickly and sovereignly to restore the Israeli economy. Also pray that Christians around the world will show their love and support by giving generously to help Bridges for Peace meet the needs of as many Israelis as possible.

Scripture

Then the LORD your God will bring you to the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it. He will prosper you and multiply you more than your fathers. The LORD your God will make you abound in all the work of your hand, in the fruit of your body, in the increase of your livestock, and in the produce of your land for good.


- Deuteronomy 30:5, 9a

Israel and UAE Inks “Historic Deal” to Combat Coronavirus Together

by Kate Norman

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The joint medical and technological initiatives between Israel and UAE will aid the global fight against the coronavirus (illustrative).

Friday, 3 July 2020 | Times of crisis have a way of bridging gaps and bringing people together. Israel, nicknamed “the start-up nation,” has harnessed its technological prowess and scientific savvy to battle the worldwide spread of COVID-19—and other nations are taking notice.

Two Jewish state tech and defense companies signed a deal with a tech company in the United Arab Emirates (UAE)—a nation with whom Israel has no official diplomatic relations or treaties. Nonetheless, their ties are warming up quickly amid the global pandemic as well as increasing Iranian aggression, which both nations view as a threat. 

Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) signed a memorandum of understanding with technology company Group 42 based in Abu Dhabi, UAE’s official news agency WAM reported Thursday.

During a signing ceremony via videoconference, company executives from both nations discussed how to combine their joint resources and knowledge to “develop cutting-edge solutions and medical initiatives that would benefit not only the populations of both countries, but humanity as a whole,” WAM reported.

“This joint initiative brings together some of the most active players in the COVID-19 response in the region and aims to leverage their combined knowledge, human and technological assets and other resources,” the WAM article continued, “to accelerate the delivery of breakthrough solutions to safeguard the public health and support the global fight against the pandemic.”

Group 42’s CEO said in a statement, as quoted by WAM: “At G42, we embrace international cooperation as a way to develop new and innovative technological solutions for the public good. The UAE has led by example in the global collaborative effort to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic, and our company is privileged to follow the lead and share resources and expertise with Rafael and IAI for such a significant cause.”

Israel’s IAI also confirmed the deal in a statement.

“The coronavirus crosses continents, nations and religions, and we see the utmost importance in cooperating for breakthrough solutions,” the statement said, adding that IAI hopes “it will lead to future cooperation between the two countries.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at a ceremony last week that the UAE and Israel were soon to announce cooperation in technology and research & development.

“This is the result of continuous and intensive contacts over the past few months,” the prime minister said. “It will be a blessing for many in our region.”

The UAE has joined other Arab nations in condemning Israel’s plans to apply sovereignty over Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, though the UAE warnings that Israeli sovereignty would affect peace in the region were milder than other Arab states.

Nonetheless, the UAE foreign minister asserted that the two nations could continue to cooperate on issues such as battling COVID-19 despite political disagreements.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, July 2, 2020)

Photo Credit: geralt/pixabay.com

Prayer Focus
Praise the Lord that this agreement with the UAE has been signed. Pray that their cooperative efforts will strengthen Israel’s position in the region and will result in breakthroughs that will benefit the lives and health of many. Also ask the Lord for a full revelation of Himself as the UAE and other Arab nations see His relationship with Israel firsthand.

Scripture

“Thus I will magnify Myself and sanctify Myself, and I will be known in the eyes of many nations. Then they shall know that I am the LORD.”


- Ezekiel 38:23

Tensions on Gaza Border Simmer as Three Rockets Fired into Israel

by Ilse Strauss

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Three rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel Sunday evening (illustrative).

Monday, 6 July 2020 | The terrifying wail of air raid sirens screamed through communities near the Gaza border last night as terrorists fired three rockets on southern Israel, giving Israelis fifteen seconds to find shelter from the incoming projectiles.

The first attack occurred at about 7 p.m., when two rockets struck an open field, causing no injuries or damage. The code red siren screamed again at around 8 p.m. as a third rocket was fired from the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, forcing thousands of Israelis to flee for the safety of their bomb shelters for the second time in less than an hour. According to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), the Iron Dome areal defense system intercepted the third projectile.

The IDF responded by striking various Hamas targets in Gaza, including “underground infrastructure belonging to the Hamas terror group.”

“The IDF views any kind of terror activity aimed at Israel with great severity and will continue operating as necessary against attempts to harm Israeli civilians,” the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said, warning that Hamas will “bear the consequences” for all attacks on the Jewish state.

Although Hamas did not take responsibility for the attacks, Israel holds the de facto rulers of the coastal enclave responsible for “what happens in the Gaza and what comes out of it.”

Last night’s rocket fire comes a week after the last barrage fired from the Hamas-ruled strip.

The fifteen years since Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip in 2005 have been fraught with terror attacks, barrages of rockets fired on civilian populations and three wars between Israel and Hamas. The past few months have, however, been unusually quiet as Jerusalem and the Sunni-Islamic fundamentalist Iranian terror proxy allegedly work to hammer out a long-term truce deal.

Yet the prospect of Israel extending authority to Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria as well as the Jordan Valley seem to have restarted the cycle of rocket attacks and counter strikes.

Hamas rulers said late last month it views any sovereignty moves as “a declaration of war.” A day later on June 27, terrorists in Gaza fired two rockets into southern Israel. The IDF responded with strikes on Hamas positions in Gaza.

Last night’s attack also comes days after sworn arch enemies Hamas and Fatah— the so-called secular political party headed by Mahmoud Abbas governing 2.5 million Palestinians in parts of Judea and Samaria—announced they were laying aside years of bitter feuding, hatred and bloodshed to “topple” a common enemy: Israel.

Another aspect to consider as tensions once again flare on the Gaza border is the fact that Hamas is a proxy of Iran and therefore exists and operates at the whims of their terror puppet masters in Tehran.

Over the past weeks, a number of blasts have rocked the Islamic Republic—including explosions at the Natantz nuclear facility, a suspected missile production site and a workshop used to produce advanced centrifuges—raising questions whether Israel has covertly gone on the offensive to make good on its vow to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. Moreover, the mullahs may not take kindly to the Jewish state having a hand in setting back its nuclear timetable and decide to seek revenge. Retaliation may come in the form of a cyber-attack or a strike on Israeli targets overseas. Alternatively, Tehran may task its proxies—Hezbollah in Lebanon or Hamas in Gaza—to attack Israel directly, thus having them step onto the frontlines of a direct confrontation that Iran has no stomach for at present.

As Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pushes ahead with his sovereignty plans and the smoke of the latest blast that that tore through the Iranian nuclear facility still hovers on the horizon, only time will tell whether the Israel–Gaza border will remain quiet or once again erupt in violence.

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

Photo Credit: Dima Vazinovich/Israel Defense Forces/flickr.com

Photo License: flickr.com

Prayer Focus
Pray for God’s sovereign protection and intervention along the Gaza border. Beseech Him that the rocket fire will cease and Hamas’s plans to partner with Fatah will come to nothing.

Scripture

Have mercy on me, O LORD! Consider my trouble from those who hate me, You who lift me up from the gates of death, that I may tell of all Your praise in the gates of the daughter of Zion.


- Psalm 9:13–14a

Netanyahu, Johnson Discuss Sovereignty over Judea and Samaria

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UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson

Thursday, 9 July 2020 | What happened: On Monday night Prime Ministers Boris Johnson and Benjamin Netanyahu spoke on the phone, after the former’s op-ed in Yediot Ahronot calling for Israel not to apply its sovereignty in the West Bank [Judea and Samaria].

  • Netanyahu told Johnson that “Israel is prepared to conduct negotiations on the basis of President Trump’s peace plan which is both creative and realistic and will not return to the failed formulas of the past.” In addition, the Prime Minister’s Office said the pair “agreed to strengthen bilateral relations in a range of fields, especially to deepen cooperation combating the coronavirus.”
  • The UK government released a statement, saying: “The Prime Minister set out his concerns about plans to annex parts of the West Bank unilaterally and cautioned that this would set back the prospects for peace in the region. He reiterated his personal support for Israel and urged Prime Minister Netanyahu to return to negotiations with the Palestinians. The leaders also underlined their ongoing commitment to UK–Israel trade and discussed the global response to coronavirus, agreeing to continue working together to tackle the pandemic.”
  • Yesterday, the foreign ministers of Egypt, France, Germany and Jordan spoke on a video conference and afterwards issued a rare joint statement: “We concur that any annexation of Palestinian territories occupied in 1967 would be a violation of international law and imperil the foundations of the peace process. We would not recognise any changes to the 1967 borders that are not agreed by both parties in the conflict…It could also have consequences for the relationship with Israel. We emphasise our strong commitment to a negotiated two-state solution based on international law and relevant UN resolutions. We discussed how a constructive fresh start can be made between the Israeli and Palestinian sides, and we offer our support in opening a path to negotiations.”
  • Last night Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah warned in a televised speech: “We stand by our Palestinian brothers as a state and as a people and are ready to do anything against this plot, the consequences of which are extremely dangerous for Lebanon.”

Context: According to the coalition agreement, July 1 was set as the earliest date for an Israeli government decision on any West Bank move. However, the issue was not on the agenda at this week’s parliamentary faction meetings for either the Likud or Blue and White.

  • Both Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) are focused on fighting a new surge of the coronavirus. According to the PA’s Health Ministry, more than 4,570 people have tested positive overall and 17 people have died. Last week there were 2,356 cases and five deaths. In Israel, a total of 1,319 people have tested positive on Tuesday. Five people died in hospitals across Israel yesterday, bringing the death toll up to 342.
  • The King of Jordan and other Jordanian officials have been outspoken in their opposition to any unilateral Israeli move, but this is the first time Egypt has publicly threatened that annexation could impact its relations with Israel.
  • Last week, the US Special Representative for International Negotiations Avi Berkowitz and National Security Council Member Scott Leith were in Israel for consultations and met Prime Minister Netanyahu, Alternate Prime Minister and Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi.
  • Last Wednesday Prime Minister Boris Johnson wrote an op-ed, published on the front page of Israel’s popular daily newspaper Yediot Ahronot, where he sought to reassure that “our commitment to Israel’s security will be unshakable while I am Prime Minister,“ but added, “I profoundly hope that annexation does not go ahead. If it does, the UK will not recognise any changes to the 1967 lines, except those agreed between both parties.”

Looking ahead: The US peace team is expected to resume their discussion later this week on next steps to implement the Trump plan. A source told the Jerusalem Post that an announcement is “still possible” this month.

Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published in BICOM on July 8, 2020. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.) 

Photo Credit: Chatham House/flickr.com

Photo License: flickr.com

Prayer Focus
Cry out to the Lord for wisdom for Prime Minister Netanyahu as he deals with the US peace team and other world leaders. Pray that the Lord will truly direct his steps, ensuring that the prime minister is making decisions that are in alignment with God’s will.

Scripture

For the LORD gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding; He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk uprightly; He guards the paths of justice, and preserves the way of His saints.


- Proverbs 2:6–8

Arab World Mourns Israeli Who Died Saving Bedouin Family from Drowning

by Itamar Eichner

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Ben Zikri drowned on Friday when he rescued three children and their aunt, all residents of the Bedouin town of Hura (pictured).

Wednesday, 8 July 2020 | Numerous internet users from all across the Arab and Muslim world were touched in recent days by the story of Michael Ben Zikri, an Israeli man who drowned over the weekend after saving a Bedouin family at Shiqma Reservoir in the country’s south, and have shared their condolences with his family.

Ben Zikri has become a symbol of coexistence between Jews and Muslims after the Foreign Ministry shared his story on its social media accounts in Persian and Arabic.

“This is true humanitarianism,” commented an Iraqi user by the name of Mirna. “There is no difference between humans, God has taught us to love one another.”

“Humanity has no religion, may he dwell in heaven and blessings come upon his families and loved ones for his noble act,” wrote another user.

A Saudi user by the name of Othman mentioned in his comment a passage from the Quran in which Allah said that whoever saves a single soul is considered as if he saved all people.

“The fact we have political differences with you guys doesn’t mean there is a disagreement between us about humanitarianism,” wrote a user from Egypt.

“This is the people of Israel who love all and help all,” wrote another user from Iraq.

The foreign ministry’s social media manager in the Arabic language, Yonatan Gonen, said that the post was shared all around the Arab and Muslim world and countless users were touched by Ben Zikri’s story.

“This is a touching story that couldn’t leave users from Arab states indifferent, even those who are hostile to Israel,” said Gonen.

“Users from Morocco to Iraq, from Oman to Syria, could identify with the story and unanimously pointed at Michael’s heroism on a very large scale, some even pointed [out] Israel’s coexistence as a role model.”

Ben Zikri, 45, drowned on Friday when he rescued three children and their aunt, all residents of the Bedouin town of Hura, after the four got caught in turbulence.

He was laid to rest on Sunday in Ashkelon cemetery and dozens of Hura residents attended his funeral. Ben Zikri is survived by his wife and three children.

Ben Zikri’s childhood friend, Minister of Religious Affairs Ya’akov Avitan, eulogized him and spoke of his generous nature.

“Anytime a person was in trouble, Michael was the first to help,” said Avitan.

“What he did on Friday wasn’t an act of heroism to him, but a way of life. He gave all his life, and this time too, he was the first one to jump into the water.”

Source: (Ynetnews originally published this article on July 7, 2020. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Romayan/wikipedia.org

Photo License: wikipedia.org

Prayer Focus
Pray that God’s richest blessings will fall upon Michael Ben Zikri’s family. Ask the Lord for consolation and peace for his wife and children, and pray that his children will always remember their father as the hero he was. Pray also that his sacrifice would continue to bear the fruit of peace between Israelis and Arabs well into the future.

Scripture

You are my hiding place; You shall preserve me from trouble; You shall surround me with songs of deliverance.


- Psalm 32:7

The Third Wave of Anti-Semitism is on the Way

by Fiamma Nirenstein

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Anti-Semitic posters like these equating Israel with Nazis are on the rise.

Tuesday, 7 July 2020 | Imagine that a prestigious international research institute concludes that the new wave of anti-Semitism is fueled and perpetuated chiefly by the physical characteristics of the Jews—their noses, for example—or by their insularity in relation to the general society. You would surely be surprised if the media and politicians adopt the conclusion and persistently refer to the noses of their country’s Jews or blame Jewish family customs for the spread of the coronavirus.

I would claim it as remiss or malicious, especially if it emanates from the media sources and institutions that pretend to fight and condemn anti-Semitism. Because negligence and malice aimed at the State of Israel, or ignorance and obsession about its supposed mistakes, are precisely what induces the exponential growth of worldwide anti-Semitism today.

Today, in the age of a sovereign Jewish state, anti-Semitism has been redirected at demonizing Israel. It delegitimizes Israel as a racist, genocidal, apartheid state.

Shocking Palestinian cartoons flooded social media with caricatures depicting Israeli soldiers shooting COVID-19 bullets at Palestinians, or poor and scared Palestinians locked up in cages surrounded by tanks and corona monsters with the Star of David.  Joining these images were the choruses of hate-filled mobs chanting in Paris, Brussels, New York and Washington D.C. that Israel should be destroyed.

“Israelophobic” anti-Semitism reverberated during the days of the mass protests in the United States when furious crowds marched to protest the killing of George Floyd at the hands of a criminal police officer. We heard that Israel and Jews were responsible for the murder because they train American police officers.

“It’s the occupation, brother, we’re all in the same boat” ranted the left-wing political activist and Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) supporter, Linda Sarsour, who went on to portray Israel as the common enemy. In Washington D.C. protestors marched to the Capitol building chanting, “Black Lives Matter, Palestinian Lives Matter,” and “From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be free!”

The Third Wave

Now we have entered into the third wave of the most recent anti-Semitism. “Massacre the Jews” [Israel] as “Mohammed massacred the Yahud in Khaybar” was the slogan chanted on June 28 in the Belgian capital, and the threat has been repeated in city squares around the world.

The international criticism of Israel is blind to the issue of the so-called “annexation.” The critics abstractly accuse Israel of being opposed to peace, while the opposite is true. And yet, sanctions are threatened by the United Nations (UN), the European Union and all its institutions. Letters from hundreds of European intellectuals and parliamentarians from all over the world promise to cut relations and sanction Israel if it dared to apply its sovereignty to 30% of the disputed territories. Disputed territories, not “illegal,” and not “occupied.” All the while, 70% of the territory is reserved for the Palestinians.

The repetitive and continuous threats and condemnations by the UN, the European Union and many European states have the tone and angry timbre of an anti-Semitic obsession. All the while, they pretend that they are earnestly fighting the obsessions of the oldest hatred, anti-Semitism.

The basis for the threats against Israel is the Jewish state’s support for the American peace plan presented by President Donald Trump. The international rejection of [the] plan comes with a claim that the component of Israel controlling 30% of the territory was an attempt to impose apartheid, which is false. The implication of their accusation is malicious—that Israel has malevolent colonial aspirations to occupy the Palestinian people. This is a demonizing and delegitimizing accusation, using the term “occupation” as a curse to advance anti-Israel hatred.

The magnitude of the protests would make sense if the Palestinians were willing to come to the negotiating table while Israel moved ahead in an arrogant, unilateral gesture. But, anyone who knows anything about the history of Israeli–Palestinian peace negotiations knows that this is not the case.

What is currently being promoted by the international community is not a discourse of criticism, which would be legitimate, but instead a storm of prejudices.

Research and polls carried out in dozens of countries testify that virus-inspired anti-Semitism has gone viral on social media, and it is the continuation of the ancient conspiracy theories of blood libels that have always painted the Jews as the source of diseases and the spreaders.

The Palestinian Authority’s Prime Minister, Mohammad Shtayyeh, promoted the coronavirus blood libel by stating that Israeli soldiers and settlers knowingly spread the coronavirus among Palestinians. His spokesperson went so far as to state that the occupation itself was the virus and that the Jews had inflicted the pandemic on the Palestinians.

The political, diplomatic and academic spokespersons who care deeply about the adoption and the promotion of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) upheld the connection between hatred for Israel and anti-Semitic hatred during a webinar conference in June 2020. Katharina Von Schnurbein, the European Commission Coordinator on combatting anti-Semitism, alluded to a 2019 survey in which 85% of Jews declared that they feel they are perceived through the Israeli lens. Jews are synonymous with Israel.

If, as the IHRA suggests, anti-Israel hatred is the engine of anti-Semitism, its twin, why are there no measures to deal with this dual threat? Why not be more cautious when dealing with issues relating to Israel? Why not challenge both hatreds by delving deeper into Israel’s history, its democratic nature, humane inspiration and the heroic story of the country itself?

Institutions and states that have implemented measures against anti-Semitism and have adopted the IHRA should monitor how they and their institutions influence public opinion and the spread of prejudice against Israel. Political actors must be more cautious before putting labels on Israeli–Jewish consumer products, or bandying about apartheid, or legitimizing BDS. The examples are endless, and the many condemnations and institutional threats today push anti-Semitic crowds into the streets with a “moral cloak.” These political actors and institutions are committed to fighting against anti-Semitism, but they are also responsible for creating it. This has been the case since the 1975 UN Resolution 3379, which equated Zionism with racism.

Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published by the JCPA on July 6, 2020. The article has been edited for length, and time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: zombie of zombietime.com/commons.wikimedia.org

Photo License: wikimedia.org

Prayer Focus
Pray for an end to this institutionalized anti-Semitism and the hypocrisy of global political leaders who perpetuate it. Pray that they will truly recognize that their anti-Israel stance is not based in truth but is actually an extension of ingrained hatred of the Jewish people. Pray that the Lord will humble them, causing them to rethink their positions on Israel’s rights as a sovereign nation.

Scripture

Consider my enemies, for they are many; and they hate me with cruel hatred. Keep my soul, and deliver me; let me not be ashamed, for I put my trust in You.


- Psalm 25:19–20

Palestinian Authority Banks Refuse to Accept Salaries for Terrorists

by Maurice Hirsch, Adv.

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The Bank of Palestine in Ramallah

Thursday, 9 July 2020 | Ignoring a directive from the Palestinian Authority (PA) to all banks in the PA areas that they must accept money for payment of salaries to the accounts of terrorists and families of killed terrorists, at least four banks have refused to follow the PA’s dictates. All the banks are refusing to allow these groups to use their ATM cards.

This comes two-and-a-half months after Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) sent letters warning the banks operating in the PA-controlled areas of potential criminal and civil liability if they continued aiding and abetting the PA to pay rewards to terrorists.

For five weeks, Palestinian civil servants have waited for the PA to pay them their May salaries. While the PA usually pays its employees in the first half of every month, until July 3, the PA had not paid any salaries to its employees for the month of May. The delay in the payment was ostensibly a result of the renewed refusal to receive the tax monies Israel collects and transfers to the PA, but was also potentially connected to the PA’s difficulties to pay the terrorist prisoners.

May 2020 could have been the first month in over a decade in which the PA did not pay salaries to terrorist prisoners and released prisoners. This was not the result of a change in PA policy, but rather, as PMW has shown, demonstrates that for the PA, the terrorist prisoners are equally entitled to their salaries as the rest of the PA’s law abiding, non-terrorist employees.

On July 3, the PA paid all of its employees, including the terrorist prisoners and released prisoners, their salary for the month of May. While the PA was determined to pay the salaries of the terrorist prisoners, it would appear that the banks operating in the PA-controlled areas were less than fully cooperative.

In April 2020, PMW sent warning letters to all the banks operating in the PA-controlled areas. PMW warned that new anti-terror legislation promulgated by the IDF [Israel Defense Forces] Military Commander for Judea and Samaria made the performance of any bank transaction connected to the payment of rewards for acts of terrorism a criminal offense. PMW added that if the banks wished to avoid both criminal and civil liability, they would have to stop providing the platform and aiding and abetting the PA to pay the salaries to the terrorists.

The banks responded to PMW by writing to PA Minister of Finance Shukri Bishara on May 7, 2020, saying that considering the “risks to which the banks will be exposed as a result of the presence of these accounts [of prisoners, released prisoners, and families of martyrs and prisoners]…all of the banks hereby ask Your Honor to stop transferring any sums into these accounts. The banks will transfer the balances in these accounts to the Ministry of Finance’s account.”

While the PA has decided to try [to] circumvent the anti-terror legislation by creating a new bank that will serve the imprisoned and released terrorists and the families of the dead terrorists, that bank has not yet been established.

On numerous other occasions PA President Mahmoud Abbas has promised that even if the PA has only one penny left in its coffers, he will pay it to the terrorist prisoners before anyone else.

Interestingly, while the PA’s coffers are far from empty—the PA’s income for the first quarter of 2020 rose by NIS 1.25 billion [US $362 million] as compared to the same period in 2019, and EU aid to the PA, earmarked for the payment of the salaries to legitimate PA employees, has continued without disruption—the PA nonetheless paid the terrorists the same percentage of their salaries as the rest of the PA’s legitimate employees.

Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published in Palestinian Media Watch on July 6, 2020. Time related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.) 

Photo Credit: Rgaudin/wikipedia.com

Photo License: wikimedia.org

Prayer Focus
Thank the Lord that these banks are cooperating with Israeli directives and ceasing to be a part of the inhumane and evil practice of paying people to kill and maim innocent civilians. Pray that the PA’s attempts to circumvent the legislation will fail and that this murderous practice will finally come to an end.

Scripture

When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when a wicked man rules, the people groan.


- Proverbs 29:2

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