×

PayPal

Credit/Debit/Bank Transfer

Bringing The Jewish People Home

Friday, July 2, 2021

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

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.

Wrapping up Foreign Minister Lapid’s Fruitful, Historic UAE Trip

by Kate Norman

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid

Thursday, 1 July 2021 | Foreign Minister Yair Lapid wrapped up his historic visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) yesterday in the first official visit by an Israeli minister to the Gulf kingdom to deepen ties between the Jewish state and its Arab neighbor.

Lapid visited the capital of Abu Dhabi to inaugurate the Israeli embassy on Tuesday and then traveled to Dubai on Wednesday to open an Israeli consulate there.

On Wednesday, he released a joint statement with Emirati Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan that the two nations will further cooperation in four areas: peaceful relations between countries and peoples, economic cooperation, regional cooperation and battling the pandemic. 

“What we are opening here today isn’t only a consulate,” Lapid said at the ceremony in Dubai. “It’s a center of cooperation, a place that symbolizes our ability to think together, to develop together, to change the world together.”

Lapid hailed the “historic moment” at the ribbon-cutting ceremony on Tuesday as the fruit of choosing “peace over war, cooperation over conflict.”

Last year, the UAE became the third Arab state to normalize ties with Israel—following Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994—in the landmark US-brokered Abraham Accords. Morocco and Sudan quickly joined the historic peace deal.

At a ceremony inaugurating the Israeli embassy in the Emirati capital of Abu Dhabi on Tuesday, Lapid thanked former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, calling him the “architect of the Abraham accords.”

Netanyahu had planned multiple trips to the UAE but was stymied by the pandemic and elections.

Lapid’s visit to the Gulf kingdom, meeting with his Emirati counterparts and signing more agreements to expand trade and cooperation “opened the bottleneck” for more agreements, an unnamed Israeli diplomatic source told the Times of Israel.

Now, the way is open for Israeli leaders from other ministries to visit the UAE and expand ties. Both nations are tech-savvy, and cooperation in areas such as agriculture, environment, tourism and other sectors can only increase their success.

“The peace we are celebrating today isn’t between governments and leaders but between people and nations,” Lapid said at the Dubai consulate. “It isn’t peace for me and my colleagues standing here but for our children.”

Lapid mentioned in his speech that his oldest son studied for his master’s degree in France and got along very well with his peers from the UAE “because they are like us. They’re from our part of the world, with our mentality, with our energy.”

“After two days here, I know exactly what he means,” Lapid said.

No new peace treaties have been announced yet, but the new administration in Washington and Israel’s new government have both voiced a desire to draw more Arab states into official ties with their Jewish state neighbor.

“Israel wants peace with its neighbors,” Lapid said at the ceremony inaugurating the Israeli embassy in Abu Dhabi. “With all its neighbors. We aren’t going anywhere. The Middle East is our home. We’re here to stay.

“We call on all the countries of the region to recognize that,” the foreign minister continued. “And to come talk to us.”

Source: (Bridges for Peace, July 1, 2021)

Photo Credit: Lapid: מטה יש עתיד/commons.wikimedia.org

Photo License: Lapid: wikimedia.org

Photo Credit: Dubai skyline: Sam Gao/flickr.com

Photo License: Dubai skyline: flickr.com

Prayer Focus
Thank God for the strengthening of the relationship between Israel and the UAE. Pray for the Lord’s wisdom and protection as Israel’s leaders continue down the path of peace with their neighbors. Ask the Lord for an outpouring of His blessing on both nations in their areas of cooperation, and for others in the region to recognize the advantage of being Israel’s friend rather than her enemy.

Scripture

Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; but we will remember the name of the LORD our God.


- Psalm 20:7

FM Lapid and Secretary Blinken Discuss Iran, Regional Cooperation in First Meeting

by Kate Norman

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (left) and Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid (right)

Monday, 28 June 2021 | Foreign Minister Yair Lapid affirmed the core values that Israel and the United States share during his first in-person meeting with the US secretary of state in Rome on Sunday and said that any disagreements will be discussed quietly.

“Israel has some serious reservations about the Iran nuclear deal being put together in Vienna,” Lapid said in a statement at the beginning of the meeting with Secretary Antony Blinken.

“We believe the way to discuss those disagreements is through direct and professional conversations, not in press conferences,” he added.

The sixth round of talks negotiating a return to the 2015 Iran deal just wrapped up in Vienna. The new administration in Washington is seeking to reenter the nuclear deal, which former President Donald Trump exited in 2018. Israel, however—both the new government and the previous—strongly disagrees with a return.

Nonetheless, Lapid said, both Israel and the US share the same core values: “freedom, democracy, free markets and the constant search for peace.”

“We want the same things,” Lapid added, “we sometimes disagree about how to achieve them.”

In Blinken’s address, he responded that Israel and the US “have the same objectives, but sometimes we differ on the tactics, and I think we are very clear and direct with each other when that is the case, and that is exactly the way it’s supposed to be.”

Though they disagree on the potential US return to the nuclear accords, Washington and Jerusalem have agreed to keep each other updated on any Iranian developments.

Lapid mentioned his upcoming trip to the United Arab Emirates this week—the first official visit of an Israeli diplomat to the UAE. Last year, the landmark Abraham Accords made history when the US-brokered peace deal made the UAE the third Arab state, following Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994, to normalize ties with the Jewish state.

Lapid thanked Blinken for Washington’s “support for Israel’s normalization efforts in the region.”

“I look forward to working with you to widen the circle of peace in our region,” the foreign minister added. “That is the best way to bring stability and prosperity to the Middle East.”

Blinken responded that the US strongly supports the landmark accords and “hopefully there’ll be other participants.”

However, the secretary of state added that “as vital as they are, they are not a substitute for engaging on the issues between Israelis and Palestinians that need to be resolved.”

Blinken added that the US and Israel would work together to “offer a more hopeful future for everyone, Palestinians and Israelis alike, with equal measures of opportunity and dignity.”

Lapid mentioned in his address that they would discuss in the meeting “working to minimize conflict between us and the Palestinians, while making life better for Israelis and Palestinians alike.” Other topics included strengthening Israel’s ability to defend itself.

Lapid pointed out that Blinken and he both “represent a new administration, his a few months old, mine only a few weeks.”

“But we also represent a very long and strong tradition of close friendship and cooperation,” Lapid continued. “There is no relationship more important to Israel than the United States of America. There is no friend more loyal to the United States than Israel.”

The foreign minister had a busy trip to Rome. Lapid also met with Bahraini Foreign Minister Abdullatif al-Zayani, the first meeting between an official from Israel’s new government and one of the Gulf countries.

Bahrain became the fourth Arab state to normalize ties with Israel last year when it joined the historic Abraham Accords.

“Peace with Bahrain should be an example of the right process that needs to happen in our region,” Lapid said on Sunday following the meeting, adding that they discussed regional challenges, particularly Iran.

“The connection between the State of Israel and Bahrain is important and significant for the two countries and we will continue to strengthen and deepen it for the benefit of the two peoples,” Lapid added.

When in Rome, Lapid also met with his Italian counterpart, Luigi Di Maio.

Next, the foreign minister will travel to the UAE on Tuesday to inaugurate the Israeli embassy in Abu Dhabi and the consulate in Dubai.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, June 28, 2021)

Photo Credit: Lapid: Ralph Alswang/Brookings Institution/flickr.com

Photo License: Lapid: flickr.com

Photo Credit: Blinken: U.S. Embassy Nigeria/flickr.com

Photo License: Blinken: flickr.com

Prayer Focus
Pray for the relationship between Israel and the United States as two new administrations learn to work together for the benefit of both nations, the Middle East and the world. Ask the Lord for His wisdom and courage to empower FM Lapid as he represents Israel’s security interests, and cry out to Him for an awakening among US leadership to the dangers of the JCPOA.

Scripture

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye.


- Psalm 32:8

Honduras Becomes Fourth Nation to Open Embassy in Jerusalem

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett with Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem before the dedication of the Honduran Embassy in the city

Friday, 25 June 2021 | Honduras dedicated its new embassy in Jerusalem on Thursday, becoming the fourth country to open an embassy in Israel’s capital, following the United States, Kosovo and Guatemala.

Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández, who flew to Israel on Wednesday to participate in the event, met with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett in Jerusalem prior to the dedication ceremony.

Following the private meeting, the two leaders held a working meeting with Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, Honduran Secretary of State for Foreign Relations and International Cooperation Lisandro Rosales Banegas, the Honduran minister of the presidency and the head of the Honduran tax authority.

The foreign ministers signed a bilateral Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) regarding plans and projects in agriculture, water resource management, health and information-sharing on developing innovation.

“Your arrival to dedicate the Honduran embassy in Jerusalem, the reopening of the Israeli embassy in Tegucigalpa and the cooperation agreement that we have just signed, are an additional indicator of the abiding friendship and deep link between the Jewish state, the State of Israel, and the people and nation of Honduras, under your leadership,” said Bennett in a statement.

“The Jewish people have a long memory and you will be inscribed on the pages of history as one who took a courageous and correct action for the State of Israel,” he added.

The embassy dedication follows a process that began on Jan. 1, 2019, following a trilateral meeting between the United States, Israel and Honduras, when the countries agreed to “advance the process” of opening embassies in both Tegucigalpa and Jerusalem.

Hernández is known for his friendly relations with Israel. According to Israel’s Foreign Ministry, under his leadership, Honduras has been one of the five countries in the world to most often abstain from UN resolutions opposed by Israel.

Hernández is the first graduate of Israel’s MASHAV leadership program to become head of a national government. MASHAV is the Hebrew acronym for Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation, founded in 1957 to share Israel’s “know-how and technologies” with the developing world, according to its website.

Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on June 24, 2021. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Amos Ben-Gershom/GPO/jns.org

Prayer Focus
Praise the Lord for another embassy in Jerusalem! Pray for a long and beneficial relationship between Israel and Honduras, and ask the Lord for His bountiful blessings on that nation as they demonstrate their commitment by continuing to stand for Israel at the UN.

Scripture

“I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”


- Genesis 12:3

Israelis Aiding Survivors, Rescuers in Florida Calamity

by Abigail Klein Leichman~Israel21c via JNS

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

IDF Home Front Command members assisting in search-and-rescue efforts in Surfside, Florida

Wednesday, 30 June 2021 | “I saw in the news that you were coming from Israel for us, and I was waiting for you,” says a tearful young woman in Surfside, Florida, to members of the Psychotrauma and Crisis Response Unit (PCRU) from United Hatzalah of Israel.

“People kept coming up to us and saying how happy they were that we arrived,” says Batya Jaffe, who was on the scene with her therapy dog, Lucy.

They were part of the six-person PCRU team that landed in Miami Sunday morning, along with a search-and-rescue team from the Israel Defense Forces’ Home Front Command, following the collapse of the 12-story Champlain Towers South residential building last Thursday.

The death toll from the disaster stands at 11 as of this writing, while 150 people remain missing and 136 have been accounted for. Fires, flooding and falling debris have hampered the search in the rubble created by 55 of the building’s 130 apartments destroyed in the collapse.

On Monday, 10 experts in a tunneling method of tracing trapped people came to Surfside from the voluntary Magen search-and-rescue unit of Israel’s SmartAID organization.

Processing the Tragedy

United Hatzalah’s PCRU team met with local community leaders and then joined a Zoom session with representatives from various relief and communal organizations in the area to create an organized and unified plan of action.

They then set up operations at the Grand Beach Hotel, helping displaced Champlain Towers residents, as well as the families of those who are missing, to process the tragedy emotionally.

“It was astounding how much faith these distraught people had in us and in the team from the Home Front Command,” says Jaffe, speaking from the hotel where hundreds of people were being assisted by first responders, chaplains, police, social workers, firefighters, counselors, DNA testers and volunteers bringing food and drink around the clock.

Mission leader Dov Maisel, a paramedic and vice president of operations for United Hatzalah of Israel, emphasizes that the Israelis “haven’t come to replace any of the services that are currently available here. We came to complement these efforts and add the tools that we have in our repertoire, which have been accumulated throughout the years from our previous missions abroad, or by responding to terror attacks and mass-casualty incidents in Israel.”

One man was distressed to the point of being unable to function. He kept repeating the names of his family members who were missing in the rubble, Maisel says. “Members of the PCRU approached him and were able to break him out of his loop and enable him to gain some sort of control over his actions, bringing him from a heightened state of stress to a lower level of stress which would allow him to function like his normal self.”

“The people we are dealing with are emotionally destroyed,” reports Joseph Dahan, a founder of Hatzalah of South Florida—part of a voluntary first-response network in American–Jewish communities (not affiliated with United Hatzalah of Israel).

Dahan has been coordinating some 70 volunteers in rotating shifts to provide 24-hour first-response medical services and triaging in cooperation with Miami Dade Fire Rescue.

“I had to deal with a 35-year-old woman who was grieving the loss of her very close friend and her friend’s six-year-old daughter. She even began having chest pains,” Dahan tells ISRAEL21c.

“We have many different types of interactions with patients, and each is intense. When you’re sitting with them and trying to help them deal with such a situation it tears your heart apart,” he says.

“When you hear about the children, that’s when you just lose it. But we have to maintain our composure so we don’t become patients too,” he adds.

Remote Training from Israeli Pros

Just hours after the disaster, 40 of Dahan’s volunteers had a Zoom call with search-and-rescue specialists at Magen David Adom (MDA), Israel’s national first-response network.

“It was a full refresher on everything we should be expecting and how to act, what to do, and how to properly collaborate,” Dahan tells ISRAEL21c.

Many Hatzalah of South Florida volunteers previously received training in Israel as part of the Magen David Adom International Unit established in 2007.

“It’s one thing to send guys for training in Israel a couple of years ago, but it’s another thing to have guidance when we’re actually on the scene providing services. We also have guys who were not at the initial training and never faced this kind of situation before,” says Dahan. “That confidence and reassurance that we gained from a pro in Israel created a tremendous amount of confidence that our guys needed on the ground.”

Israeli Consulate Paid for Prescription Meds

After evacuating residents from the remaining portions of the building, Hatzalah of South Florida brought in physicians to write prescriptions for evacuees who had no access to their prescription medications.

“They wrote several hundred prescriptions. Then we worked with the local Publix pharmacy to fill those prescriptions, while the Red Cross and FEMA [Federal Emergency Management Agency] were relocating these individuals to temporary housing,” says Dahan.

“Publix gave a very discounted rate, but the Israeli consulate [in Miami] actually paid Publix for all the prescriptions, which was pretty amazing,” he adds.

Surfside, a town of about 5,700 residents, has a diverse population that includes a large Jewish community. But the efforts of the Israelis and local Jewish groups extend to everyone in need.

“Our primary focus is to assist the Jewish community; however, we provide our services to humans—it doesn’t matter what is their race, creed or religion,” says Dahan, whose group began operations in 2009.

‘Hopeful Despondency’

Raphael Poch, a member of the PCRU and a spokesperson for United Hatzalah of Israel, says his delegation worked with the IDF [Israel Defense Forces] Home Front Command and family members of those missing to map out the layout of Champlain Towers South and to estimate how many people lived in each apartment.

“For the next five hours, teams of two to three IDF members, together with PCRU members, cataloged all of the details submitted by family members, so that the search-and-rescue teams could have a clear picture of where in the rubble to look for survivors,” says Poch.

“The energy in the room was that of an ongoing and drawn-out trauma,” he adds. “No one in that room has closure, and that is something that they direly need. Some people flew or drove more than halfway across the country to sit in a communal room, with other family members of missing people, whom they don’t know, in order to perhaps hear good news about their loved one. Seeing the faces of hopeful despondency on the faces of pretty much everyone there was simply heartbreaking.”

Poch says the mission of the PCRU is “to show these people that they are not alone and that they can help in the search efforts. They provided essential information that may help lead to more rescues.

“In addition, we reminded people that they would not go through this tragedy alone. We encouraged people to comfort one another and be there for one another. That in and of itself is a type of healing and something which we can all do.”

This article was first published by Israel21c.

Source: (This article was originally published by Israel21c and republished by the Jewish News Syndicate. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: IDF/jns.org

Prayer Focus
Pray for the loved ones of the victims of this tragic incident, and ask the Lord for His protection for all of those who are working in potentially dangerous circumstances as they search for survivors. Pray that Israel’s presence on the scene will be of great benefit as they use their expertise and technology to find survivors and comfort a grieving community.

Scripture

Hear my cry, O God; attend to my prayer. From the end of the earth I will cry to You, when my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For You have been a shelter for me.


- Psalm 61:1–3a

Fear over New Coronavirus Wave Threatens Airport Closure

by Janet Aslin

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Possible airport closures on the horizon as COVID-19 cases rise in Israel

Thursday, 1 July 2021 | Israel’s daily number of new coronavirus cases has risen from the single digits to nearly 300 yesterday, the nation’s highest rate in over three months. Although the number of patients in serious condition has not changed, officials are continuing to monitor the new outbreak closely and have singled out Ben Gurion Airport as the “Achilles’ heel” in the fight against COVID.

In response, “Prime Minister Naftali Bennett announced the appointment of Ronny Numa, the retired general who was the project manager for dealing with the coronavirus outbreak in the Haredi [ultra-Orthodox] community, as the new COVID commissioner for Ben Gurion Airport,” the Times of Israel reported on Monday. Numa will be responsible for coordinating efforts to close the loopholes currently existing at the airport.

One problem is the required COVID test for all arriving passengers. As Israel began lifting travel restrictions, testing sites at the airport struggled to keep up with the increased numbers of travelers. On several occasions, hundreds of travelers left the airport without receiving a test.

In addition, the length of time it takes to receive results of the test can be as long as 36 hours. Until a positive result is received, a vaccinated traveler is not required to isolate. As a result, there have been returning travelers who were unaware of their infection and did not quarantine immediately.

A second loophole is the fact that Israelis have continued to travel to countries Israel’s Ministry of Health has identified as “red”—Argentina, Brazil, South Africa, India, Mexico and Russia—and has banned unless the traveler applies for and receives a special exemption.

In an attempt to remedy this problem, Ben Gurion Airport began routing arriving flights from these red countries to its Terminal 1 from the larger Terminal 3. The move will isolate travelers from locations with high or dangerously high infection rates from those arriving from “green” countries. However, this is not a foolproof solution. Travelers arriving at Terminal 1 are still able to mingle with others on mass transit, such as the train to Jerusalem, after leaving the arrivals hall.

Government officials continue to search for solutions amid the rising infections. Health Ministry officials are reported to expect the numbers to jump from 300 per day this week to 500 per day next week. One answer, though drastic, is to close the airport to incoming flights.

Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked said after a tour of the airport yesterday, as quoted by the Jerusalem Post: “It is possible that in the future, if the morbidity increases, flights will be stopped. We are currently trying to protect normal daily life.”

Finding the right balance between protecting the country from new variants of the virus while resuming the routines of daily life is a challenge Israel’s government has been diligently seeking to solve over the past few weeks. Stay tuned.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, July 1, 2021)

Photo Credit: Utilisateur:Djampa/wikimedia.org

Photo License: wikimedia.org

Prayer Focus
Pray that Israel will indeed find the right balance between protection from the virus and the restoration of normal life. Ask the Lord to grant wisdom and courage to those who must decide the appropriate measures to take, and pray that they will make decisions that are in line with God’s will.

Scripture

Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” whenever you turn to the right hand or whenever you turn to the left.


- Isaiah 30:21

Iran Rejects Extension of Nuclear-monitoring Deal with IAEA

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Iranian Parliament Speaker Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf, June 2021

Monday, 28 June 2021 | Iran will not extend the agreement it signed with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in February to monitor its nuclear program, Iranian Parliament Speaker Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf told legislators on Sunday, the Tasnim News Agency reported.

According to the report, the statement follows the IAEA’s demand on Friday for an answer regarding whether Tehran intended to extend the monitoring agreement, which was set to expire on May 24 but was extended until June 24.

The agreement enabled the IAEA to collect data on Iran’s nuclear activities, softening an Iranian decision to halt certain inspection measures connected to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the 2015 nuclear deal from which former US President Donald Trump withdrew in 2018.

During a press conference on Friday in Paris reported on by Reuters, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that Iran’s failure to cooperate with the IAEA “remains a serious concern.”

“If Iran continues to spin ever more sophisticated centrifuges at higher degrees, if it pursues other aspects of its program that were prohibited by the JCPOA, there will come a point…where it will be very hard to return back to the standards set by the JCPOA,” said Blinken, adding that a seventh round of negotiations with Iran on a return to the nuclear deal would begin in the “coming days.”

The sixth round of talks wrapped up on June 21

Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on June 27, 2021. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Tehran Times/jns.org

Prayer Focus
Beseech the Lord for great wisdom as the US and other nations continue negotiations with Iran. Cry out to Him that Israel’s concerns will be heeded and that the international community will unite with Israel in every effort to keep Iran from becoming a nuclear power.

Scripture

Deliver me, O LORD, from evil men; preserve me from violent men, who plan evil things in their hearts; they continually gather together for war.


- Psalm 140:1–2

US, Israel, Jewish Groups Express Dismay over Polish Law Limiting Holocaust Restitution Claims

by Dmitry Shapiro ~ JNS

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Lower House of the Polish Parliament

Monday, 28 June 2021 | Officials in the United States and Israel, as well as international organizations, are condemning legislation passed in the Lower House of the Polish Legislature that would make it more difficult for Holocaust survivors to reclaim property seized on Polish soil by the Nazis.

The law that was approved by the ruling Law & Justice Party establishes a 30-year limit for restitution claims on property taken from them during World War II by the Nazis and then confiscated by the post-war Communist regime.

It would create significant hurdles for Holocaust survivors and their descendants who are fighting for the return of property by challenging administrative decisions made more than 30 years ago, and public administrative bodies would not be able to declare invalid any Communist-era nationalization decision, including those without a legal basis in the law at the time.

The legislation would also dismiss any already filed claims, some of which have been pursued for years.

“I think it’s a backwards step by Poland, and I think that it’s very sad that in 2021, Poland, instead of moving forward to try to address its history, is moving backwards to try to extinguish what limited rights people do have,” said Gideon Taylor, chair of operations for the World Jewish Restitution Organization, which advocates for Holocaust-related restitution issues in Eastern Europe.

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said that the government of Poland is making a serious mistake and that it was a “direct and painful violation of the rights of Holocaust survivors and their descendants.”

“No law will change history. The new Polish law is a disgrace and will seriously damage relations between the two countries,” Lapid wrote in a tweet. “Israel will stand as a defensive wall protecting the memory of the Holocaust and the honor of Holocaust survivors and their property.”

US State Department spokesman Ned Price also weighed in on the issue on Friday morning.

“We believe in the importance of settling Holocaust-era restitution issues to ensure fairness and equality for all victims,” he tweeted. “The decision of Poland’s parliament yesterday was a step in the wrong direction. We urge Poland not to move this legislation forward.”

Prior to the Holocaust, Poland had the largest Jewish population in the world with more than three million, mostly in Warsaw and Krakow. Ninety percent were killed by the Nazis.

“I think it’s important to emphasize that this issue—it is an issue not about what happened during the Holocaust. Poland was a victim country. It’s about the property that was confiscated after the Holocaust by the Communist authorities,” said Taylor.

Poland never passed a comprehensive law on restitution, instead saying that property restitution claims must go through the regular court system, which limits standing and takes years to resolve.

“It’s trying to close the door on a process that never happened in any serious way at all, and to say that the process is over and there are no more claims and that the issue is closed,” said Taylor. “And the issue is not closed. It’s an issue of justice and it’s an issue of history. I mean, for many people…a piece of property out in Poland was the last connection they have with their history that was a proud history of 1,000 years of Polish Jewry…And by trying to cut off any potential claims, even though the claims that are possible are still very limited, it’s basically a statement by Poland that it doesn’t care about this history, and it doesn’t care about these people.”

Taylor says his organization hopes that the Polish Senate and President Andrzej Duda reject it. He said he believes that Poland is doing this to create legal certainty in property transactions without having to worry that anyone else has a claim to it. But that certainty will only exist in Poland, he said, and not in the eyes of the rest of the world.

“You can’t move forward by ignoring that step of doing justice of addressing the past,” he said. And that’s why I don’t think this will give certainly in any broader sense at all.”

‘A Slap in the Face to What Remains of Polish Jewry’

Ronald S. Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress, also excoriated the Polish government for the legislation in a news release Friday.

The release noted that Poland stands out among post-Communist countries which tried to right historic wrongs and enact legislation to address the issue of stolen Jewish property by dodging the issue for the past three decades.

The legislation would codify the deliberate obstruction, according to a World Jewish Congress news release.

“This law is a slap in the face to what remains of Polish Jewry and survivors of Nazi brutality everywhere. It also sets a terrible precedent throughout Europe as survivors and descendants continue to seek justice,” Lauder said in a news release. “I have been an unwavering advocate of Poland in Washington and elsewhere ever since that country rejected the Communist system in favor of democracy. I was inspired by Poland’s fight for freedom and its national rebirth, even when I disagreed with some of Warsaw’s policies.

“But this flagrant and entirely gratuitous act by the Polish Parliament leaves me questioning my own commitment and the future of US–Polish relations,” he continued. “It pains me to say this, but I think that the time has come for the international Jewish community to reevaluate our relationship with a government that is behaving with unimaginable callousness, and is emulating the worst traditions in Polish history, rather than the best and most uplifting ones.

“Since moral persuasion clearly has not been effective, perhaps the time has come to treat Poland with the same consideration it accords to Polish Jews and their descendants seeking justice.”

Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on June 25, 2021. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Spandow Stock Photo/Shutterstock/jns.org

Prayer Focus
Praise the Lord for FM Lapid’s strong condemnation of this new law which promotes a false Holocaust narrative. Pray that Israel, the World Jewish Congress and others will be successful in combatting this very flawed policy that deprives survivors of any hope of reparations and perpetuates a distorted view of Polish participation in the murder of hundreds of thousands of Jewish people on Polish soil.

Scripture

My days are like a shadow that lengthens, and I wither away like grass. But You, O LORD, shall endure forever, and the remembrance of Your name to all generations. You will arise and have mercy on Zion; for the time to favor her, yes, the set time, has come.


- Psalm 102:11–13

Israeli Exports Expected to Reach Record in 2021

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Visitors at the annual Cybertech Israel Conference and Exhibition in Tel Aviv, Jan. 29, 2020

Thursday, 1 July 2021 | Israeli exports are expected to reach a record of at least [US] $120 billion in 2021, according to Israel’s Economic Ministry.

The high-tech sector is the most significant factor in export growth in recent years, the Ministry announced on Monday. Software and computer services, which make up the largest portion of high-tech exports, have increased by more than 20% so far this year.

Exports in 2020 reached [US] $114 billion, dropping slightly because of the coronavirus from 2019, [which saw US $115 billion].

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, who made his fortune from the high-tech industry, said in a speech in the Knesset [Parliament] earlier this month that he wanted to raise the labor force in the high-tech sector from 10 to 15% by 2026.

Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on June 30, 2021. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Miriam Alster/Flash90/jns.org

Prayer Focus
Praise the Lord for the incredible success of Israel’s high-tech sector and the positive effect it has on the Israeli economy. Pray that the Lord will continue to bless Israel’s recovery from the economic impact of the pandemic with economic growth and stability.

Scripture

“The LORD will command the blessing on you in your storehouses and in all to which you set your hand, and He will bless you in the land which the LORD your God is giving you.


- Deuteronomy 28:8

Why is Young Evangelical Support for Israel Eroding?

by David Isaac ~ JNS

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Young evangelical Christians at a concert

Friday, 25 June 2021 | Over the past few decades, evangelical Christians have emerged as one of Israel’s core bases of support both in the United States and many other countries as well. However, growing trends of secularization and liberal ideology, as well as the erosion of a pro-Israel theology, are threatening to undermine this support, particularly among young evangelicals.

A recent poll commissioned by two University of North Carolina at Pembroke professors—Mordechai Inbari and Kirill Bumin—showing a sharp drop in support for Israel among the younger set has raised some eyebrows.

It found that young evangelical support for Israel had plunged to 33.6% from 69% in a 2018 poll. Those supporting the Palestinian side rose to 24.3%, up from 6% in 2018. Those supporting neither side stood at 42.2%.

The poll focused on evangelicals ages 18 to 29, and was conducted between March 22 and April 2 by the Barna Group, a polling and research firm focusing on issues of faith and culture.

It appears to be backed by earlier polls. Shibley Telhami, the Anwar Sadat Professor at the University of Maryland and director of the university’s Critical Issues Poll, tells JNS that two polls he conducted in 2015 and 2018 also exhibited a widening gap in support for Israel between younger and older evangelicals. In 2015, 40% of young evangelicals said the United States should lean towards Israel, a number that dropped to 21% in 2018.

‘This is a Big Shift’

[One] factor is theology. Evangelicals traditionally identify with premillennialism, which teaches that God’s promise to the Jewish people remains in force and that there is still a role for the Jewish people to play in the “end times,” which includes a return to the Land of Israel. In contrast, amillennialism—sometimes referred to as supersessionism, or replacement theology—maintains that God’s promise to the people of Israel has been fulfilled with the advent of Jesus, and so they no longer have a role in the Divine plan.

Inbari says there has been an “erosion” of premillennialism: “This is a big shift. We see this very, very clearly now already in two surveys.”

Bumin says they found that amillennialist pastors tend to be younger than premillennial ones. He surmises that young evangelicals gravitate towards the younger pastors. “If I’m a young evangelical and I’m shopping around for which church I want to go to, I want to go to someone who … kind of understands my situation.”

Bumin also says there is less focus on eschatology, the study of the “end times,” in evangelical churches. “This is more anecdotal, but we are hearing this from multiple pastors and church leaders…They say that increasingly what their pastors are talking about is not the end times, but rather more mundane daily concerns of young evangelicals. And so if the focus shifts away from the discussion of eschatology…the mentioning of Israel, the mentioning of the Jewish people becomes less frequent,” he says.

Bumin notes this is the case in megachurches, which are “not necessarily focused on eschatology or theology.”

According to the Hartford Institute for Religion Research’s 2020 Megachurch Report, there are 1,750 megachurches in America, defined as churches with regular attendance of 2,000 or more. These megachurches “tend to be far more supportive of the Palestinian people,” says Bumin.

Premillennialists also tend to “interpret Bible very literally,” he says, with Inbari adding that “older evangelicals may be closer to a literal translation of the Bible, while younger evangelicals may take the Bible as a guideline or portrayal rather than literal rules.”

‘Poll is Misleading, Like Many Others’

The new poll has been criticized by some precisely on the religiosity of those surveyed.

Josh Reinstein, director of Israel’s Knesset Christian Allies Caucus, tells JNS “the poll is misleading like the many others before it. The children of evangelicals are a lot less religious than their parents. I believe that if the pollsters only asked people in that age group that go to church on Sundays, you would see a way higher show of support for Israel.”

Reinstein says that because evangelical theology holds that God’s covenant with Abraham is everlasting, evangelicals are “by definition” pro-Israel.

Pastor John Hagee, chairman and founder of Christians United for Israel (CUFI), the largest pro-Israel organization in the United States, similarly tells JNS in connection with a recent split in the Southern Baptist Convention: “If you are a Bible-believing Christian, you will be a supporter of Israel. If you’re not, you won’t be. End of story.”

Is the poll representing the irreligious offspring of evangelicals, as Reinstein suggests? Does it simply show young evangelicals are less supportive of Israel? Or does it reveal that young evangelicals are not only drifting from Israel, but from the Bible and traditional evangelicalism as well?

Jim Fletcher, an independent researcher and writer on evangelical issues who spent 15 years in Christian book publishing, says it’s the latter, and he isn’t surprised by the poll results. There has been a “mass exodus” of young evangelicals leaving church, he states, especially when they get to college.

Bible study has been diluted, premillennial theology weakened, and social-justice issues have been injected into the Church, he says.

‘Subtle’ De-emphasis on the Bible’

He points to several key factors that have negatively impacted evangelicalism.

One is the Church Growth Movement, sometimes called the seeker-sensitive movement, which began in the 1960s. “It’s all the same concept. You’re tailoring your church service to make the attendee comfortable,” says Fletcher. “In essence, the model is you go out and you canvas the neighborhood, and you find out what people want in a church. Then you go do that.”

The Church Growth model has several unintended consequences, says Fletcher, one of which is a “subtle” de-emphasis on the Bible. “When I was growing up in the evangelical church—and I was born and raised Southern Baptist—we had congregational Bible reading, meaning a pastor would read Scripture from the pulpit, and we would all follow along in our Bibles that we would bring to church,” he relates.

“Now what they call Bible study is often a Bible study created by and for the lead pastor. The end result is you’re not going to get a comprehensive view of Scripture. You’re not going to understand, in the context of what we’re talking about, Jewish history,” explains Fletcher.

He notes that another hallmark of such churches is they’re nondenominational, drawing in people from many backgrounds. “You’ve got Baptists. You’ve got Assemblies of God. You’ve got Methodists. You’ve got some Presbyterians,” he says. “If you are a pastor and you want to teach about Israel, if you want to teach about Jewish history, if you want to teach about Hebrew Scriptures, you’re going to have people in that congregation who don’t want to hear that, for whatever reason.”

Fletcher doesn’t lay all the blame on the Church Growth Movement. He says liberal theology has been a “huge problem” in the last 30 years, filtering down from pastors to congregations and Christian millennials. “Years ago, there was a Bible study developed in the United Methodist Church called ‘Disciple Bible Study.’ I was astonished when I went through these studies for the Old Testament at how much of it was relegated to myth. When you do that over time, especially in an entire denomination, you’re going to wipe out any view that Jewish history is real.

“So if Jewish history isn’t all true, then a Christian millennial today can say, ‘Well, then why is the Jewish claim to the Land of Israel stronger than the Palestinians or anybody else?’ And that is absolutely what’s happened.”

The poll does suggest a lack of basic knowledge about the Arab–Israeli conflict among young evangelicals. Even as it shows support for Israel dropping, more than 71% said “Jerusalem, in its entirety, should be the capital of the State of Israel, and its governance should not be shared with the Palestinians.” Assuming a shift away from Israel, such a large number taking an anti-Palestinian position displays, at the very least, confusion on the subject.

Fletcher’s prescription is two-fold. He says Israel needs to come up with a “serious strategy beyond just bringing in tourists and engaging with big ministry heads. They need to do grassroots work here in American churches.”

For evangelicals, they need to “get back to individual Bible study and branch out from there.” He doesn’t hold out much hope for changing the minds of ministry heads, but US evangelicals “individually need to get into serious Bible study and serious study of these issues, such as the Israeli–Palestinian conflict.

Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on June 23, 2021. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Jantanee Runpranomkorn/Shutterstock/jns.org

Prayer Focus
Pray for a move of God’s spirit that will bring evangelicals back to the Bible, sound theology and the message of Christian support for Israel. Cry out to the Lord for young evangelicals who need to understand the critical importance of God’s everlasting covenant with Israel and its impact on the future of the Church. Pray for pastors who will instill in young Christians a love for the Word of God and a commitment to truth rather than an unbiblical understanding of social justice.

Scripture

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver. Like an earring of gold and an ornament of fine gold is a wise rebuker to an obedient ear.


- Proverbs 25:11–12