Help us bless the people of Israel.

Friday, July 24, 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. 

Another Explosion in Iran Less than A Week after Iranian Threats

by Joshua Spurlock

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The latest explosion in Iran occurred at a power plant for the city of Isfahan (pictured).

Monday, 20 July 2020 | The explosions in Iran have continued, with the latest blast at a power plant in the city of Isfahan, a city home to a major Iranian nuclear research facility. The CEO of Isfahan Power Generation Company told the IRNA [Islamic Republic News Agency] that the explosion on Sunday did not cut off electricity to those relying on the power plant. The report, translated into English by Google, said a substation transformer exploded at the power plant, which is around 50 years old. The CEO claimed the substation was functioning normally in two hours.

The incident comes as multiple explosions and fires have hit Iran in recent weeks, including blasts at missile and nuclear facilities. The incidents have been suspicious, with Iran unwilling to share the conclusions of their investigation into the nuclear facility explosion. Neither Israel nor the United States have officially claimed responsibility for the incidents, although speculation has raged in the media about possible sabotage.

Last Monday, less than one week before the latest explosion, Iran issued a threat if it turned out the explosions were in fact foreign sabotage. The Fars News Agency quoted Spokesman of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Behrouz Kamalvandi as saying that Iran would take a “smart and wise reaction” in that event.

Kamalvandi, whose comments were originally made in the Etemad newspaper, was quoted by Fars as saying, “The strategic and inviolable policy of the Islamic Republic in different cases and positions is a smart and wise reaction based on the three principles of honor, wisdom and expediency.”

The comments, though muted, recalled Iran’s threats against the US after the assassination of General Qasem Soleimani—the former head of the Quds Force, Iran’s top spy and terror-sponsoring agency. While Iran delayed their response, Tehran eventually launched a missile attack against US forces.

To that end, Iran may already be thinking about its response or preparing against further attacks. CNN reported last Thursday that US intelligence has indications that Iran’s air defense system had been set to “high alert.”

While neither the US nor Israel have claimed credit for the explosion incidents, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last Friday highlighted the American efforts to counter Iran, including sanctions and the assassination of Soleimani.

“Outlaw regimes like the one that was led by the ayatollah [honorary title bestowed on high-ranking Shiite Muslim clerics in Iran] only respond to strength, not to appeasement,” said Pompeo in comments published by the US State Department.

He noted the US policy on Iran “deprives the regime of blood money. It denies the regime diplomatic sanctuary. And it deters the regime from aggression.”

Source: (The Mideast Update originally published this article on July 19, 2020. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today.)

Photo Credit: Tasnim News Agency/wikimedia.org

Photo License: wikimedia.org

Prayer Focus
Pray that Iran’s nuclear development program and attempts to entrench itself across the region will continue to be thwarted, and pray God’s hand of protection against revenge attacks from the Islamic regime.

Scripture

He frustrates the devices of the crafty, so that their hands cannot carry out their plans.


- Job 5:12

IDF Report Paints Grim Picture in August Virus Forecast

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A ventilator developed by the IDF and the Sheba Medical Center for coronavirus patients.

Wednesday, 22 July 2020 | Israel could have dozens of new coronavirus patients in serious condition and hundreds of virus-related deaths next month if the current infection rate continues on the same trajectory, according to an IDF [Israel Defense Forces] report published Tuesday.

The report, published by the Coronavirus National Knowledge and Information Center, said that if there will not be any “serious change in the spread of the pathogen,” the number of patients in serious condition will be increasing by a dozen on a daily basis, with the death toll rising by hundreds.

The report said the second virus wave has developed at a more moderate pace than the first wave, especially among patients over the age of 60, which it said led the public to believe the rise in cases is linked to the significant increase in testing and not the start of another outbreak.

The army added, however, that even if the increased number of daily tests resulted in a rise in confirmed diagnoses, the increase in serious cases is not linked to testing.

The report also said that in addition to the high number of confirmed carriers, the infection is spread among hundreds of various Israeli towns and communities.

Though the report said coronavirus will be around for many more months, a nationwide lockdown could be averted if the public adhere to the Health Ministry’s regulations, such as observing social distancing rules and wearing protective face masks in public and in confined spaces. “Every one of us is a potential carrier of the pathogen,” said the report.

“Although adhering to regulations infringes on the freedom of movement and even the freedom of occupation, this is what will permit us to fully reopen the economy,” the report added.

The report also emphasized the need for better virus tracing, which it said could be done by shortening waiting periods for test results and dramatically increasing the epidemiological investigations’ apparatus.

Source: (This article was originally published by Ynetnews on July 21, 2020. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: IDF Spokesman's Brigade/wikipedia.org

Photo License: wikipedia.org

Prayer Focus
Lay this nation and these precious people before the Lord, and beseech Him that these foreboding predictions will not come to fruition and that this plague will pass over these people. Pray that the number of new cases and those who are seriously ill will decrease rather than increase.

Scripture

May the LORD answer you in the day of trouble; may the name of the God of Jacob defend you; may He send you help from the sanctuary, and strengthen you out of Zion.


- Psalm 20:1–2

The Alignment of BDS and Black Lives Matter: Implications for Israel and Diaspora Jewry

by Dan Diker

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A BDS demonstration (illustrative)

Friday, 17 July 2020 | The murder of George Floyd triggered the most widespread racially charged protests in the United States and Europe since the 1960s. International protests over Floyd’s death, led by the Black Lives Matter movement (BLM), have generated expressions of sympathy and support from Western prime ministers, legislators, law enforcement officials and local government.

Jewish leaders have similarly demonstrated solidarity. In the spirit of the 1960s Black–Jewish unity in the civil rights movement, American Jewish leaders unequivocally condemned the Floyd killing.

Despite universal Jewish support for BLM, it failed to prevent a surge of anti-Semitic violence across the United States in the aftermath of the Floyd murder. Jewish storeowners were assaulted; Jewish-owned stores and restaurants were defaced and looted. Social media has been rife with anti-Semitic libel denouncing the Jewish state and delegitimizing Jews. In the Fairfax neighborhood of Los Angeles, demonstrators were heard screaming, “Kill the Jews.” Synagogues were defaced with graffiti.

Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) organizations have exploited simmering racial tensions by accusing Israel of complicity in the Floyd murder. The BDS strategy is not new. The Jewish state has, for some years, been recast as an illegitimate “white oppressor.” BLM leader Patrisse Cullors drew parallels between her view of the oppression of American Blacks and Palestinians in “Palestine,” referring to pre-1967 Israel, Judea and Samaria—the West Bank—and the Gaza Strip.  Cullors referred to “Palestine as the new South Africa.”

“Israel as Accomplice” and the New “Collective Anti-Semitism”

Demonstrations across the United States and Europe have reflected a more profound, more worrying phenomenon that Steven Windmueller has called “collective anti-Semitism,” in which the Jewish people as a whole and their nation-state have been targeted. These BDS-led accusations have moved from the margins to occupy the mainstream US discourse. For example, social media has been flooded with claims that Jews ran the slave trade.

Minister Louis Farrakhan, leader of the Nation of Islam and an avowed anti-Semite who has regularly traded in Nazi propaganda, has taken a lead role in disseminating these mendacious theories. His ideas have influenced BLM leaders and BDS activists.

Farrakhan is not an exception. Linda Sarsour, a Palestinian–American activist, has regularly incited against Israel’s existence as a Jewish and democratic state in her work as a leader of the Women’s March. Sarsour has also drawn a direct parallel between the United States’ treatment of its black citizens to Israel’s “racist” treatment of Palestinians. She has also publicly condemned Israel for American police brutality, claiming that US police were trained by their Israeli counterparts. BLM activists have also worked to export their campaign to Israel, pointing to tensions between the Ethiopian community and police as proof of “institutional racism” in Israel.

Ongoing demonstrations across the United States have reenergized the intersectional solidarity between those protesting anti-black racism in America and BDS organizations’ demands to “Free Palestine from the [Jordan] River to the [Mediterranean] Sea”—a clarion call to dismantle the State of Israel.

BLM and BDS’s participation in the July 1, 2020, “Day of Rage” demonstrations against Israel’s proposed application of civilian law in areas of the West Bank as part of the US peace plan illustrate the point. Day of Rage protestors in Brooklyn declared: “Jaffa, Haifa, and Tel Aviv were stolen.” Nerdeen Kiswani, the Palestinian–American leader of “Within Our Lifetime,” a BDS organization, declared, “We don’t wanna go just back to our homes in Gaza and the West Bank. We want all of it!” The implication is far-reaching. It renders the Israeli–Palestinian conflict unsolvable and irrelevant, rejecting both liberal and progressive approaches to the Israeli–Palestinian political impasse.

BDS–BLM intersectionality as the face of the current deepening identity politics phenomenon in the United States, mobilizes racial minorities against what they see as a white supremacist established order they seek to replace. In parallel, the BDS and BLM movements share a vision for the replacement of Israel. In this view, Israel is the result of a historical sin—an error that can be corrected only by Israel’s replacement by Palestine.

This deepens the challenge to Israel and American Jewry posed by BDS, BLM and the Antifa, who demand the dismantling of the United States and Israel and their rebuilding from the ground up. The rebranding of Israel as a white supremacist entity also categorizes Diaspora Jews as “white supremacists” by extension, unless they disavow Israel as a centerpiece of their American Jewish identity.

This Israel “cancellation” discourse is a dangerous development for Diaspora Jews because it positions Israel not as a solution to anti-Semitism but rather as a primary cause of anti-Semitism. The BDS–BLM alignment also erases Jewish indigeneity in the Middle East and Israel’s 3,000-year-old Jewish history in the Holy Land. In short, it spawns a political replacement theology that Palestinian activists have been propagating for years, claiming to be the descendants of the original Canaanites, charging the Jews stole “Al-Quds” [Jerusalem] from them, and denying that the Al-Aqsa mosque was built on the remains of the Jewish Holy Temple.

Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published in Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs on July 16, 2020. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: John Englart/flickr.com

Photo License: flickr.com

Prayer Focus
Pray against any evil attempts to twist activism into anti-Semitic attacks against Israel and the Jewish people. Ask the Lord to reveal the true motives behind the BDS and BLM movements, which so often seem to go hand-in-hand in their shared goals to delegitimize and vilify the Jewish state and her people.

Scripture

“No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment you shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is from Me,” says the LORD.


- Isaiah 54:17

Israel Lauds Hungary as “True Friend” Working to “Protect Israel’s Interest”

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A rally in support of Israel in Budapest

Tuesday, 21 July 2020 | Minister of Foreign Affairs Gabi Ashkenazi met [Monday] at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem with Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs Peter Szijjarto. The two discussed bilateral issues, collaboration in dealing with the corona pandemic and Middle Eastern regional issues, with emphasis on the Iranian threat and the precise missile project.

Hungary is a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors and has played a significant role in the Agency’s latest report outlining Iran’s violations of its international obligations.

FM Ashkenazi: “Hungary is a true friend of Israel, working to safeguard and protect Israel’s interests against those who try to isolate us.

“I expressed our concern to the Hungarian Foreign Minister about Iran’s incessant violations of its nuclear commitments. In our view, the solution to these violations is complete renunciation of the nuclear agreement, and it is our expectation that the Hungarian government will support this policy.

“We agreed today that we will work towards renewing travel and tourism as soon as circumstances allow, to allow Israeli tourists to visit Hungary and Hungarian tourists to visit Israel.”

FM Ashkenazi thanked his counterpart for Hungary’s strong support of Israel in the European Union and for its firm stance against anti-Israel decisions.

The two discussed further options for developing economic ties between the countries, and jointly tackling the global corona crisis.

Two agreements between Israel and Hungary were signed during the visit:

  • A Memorandum of Understanding regarding cooperation under the Hungarian Scholarship Program for the years 2020–2023, according to which the Hungarian government will fund 50 scholarships for Israeli students each year.
  • A Statement of Intent regarding space cooperation as a preliminary step to signing a bilateral framework agreement for cooperation in the field.

The agreements were signed by both Ministers of Foreign Affairs and by Israel Minister for Science, Technology and Space Yizhar Shai.

This is the fifth state visit to Israel over the past two months. It was preceded by visits of the US Secretary of State, the German Foreign Minister, the Greek Prime Minister and the Cypriot Foreign Minister.

Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published by Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on July 20, 2020. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs/Flickr.com

Photo License: Flickr

Prayer Focus
Praise the Lord for this friendship between Israel and Hungary, and thank Him that Hungary supports Israel within the EU, where the Jewish state is so often condemned. Ask Him to bring blessings to both nations as a result of their friendship and cooperation.

Scripture

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up.


- Ecclesiastes 4:9–10

PA Falsely Blames Israel for Coronavirus Spike and Invent Alternate Reality

by Maurice Hirsch, Adv.

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COGAT recorded that in June 2020 there were over one million recorded crossings of Palestinians into Israel (illustrative).

Wednesday, 22 July 2020 | Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the PA [Palestinian Authority] has repeatedly blamed Israel for the spread of the coronavirus, never telling its people that Israel has given hundreds of tons of equipment as well as ongoing medical training to the PA to prevent the spread of the virus, as reported by Palestinian Media Watch.

As the PA is experiencing a second wave of the virus, the PA has initiated a second wave of libels coming from different PA leaders.

One example is the libel of Chairman of the PA-funded Prisoners’ Club Qadura Fares, who accused Israel of deliberately trying to spread the virus within the PA: “[Israel] is striving to spread the coronavirus via the invasion of soldiers who are likely to be sick into Palestinian homes and mixing with the civilians and prisoners,” [Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 17, 2020].

Another example was delivered by PA Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh, who gave two different explanations for the rise in the number of infected. On one hand, Shtayyeh resorted to the PA’s standard excuse—blame Israel. On the other, he attributed the blame to Palestinian weddings and mourners’ tents.

Israel is to blame, according to Shtayyeh, due to the movement of people and goods from Israel and Jordan across the 1949 armistice lines:

“The [PA] government will send a request to the UNTSO (UN Truce Supervision Organization) UN forces to supervise movement at the crossings located on the…(1949 armistice lines) in order to control the entry and exit to and from the State of Palestine…The main reason for the severe…increase of the coronavirus…is the fact that the [PA] Security Forces are being prevented [by Israel] from fulfilling their role and supervising the movement at these crossings…”

[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 7, 2020]

These statements are a product of the PA’s desire to promote hatred of Israel and invent an alternative reality in which the 1949 armistice lines are “borders” of the “State of Palestine” that the PA must control.

Firstly, the 1949 armistice line between Israel and Jordan was never a “border,” as the website of the UNTSO [United Nations Truce Supervision Organization] clearly states:

“In November 1947, the United Nations General Assembly endorsed a plan for the partition of Palestine, providing for the creation of an Arab State and a Jewish State, with Jerusalem to be placed under international status. The plan was not accepted by the Palestinian Arabs and Arab States. On 14 May 1948…the State of Israel was proclaimed. On the following day, the Palestinian Arabs, assisted by Arab States, opened hostilities against Israel.

On 29 May 1948, the Security Council…called for a cessation of hostilities in Palestine and decided that the truce should be supervised by the UN Mediator… The first group of military observers, which has become known as UNTSO, arrived in the region in June 1948. In 1949, UNTSO military observers remained to supervise the Armistice Agreements between Israel and its Arab neighbours, which were for many years the main basis of an uneasy truce in the area…”

[Website of the UNTSO]

The mandate of the UNTSO, which provides that “UNTSO Military Observers remain in the Middle East to monitor ceasefires, supervise armistice agreements, prevent isolated incidents from escalating and assist other United Nations peacekeeping operations in the region,” similarly negate Shtayyeh’s statements, since they do not include supervision of “borders.”

Secondly, statistics provided by the Israeli Coordinator for Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) show that in June 2020 alone, there were over one million recorded crossings of Palestinians into Israel (as demarcated by the 1949 Armistice lines). Palestinians are crossing for work and medical treatment. If the PA believed that the spike in the number of Palestinians infected with the coronavirus was the result of Palestinian contact with Israelis, surely the PA would have prohibited Palestinians from crossing the armistice line into Israel, which is something [that] could have [been] done at any time.

Thirdly, as opposed to the impression given by Shtayyeh that the PA Security Forces are being “prevented from fulfilling their role and supervising the movement at these crossings,” the PA has never supervised the 1949 Armistice lines.

When Shtayyeh abandoned his anti-Israel overtures, he explained the real source of the spread of the virus among Palestinians:

“82% of the [Palestinian] coronavirus infections is contact between the civilians—and specifically at weddings and mourners’ tents, and that 18% are laborers.”

Moreover, the PA is itself preventing shipments of foreign aid from reaching the PA but is conveniently blaming Israel for their own actions. According to the PA, 100,000 coronavirus test kits have already arrived in the Israeli Ben Gurion airport, and another 50,000 are in Jordan but cannot reach their destination because the PA cut off its coordination with Israel.

In June, the PA refused another aid shipment sent by the United Arab Emirates, via Israel.

“…The PA announced at the time that it did not know about the plane from the UAE, and it refused to receive the medical equipment and aid…

A source in the PA…emphasized that the PA refuses to serve as a bridge for normalization between Arab sides and Israel on the claim of aid.”

[Sama, independent Palestinian news agency, June 9, 2020]

For the PA, even the international fight against a once-in-a-century pandemic that has claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people is just a political tool to further its goals of vilifying Israel.

Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published by Palestinian Media Watch on July 21, 2020. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Daniel Case/wikimedia.org

Photo License: wikimedia.org

Prayer Focus
Ask the Lord to thwart this lie and any harm it may have done to Israel in the public eye. Pray that the truth of Israel’s benevolent actions will be brought to light and that the nations who are so often quick to judge Israel will realize who the real enemy is.

Scripture

Deceit is in the heart of those who devise evil, but counselors of peace have joy. No grave trouble will overtake the righteous, but the wicked shall be filled with evil. Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD, but those who deal truthfully are His delight.


- Proverbs 12:20–22

The Lunacy of Ending Israel as a Nation-State of the Jewish People

by Alan M. Dershowitz~Gatestone Institute

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American journalist Peter Beinart

Friday, 17 July 2020 | Peter Beinart’s New York Times op-ed advocating the end of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people is a study in historical ignorance, willful deception and arrogant rejection of democracy.

Beinart proposed that a single binational, bireligious state in what is now Israel, the West Bank [Judea and Samaria] and the Gaza Strip replace current Israel, whose Jewish population would then be given a “homeland” within the new nation. But Beinart is woefully ignorant of previous attempts to create or maintain binational or bireligious states.

Beinart ignores the lessons of history surrounding the former Yugoslavia—Tito’s failed effort to create a single artificial nation from different ethnicities and religions—which ended in genocide, tragedy and its breakup into several states now living in relative peace. He omits any mention of Lebanon—a failed experiment in sharing power between Muslims and Christians. He writes as if Hindu India still included Muslim Pakistan instead of having been divided after considerable bloodshed and divisiveness. He focuses instead on two countries, Northern Ireland and South Africa, which bear little relationship to current-day Israel, the West Bank and Gaza. Northern Ireland is a country whose population is ethnically similar, with only religious differences at a time when religion is playing a far less important role in the life of many secular Northern Irish. South Africa was a country in which a tiny minority of whites dominated a large majority of blacks, and is now a dominantly black nation.

Israel and the Palestinian territories are totally different. The population of Israel is a mixture of Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews, Muslims and Christians. The West Bank and Gaza are comprised almost exclusively of Muslim Arabs. There used to be a mixture of Muslim and Christians, but most Christians have been forced out.

The combined Muslim Arab population of Israel, the West Bank and Gaza is close in number to the Jewish population of Israel. If Israel were to end its existence as the nation-state of the Jewish people—as Beinart advocates—and become a Jewish “homeland” in a single binational, bireligious state, a demographic war would become inevitable, in which Jews and Muslims would compete to become a majority. As soon as a Muslim majority materialized, the Jewish “homeland” would become precisely the kind of “Bantustan” that Beinart has railed against in the context of South Africa. The Jewish minority would be ruled by the Muslim majority, even if it were given some degree of autonomy. Their protection would be largely in the hands of the Muslim majority, many of whom believe there is no place for a Jewish entity anywhere in the region.

It was precisely this fear that led to the creation of political Zionism in the 19th century. Theodor Herzl and others experienced the anti-Semitism of Europe and the inability of the Jewish minority there to protect itself against pogroms and discrimination. Placing the safety of Israel’s Jewish population in the hands of a potentially hostile Muslim majority would be an invitation to possible genocide.

Beinart is insistent that today’s Israelis and Jews must ignore the lessons of the Holocaust. But those who ignore history are destined to repeat it. And Jews cannot afford to see a repetition of their tragic past.

Beinart never discusses the issue of who would control the armed forces under a binational and bireligious state. Recall that the current Hamas constitution demands that a Palestinian state be an Islamic nation bound by Sharia [Islamic] law. Even if the Palestinian majority state would allow the Jewish minority homeland to have its own domestic laws, the state itself, with its Muslim majority, would presumably control the armed forces. This would create yet another Islamic state, among the many that currently exist. A Palestinian majority would also not allow persecuted Jews from around the world to seek asylum, as they can today under Israel’s Law of Return. Instead, the Palestinian state would enact its own law of return that would allow millions of exiles to “return” and assure a permanent Muslim supermajority.

Alan M. Dershowitz is the Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law Emeritus at Harvard Law School and author of the book, Guilt by Accusation: The Challenge of Proving Innocence in the Age of #MeToo, Skyhorse Publishing, November 2019. He is the Jack Roth Charitable Foundation Fellow at Gatestone Institute.

Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published by Gatestone Institute on July 16, 2020. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: New America/flickr.com

Photo License: flickr.com

Prayer Focus
Beseech the Lord to open the eyes of the nations to the importance of the Jewish state—not just for its biblical significance and the high regard the Lord has for this nation and people—but also for the necessity of the Jewish people to dwell safely in their own land so that the past will not be repeated.

Scripture

“Thus says the Lord GOD: ‘Surely I will take the children of Israel from among the nations, wherever they have gone, and will gather them from every side and bring them into their own land; and I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel…’”


- Ezekiel 37:21–22a

Chevron Acquires Israeli Offshore Gas Fields

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A gas field off the Israeli coast (illustrative)

Thursday, 23 July 2020 | What happened: The Chevron Corporation has announced an agreement to acquire Noble Energy for [US] $5 billion in stock.

  • The deal includes Noble’s stake in Israeli offshore natural gas fields, meaning Chevron will now become the operator of the Leviathan and Tamar gas fields in the Mediterranean. Chevron will also acquire Noble’s 35% stake in Cyprus’s Aphrodite gas field. This is the first time a major oil company has entered the Israeli energy market.
  • Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz said the deal represents a “tremendous expression of confidence in the Israeli energy market and the continued development and export of natural gas from the State of Israel.”
  • US Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette tweeted: “The US–Israeli energy relationship remains stronger than ever. This administration strongly supports the development of Eastern Mediterranean gas resources, and we look forward to what American ingenuity can do to boost energy development and security in the region.”
  • Chevron CEO Mike Wirth told Reuters that the company was “mindful of the fact that there are political differences and tensions” between Israel and its neighbors, where Chevron also does business, though emphasized that it is “apolitical” and “a commercial actor.” Chevron has recently acquired drilling rights in western Egypt and the Red Sea and already operates in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and the Kurdish region of Iraq.

Context: According to Israel’s financial newspaper, Globes, “Chevron’s decision to buy Noble Energy is also a result of the significant change in Israel’s status in the region in recent years and its relations with Gulf states.”

  • A market source told the paper: “The tensions with Iran don’t only impact Israel but also our neighbors like the Gulf states, and Israel has successfully positioned itself on the site of the Arab states. There is no doubt that a huge corporation like Chevron took that into consideration. If there had not been these regional changes, it is difficult to believe that a deal like this could have taken shape.”
  • At the beginning of the week, the Israeli government approved an agreement with European countries for the construction of a pipeline under the sea that would supply Europe with natural gas from the eastern Mediterranean. The pipeline will transport the offshore natural gas from Israel and Cyprus to Greece and on to Italy, which still needs to approve the project. Minister Steinitz said: “The government approval of the framework agreement for laying the Israel–Europe natural gas pipeline is another historic milestone for making Israel an energy exporter. This move will bring in tens of billions of dollars for Israel, which will benefit the state and the public in years to come.”
  • The East Mediterranean arena is increasingly becoming engulfed in regional tensions. Last year, Turkey and Libya agreed to adjoin their Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs), in what was perceived as an attempt to deter construction of the pipeline. Although such lines can be built through the EEZs of third countries, permission would need to be obtained first. Meanwhile Egypt, the dominant player in [the] Mediterranean in terms of energy reserves, is opposing Turkey over the crisis in Libya, complicating efforts for energy agreements in the Mediterranean.

Looking ahead: Minister Steinitz told the Times of Israel that he will “examine the request for the transfer of ownership of the rights to the fields once it is submitted to the ministry. By Israeli law, the rights to energy fields cannot be transferred without approval of Israel’s petroleum council.”

  • The deal is viewed as an important long-term investment for Chevron as Israel natural gas fields are the largest in the eastern Mediterranean. The deal could help Chevron reduce their carbon footprint as gas is seen as a cleaner alternative.
  • According to Reuters, the pipeline is expected to be completed by 2025 and will help Europe diversify its energy resources. The pipeline is planned to initially carry 10 billion cubic meters of gas a year with the possibility of eventually doubling the capacity. A land and sea survey is currently underway to determine the route of the 1,900-kilometer [1,180-mi] pipeline.

Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published by BICOM on July 22, 2020. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Ren Arda/wikipedia.org

Photo License: wikipedia.org

Prayer Focus
Praise God for this cooperation between a major oil company and Israel—a nation so often overlooked in the Middle Eastern oil market. Pray that this relationship will be a blessing to the nations and that it will open diplomatic doors as well as new business connections.

Scripture

“I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you…and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”


- Genesis 12:2–3

Israel Uncovers Iran-backed Terror Cell Posing as Aid Group

by Yoav Zitun

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The member of the terror cell hails from Jenin (pictured).

Wednesday, 22 July 2020 | Israel has uncovered an Iranian-backed terror cell operating under the guise of a humanitarian aid agency in the Palestinian Authority-run West Bank [Judea and Samaria], officials from the Shin Bet [Israeli internal] security service said Tuesday.

The discovery of the cell by the Shin Bet and IDF [Israel Defense Forces] prevented terror attacks planned for the West Bank, the officials said.

A 23-year-old Palestinian detainee from the Jenin area, who was a known operative of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), told Israeli interrogators that the attacks planned by the cell included the abduction of an IDF soldier who would be used to negotiate the release of Palestinians jailed in Israel.

Yazan Abu Salah, who was arrested in April, said that he had been purchasing weapons and recruiting people in advance for terror attacks. He said two terror squads, one in the Ramallah area and the other in the northern West Bank, were preparing to act.

He also said his actions were motivated by a terror attack last year outside the settlement of Dolev that resulted in the death of 17-year-old Rina Shnerb. The pipe bomb attack was carried out by terrorists affiliated with the PFLP.

Abu Salah said that Iran and the Lebanese-based Hezbollah terror group were funding the cell, which intended to send its members to Lebanon for weapons training and instruction in operating drones.

The Shin Bet also arrested Abu Salah’s cousin Mohammed Abu Salah, a resident of Bir Zeit near Ramallah, who said the terror cell was working with elements in Iran, Lebanon and Syria.

The cousin also told interrogators that he was receiving orders from Assad Al-Alami, the head of an Iranian-backed militia that has been operating in Syria.

In total, 10 people were detained by Israel in connection with the terror cell.

Shin Bet officials say their investigation has revealed close cooperation between the PFLP operatives in the West Bank and Hezbollah and the Iranian regime and their combined efforts to carry out terror attacks against Israeli targets.

Source: (This article was originally published by Ynetnews on July 21, 2020. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Rae Harris/bridgesforpeace.com

Prayer Focus
Thank the Lord that these evil plans were revealed and thwarted before they could come to fruition and any people were harmed. Lift up Israel’s security services in prayer, asking God to bless their work and give them wisdom as they continue working to protect the nation and people of Israel from harm.

Scripture

Deliver me from my enemies, O my God; defend me from those who rise up against me. Deliver me from the workers of iniquity, and save me from bloodthirsty men. You therefore, O LORD God of hosts, the God of Israel, awake to punish all the nations; do not be merciful to any wicked transgressors.


- Psalm 59:1–2, 5

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