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

Clashes Break Out on the Temple Mount as Muslim Worshipers Return to the Holy Site

by Ilse Posselt

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Large gathering of Palestinians celebrating

Friday, 28 July 2017 | Shouts of jubilation, glee and “allahu akbar” echoed through the alleyways of Jerusalem’s Old City yesterday afternoon, when thousands of Muslim worshipers flocked to the Temple Mount after the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Mohammed Hussein, announced that the 12-day boycott of the holy site had come to an end.

Yet the sounds of elation soon descended into a jarring din, as worshipers hurled rocks and bottles at Israeli security forces and the Israelis responded with riot dispersal methods. Ten police officers and 115 Palestinians were injured in the ensuing confrontation.

Yesterday’s clashes follow a tense time of terror, violent riots and worshipers praying outside the spot they claim as the third holiest site in Islam. Muslims have shunned the Temple Mount for nearly two weeks, ever since Israel installed metal detectors and security cameras at the entrances to the compound after three Arab Israelis launched a terror attack from the holy site, murdering two Israeli policemen.

Heading the clarion call of Muslim political and religious leaders, worshipers opted to gather in open spaces in the Old City of Jerusalem for prayer, instead of setting foot on the holy site. These gatherings resulted in the bloodiest and most persistent clashes between Israel and the Palestinians in nearly a decade.

The standoff persisted despite Israel’s decision on Tuesday to remove the metal detectors and security cameras, indicating they would be replaced with intelligent, less obtrusive surveillance technologies. The Waqf was quick to reject this alternative, advising Muslim worshipers to continue the boycott of the Temple Mount until it could conduct a full review of the planned security measures.

Overnight on Wednesday, Israel proceeded to dismantle all remaining traces of the beefed up security measures, taking down railings and scaffolding where security cameras used to be mounted.

On Thursday morning, the Waqf concluded its review, ruling that the Temple Mount is no longer off-limits for Muslim worshipers. “The technical report showed that all obstacles the occupation [Israel] put outside Al-Aqsa Mosque were removed,” said Abdel-Azeem Salhab, head of the Waqf.

“We praise this stand in the past two weeks outside Al-Aqsa and we want this stand to continue outside Al-Aqsa and now inside Al-Aqsa,” he added.

The review prompted the Grand Mufti to give the green light for Muslim worshipers to return to pray in the shadow of Al-Aqsa Mosque. “Things have returned to what they were, so we will pray in Al-Aqsa,” Hussein told the Saudi news station Al Arabiye.

Hours after the mufti’s statement, thousands of Palestinians streamed through the metal detector-free entrances, and the spot where two Temples once stood erupted into violent chaos.

As the removal of the additional security measures at the holy site failed to calm the tensions and the situation remains at knife’s edge, Israel deployed additional police officers on high alert in the capital ahead of this afternoon’s traditional Islamic prayers. Extra Israel Defense Forces (IDF) troops are also on stand-by in Judea and Samaria.

According to Jerusalem police chief, Yoram Halevi, Israel is prepared for the possibility of more clashes. Speaking at the Western Wall yesterday afternoon, Halevi warned that no more violence over the Temple Mount would be tolerated. “No one should try to test us tomorrow.”

Halevi continued to promise a peaceful prayer session this afternoon, should worshipers heed the Waqf’s instructions to halt the protests. Yet “if there are people who try tomorrow to disturb the peace, to harm police or citizens, they should not be surprised” if Israeli security services respond with force.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, 28 July 2017)

Photo Credit: Screenshot/YouTube/Haaretz

Prayer Focus
Pray for peaceful gatherings on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, one of the most contested places on earth today. Bring Israel’s police and security forces before God as they stand on the front line of this battle, asking for alert minds, wise actions and God's protection. Cry out against Israel’s enemies, God's enemies, who have the intense desire to harm Jerusalem and claim the land of Israel. This is the time to proclaim God's promises over Israel and Jerusalem!

Scripture

Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer made in this place. For now I have chosen and sanctified this house, that My name may be there forever; and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually.


- 2 Chronicles 7:15-16

Metal Detectors at Temple Mount Make Way for “Advanced Technologies”

by Ilse Posselt

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Advanced technology security cameras (illustrative)

Wednesday, 26 July 2017 | Israel’s security cabinet made a decision on Monday night to remove from the entrances to the Temple Mount the metal detectors and security cameras that have supposedly sparked outrage across the Muslim world and turned the Old City of Jerusalem and parts of Judea and Samaria into a tinder box over the past two weeks.

Dismantling the additional security measures, which were put in place following a deadly terror attack launched from the holy site on 14 July in which two Israeli policemen were murdered, began in the early hours of Tuesday morning. By that afternoon, all that remained of the beefed up security measures were metal railings aimed at channeling visitors to the entrances.

The move came after a series of security cabinet meetings held over the course of Monday. According to a statement released by the prime minister’s office, the decision was ultimately taken on “the recommendation of all security bodies.”

The cabinet indicated that the metal detectors and security cameras will be replaced by intelligent, less obtrusive surveillance technologies and have set aside NIS100 million ($28 million) over a six month period to purchase and install this “smart checking” equipment.

Israeli media reported yesterday that Israel is considering purchasing state-of-the-art camera systems. Such “advanced technologies” will have the capacity to identify whether a person is concealing a weapon, such as a bomb, knife or gun. These cameras will not be confined to the Temple Mount, but will be placed all around the Old City.

In the meantime, the Jewish state is making every effort to secure the safety of worshippers and visitors at the Temple Mount. Police presence around this flashpoint area will be bolstered significantly. Reuters also claimed that municipal workers fitted metal beams in a number of Old City streets to install closed circuit television cameras.

The erection of the metal detectors following the deadly 14 July Temple Mount terror attack triggered the bloodiest and most persistent clashes between Israel and the Palestinians in nearly a decade. Palestinian political and religious leaders denounced the heightened security, charging Israel with attempting to change the status quo on the holy site and triggering an outcry across the Muslim world that Al-Aqsa, the mosque sitting atop the Temple Mount, is in danger. Daily clashes and riots erupted in Jerusalem and parts of Judea and Samaria and demonstrations were held internationally, calling for Israel to remove the metal detectors and allow worshippers “free and unrestricted access” to the holy site.

The Waqf Islamic Trust, the Jordan-based organization in charge of the daily management of the site, advised Muslim worshippers to boycott the Temple Mount and to pray in open areas surrounding the holy site until such time as Israel removes the additional security measures.

Yet following more than two weeks of rioting, countless clashes and the murders of three Israelis by a Palestinian terrorist claiming to act in honor of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, it is obvious that the metal detectors guarding the entrances to the holy site were clearly not the issue that triggered the violence.

Two days after the additional security measures were dismantled, Muslim leaders still advise worshippers to shun the Temple Mount and to continue their protests through mass prayers outside the shrine.

Head of Jerusalem’s Supreme Islamic Committee, Ikrema Sabri, told The Associated Press that “our position is that for now, nobody should enter” the Temple Mount.

The Waqf said yesterday that it would make a decision whether to end the boycott after a full review of Israel’s new security measures. According to The Times of Israel, a Waqf official revealed that the boycott would continue until all additional security measures were removed. The official cited “the new high tech cameras” as well as the increased police presence as examples of such unacceptable security measures.

The Palestinian masses who have prayed in the shadow of the shrine for more than two weeks, are heeding the Waqf’s call. “It is true that they removed the metal detectors and the cameras, but they are going to install something worse (the smart cameras),” a resident from east Jerusalem told Ynet News yesterday. “We cannot agree to this change in the status quo. We can continue to pray outside the complex, in front of Al Aqsa, as we have done the last few days, until the situation returns to how it was.”

Source: (Bridges for Peace, 26 July 2017)

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Prayer Focus
Intercede for the leadership of Israel and all the decisions they must make in the current Temple Mount situation as these actions will be scrutinized by the world’s critics. Ask God for nations who will support Israel and help to find solutions. Pray for calm in Jerusalem, a peaceful and acceptable solution that will provide adequate security.

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 in integrity, guarding the paths of justice, and He preserves the way of His godly ones.


- Proverbs 2:6-8 NASB

One Wounded, Attacker Killed in Stabbing at Israeli Embassy in Jordan

by Ilse Posselt

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Israeli embassy in Jordan

Tuesday, 25 July 2017 | Yesterday Israel succeeded in circumventing a diplomatic crisis with neighboring Jordan after an embassy security official shot and killed a Jordanian assailant in self-defense over the weekend.

The attack occurred late Sunday afternoon, when two Jordanian workers arrived at a residence in the Israeli embassy compound to replace furniture. According to a foreign ministry statement, one of the workers, identified as 17-year-old Mohammed Zakaria al-Jawawdeh, snuck up behind an Israeli security officer and stabbed him in the neck with a screwdriver, lightly wounding him. Acting in self-defense, the official shot his assailant, killing him. The owner of the building, a Jordanian doctor, was hit by a stray bullet and later succumbed to his wounds.

According to Jordanian daily, Al Ghad, security forces from the Hashemite Kingdom arrived shortly after the attack and sealed off the compound. While the Jordanians allowed the Israeli diplomatic staff to leave the embassy, they insisted that the security official be retained inside for questioning. The staff refused to go without the official, which left some 30 embassy employees on lockdown in the compound.

On Monday morning, Jordan’s Interior Minister, Ghaled Al-Zubi, issued a decree that forbade the wounded Israeli official from leaving the country. According to the Jordanians, the official, who was identified as the deputy security chief of the Jewish state’s Amman embassy, would only be allowed to return to Israel once a full investigation into the incident had been conducted.

For its part, Israel refused to allow the Jordanians to question the official. The foreign ministry said in a statement that according to the Vienna Convention, the official enjoys immunity from both investigation and imprisonment.

This standoff between Jerusalem and Amman, Israeli media speculated, had the potential to escalate brewing tensions over the Temple Mount into a diplomatic calamity.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed on Monday morning that Israel was doing everything in its power to bring the wounded official home and to resolve the mounting crisis with the Jordanians. Hours later, these efforts paid off. The matter was resolved after Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke with Jordan’s King Abdullah by telephone. All the embassy employees, including the security guard, returned to Israel late Monday evening.

According to Haaretz, the two governments reached an agreement, which entailed Jordanian police could listen to the wounded security official giving his testimony of the attack to embassy staff.

In a statement released by Netanyahu’s office last night, the prime minister said, “The return of the embassy personnel was made possible thanks to the close cooperation that took place over the past 24 hours between Israel and Jordan.”

In a separate statement, Netanyahu also expressed his gratitude towards US President Donald Trump, for dispatching his Middle East envoy, Jeff Greenblatt, to help mediate the potentially volatile situation. The prime minister also thanked Jordanian King Abdullah.

While Israeli and Jordanian diplomats made every effort to find a peaceful resolution, the streets of Amman echoed with calls to execute the official who shot his attacker in self-defense.

Adamant that their relative did not attack the Israeli, al-Jawawdeh’s family members claimed that he was murdered in cold blood. Dozens of his relatives demonstrated in Amman on Sunday night, insisting on the death penalty for the man who had allegedly turned al-Jawawdeh into a “martyr.”

One of the family members told Jordan’s Ro’ya television, “We demand that the government expel the ambassador of this false nation that shows mercy to no one, and does not fear God. We will follow the investigation along with the government leaders until we get our rights, so that this criminal is put to death.”

“We have full faith in the Jordanian courts that they will punish the killer with the punishment of execution,” another added.

For his part, al-Jawawdeh’s father said, “I consider my son to be a martyr for Allah.”

Although Israel and Jordan are bound by a 1994 peace treaty, relations between the two nations have been frayed since Israel’s decision to install metal detectors at the entrances to the Temple Mount in the aftermath of the 14 July terror attack in which three terrorists killed two Israeli police officers using weapons smuggled into the holy site.

In a phone call between Netanyahu and King Abdullah on Monday, the latter requested Israel to remove the metal detectors. Abdullah reportedly “stressed the need to find an immediate solution and remove the causes of the ongoing crisis in Haram al-Sharif, ensure the return of the situation to what it was before the outbreak, and ensure the full opening of the Al-Aqsa Mosque.”

Jordan is the official custodian of the Temple Mount and Jerusalem’s other Muslim holy sites through the Waqf, an organization based in and funded by the Hashemite Kingdom.

Following traditional prayers on Friday afternoon, a crowd of more than 8,000 Jordanians gathered in front of Amman’s Al-Hussein Mosque to demand that Israel open the gates of the Temple Mount “without restriction.”

The crowd chanted slogans, such as “How beautiful it is to kill soldiers from Jerusalem,” and “With our soul, with our blood, we will sacrifice ourselves for you, Al-Aqsa.”

Source: (Bridges for Peace, 25 July 2017)

Photo Credit: Screenshot/Around Us/YouTube

Prayer Focus
Ask God’s protection over all the Israeli embassies and staff across the world as tension has sparked as a result of the current Temple Mount situation. Ask the Lord to step in and guide Israel in the restoration of their relationship with Jordan. Pray for the physical healing of the embassy guard.

Scripture

Let all the earth fear the LORD; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him. For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast. The LORD brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; He makes the plans of the peoples of no effect.


- Psalm 33:8–10

Palestinian Who Murdered Israeli Family to Receive Large Monthly Salary from PA

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Tuesday, 25 July 2017 | The family of Omar al-Abed, the knife-wielding Palestinian terrorist who brutally murdered three members of the Salomon family at Shabbat dinner on Friday, will enjoy a generous payment from the Palestinian Authority (PA) for the killing of Jews.

As a result of the PA’s program to pay Palestinians who commit terror attacks—sometimes termed the “Pay-for-Slay-Program”—the al-Abed family is expected to receive a monthly lifetime salary of $3,120, Liel Leibovitz reported Sunday for Tablet Magazine. This sum is typically given to terrorists sentenced to 30 years or more in prison.

The Palestinian Authority “uses the money it receives from, among other sources, American tax payers to handsomely compensate the killers of Jews. Because the payment is commensurate with the length of the terrorist’s jail sentence, and because the sentence grows heftier the more Jews the terrorist kills, the al-Abeds will be richly rewarded for Omar’s murderous spree,” Leibovitz observed. “Just for comparison, an average Palestinian engineer earns about $1,300 per month.”

Leibovitz’s assessment follows reports that the PA increased its spending on salaries to terrorists and their families in 2017. Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) reported Wednesday that payments to jailed terrorists increased 13%, from 488 million shekels ($135 million) in 2016 to 550 million shekels ($158 million) this year. The overall 2017 budget for payments to terrorists and their families amounts to 1.237 billion shekels ($355 million).

The PA’s latest budget also shows that payments to the families of “martyrs,” often terrorists, who have killed Israelis, increased by 4% from 660 million shekels ($183 million) in 2016 to 687 million shekels ($197 million) in 2017.

This revelation comes as Israel deals with rising tension over the placement of metal detectors on Temple Mount following a July 14 terrorist attack there that killed two Israeli police officers. The crisis has already claimed the lives of the Salomons and wounded numerous others, including an Israeli Arab bus driver who was mistaken for a Jew and a member of the Israeli embassy staff in Jordan.

The crisis at the Temple Mount—the holiest site in Judaism and one of the holiest in Islam—has been fueled by incitement from Palestinian leaders, who have strongly objected to the installation of metal detectors at the complex. Notably, metal detectors were already present at the Mughrabi gate—the only entrance to the Temple Mount that non-Muslims are permitted to use–and at sensitive religious sites from Mecca to the Vatican. At all of the four entrances to the Western Wall Plaza, worshipers and visitors are also required to walk through metal detectors.

The new outbreak over the Temple Mount controversy is only the latest in a long series of incitement by Palestinian leaders and officials associated with the Waqf, the Islamic authority that administers the complex. Mahmoud Abbas vowed in 2015 that Palestinians would not allow Jews’ “filthy feet” on Temple Mount, while a teacher at the Al-Aqsa Mosque school said Jews who visit the Temple Mount are “monkeys and pigs.” One Temple Mount preacher called “to annihilate the Jews,” and another implored his followers to “slaughter Jews.” Palestinian officials have also frequently denied the well-documented Jewish connection to the Temple Mount.

This narrative feeds into a wider problem of incitement among Palestinian leaders and society as a whole. This year, Norway demanded that Palestinians return funding for a women’s youth center named after a terrorist that killed 37 Israelis, 13 of whom were children.

Jew hatred is found to have been taught in schools and spread in textbooks, including those sponsored by the international community. Moreover, PA television regularly airs interviews with children who aspire to become “martyrs,” or terrorists killed while carrying out an attack against Jews. Following the brutal murder of the Solomon family, Palestinians in the Gaza Strip took to the streets and celebrated the bloodshed.

Source: (This article was originally published by The Israel Project, in its publication The Tower on 24 July 2017. Time related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Palestinian Media Watch/Facebook

Prayer Focus
Give thanks for the growing awareness among the nations that a portion of the funding sent to the Palestinian Authority is used to reward murderers. Pray for this issue to be kept in the spotlight until it is resolved, so no one can say they didn’t know. Give the nations of the world the strength of conviction to stop sending financial aid until this practice of rewarding terror is ended.

Scripture

Whoever pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honor.


- Proverbs 21:21 NIV

Jews in Turkey under Attack over Temple Mount Crisis

by Itamar Eichner

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Neve Shalom synagogue in Istanbul

Monday, 24 July 2017 | Two threatening demonstrations and mounting cases of vandalism against synagogues in Turkey—apparently carried out with the regime’s tacit support against the backdrop of the Temple Mount crisis—are raising concerns among the country’s Jewish community.

On the night between Thursday and Friday, dozens of demonstrators attacked the Neve Shalom synagogue in Istanbul, threw rocks at the synagogue, kicked its doors and tried to break in.

At the entrance to the synagogue, a local leader of the Great Union Party, Korsat Michan, spoke out and accused Israel of “harassing our Palestinian brothers and damaging their freedom of worship.”

“Either the Zionists get a grip, or we will come back here again,” he said.

Some protesters shouted, “If you do not let us enter our holy place, we will not let you enter your holy place.”

As protesters kicked the doors of the synagogue, two demonstrators climbed up the building and hung signs with pictures of the Dome of the Rock.

The Jewish community was stunned that the police patrol car—which regularly protected the synagogue as it is a target for terror attacks—had left the area shortly before the demonstration started.

On Saturday, the ancient 15th century Ahrida synagogue in Balat, Istanbul was also attacked. As in the first case, the police car also left before the demonstration began, and the demonstrators charged the synagogue, blocking entry and chanting anti-Israel slogans.

The fact that the police left the area in both cases may indicate that the demonstrations were held with the quiet consent of the authorities, which made it possible to “let out steam” against the Jews.

On Saturday, the Jewish community tweeted about what was going on near the synagogue and even tagged the Turkish prime minister and interior minister in their tweet, calling them to put an end to the phenomenon. The community then issued an official statement demanding that the authorities stop the attacks against it.

Those behind the attacks are religious nationalists linked to the Great Union Party (BBP), an extreme right-wing party which is not officially affiliated with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s party but is ideologically linked to it.

BBP leader Mustafa Tsesti said that the persecution, the attacks, the “occupation and the massacre” carried out by the State of Israel and its government should be condemned, but added that the citizens of Turkey must avoid harming our Jewish citizens and their holy places, as they are “the descendants of Muhammad the Conqueror, who promised the freedom of worship to all.”

Jewish journalists who write in the community newspaper, Shalom, tweeted that it is permissible to criticize the policies of any country, but the expression of the protest cannot be against prayer houses but against embassies and consulates.

This is the first time that the authorities have apparently allowed demonstrations against synagogues in Turkey, and the community sees this as a dangerous precedent.

Commentators estimate that the protest is linked to religion this time, and in the eyes of Islamists in Turkey the synagogue is a branch of Israel.

The media reports in Turkey about the events of the Temple Mount are conspicuously hostile against Israel, and the attack in which two Israeli policemen were murdered was presented in conspiratorial terms—an event that Israel initiated to suppress the freedom of worship of the Palestinians.

On Sunday, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim condemned the attacks against the synagogues and said it was not the behavior of true Muslims.

He called on the citizens of Turkey to show self-control, to show responsibility and not to violate the right of worship of fellow citizens of the Jewish minority with whom they have coexisted for hundreds of years.

On Saturday, Erdogan condemned Israel’s “excessive force” in suppressing the demonstrations in protest against the placement of the metal detectors, calling the Palestinians killed in the riots “martyrs.”

The Turkish president refrained from condemning the murder of policemen on the Temple Mount, calling the attack “an incident.”

Source: (Ynetnews originally published this article on 23 July 2017. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Chadica/wikimedia.org

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
As the Temple Mount situation has directly affected Jews in Muslim countries, beseech God to increase their desire to come back to their promised homeland and strengthen Israel with their presence. Also pray that Israel will be prepared with housing, jobs, education—everything the new olim need to be firmly “planted” in the land.

Scripture

The days are coming, says the LORD, that they shall no longer say, “As the LORD lives who brought up the children of Israel from the land of Egypt,” but, “as the LORD lives who brought up and led the descendants of the house of Israel from the north country and from all the countries where I had driven them. And they shall dwell in their own land.”


- Jeremiah 23:7-8

United States Slams Hezbollah as Dangerous to Lebanon, Israel, Region 

by Joshua Spurlock

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Hezbollah paramilitary wing

Wednesday, 26 July 2017 | Hezbollah likes to present themselves as the defender of the Lebanese people, and the United States not only disagrees but sees them as a serious threat to their own people. US President Donald Trump, in a press briefing on Tuesday with Lebanese Prime Minister Sa’ad Hariri, called Hezbollah a “menace to the Lebanese state, the Lebanese people, and the entire region.”

Trump, whose comments were posted to the White House website, went on to accuse Hezbollah of actions that threaten a new war with Israel and blamed them for enflaming the devastating Syrian civil war. And Hezbollah certainly isn’t doing it for Lebanon. “With the support of Iran, the organization is also fueling the humanitarian catastrophe in Syria,” said Trump of the terror organization whose militias are fighting for Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. “Hezbollah likes to portray itself as a defender of Lebanese interests, but it’s very clear that its true interests are those of itself and its sponsor—Iran.”

Another American official also took time to warn the powerful UN Security Council of the dangers of Hezbollah and contrasted the United Nations’ relaxed approach to the terrorist organization with their obsession over Israel.

“Hezbollah’s illegal weapons build-up is putting the people of Lebanon in great danger,” said US representative to the UN, Nikki Haley, in comments released by her office. “Remarkably, this Council cannot even bring itself to use the word ‘Hezbollah’ in recent resolutions or statements on Lebanon. Many here are happy to name Israel, time after time, but Hezbollah is somehow off limits. It’s absurd. Worse than that, it’s dangerous.”

Haley said the dangers posed by Hezbollah are “getting larger, not smaller.” Said the US diplomat, “Hezbollah is a destructive terrorist force. It is a major obstacle to peace.”

Trump, in his comments, also pointed to Hezbollah’s growing arsenal as a threat to the region, in particular to Israel. Said the American leader, “The group continues to increase its military arsenal, which threatens to start yet another conflict with Israel, constantly fighting them back.”

For his part, Lebanese Prime Minister Hariri did acknowledge their commitment to the UN resolution that helped resolve the Second Lebanon War with Israel. He also thanked Trump for “support to maintaining peace and stability along our southern border” with Israel. However, Israel has repeatedly shown how Hezbollah has violated that UN resolution, including in reports to the IDF Blog.

And that is where Haley believes the UN should be addressing Hezbollah’s aggression. Noting that acknowledging and saying out loud the growing danger posed by the terror group “would be a significant step forward,” Haley said that “we must do more.”

Said Haley to the UN Security Council, “We must begin to get serious about enforcing our own resolutions that have been routinely violated by Iran and Hezbollah.”

Source: (The Mideast Update originally published this article on 25 July 2017. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today.)

Photo Credit: IDFblog.com

Prayer Focus
Continue to pray for Israel’s leadership, asking God to teach them how to deal with threats from neighboring countries, Hezbollah influence in Syria and the manipulation of Iran behind the scenes. Thank God that Pres. Trump acknowledges these threats and pray for Nikki Haley who is publicly pushing the UN to enforce their own resolutions.

Scripture

You are my hiding place; You shall preserve me from trouble; You shall surround me with songs of deliverance. I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye.


- Psalm 32:7-8

Israel Sets Clear Entry Policy for BDS Activists 

by Itamar Eichner

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A BDS demonstration outside the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, April 2017 (illustrative)

Thursday, 27 July 2017 | The Ministry of Interior, together with the Population and Immigration Authority, has finished formulating its standards for barring entry and citizenship to people who are actively engaged in boycotting the State of Israel.

This followed the amendment to the Entry to Israel law, which was passed in March and states that “no visa or residence permit of any kind shall be granted to a person who is not an Israeli citizen or has a permanent residence permit in the State of Israel if he, the organization or body for which he is acting, has knowingly and publicly called for a boycott of the State of Israel.”

According to the new amendment, persons who are consistently and continuously engaged in boycotting the State of Israel will be barred from entering, while critics of government policy however, will be allowed to enter.

More specifically, Israel will deny entry and residence to “senior or significant officials in prominent boycott organizations, people who take active, consistent and continuous action to promote boycotts within the framework of prominent or independent boycott organizations, institutions that promote boycotts actively and continuously and activists who come to Israel on behalf of one of the most prominent boycott organizations.”

In exceptional cases, officials can recommend entry for a person who meets these criteria. This is done out of the consideration that preventing their entry may cause more harm to Israel or because of political and humanitarian concerns.

Interior Ministry Aryeh Deri said, “The criteria do not leave room for questions. As the minister responsible for the entry of foreigners into Israel, I am obligated to preserve its security and to ensure that those who are likely to harm the state do not receive legitimacy and backing by having their entry into Israel approved.”

Minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan said, “No sane state would allow boycott activists who want to harm its existence entry. Foreigners who want to come to Israel in order to delegitimize us need to understand that this is not on the agenda.”

As mentioned however, the law states that “the fact that an organization has a critical agenda towards the policy of the Israeli government does not constitute grounds for preventing the entry of its activists into Israel.”

Source: (Ynetnews originally published this article on 26 July 2017). Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Philafrenzy/wikipedia

Photo License: Wikipedia

Prayer Focus
Lift up Israel’s Minister of Interior and the newly approved legislation that denies the entrance of BDS activists into Israel. Pray for positive results and for successful implementation. Also pray that these activists will have a change in heart, turning from enemies into friends because Israel is God’s prized possession and holy nation.

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 I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.


- Genesis 12:2-3

Netanyahu, Georgian PM Celebrate 25 Years of Diplomatic Ties in Jerusalem

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Georgian Prime Minister Kvirikashvili and Prime Minister Netanyahu

Tuesday, 25 July 2017 | Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed his Georgian counterpart, Giorgi Kvirikashvili, to Jerusalem on Monday, saying their countries “are kindred souls living in a very difficult part of the world … that show a big future.”

While 2017 marked 25 years of diplomatic ties between the two nations, Netanyahu remarked that there “are 2,600 years that connect our people through the span of Jewish history in Georgia.” He also acknowledged the presence of 100,000 citizens of Georgian extraction in Israel.

“We’re both vibrant countries,” Netanyahu told his guest, “eager to seize the future, secure our homelands and ensure that we march on the march of progress and have a natural sympathy between the peoples both through the human bridge of Georgians who now live in Israel but also of, I would say, common sentiments and sympathies and a deep appreciation for each one’s culture.”

Kvirikashvili thanked Netanyahu for his greeting and noted, “the 26 centuries, as you mentioned, prime minister, of harmonious coexistence of our friendly nations is deeply rooted in our national memory. The personal ties and the relations between the Jewish and Georgian people are truly exemplary.”

“During the last several years, we have seen significant progress in our bilateral relations,” Kvirkashvili added. “We have achievements practically in all spheres: in agriculture, in high technologies, in security and as you mentioned, the threats that our nations face are quite similar.”

Kvirkashvili also invited Netanyahu to visit Georgia to “see the development of this country and to feel once again the special feelings and sentiments of the Georgian people towards the people of Israel.”

July has been a busy month for high-level Israeli diplomacy. Last week, Netanyahu was in Budapest to meet with the leaders of the Visegrad Group—Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic, and Slovakia—and all five agreed to work toward improving European Union ties with Israel in the economic, political, strategic, regional, and technological spheres.

At the beginning of the month, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a historic three day visit to Israel, strengthening ties between his nation and Israel.

Modi’s successful trip prompted historian Walter Russell Mead to observe at The American Interest, “From the Gulf to Africa to all across Asia, Israeli diplomacy is more active and diversified than ever before.”

Source: (This article was originally published by The Israel Project, in its publication The Tower on 24 July 2017. Time related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Kobi Gideon/GPO

Prayer Focus
Praise God for the long standing relationship between Israel and Georgia and the success of their ties that strengthen both nations. Pray for all Israel’s new friends to have stable, enriching and encouraging relationships in economic, political and technological spheres.

Scripture

Ointment and perfume delight the heart, and the sweetness of a man’s friend gives delight by hearty counsel.


- Proverbs 27:9

Further Evidence of the Babylonian Destruction of Jerusalem Found at the City of David

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The structure in Jerusalem’s Old City where shattered jugs were found, attesting to the earlier destruction.

Thursday, 27 July 2017 | Evidence of the destruction of Jerusalem at the hands of the Babylonians has recently been unearthed in the City of David in excavations conducted by the Israel Antiquities Authority at the Jerusalem Walls National Park, funded by the City of David Foundation (Elad). In the excavations—concentrated on the eastern slope of the City of David, structures dating to more than 2,600 years ago have been unearthed after having been covered over by collapsed layers of stone. Nestled within the collapse, many findings have surfaced: charred wood, grape seeds, pottery, fish scales and bones, and unique, rare artifacts. These findings depict the affluence and character of Jerusalem, capital of the Judean Kingdom, and are mesmerizing proof of the city’s demise at the hands of the Babylonians.

Jug handle with the rosette seal used by the administrative system at the end of the Judean Kingdom

Among the excavation’s salient findings were dozens of storage jars which served to store both grain and liquids, several of which had stamped handles. Several of the seals discovered depict a rosette—a petalled rose. According to Ortal Chalaf and Dr. Joe Uziel, Israel Antiquities Authority excavation directors: “These seals are characteristic of the end of the First Temple Period and were used for the administrative system that developed towards the end of the Judean dynasty. Classifying objects facilitated controlling, overseeing, collecting, marketing and storing crop yields. The rosette, in essence, replaced the ‘For the King’ seal used in the earlier administrative system.”

The wealth of the Judean kingdom’s capital is also manifest in the ornamental artifacts surfacing in situ. One distinct and rare finding is a small ivory statue of a woman. The figure is naked, and her haircut or wig is Egyptian in style. The quality of its carving is high, and it attests to the high caliber of the artifacts’ artistic level and the skill par excellence of the artists during this era.

According to Ortal Chalaf and Dr. Joe Uziel, Israel Antiquities Authority excavation directors, “The excavation’s findings show that Jerusalem had extended beyond the line of the city wall before its destruction. The row of structures exposed in the excavations is located outside beyond the city wall that would have constituted the eastern border of the city during this period. Throughout the Iron Age, Jerusalem underwent constant growth, expressed both in the construction of numerous city walls and the fact that the city later spread beyond them. Excavations carried out in the past in the area of the Jewish Quarter have shown how the growth of the population at the end of the 8th century BC led the annexation of the western area of Jerusalem. In the current excavation, we may suggest that following the westward expansion of the city, structures were built outside of the wall’s border on the east as well.”

Source: (This press release was originally published by Israel Antiquities Authority in July 2017.)

Photo Credit: EliyahuYanai/IAA/Ashernet

Prayer Focus
Give thanks to the Lord for the establishment of the City of David and for all the work being done to educate thousands of visitors. Ask God to protect each one of the staff members as they preserve these amazing historical sites and bless them with enthusiasm, joy and energy as they serve tourist after tourist.

Scripture

Now it came to pass in the ninth year of his reign, in the tenth month, on the tenth day of the month, that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and all his army came against Jerusalem and encamped against it; and they built a siege wall against it all around.


- Jeremiah 52:4

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