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 firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to receive this Prayer Update by e-mail.
Iran Breaches Uranium Limit, Takes “Significant Step” toward Nuke
by Kate Norman
Tuesday, 2 July 2019 | Keeping its word, Iran announced yesterday that it exceeded the limit of enriched uranium allowed under the 2015 nuclear deal. The International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nation’s agency to monitor such activity, verified that the Islamic Republic’s stockpile surpassed the 300 kilogram (660 lb) limit.
Iran had declared in May that it would start operating outside of the limitations imposed by the nuclear deal unless the remaining participants, namely Germany, Russia, Britain, France and China did more to dig the Islamic State out of the pit of sanctions imposed after the United States pulled out of the deal last year, the Times of Israel reported.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned what he called Iran’s “significant step toward producing nuclear weapons,” saying Israel’s exposure of Iran’s nuclear archive “proved that any nuclear agreement with Iran is built on one big lie.”
“Now even Iran acknowledges this,” the prime minister continued. “Soon will be revealed additional proofs that Iran has been lying this whole time.”
European nations involved in the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchange (INSTEX) went into emergency mode last week to save what is left of the deal after the US reimposed crippling sanctions on Iran, but did not satisfy the Iranian regime enough to rein in its continuing nuclear development.
“INSTEX is meaningless without Europe’s implementation of its other undertakings,” Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Monday in Tehran. “The Europeans should act upon their undertakings to guarantee Iran’s oil sales, transportation, return of Iran’s assets and revenues of crude sales.”
The next step is enriching the uranium to above 3.7% purity—as higher levels are needed to develop nuclear weapons—“which will take nothing more than two to three days,” Zarif announced. The limit imposed by the 2015 deal was low-level purity uranium for civilian use. Nuclear weapons, however, require uranium of 90% purity, and Iran—which had reached 20% before 2015—still falls far short, according to the Times of Israel.
“The world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism continues to use its nuclear program to extort the international community and threaten regional security,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared in a statement released by his office yesterday.
This development comes a year after the US pulled out of the 2015 deal, calling it “flawed.” Pompeo acknowledged, however, that the US is not unwilling to work with Iran and said Washington is “committed to negotiating a new and comprehensive deal with the Iranian regime to resolve its threats to international peace and security.”
He was nonetheless firm, declaring, “As long as Iran continues to reject diplomacy and expand its nuclear program, the economic pressure and diplomatic isolation will intensify.”
Netanyahu admonished European countries to follow through with their set penalties should Iran ever step outside the boundaries of the deal—which it now has. “Uphold your commitment. You committed to act the moment Iran violated the nuclear agreement. You committed to imposing the automatic sanctions set out by the Security Council.”
Switching to English for his target audience, Netanyahu charged, “Do it. Just Do it.”
Once again, he made the Jewish state’s stance on Iran’s nuclear ambitions clear. “I reiterate: Israel will not allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons.”
Source: (Bridges for Peace, July 2, 2019)
Photo Credit: Tasnim News Agency/wikimedia.org
Photo License: Wikimedia
Pray for a sense of urgency to fall upon the nations of the world as they recognize the extreme danger posed by Iran’s nuclear activity. Beseech the Lord that they would “do it,” as admonished by PM Netanyahu, presenting an international united front in imposing crippling sanctions.
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.
Alleged Israeli Strikes in Syria Targeted Iranian Weapons Heading for Hezbollah
by Ilse Strauss
Tuesday, 2 July 2019 | When the man at the helm of Mossad (Israeli intelligence agency) speaks, the world listens. Israel’s famed intelligence service is, after all, renowned for its expertise, brilliance and insight. Yesterday was no different. Taking to the podium at the 9th Annual Cyber Week Conference at Tel Aviv University, Mossad Chief Yossi Cohen explained that Israel “can’t agree to Syria becoming a staging ground for Iranian forces or forces operated by it against us. We can’t agree to Syria becoming a logistics base for transferring weapons to Hezbollah and Lebanon.”
Cohen did not qualify his statement. Perhaps he didn’t have to. The address came mere hours after Syria accused Israel of striking a number of targets around Damascus and Homs in the predawn hours of Monday morning. Arab media described the series as the most extensive attributed to the Jewish state in years.
According to the Britain-based Syrian war monitor, the strikes came from both the sea and air and hit at least a dozen targets spread over three locations linked to the Islamic Republic of Iran and its Lebanese terror proxy, Hezbollah. Among these are a research center and a military airport housing Iranian and Hezbollah personnel near Homs; the 91st Brigade base, which serves as the headquarters for Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC); a weapons research facility in Jamraya near Damascus; and a weapons depot near the Lebanese border.
The conclusion? According to Haaretz, the location, distribution and scope of yesterday’s strike reveal its objective: the destruction of a distribution line that funnels advanced weapons from Iran into Hezbollah’s waiting hands, using war-torn Syria as a channel.
ImageSat International, a private intelligence firm, confirmed this assessment when it released a satellite image of one of the targets: the remains of a large hanger reportedly used as a cache for state-of-the-art weapons or other military equipment, the Times of Israel said.
The satellite imagery analysis firm also released a picture of the same site dated June 4, which features a 39 x 98-foot (12 x 30-m) structure located in Jamraya, some 6 miles (10 km) from Damascus. The hanger was “probably used for storage of advanced weapon systems or another sensitive element,” the Times of Israel quotes ImageSat International as saying.
A known base for both the IRGC and the Hezbollah terror group, the Jamraya facility houses a number of military positions and a branch of the Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Center (SSRC). The SSRC is notorious for allegedly playing a role in chemical weapons production during the Syrian Civil War.
Throughout the eight years of the Syrian Civil War, Israel steered clear of the brutal fighting on its border. However, the Jewish state warned that it would act to prevent Iran from setting up a military front on its doorstep or using Syria as a channel to smuggle game-changing weapons from Tehran to its terror proxy, Hezbollah, in Lebanon.
In his address yesterday, Cohen again confirmed that Jerusalem has made good on its pledge. “Israel has taken action in the past four years, overtly and covertly, about which only a small amount has been published, in order to block the entrenchment and the production lines of precision-guided munitions.”
Yesterday’s strikes come a day after ImageSat International released satellite images showing that Syria’s Russian-made S-300 air defense system is up and running—some nine months after receiving it from Moscow. According to the Times of Israel, the highly advanced system may impede Israel’s ability to strike Iranian and Hezbollah targets in Syria. For its part, Jerusalem has said it will take out the S-300 system if need be, in spite of the ire it might provoke in the Kremlin.
A day after the strikes, the dust has begun to settle in a Middle East that seems to grow more unstable by the day. With the face-off between Washington and Tehran in the Persian Gulf showing no sign of letting up, Iran vowed that any military action from the US would mean the end of Israel. “If the US attacks us, only half an hour will remain of Israel’s lifespan,” said a high-ranking government official. At the same time, Iran has just announced publically that it had exceeded the limit on enriched uranium allowed under a 2015 nuclear deal, a move Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recognized as a “significant step” toward producing a nuclear weapon.
At Bridges for Peace, we are calling on our readers the world over to “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem…” (Ps. 122:6).
Source: (Bridges for Peace, July 2, 2019)
Photo Credit: Nurgul Samatova/YouTube/screenshot
As sanctions are imposed that will potentially end Iran’s nuclear ambitions, pray that they will also cripple Iranian ability to interfere in the Syrian civil war and provide resources to terror organizations in the region and around the world.
Do not keep silent, O God! Do not hold Your peace, and do not be still, O God! For behold, Your enemies make a tumult; and those who hate You have lifted up their head. They have taken crafty counsel against Your people, and consulted together against Your sheltered ones.
Terror Arson Attacks from Gaza Spark Record Number of Blazes in Southern Israel
by Ilse Strauss
Friday, 28 June 2019 | The already fire-ravaged southern Israel experienced a particularly devastating day yesterday when an enormous wave of incendiary balloon attacks launched from the Gaza Strip sparked at least 30 blazes in areas around the border. The one-day blitz marks the highest number of fires ignited by Gaza-borne devices in a 24-hour period since the almost daily arson terror attacks began last spring.
According to the figures from the local fire department, yesterday’s more than two dozen blazes puts the number of balloon-related conflagrations at approximately 100 since Sunday. Firefighting units, officials from the Nature and Parks Authority, the Jewish National Fund, the army and a bevy of volunteers joined forces to quench the blazes.
Over the past year, the incendiary devices—crude but effective terror mechanisms comprising a flaming bit of fuel-soaked fabric attached to a helium-inflated balloon, cluster of balloons or explosive device launched from Gaza and carried into Israel by the east winds blowing off the Mediterranean Sea—have gutted thousands of acres of agricultural fields, orchards and grass and woodlands, causing extensive damage to crops and wildlife.
On Tuesday, an incendiary balloon fell on a kindergarten, but failed to detonate and caused no damage. Thankfully, all the children had already gone home for the day. Tragedy was averted—but it could have been much worse. “A firebomb in a kindergarten is just like a missile on a kindergarten,” said local council head Tamir Idan.
Two of yesterday’s 30 blazes ignited in close proximity to residential homes. The fires were, however, extinguished quickly and thus failed to cause damage or injury.
The arson terror attacks translate to a direct violation of the unofficial cease-fire agreement between Israel and Hamas, the terror entity in absolute military and administrative control of the coastal enclave. Retaliating to the increase in incendiary devices, Israel on Tuesday cut the supply of energy fueling the Gaza Strip as a punitive measure.
Hamas responded with shocked outraged. Washing their hands of all responsibility in the past week’s events and effectually turning a blind eye to the waves of burning balloons flying from Gaza into Israel, Hamas officials ironically charged Israel with endangering the terms of the cease-fire.
Source: (Bridges for Peace, June 28, 2019)
Photo Credit: Mark Wolfe/FEMA
Photo License: Wikimedia.org
Pray that Hamas’s ridiculous hypocrisy will become apparent to all, garnering support for Israel’s punitive actions. Pray for protection for southern Israel and an end to arson terror. Also pray that Christians around the world will give generously as Bridges for Peace works to show love and support to those victimized by this evil who are attempting to rebuild their lives. Scripture:
You shall weep no more. He will be very gracious to you at the sound of your cry; when He hears it, He will answer you.
A series of devastating blazes at the end of May burned up an entire Israeli community and left 50 families destitute as the fires ravaged their homes, leaving nothing but ashes. These Israelis now live in the heartbreaking reality of rebuilding what was destroyed. They are not facing this task alone. Bridges for Peace is coming alongside them, offering the physical means and the helping hand they need so desperately. We need your help as we stand with this community in the midst of rising from the ashes. Your generous donation to our Crisis Assistance Fund will help us meet our pledge goal of US $150,000 to show these hurting people the love of Christians across the world.
Israeli Foreign Minister Visits UAE, Discusses Iran with Senior Officials
Wednesday, 3 July 2019 | Israel’s foreign minister on Sunday visited the United Arab Emirates [UAE] and met with senior UAE officials on the sideline of the UN [United Nations] Environment Conference, in the latest sign of warming ties between Israel and the Gulf Arab states.
The Jewish state and the Sunni Arab world share some basic foreign policy concerns, in particular the rise of Iran as a regional power and Islamic fundamentalism.
In high-level talks with UAE officials, Yisrael Katz discussed the need to confront the threat of a nuclear Iran, the country’s ballistic missile program, and its support for terror proxies across the region, including Hamas in Gaza, Hezbollah in Lebanon, and the Houthi rebels in Yemen.
Other regional issues were also addressed, such as the potential for cooperation with the UAE in the fields of counter-extremism, technology, energy, agriculture, and water management.
Katz noted that his trip to Abu Dhabi marked “a significant advancement” in ties between Israel and the Arab world. The UAE has no formal diplomatic relations with Israel.
“I am excited to stand here in Abu Dhabi and represent the interests of the state of Israel vis-a-vis the Arab Gulf states,” the minister said.
“I will continue to work with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to promote the normalization policy with the strength we are leading, based on Israel’s capabilities, both in the fields of security and intelligence, and in various civilian areas,” he added.
Israel’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Katz also presented the “Tracks for Regional Peace” initiative that is intended to connect Saudi Arabia and the Arab Gulf countries—along with Jordan and the Palestinian Authority—to Israel’s Mediterranean ports by a network of railroad tracks.
The minister’s visit to Abu Dhabi marked the third such trip by an Israeli official to the UAE since October and came on the heels of the US-led economic workshop in Bahrain at which Israeli representatives openly met with Gulf officials.
Source: (This article was originally published by The Israel Project in its publication The Tower on July 2, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)
Photo Credit: giggel/wikimedia.org
Photo License: Wikimedia
Thank the Lord for the developing relationships between Israel and the Gulf States. Pray for His wisdom and guidance as Israel enters these affiliations from a position of strength.
It is God who avenges me and subdues the peoples under me; He delivers me from my enemies. You also lift me up above those who rise against me.
Israeli Cyber Intel Helped Foil Attacks in “Dozens” of Countries
Friday, 28 June 2018 | Israeli cyber intelligence has helped thwart “major” terrorist attacks in “dozens” of countries, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at a cyber-security conference in Tel Aviv on Wednesday.
Israel alerted Australian authorities about a planned Islamic State attack on an Etihad Airways flight from Sydney to Abu Dhabi, foiling an explosion in the air. Etihad is the national airline of the United Arab Emirates.
“That plane from Sydney to Abu Dhabi was going to be exploded in midair,” Netanyahu said. “We found out through our cyber activities, we found out that ISIS [Islamic State of Iraq and Syria] was going to do this and so we alerted the Australian police and they stopped this, before it happened.”
Israel shares information about cyber-threats and attacks with 85 countries, he explained.
“This particular incident,” Netanyahu said, referencing the Etihad terror plot, “if you multiply that 50 times, that will give you an idea of the contribution that Israel has made to prevent major terrorist operations, especially from ISIS, in dozens of countries and most of those cases were foiled because of our activities in cyber-security.”
Last month, Israeli intelligence services tipped off the United States on an impending Iranian attack on “US interests in the Gulf.” In November, Israel’s intelligence agency, Mossad, provided Denmark and Sweden with the information to stop the attempted assassination of the leader of the Danish branch of an Iranian opposition group.
It was the second time in just a few months that Iran has been accused of planning a terrorist attack against an exiled Iranian opposition group on European soil. In June 2018, France, Germany and Belgium foiled a planned attack against a meeting of thousands of Iranian opposition supporters just north of Paris that was also attended by leading US figures. An Iranian diplomat, accredited to Tehran’s mission in Austria, was implicated in the plot.
Following the thwarting of the Paris terror plot, Israeli media reported that the Mossad provided crucial intelligence that led to the arrest of the cell planning the attack.
Source: (This article was originally published by The Israel Project in its publication The Tower on June 27, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)
Photo Credit: Mussi Katz/flickr.com
Photo License: Flickr.com
Shout praises to the Lord for the incredible life-saving work of Israel’s security forces. Pray for Israel’s on-going leadership in this area. Ask the Lord to continue to give the Mossad eyes to see and ears to hear as they act as the watchdog for the entire world.
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.
Netanyahu: Israel Pursues Peace, but Ready for a “Large-scale Military Operation in Gaza”
by Kate Norman
Thursday, 4 July 2019 | Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu traveled to the south of Israel Wednesday for a Security Cabinet meeting at the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Gaza Division headquarters to meet with council heads from the areas neighboring the Strip, following a week of friction along the Gaza border as incendiary balloons from the terror enclave sparked fires throughout the area.
“Our policy is clear: We want to restore the calm but at the same time we are also prepared for a wide-ranging military campaign, if it proves necessary,” Netanyahu declared. “These are my instructions to the IDF.”
This remark came just hours after Code Red alerts sounded throughout the regions along the border with Gaza, sending Israelis scrambling for shelters early yesterday morning. The IDF later said the sirens were a false alarm, although Palestinians did fire a rocket from Gaza into the Mediterranean Sea.
The situation nearly reached its boiling point last week as nearly a hundred fires burned throughout the south of Israel, many started by incendiary balloons from the Gaza Strip. Israel and Hamas—the terror entity in control of the Gaza Strip—are operating under a tense cease-fire. No rockets have been fired from the enclave into Israel since the barrage of 700 rockets in May, but the incendiary balloons have made some of Israel’s leadership hot under the collar.
Egyptian mediators and UN (United Nations) envoy to the Middle East, Nikolay Mladenov, scrambled back and forth between the two entities to put out the smoke before it turned into a fire—reaching tentatively successful, though not new negotiations for a continued cease-fire.
Netanyahu has made it clear in multiple statements this week that Israel wants to pursue peace and quiet along the border with Gaza, but will not shy away from force if necessary.
“I am not impressed by the propaganda of so-called experts,” he said on Sunday regarding critics of Israel’s approach to the terror enclave. “Many of them are offering us advice that they themselves would not implement if they were in power. Let us not be confused, they would be the first to criticize us after we set out on a wide-ranging military operation, which we may yet have to do. Therefore, I am guided solely by one thing—the security of the State of Israel.”
Source: (Bridges for Peace, July 4, 2019)
Photo Credit: U.S. Department of State/wikimedia.org
Photo License: Wikimedia
Pray for God’s will and His will alone as Israel seeks peace with the Palestinians. Pray that PM Netanyahu will not waver in his commitment to the security of the State of Israel.
The horse is prepared for the day of battle, but deliverance is of the LORD.
“Palestinians Are Determined to Continue the Conflict at Any Price,” Warns Netanyahu
by Joshua Spurlock
Monday, 01 July 2019 | The Palestinian government’s highly negative response to the United States’ Middle East peace approach has left Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with just one conclusion. “One thing is clear from all this. The Palestinians are determined to continue the conflict at any price, including that of the well-being of the Palestinians themselves,” said Netanyahu on Sunday in comments released by his office. “This is not how those who want to advance peace should act. In contrast, we are continuing to advance ties with the Arab world, including today, and this serves everyone.”
Netanyahu highlighted as an example of the Palestinian Authority (PA) rejectionism their arrest of a Palestinian businessman who attended the recent US-led “Peace to Prosperity” conference that launched the economic side of the peace plan. Netanyahu said the PA later released the businessman “due to American pressure. His only crime was that he attended an economic conference designed to advance the Palestinian economy.”
Netanyahu contrasted that with the noteworthy words of Bahrain Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, who Netanyahu quoted as saying that “Israel is part of the heritage of this whole region. The Jewish people have a place amongst us. The Israeli public needs to trust that there are countries in the region that do want to have peace and do encourage the Palestinians to do it.”
Netanyahu said the Bahraini comments were “very important” and a “direct result of our policy” as Israel is seeking to be a global power. And then there’s the Palestinian reaction to the American peace plan, which is to reject it before it has even been fully revealed.
“At a time when we are drawing closer to the Arab states, and are gradually normalizing relations with them, and a time when we praised the Bahrain conference that was designed first and foremost to lead to economic prosperity for the Palestinians and the entire region, at the same time, the Palestinians repeatedly attacked the conference in contradiction of their own interests,” said Netanyahu.
Despite all this, US President Donald Trump on Saturday was quoted on the White House website as telling reporters there’s a “chance” for an Israel–Palestinian peace deal and later concluded by saying, “I actually think that there’s a good chance.” Despite that, Trump called it “probably about the toughest deal to make.”
Trump also addressed the Palestinian response to the plan. “I think the Palestinians basically—I’m not sure—I know they want to make a deal but they want to be a little bit cute and that’s okay. I fully understand where they’re coming from.”
He did note that he cut off funding for the Palestinians due to their saying “nasty things.” Said Trump, “What I’ve done is said, ‘Look, as long—if you’re not negotiating and if you don’t want to make peace, we’re not going to pay you.’ So let’s see what happens.
“I think they want to make a deal, and I’ve had a very good relationship with some of their leaders. And obviously I’ve had a good relationship with Israel.”
Trump also highlighted what he believes is a very good team working to put the deal together, including White House advisors Jason Grenblatt and Jared Kushner, and himself. “And with me being President, if you don’t get that deal done, it will never happen. We’ll have to see what happens.”
Source: (The Mideast Update originally published this article on June 30, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today.)
Photo Credit: U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv/wikimedia.org
Photo License: Wikimedia
Pray that normalization of relations between Israel and surrounding Arab states will impact Palestinian leadership as well. Pray that those states will successfully pressure the PA to turn from its irrational hatred of Israel and embark on the path to peace.
Have mercy on me, O LORD! Consider my trouble from those who hate me, You who lift me up from the gates of death, that I may tell of all Your praise in the gates of the daughter of Zion.
Palestinian Terrorists’ Salaries Rise by 11.8% in 2019
by Adv. Maurice Hirsch and Nan Jacques Zilberdik
Thursday, 4 July 2019 | The Palestinian Authority [PA] has finally publicized its monthly financial expenditures for the first five months of 2019. They show that the PA has paid no less than 234,172,000 shekels (over US $65 million), or, on average, 46,834,400 shekels/month [over US $13 million] in salaries to terrorist prisoners (including released prisoners) in spite of its self-imposed financial crisis.
Based on this monthly average, the PA expenditure on the “Pay-for-Slay” salaries to terrorist prisoners in 2019 should reach 562 million shekels [over US $157 million], as compared to 502 million shekels [over US $140 million] in 2018. This amounts to 60 million shekels [over US $16 million] or 11.8% rise in PA salaries to terrorist prisoners in 2019.
Since 2014, the PA Ministry of Finance had been publishing an annual anticipated budget in the first part of the year as well as monthly reports of actual expenditures in each budget category. Based on the monthly budgetary updates, Palestinian Media Watch [PMW] exposed that the PA expenditure in 2018 on salaries to terrorist prisoners and released terrorist prisoners was no less than 502 million shekels [over US $140 million].
Immediately after the Israeli cabinet implemented Israel’s Anti “Pay for Slay” Law and started deducting from the 2019 tax income the amount PMW had shown that the PA spent in 2018 on salaries to the terrorist prisoners, the PA decided to disregard its donor countries’ demand of full financial transparency and hid all its budgetary data. In place of the monthly budget expenditure updates, the website of the PA Ministry of Finance carried a notice saying, “Due to the contingency law and legal dependencies with the Israeli side, the financial reports were temporarily suspended.” This note appeared for almost three months.
Now, less than a month after PMW exposed the fact that the PA was hiding its finances, the PA Ministry of Finance has restored what appears to be most of the current budgetary information that its website used to contain. But strikingly, the PA’s annual budgets for the years 2014–2018 have been removed and the PA budget for 2019 has not been published.
The budget updates from the first five months of 2019 show that the PA is indeed implementing its declared priorities—to use their available funds, first and foremost, to pay the salaries to terrorist prisoners and to dead terrorists, the so-called “martyrs.” PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and PA officials have reiterated this numerous times.
Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published by Palestinian Media Watch on July 3, 2019. Time related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)
Photo Credit: Israel Defense Forces/wikimedia.org
Photo License: Wikimedia
Pray that the PA’s donor countries will recognize that the “Pay for Slay” practice continues even though it has been denounced by most of the world’s leaders. Pray that economic pressure will be placed on the PA to bring this evil to an end.
The way of the LORD is strength for the upright, but destruction will come to the workers of iniquity.
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