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.
Health Minister Warns Israel Edging toward 200 New Virus Cases a Day
by Riki Carmi
Wednesday, 10 June 2020 | Health Minister Yuli Edelstein on Tuesday warned that Israel will soon pass 200 daily coronavirus cases if the public continues to ignore health guidelines.
Israel over the past few weeks has seen a resurgence of COVID-19 as more and more businesses reopen. Over the past few days, the number of daily infections has consistently surpassed 100, steadily increasing every 24 hours.
“The increase in coronavirus infections is becoming worrying,” he said while touring Soroka Medical Center in Beersheva. “We are approaching 200 new patients a day and we had 20 [a day] not long ago. If we don’t act, we’ll be in a very troubling situation,” he added.
Edelstein said the public’s “obliviousness and disregard” of the Health Ministry’s guidelines have become the turning point in the spread of the pathogen.
“The right way [to combat the spread] is strict enforcement. People need to understand that there is no difference between enforcement, of say traffic laws, and enforcement of coronavirus laws.”
The health minister then emphasized the importance of enforcement by highlighting that for instance in Paris, those caught without a protective face mask would be fined 130 euros [US $147] , so people adhere to the guidelines. In London, meanwhile, a face mask is only a recommendation, so most of the public disregards the order.
“Not wearing a mask, not social distancing, not maintaining basic hygiene is equivalent to driving at 150 mph in an urban area,” he said.
He added the Health Ministry is working on conducting 30,000 coronavirus tests daily. The highest number of tests so far was recorded last week with over 16,000 tests conducted in one day.
Photo Credit: Jenna Solomon/bridgesforpeace.com
Ask for God’s hand of protection over the people of Israel and that He will shield this nation from another wave of COVID-19 that could cause another nationwide lockdown or force businesses to shut down again. Pray against the further spreading of the virus, especially in Israeli schools.
Heal me, O LORD, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved, for You are my praise.
German Foreign Minister in Visit to Region: “Priority” to “Prevent” Israeli Sovereignty Plan
by Joshua Spurlock
Thursday, 11 June 2020 | The same day as German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas’s first visit to Israel since the new government was formed, Berlin’s top diplomat confirmed it is “now a matter of priority to prevent” Israel from declaring sovereignty over Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria under the Trump Administration peace plan, according to a German press release. The comments were made in a videoconference with Jordanian and Palestinian officials on Wednesday, following meetings with Israeli leaders.
Under the Trump peace plan, Israeli sovereignty over preexisting Jewish communities in the Biblical heartland of Judea and Samaria would be recognized by the United States, while the Palestinians could obtain statehood under certain conditions. Germany feels differently about the approach to the Jewish land in Judea and Samaria, which is also claimed by Palestinians. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in his conversation with Maas on Sunday about the Trump plan, “insisted that Israel’s vital interests—such as the need for complete security control west of the Jordan River—be upheld in future agreements,” according to a press release from Netanyahu’s office summarizing the comments.
The statement continued by saying Netanyahu also told Maas that “any realistic plan must recognize the reality of Israeli settlement on the ground and not foster the illusion of uprooting people from their homes”—a key factor in Israel’s push to declare sovereignty over those communities.
The German Foreign Office didn’t publish a press release to its website of Maas’s conversation with Netanyahu and only briefly recapped its talk on Twitter with no substantive details. However, the office did recap his conversation with Jordanian and Palestinian officials via videoconference, in which the three government officials made their declaration to prioritize an effort to stop Israel from declaring as its own the Jewish communities in the biblical heartland.
Maas, Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi and Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh also discussed how to “how to best start a fruitful engagement between the Israeli and the Palestinian side,” per the press release, with Safadi and Maas offering support towards such a process. The Palestinians have repeatedly rejected or demanded preconditions to peace talks over the years and have already rejected the Trump peace plan.
In addition to speaking with Netanyahu and Jordanian and Palestinian officials, Maas also met with new Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi, who defended the Trump plan.
“There are currently significant regional opportunities, most notably President Trump’s Peace Initiative. It is an important milestone for the region, and it represents a significant opportunity,” said Ashkenazi, according to a press release published to the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs website. “The plan will be pursued responsibly, in full coordination with the United States, while maintaining Israel’s peace agreements and strategic interests. Israel wants peace and security.”
Maas’s visit wasn’t all about the peace plan. The Iranian nuclear threat was also discussed, with the press summary of the meeting from Netanyahu’s office saying the Israeli leader “insisted on the need to increase the pressure on Iran and emphasized that the International Atomic Energy Agency had determined that Iran is continuing to violate its commitments and conceal sites suspected of military nuclear activity.”
Israel has backed the Trump Administration’s rejection of the Iran nuclear deal—known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)—and subsequent sanctions campaign against Iran aiming to change Iranian behavior. Germany, on the other hand, has been part of the European effort to evade American sanctions on Iran.
Maas also met with new Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz, with a Twitter post from Germany’s Foreign Office noting that the two officials had a “good exchange on the developments in the region, Iran and #JCPoA, cooperation with Jordan and the Middle East Peace Process.”
Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published by The Mideast Update on June 10, 2020. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today.)
Photo Credit: Dominik Butzmann / re:publica/wikimedia.org
Photo License: wikimedia.org
Ask God to reveal the truth to Foreign Minister Maas—and all other foreign leaders—of who the Land belongs to. Pray that the Lord will give the nations courage to stand with Israel in its campaign to apply sovereignty over the Land where so much of its history and the Bible took place.
And the LORD said to Abram…“Lift your eyes now and look from the place where you are…for all the land which you see I give to you and your descendants forever. And I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth…Arise, walk in the land through its length and its width, for I give it to you.”
Israeli Ingenuity Makes Environmentally Friendly Disinfectant from Tap Water
by Ilse Strauss
Friday, 5 June 2020 | The effort to stymie the spread of COVID-19 has disinfectant and sanitizer flying off the shelves like never before. Health officials recommend sterilizing hands, work spaces and other surfaces at regular intervals, and while these guidelines are crucial, the bleach and chemicals found in disinfectant and sanitizer can often have a negative effect on our health and the environment.
Researchers at the Bar Ilan University near Tel Aviv announced that they have developed a powerful yet environmentally friendly disinfectant that targets and destroys bacteria and viruses—including the coronavirus—on all kinds of surfaces. The best part? The disinfectant is produced from normal tap water.
The water-to-disinfectant solution is the brainchild of Drs. Eran Evraham and Izaak Cohen and Prof. Doron Aurback, who heads up Bar Ilan University’s Department of Chemistry and Institute of Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials. Tests conducted at the university’s Mina and Everard Goodman Faculty of Life Sciences have already proven the solution’s ability to neutralize corona-type viruses, among others.
“We examined the ability of these materials to impair herpes simplex virus type 1 infection and human coronavirus OC43,” explained Prof. Ronit Sarid. “Both viruses were completely eliminated when exposed to the disinfectants for different periods of time.”
According to a statement released by the university, the technology entails combining nanometer-shaped electrodes bearing unique surface property with water to form an environmentally friendly antibacterial solution that destroys harmful microorganisms like viruses, bacteria and spores. Moreover, because the disinfectant is free from chlorine, bleach and other chemicals, it does not harm the skin or the environment.
“The antiseptic capability is 100 times more effective than bleach and therefore low concentrations of between 50 and 200 milligrams of the active materials per liter are enough to disinfect—unlike bleach, which by contrast requires between 5,000 and 20,000 mg per liter,” the Bar Ilan University scientists explained.
“They are also much more environmentally friendly and do not cause burns or dry skin. They don’t cause corrosion, and most importantly, with the very low concentration of 50 mg they eliminate all kinds of viruses.
The composition of the disinfectant makes it extremely versatile and it is suitable for use in various applications, ranging from spray-aerosols for misting and use in air-conditioning systems, sanitizing wipes, a solution for floors and surfaces to a liquid for cleaning hands and personal belongings.
Source: (Bridges for Peace, June 5, 2020)
Photo Credit: Anna Shvets/pexels.com
Praise the Lord for yet another Israeli innovation that will be a blessing during the global pandemic. Pray that this disinfectant will be a blessing to the nations, that it will have a powerful effect against the spread of the virus and that it will open the eyes of the world to the benefits of partnering with Israel—the Start-up Nation blessed by God.
“I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing.”
International Atomic Energy Agency Says Iran Continues to Violate Nuclear Pact
Tuesday, 9 June 2020 | What happened: According to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Iran has continued to increase its stockpiles of enriched uranium and remains in violation of the nuclear deal.
Context: Iran signed the JCPOA in 2015 with the US, UK, Germany, France, China and Russia, which allowed Iran to keep a stockpile of only 202.8 kilograms (447 pounds).
Looking ahead: The [United Nations] UN-backed arms embargo on Iran expires on October 18. The US is hoping to renew the UN Security Council ban on selling conventional arms to Iran.
Photo Credit: Sarajevo-x/wikimedia.org
Photo License: wikimedia.org
Beseech the Lord to thwart the evil plans of the ayatollahs in Tehran. Ask the Lord to bring their schemes to light and to give the nations courage to stand with Israel and the US against Iranian aggression.
The wicked plots against the just, and gnashes at him with his teeth. The Lord laughs at him, for He sees that his day is coming.
Islamic Jihad Puts on Show of Force in Judea and Samaria
by Elior Levy
Thursday, 11 June 2020 | The Islamic Jihad terror organization is increasing its visibility in the West Bank [Judea and Samaria], so far unimpeded by the Palestinian Authority [PA].
The PA has long been in conflict with both Hamas and the Islamic Jihad despite reconciliation efforts, including a 2017 agreement to end hostilities, signed with the mediation of Egypt.
The change in the group’s behavior coincides with the PA’s financial woes compounded by the coronavirus pandemic and its suspension of security cooperation in Israel due to Jerusalem’s announced intention to annex parts of the West Bank.
The recent death of a former Islamic Jihad leader, Ramadan Shalah, last week was the opportunity for members of the organization to make public statements and demonstrate a presence in their strongholds in Bethlehem and Jenin.
Palestinian sources told Ynet that in one mourner’s tent erected in Bethlehem to honor the late leader, armed Islamic Jihad militants fired shots into the air in a ceremonial act to commemorate the dead and then quickly left the scene, though no security forces appeared to be in pursuit.
On Wednesday, at the same mourner’s tent, a public memorial ceremony included Islamic Jihad flags and speeches by the terror group members, a scene that would have been unimaginable weeks earlier with both Israeli forces and the Palestinian Authority blocking any attempt at a public show of force by the group.
On Monday, Jihad activists led a large car convoy through the village of Ni’ma near Ramallah waving flags and calling out slogans hailing the organization, using loudspeakers while swearing their allegiance to the groups’ current leader, Ziad Nahala.
A source blamed the lack of security cooperation with Israel on the PA’s security forces’ failure to react to the Jihad’s demonstration, claiming if Israeli forces could have been called in, these public events would have been stopped.
The source explains that the PA could not afford to be seen breaking up the Islamic Jihad’s events without public criticism.
Photo Credit: MrPenguin20/wikimedia.org
Photo License: wikimedia.org
Pray against the rise in power of the Islamic Jihad group who so openly hates Israel and seeks her destruction. Ask the Lord to bring to naught this power play and brash attempt to rally the Arab people against the Jewish state.
Woe to those who devise iniquity, and work out evil on their beds! At morning light they practice it, because it is in the power of their hand. They covet fields and take them by violence, also houses, and seize them. So they oppress a man and his house, a man and his inheritance. Therefore thus says the LORD: “Behold, against this family I am devising disaster.”
Palestinians Plan to Defy Israel’s Anti-Terror Law
by Maurice Hirsch, Adv. and Itamar Marcus
Friday, 5 June 2020 | The PA [Palestinian Authority] announced yesterday that in the coming days it will pay the monthly salaries to imprisoned terrorists in cooperation with and through the banks that are active in the PA.
This is a defiant move against Israeli authority and rule of law by the banks that are apparently under pressure from the PA.
Banks that will receive the terrorists’ salaries are violating a new law that came into effect in Judea and Samaria on May 9, 2020. The new law determines that paying rewards for acts of terror constitutes a crime, and anyone who is involved in the process is committing a crime—including the banks and their employees.
Director of PLO [Palestinian Liberation Organization] Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs Qadri Abu Bakr announced that the PA will continue to pay the terrorists’ salaries through the banks for four months until the establishment of a new “banking institution” that will be subordinate to the PLO. This plan for a new bank was undertaken by the PA because of the new Israeli law. However, even accepting the salaries for one month is a violation of Israeli law.
A month and a half ago Palestinian Media Watch [PMW] notified the banks that are active in the PA and warned them that the newly signed law makes the PA’s payments to the imprisoned terrorists a crime even if committed in the PA areas. Any person or institution who aids in implementing these payments is committing a crime and could be arrested, put on trial, and have the relevant property seized. PMW also warned that the banks’ cooperation is liable to expose them to civil suits.
Following the warning and shortly before the new law took effect on May 9, 2020, the banks contacted the PA minister of finance, noting the risks to which the banks will be exposed if they continue to provide the platform for paying the terrorists’ salaries, and they asked the PA to stop transferring the salaries through the banks.
At the same time, PA Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh announced that a committee would be established to examine the issue and formulate recommendations.
Later on, Shtayyeh added that the team’s work is continuing and that they had not yet found a solution to both continue paying the salaries to the terrorists and also protect the banks.
Just a few days ago, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Association of Banks Maher Al-Masri said that a solution has still not been found for the issue of paying the terrorists’ salaries.
In the same article, Chairman of the PA-funded Prisoners’ Club Qadura Fares was quoted as saying that: “The club’s position on the matter of the prisoners’ salaries is clear: A rejection of any solution other than payment through the banks.”
In the struggle between the PA’s insistence on continuing to pay terror rewards to terrorists through the banks that are active in the PA, and the banks’ desire to avoid being involved in committing terror crimes, it appears the PA has the upper hand for now.
But as was stated in PMW’s warning letter to the banks, cooperation with an act that is defined in law as “a prohibited action with terror assets” is liable to cause the launch of the investigation, arrest, and putting on trial of the various bank managers. At the same time, this is liable to expose the banks to additional enforcement actions, including the issuing of orders to seize the money paid to the terrorists and also civil suits. Banks that have branches in the US are liable to be particularly exposed in this context. The PA’s pressure to reward terrorists will not help the banks to escape the situation that has been created.
Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published in Palestinian Media Watch on June 2, 2020. Time related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)
Photo Credit: Rgaudin/wikimedia.org
Photo License: wikimedia.org
Bring this act of evil before the Lord, petitioning Him to block these blood payments from passing unhindered. Ask him to halt these payments that encourage terror attacks against innocent Jewish people, and pray His divine protection over the people of Israel.
Those also who seek my life lay snares for me; those who seek my hurt speak of destruction, and plan deception all the day long. Do not forsake me, O LORD; O my God, be not far from me! Make haste to help me, O Lord, my salvation!
Netanyahu Announces Measures to Ease Economic Restrictions
Thursday, 11 June 2020 | Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Yisrael Katz on Sunday decided to permanently cancel NIS 1.45 billion [US $421.9 million] worth of duties and purchase taxes on a broad range of products. They also agreed on 35 days’ unemployment eligibility for those who are entitled.
Prime Minister Netanyahu:
“The Finance Minister and I held discussions and reached two agreements to ease restrictions on the public at this time. First is the extension of eligibility for those who are receiving unemployment benefits. Second is relief on duties on a range of products—cellular telephones, clothing, footwear and others. The goal here is to get the economy moving, get the wheels turning and ease restrictions for you, citizens of Israel.”
Finance Minister Katz:
“Alongside the major plan that we are leading and which we have put in motion to provide incentives for the return of millions of unemployed to work, we also sought to do those things that would make it easier for the public in the interim. The most important thing the prime minister said is to extend the eligibility for unemployment benefits for young people to give everyone an extra month while the economy was closed. We will add this month for them so that when their unemployment benefits are about to run out, they will receive an extra month. This is good news for hundreds of thousands of people.”
As per the recommendation of the professional echelon, counting the days for unemployment benefits will begin on April 19, 2020, and not March 15, 2020. Therefore, the number of unemployment days will not include the period during which economic activity was under significant restrictions due to the corona crisis. As a result, the eligibility period will be extended in accordance with the existing eligibility rules by around 35 days.
The prime minister and the finance minister also decided to permanently cancel the duty and the purchase tax on a long series of goods including cell phones, clothing, footwear, baby products, electronic goods for entertainment (televisions, screens, speakers, etc.), home electronic goods, toys and games, cosmetics and others, worth approximately NIS 1.45 billion [US $421.9 million] per annum.
The decision to permanently cancel the duties was made after Prime Minister Netanyahu and Finance Minister Katz were presented with an effective evaluation which showed that the temporary cancellation of duties and purchase taxes led to a significant drop in the prices of consumer goods over time, also in comparison to trends in other countries.
The prime minister and the finance minister instructed that periodic evaluations continue to be carried out regarding the level of prices in these markets in order to verify that the reduction continue to be passed on to consumers.
According to the decision, duties and purchase taxes will be permanently cancelled on the following products:
Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published by The Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs on June 7, 2020. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)
Photo Credit: Jenna Solomon/bridgesforpeace.com
Thank the Lord for the heart of PM Netanyahu and FM Katz to ease the financial burdens of the people of Israel and ask the Lord to bless this endeavor and ensure the needs of His people are met.
For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD will give grace and glory; no good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly. O LORD of hosts, blessed is the man who trusts in You!
Terrorist Who Murdered Israeli Soldier Arrested
by Yoav Zitun and Itay Blumenthal
Monday, 8 June 2020 | The Shin Bet (Israeli internal security organization) security service said Sunday that Israel has apprehended the Palestinian who threw a large block at the head of IDF [Israel Defense Forces] First Sgt. Amit Ben Yigal during an arrest operation in the West Bank [Judea and Samaria] last month, killing him.
The detainee was identified as Namzi Abu Bakr, a 49-year-old resident of the house in Yabed village from which the 21-year-old soldier was attacked.
The arrest was conducted jointly with the IDF and the Israel Police, the Shin Bet said.
Baruch Ben Yigal, Amit’s father, said he felt enormous relief when he was informed that his son’s alleged killer had been detained.
“When they told me he had been caught, I screamed inside the car. I felt a joy filled with sadness,” he said.
“I haven’t slept in a month and the phone has always been switched on. Since then I haven’t slept day or night, and this has been the only thing occupying me,” he said.
“It’s an important phone call for me and for us as parents. This person has upended our lives. This is seeing light at the end of the tunnel.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin also both welcomed the detention.
“I would like to commend the IDF, the Shin Bet and the security forces for catching the lowly killer of the late Amit Ben Yigal,” Netanyahu said.
“We will act uncompromisingly against terrorism and its perpetrators to keep Israelis safe,” the president said on Twitter. “Proud of the security forces who captured the terrorist who murdered IDF Staff Sgt Amit Ben Yigal ז”ל after many nights of relentless pursuit.”
Ben Yigal and his comrades from a reconnaissance unit of the Golani Brigade were conducting the overnight arrest of four terror suspects in the village on May 11.
As the troops were leaving the village, a large stone was hurled off the roof of one of the buildings, hitting Ben Yigal and injuring him critically.
The soldier was transferred to the Rambam Healthcare Campus in Haifa where he was pronounced dead.
The IDF had vowed to catch the killer and detained more than 10 residents from the building where the block was thrown.
Abu Bakr was one of those detained by Ben Yigal’s Golani comrades, but denied involvement.
An investigation by the Shin Bet determined, however, that he had thrown the block from the roof of the building.
Ben Yigal, who was killed one month before the end of his service, was laid to rest in Be’er Yaakov cemetery.
Then–Defense Minister Naftali Bennett and senior IDF officials attended his funeral.
Photo Credit: IDF Spokesperson/idf.il
Photo License: idf.il
Thank the Lord that the terrorist was brought to justice and that it is providing closure for Amit Ben Yigal’s father. Lift up the loved ones who are still mourning his death, and ask God to comfort them. Pray for the people of Israel, asking the Lord to put a shield around them and protect them from evil attacks.
Do not grant, O LORD, the desires of the wicked; do not further his wicked scheme, lest they be exalted. Let evil hunt the violent man to overthrow him. I know that the LORD will maintain the cause of the afflicted.
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