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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.

Israel Says it Prevented 250 Terror Attacks in 2018

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Shin Bet Director Nadav Argaman

Thursday, 14 June 2018 | Addressing an international conference on terror, Shin Bet [Israeli internal security organization] Director Nadav Argaman said that his agency has prevented 250 terror attacks in 2018, The Jerusalem Post reported Wednesday.

Argaman said that among the prevented terror attacks were significant ones including suicide bombings, kidnappings, and shootings.

Argaman credited his agency’s success in preventing attacks with its new ability to analyze big data to identify potential lone-wolf attackers in ways that were impossible before. During the two years of his tenure as the head of Israel’s internal security agency, Argaman said that the percentage of the agency’s workforce devoted to technology has risen from single digits to about 25%.

The Shin Bet, according to Argaman, is seeking to find the right balance between its use of traditional human intelligence gathering programs and its newer cyber intelligence gathering strategies.

In addition to organizational efforts, the Shin Bet director credited “strategic cooperation with our international partners in Israel and overseas as well as with the Israeli hi-tech community and other civilian bodies” for the agency’s successes.

Testifying before the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee last December, Argaman said that the security service had thwarted more than 400 terrorist attacks in 2017, including 13 planned suicide attacks, eight kidnappings and 1,100 potential lone-wolf attacks.

In 2016, the Shin Bet said that it had prevented 344 terror attacks.

The agency’s numbers include not just arresting perpetrators on their way to commit terrorist acts, but also warning individuals who made threats not to follow through on their plans.

Source: (This article was originally published by The Israel Project, in its publication The Tower on 13 June 2018. Time related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Israeli President's Spokesperson Unit/wikimedia.org

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Praise God for the Shin Bet’s efforts that prevent terror and ensure the safety of Israelis. Ask Him to strengthen and enable the men and women working for the Shin Bet to uncover plots of terror against Israel before they can come to fruition. Pray for their protection and well-being.

Scripture

Deliver me in Your righteousness, and cause me to escape; incline Your ear to me, and save me. Be my strong refuge, to which I may resort continually; You have given the commandment to save me, for You are my rock and my fortress.


- Psalm 71:2-3

Partners in Terror: Hezbollah Arming, Training Hamas

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Iranian-backed terrorist group Hezbollah strengthens ties with Hamas terror group in Gaza.

Tuesday, 12 June 2018 | Israel accused Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed terrorist group based in Lebanon, of arming and training Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip bordering southern Israel, The Jerusalem Post reported Sunday.

The Post cited a report that appeared in the Lebanese paper Al Joumhouria that said that Israel had sent a letter to the United Nations [UN] Security Council and General Assembly charging that the two terror groups were building missile factories and bases for training thousands of fighters. The letter requested that the UN intervene because the activities of the two terror groups constituted a “blatant violation” of UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which ended the 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah, and stipulated that there should be no armed groups in Lebanon except for the army.

“We are witnessing the implications of the Hamas terror regime in Gaza and now Hamas is strengthening its ties with Hezbollah. With the approval and support of Iran, Hamas is working to establish its capabilities in Lebanese territory as well,” the Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon said.

“The cooperation between Hezbollah and Hamas crosses borders. Israel does not intend to sit idly when facing new and old threats and will do whatever is necessary to protect its citizens,” he added.

According to the report, deputy leader of Hamas Saleh al-Arouri, who is based in Lebanon, regularly meets with Hezbollah chief Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah to coordinate the military and political campaigns of the two terror groups. Arouri also reportedly is in contact with Saed Izai, the leader of the Palestinian division of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

Arouri is reported to have led a delegation of top Hamas officials to Iran last October and met with foreign affairs adviser Ali Akbar Velayati and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. He also met with Nasrallah in Lebanon a month later. While in Iran, Arouri acknowledged that the Islamic Republic was Hamas’s “main and primary benefactor.”

Last August, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman told US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley that al-Arouri was working “to boost the relationship between Hamas and Hezbollah… under an Iranian umbrella, and with the assistance of the Revolutionary Guards and [its leader] Qasem Soleimani.”

That same month, Haley criticized the UN peacekeeping commander in Lebanon for failing to stem the “massive flow of illegal weapons” to Hezbollah-controlled southern Lebanon.

Source: (This article was originally published by The Israel Project, in its publication The Tower on 11 June 2018. Time related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Screenshot/YouTube/PBS NewsHour

Prayer Focus
Remind the Lord of His covenant with Israel and praise Him for being their Shield and Defender. Ask God to sow confusion, strife and destruction in the enemy's camp so that their evil plans against Israel will come to nothing.

Scripture

O God, the proud have risen against me, and a mob of violent men have sought my life, and have not set You before them. But You, O Lord, are a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering and abundant in mercy and truth. Show me a sign for good, that those who hate me may see it and be ashamed, because You, LORD, have helped me and comforted me.


- Psalm 86:14-15, 17

Israel Launches Massive Surprise Exercise in Golan Heights 

by Yoav Zitun

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IDF ground exercises in the Golan to improve and preserve the military’s preparedness (illustrative)

Monday, 11 June 2018 | The IDF [Israel Defense Forces] called up thousands of reservists on Sunday morning for a surprise exercise in the Golan Heights, the IDF’s Spokesperson’s Office said.

The exercise will last several days, during which there will be an increased presence of military vehicles in the area, and explosions will be heard.

The IDF Spokesman’s Office stressed the surprise drill was planned in advanced as part of the 2018 training schedule and is meant to help maintain troops’ preparedness.

A massive Air Force exercise ended on Thursday simulating a two-front aerial campaign on the southern and northern borders, with Israeli jets battering hundreds of simulated targets.

Taking place against a backdrop of heightened tensions between Israel and the Hamas terror organization along the Gaza border, the drill was intended to sharpen the IAF’s [Israeli Air Force] preparedness for war scenarios on more than one front.

Hundreds of fighter jets and helicopters participated in the drill, taking to the skies day and night for seven days.

During the exercise training for scenarios on the southern border, which was also intended to enhance air support for infantry soldiers, dozens of fighter jets practiced for rapid attacks on hundreds of targets in the Gaza Strip.

The technical staff armed the planes and helicopters for the flight drills that included hundreds of reservists from all the ranks.

Source: (Ynetnews originally published this article on 10 June 2018. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Omri Samson/Israel Defense Forces

Prayer Focus
Pray for Israel's reservists, who play a crucial part in the country’s security and defense strategies. Ask God to keep them battle-ready both mentally and physically. Bring their families before the Lord and ask for His peace while their loved ones serve. Continue to ask God to guard Israel's borders amid rising tensions in the north and the south.

Scripture

And he shall say to them, Hear, O Israel: today you are on the verge of battle with your enemies. Do not let your heart faint, do not be afraid, and do not tremble or be terrified because of them; for the LORD your God is He who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.


- Deuteronomy 20:3-4

Despite Confirmation of Netanyahu’s Fears, Europe Refuses to Concede Threat of Nuclear Iran

by David Gerstman

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with British Prime Minister Theresa May in London

Wednesday, 13 June 2018 | When Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tried to convince his European counterparts about the danger of the nuclear deal this past week, they were not receptive to his arguments. Yet the prime minister’s assessment of the deal three years ago, has been borne out by recent developments. Perhaps the leaders of Germany, France, and the United Kingdom need to reconsider their positions.

In his speech before Congress opposing the nuclear deal with Iran in March 2015, four months before the deal was agreed to, Netanyahu warned that the deal being discussed allowed Iran two major concessions that would allow Tehran different pathways to developing nuclear weapons.

The first concession, Netanyahu said, was that the terms of the deal, also known by the acronym JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action], leave “Iran with a vast nuclear infrastructure and relies on inspectors to prevent a breakout.” This means, the prime minister explained, that the deal presents “a real danger that Iran could get to the bomb by violating the deal.”

On the other hand, Netanyahu observed, the deal presents an “even greater danger that Iran could get to the bomb by keeping the deal.” Later he clarified that the deal “doesn’t block Iran’s path to the bomb; it paves Iran’s path to the bomb.”

Netanyahu’s last point was inadvertently confirmed by then-President Barack Obama a month later in an interview, when he acknowledged that at the later years of the deal, Iran’s breakout time—the time required to produce enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon—would be “near zero.” Although Obama tried to explain his comment, independent experts have confirmed that, given the deal’s provisions allowing Iran to develop more efficient centrifuges, Iran will be able to enrich uranium for a bomb much more quickly after the tenth year of the deal.

In the news this week, Iran publicized the existence of a workshop at the Natanz enrichment facility that can produce more advanced centrifuges. While news of the workshop is not new, and the centrifuges don’t violate the 2015 nuclear deal, the announcement of the workshop shows that Iran is serious about increasing its capacity for uranium enrichment and reducing its breakout time even within the confines of the agreement.

The centrifuge workshop illustrates Netanyahu’s concern that the deal could allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons even if it abides by the deal.

But other news stories in recent weeks have pointed to the possibility that Iran has a nuclear weapons program, the full scope of which we don’t know, meaning that Iran is cheating now, or could cheat in the future.

The first of these developments was Netanyahu’s announcement at the end of April that Israeli agents had snuck into a Tehran warehouse and smuggled out thousands of files showing that Iran had a dormant nuclear weapons program. Despite Iranian denials that it ever sought a nuclear weapon, the files showed that the Islamic Republic had specific plans to “design, produce and test… five warheads, each with a 10 kiloton TNT yield, for integration on a missile.”

A few weeks after Netanyahu’s revelations, The New York Times reported that satellite images showed that Iran “is developing the technology for long-range missiles,” which had the range to “threaten Europe and potentially the United States.”

These revelations are important, as they were not discovered by the International Atomic Energy Agency, which is charged with monitoring the deal. Rather, the discovery of the extent of Iran’s nuclear research was the product of a daring Israeli intelligence operation, and the ballistic missile program was revealed due to leaked satellite photographs. Both revelations showed Iran’s work in both areas was a lot more advanced than previously thought.

The failure of the inspections to discover these elements of Iran’s nuclear weapons program is significant, because as American Enterprise Institute expert Michael Rubin recently explained, “There are three main components to a nuclear weapons program: enrichment, warhead design, and delivery. Iran had mastered the first before agreeing to the JCPOA, and the exposure of a secret Iranian nuclear archive showed that Iran’s warhead work was also well-advanced. Secretary of State John Kerry’s concession to Iran on ballistic missile work enabled Iran to continue to develop missiles capable of delivering nuclear missiles regardless of the JCPOA.”

Responding to Netanyahu’s criticisms of the deal, Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel said the deal ensures “more transparency” over Iran’s nuclear program; French President Emmanuel Macron said that “the accord needs to be preserved to ensure control of nuclear activity;” and British Prime Minister Theresa May said, “Along with France and Germany, the UK continues to believe [the JCPOA] is the best route to preventing Iran from getting a nuclear weapon.”

Despite the JCPOA’s failure to detect two parts of Iran’s nuclear weapons program, and the freedom it gives Iran to build up its enrichment capacity, European leaders continue to insist that the deal is the best way to control Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Clearly, they have not been paying attention.

Source: (This article was originally published by The Israel Project, in its publication The Tower on 08 June 2018. Time related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Haim Zach/GPO/Ashernet

Prayer Focus
Cry out to the Lord for His perfect will regarding the Iran deal going forward. Thank Him for leading Israel’s leadership and ask that He would shine His light of truth to dispel the web of deceit that Iran weaves. Pray that He will bless the European leadership with eyes to see and ears to hear.

Scripture

They have also surrounded me with words of hatred, and fought against me without a cause. In return for my love they are my accusers, but I give myself to prayer. Thus they have rewarded me evil for good, and hatred for my love.


- Psalm 109:3-5

Israeli Air Force Completes Multi-front Drill as Gaza Tensions Surge

by Yoav Zitun

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IAF Blackhawk landing in the desert

Friday, 08 June 2018 | The Israel Air Force (IAF) completed Thursday a week-long military exercise simulating a two-front aerial campaign on the southern and northern borders, with Israeli jets battering hundreds of simulated targets.

Taking place against a backdrop of heightened tensions between Israel and the Hamas terror organization along the Gaza border, the drill was intended to sharpen the IAF’s preparedness for war scenarios on more than one front.

Hundreds of fighter jets and helicopters participated in the drill, taking to the skies day and night for seven days.

During the exercise training for scenarios on the southern border, which was also intended to enhance air support for infantry soldiers, dozens of fighter jets practiced for rapid attacks on hundreds of targets in the Gaza Strip.

The technical staff armed the planes and helicopters for the flight drills that included hundreds of reservists from all the ranks.

“Throughout the day and night, the squadron practiced hitting targets in the Gaza Strip as part of an air force exercise for the outbreak of a wide-scale campaign,” said Major. G, one the commander of the 69th Air Squadron.

“We provided assistance to ground troops in their maneuvering during the fighting. The planes carried precision explosives, enabling us to attack a high number of targets within a short timeframe,” he said.

Lieutenant Colonel. R, commander of the 105th Squadron also commented on the drill:

“We succeeded in all the goals that we set for ourselves, with the full coordination with Southern Command and with the air force coordination and control bodies,” he said. “We successfully dealt with all of the challenges and we are ready for any mission that is required of us.”

Source: (Ynetnews originally published this article on 07 June 2018. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Yuvair/wikimedia.org

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Offer petition for the Israeli defense personnel and soldiers, who live under threat of an attack by Israel’s enemies at any time. Ask God to help these men and women equip themselves for whatever may come. Thank Him for providing Israel with the strategy and guidance on how to prepare.

Scripture

Though an army may encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war may rise against me, in this I will be confident.


- Psalm 27:3

European Leaders Back Israel: Iranian Troops Must Leave Syria

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Netanyahu shakes hands with German Chancellor Angela Merkel (illustrative)

Friday, 08 June 2018 | A senior Israeli official said Wednesday there is “widespread agreement” among European leaders—German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron, and British Prime Minister Theresa May—that Iranian troops must be entirely removed from Syria, The Times of Israel reported.

As Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s diplomatic trip to Berlin, Paris and London approached a close, the Israeli official said there had been “significant progress,” on issues related to Iran. The senior diplomat also said that the three European leaders agreed to Israel’s demand to have the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) review the Iranian nuclear archives obtained by the Mossad earlier this year.

Before setting out on his trip to Europe, Netanyahu had indicated that Iran would be the first and only subject on his agenda in meetings with European leaders.

When speaking to journalists in London, the Prime Minister said, “My main goal was to bring international agreement that Iran would leave Syria,” and “to harness the leading European countries to oppose the continued expansion of Iran.” He added that Israel’s goal was “To prevent the nuclear program and to smash the cash machine that finances this empire.”

Merkel, in a meeting with Netanyahu on Monday, told her Israeli counterpart that she agrees with Israel’s demand that Iranian forces be removed from Syria, especially in the southwest of the country near the Israeli border.

“Iran’s regional influence is worrying,” Merkel observed, adding, “This is why we feel we ought to make every diplomatic effort we can in order to address the ballistic missile program of Iran but also its activities in Yemen, the presence of its army in Syria, and to exert our influence in such a way that Iran is pushed out of this region, particularly a region close to Israel.”

Despite agreement on Iran’s malign activity in the Middle East, Israel and European countries remain at odds over the JCPOA, the nuclear accord with Iran that the United States walked away from last month. In their meetings with Netanyahu, the leaders of Germany, France and Britain all reiterated Europe’s intention to remain in the deal.

Source: (This article was originally published by The Israel Project, in its publication The Tower on 07 June 2018. Time related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Photo by Ashernet

Prayer Focus
Ask God to rally European and other nations to demand that Iran and their terror allies leave Syria. Thank the Lord for those who have expressed their commitment to stand with Israel in this matter and ask that He will embolden these leaders to follow through on their promises.

Scripture

Say to those who are fearful-hearted, be strong, do not fear! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God; He will come and save you.


- Isaiah 35:4

Netanyahu Meets Latin American Officials, Says He Will Attend Regional Meeting in Guatemala

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with a delegation from Latin America.

Thursday, 14 June 2018 | Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with a delegation of chairpersons of foreign affairs committees of Latin American nations on Wednesday and revealed that he will be traveling to Guatemala this November, The Algemeiner reported.

The prime minister will be meeting there with Latin American leaders.

During Wednesday’s meeting, Netanyahu praised the relationship that Israel and Latin American countries have fostered over the years and said “Our relations with the countries of Latin America are obviously changing very rapidly for the better.” He continued, “I’m very proud of the fact that I was the first Israeli prime minister to visit any country south of Texas.”

Guatemala along with Paraguay inaugurated their embassies in Jerusalem last month, following the United States decision to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Netanyahu applauded Guatemala and Paraguay’s initiative and said he hopes other Latin American countries will follow suit. “I’m very glad that Guatemala has moved its embassy. I’m very glad that Paraguay has moved its embassy. And I ask you, as well as being Israel’s ambassadors, to ask your governments to move their embassies to Jerusalem. So we can say, ‘Next year in Jerusalem.’”

Earlier this month, Israel was one of the first nations to send aid following the Fuego volcano eruption in Guatemala which has killed over 100 people. An Israeli team specializing in treating victims of burns and respiratory diseases has been using an enzyme-based gel to treat patients suffering from burns resulting from the eruption.

Last year, Netanyahu visited Argentina, Colombia and Mexico.

Source: (This article was originally published by The Israel Project, in its publication The Tower on 13 June 2018. Time related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Twitter/PM of Israel@IsraeliPM

Prayer Focus
Thank God for the growing ties of friendship between Israel and Latin American countries. Pray that Guatemala and Paraguay will serve as an example that their neighbors will emulate in relocating their embassies to Jerusalem. Start to intercede for PM Netanyahu's visit to Latin America in November, praying for safety, wisdom and favor.

Scripture

You have hedged me behind and before, and laid Your hand upon me.


- Psalm 139:5

Southern Israeli Town Responds to Kite Terror with “Colorful Kite Festival”

by Joshua Spurlock

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Tuesday, 12 June 2018 | Terrorists in Gaza have launched a new terror campaign against Israel as part of the regular riots near the fence between Gaza and Israel—kites lit on fire flown over the border intended to start wildfires. In response, one of the Israeli towns near Gaza—Sderot—has their own kite plan: a kite-making festival with a message of peace.

The town is hosting on Monday the workshop for children in the area that will allow each kid to make their own kites with a personal message in them. Afterwards, the children “will fly their kites replete with positive messages, in a kind of therapeutic activity,” said a press release from the Sderot municipality spokesperson.

Sderot Mayor Alon Davidi said in the press release, “As opposed to our neighbors from the Gaza Strip who have turned the wonderful hobby of flying kites into an act of terrorism, with terrible damage to agriculture, the children of Sderot and the surrounding communities are returning the kite to its source… Ours are kites of life, not death.”

In addition to kite-making, the workshop will also tell the children stories about kites, as well as facts on the development of the kite.

The terror kites have been an extensive threat to Israel, with The Times of Israel reporting on Saturday that authorities said the hundreds of kites and balloons wielding flames have ignited more than 200 fires since March 30.

On Saturday, the IDF [Israel Defense Forces] Spokesperson said on Twitter that the IDF fired warning shots at Palestinians attaching explosive devices to balloons with the intent to “ignite fires and cause extensive damage to Israeli territory.”

“The IDF views the use of incendiary balloons and kites with explosive devices attached to them with great severity and will operate to prevent their use,” tweeted the IDF Spokesperson in a follow-up post.

While the Palestinian terror kites have ignited a new conflict with Israel, the hope in the Jewish state is that the flying of children’s toys will return to its peaceful roots.

“We are busy with positive things and optimism and the desire that our children always be happy,” said Sderot Mayor Davidi. “I also call on the children of Gaza to enjoy playing with kites and not be drawn astray by terrorist elements.”

Editor’s note: The contrast could not be clearer. As the Hamas terrorists in Gaza use the toys meant to bring entertainment, joy and delight to Palestinian children as instruments to seek destruction, Israel’s response is one of redemption, restoration and life. For its part, Bridges for Peace is committed to join the efforts to bring relief and respite to the communities in the south of Israel battling the raging blazes caused by kite terror.

The situation in southern Israel is extremely dire. Kite terrorism has burned up almost 2,500 acres of agricultural lands and has caused Israel tens of millions of shekels in damage. Crops have been lost, irrigation systems have melted, wildlife has been killed, forests and natural reserves charred.

Last week we donated the funds required to purchase two lightweight firefighting trailers to the Eshkol region, which shares the largest strip of border with Gaza and is the hardest hit by this arson terrorism. The security chief of the Eshkol region cried when he heard the news.

While our help is certainly appreciated, the communities’ needs are much greater than our current ability to respond. That is why we appeal to Christians to donate to our Crisis Assistance Fund so that we can help Israel fight the kite terror, quench the blazes and restore what has been destroyed.

Source: (The Mideast Update originally published this article on 10 June 2018. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Twitter/IDF@IDFSpokesperson

Prayer Focus
Praise the Lord for Israel's commitment to life and peace, even amidst terror and destruction. Pray for Israeli children who have to overcome the emotional trauma of kite terror. Continue to ask God to intervene as the terror groups in Gaza aim to bring destruction to the land of His promise. Beseech Him to bring restoration and renewal to the areas that have been torched.

Scripture

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.


- Colossians 3:12 NIV

Action
Bridges for Peace is committed to join the efforts to bring relief and respite to the communities in the south of Israel battling the raging blazes caused by kite terror. We appeal to Christians to donate to our Crisis Assistance Fund so that we can help Israel fight the kite terror, quench the blazes and restore what has been destroyed.

Austria Will Keep Reminding Middle East and Europe “Israel Is Here to Stay”

by Joshua Spurlock

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Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem

Tuesday, 12 June 2018 | According to this world leader, Israel’s security is a moral obligation and has promised to keep telling the Middle East and Europe that “Israel is here to stay.” Those words weren’t posted to Twitter by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but on the account of Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz.

“It is our duty & obligation to ensure that the #Shoah will never happen again, to fight all forms of anti-Semitism w determination and to ensure that we will never forget these horrible crimes,” tweeted Kurz, referencing the Hebrew word for the Holocaust in a series of posts following a speech given to the American Jewish Committee in Jerusalem on Monday.

“As Austrians we will support #Israel whenever it is threatened. It‘s our moral obligation, our‚ ‘Staatsräson,’ to be committed to the security of Israel which is not negotiable to us,” tweeted Kurz.

The strong, pro-Israel statements came the same day Kurz expressed similar sentiments to Netanyahu—and he’s bringing that attitude to the European Union presidency when his nation takes the mantle on July 1.

“We also know that our responsibility does not end at our borders. We want to support the State of Israel and also your security needs, you mentioned that,” Kurz told Netanyahu in separate comments published by the Israeli leader’s office.

“You live in a dangerous neighborhood and your neighbors are not like ours—Liechtenstein or Switzerland. And so we understand the difference. But we understand that your situation is a different one and therefore we will try to raise awareness in Europe for the special situation and the special security needs of Israel.”

Not surprisingly, Netanyahu appreciates Kurz’s support.

“You know very well that Israel is the only true democracy in the Middle East. It’s the one place in the region that shares and defends the values that Europe holds dear: freedom, pluralism, equality,” said Netanyahu. “…I believe that you said yesterday that Europe should take Israel’s security concerns into account. I think this is very important. Sometimes we feel that that is not always the case.”

In addition to his backing of Israel’s security, Kurz also took responsibility for his nation’s role in the Holocaust.

“We Austrians know that in light of our own history, we have a special responsibility towards Israel and the Jewish people,” said Kurz. “I can assure you that Austria will fight all forms of anti-Semitism in Europe with determination. Be it the still existing one or also new imported anti-Semitism.”

Netanyahu listed out the steps Kurz has done in that arena. Kurz set up a place of remembrance in Vienna that lists the names of all 60,000 Austrian Jews who died in the Holocaust; he has funded youth visits to the Mauthausen concentration camp; and he announced a four million euro [US $4.7 million] fund for a heritage center in the Israeli Yad Vashem Holocaust museum.

“You said, and I want to quote this, ‘Austria was not only a victim but also a perpetrator.’ These are courageous and bold words and I think they chart the course that you’re leading in Austria and our relationship, one that I support very, very much,” said Netanyahu. “You have backed up your words with actions.”

Source: (The Mideast Update originally published this article on 11 June 2018. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Haim Zach/GPO/Ashernet

Prayer Focus
Praise God for Austria recognizing its moral obligation to support Israel. Lift up Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz as he undertakes the mission to raise awareness in Europe about Israel's security needs. Continue to pray for Jews in Europe who fall prey to anti-Semitism.

Scripture

But you, be strong and do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded!


- 2 Chronicles 15:7

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