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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.

Shavuot: Israel Celebrates Receiving the Torah

by Ilse Posselt

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The seven species of the Land of Israel

Thursday, 01 June 2017 | The rhythm of life in the Land of Promise is governed by a cycle of annual holidays, days set aside in the 12-month Israeli calendar to celebrate what Leviticus 23:1 calls, “The feasts of the Lord…” Sunset on Tuesday, 30 May 2017, ushered in the festival of Shavuot, the fourth of the seven festivals ordained by the Almighty.

Shavuot, which simply means “weeks” in Hebrew, is a one-day festival that falls seven weeks or 50 days after Passover. During the time of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem, Shavuot was the second of the pilgrimage festivals, the three feast days—together with Passover and Sukkot—on which Israelite males were required to travel to Israel’s capital to appear before the Lord in the Temple.

Shavuot has a deep spiritual and agricultural significance. Agriculturally, it falls between the grain and barley harvests and celebrates the ripened produce of the land being brought to the Temple as a first fruit offering. The feast is thus also known as Hag HaBikkurim, the second Feast of Firstfruits. Yet the holiday also has a profound spiritual significance. The Feast of Weeks commemorates the day on which the Almighty gave His instructions, the Torah (Gen.–Deut.), to the nation of Israel at Mount Sinai some 3,300 years ago.

We find the account in Exodus 19. A fledgling nation of former slaves finds themselves en route from Egypt to the land which the Almighty had promised to the offspring of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Their Exodus had started on Passover, when God delivered them from the Angel of Death—and the cruel oppression of Pharaoh—through the blood of the Passover Lamb. Seven weeks had passed since the nation known as Israel had left a plague-ravaged Egypt behind. And then, coming up to the fiftieth day, the man leading the Israelites to the Promised Land, Moses, received an instruction from God, “Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their clothes. And let them be ready for the third day. For on the third day the Lord will come down upon Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people” (Exod. 19:10-11).

The rest of the story is well known. Israel heeds God’s command, prepares themselves according to His instructions and gathers at Mount Sinai. Moses heads up the mountain as the nation’s representative and receives from the Almighty the Torah.

Today, more than 3,300 years later, the offspring of those who stood assembled at the base of Mount Sinai on the morning of the first Shavuot continue to commemorate God sharing His instructions with the Israelites. And every year, the Jewish people use this day to rededicate themselves to the gift from the hand of the Almighty.

Shavuot begins at sundown on the 5th of the biblical month of Sivan and lasts until nightfall on the 6th of Sivan. The people of the Promised Land prepare for the feast with a practice called “Counting the Omer,” marking the days from Passover to the Feast of Weeks with anticipation. The instruction for this is found in Leviticus 23:15-16, “And you shall count for yourselves from the day after the Sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering: seven Sabbaths shall be completed. Count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath…”

The number of days from the second day of Passover to the day before Shavuot is exactly 49 days or 7 weeks, which is the reason behind the name of the feast. The practice of counting the days from one feast to the next has a very specific purpose: it underscores the crucial connection between Passover and Shavuot. While Passover freed the Jewish people from the hand of Pharaoh and physical slavery, it was the giving of the Torah on Shavuot that led Israel forth into spiritual freedom.

On Shavuot, Israel celebrates the generosity of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. They celebrate the overflow of His blessings in not only receiving the Torah but also the land of Israel, a land of milk and honey in which the seven species—wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and dates—grow in abundance. As such, the fruits of the land feature as a firm favorite on the menu of many Shavuot meals. It is also considered a Shavuot custom to feast on foods rich in dairy, like cheesecake, pastries and quiches.

Sundown on the eve of Shavuot marks the start of another Feast of Weeks tradition. Jewish tradition says that the first Shavuot morning was marred by the fact that the Israelites overslept and that Moses had to wake them up for their appointment at Mount Sinai. As such, many Jewish men today will spend the night of Shavuot wide awake and studying the Torah with friends and family. Studying in a community is said to be aimed at recreating the people of Israel standing at the base of Sinai awaiting the gift of the Torah. This tradition is known as Tikkun Leil Shavuot, which translates to “Rectification of Shavuot Night.”

As part of the all-night study session the Jewish people read the Book of Ruth. The reason for this choice is the fact that the story of the young Moabitess who came to the land of Israel with her mother-in-law took place during the barley harvest, round about the time of Shavuot. Moreover, Ruth is considered as a sincere convert who left her people and her gods behind to embrace the people and the God of Israel. And on the morning of the first Shavuot, all Jewish people were converts, having accepted the Torah and its instructions.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, 01 June 2017)

Photo Credit: Wikimedia

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Glorify God for giving us His word, preserved in truth to this day for each of us. Thank Him for the beautiful example of the Jewish people who love the Torah, study and pass it on to their children. Ask God to revitalize the Christian community with a genuine love for His Word resulting in more study and knowledge and passing it on to our children.

Scripture

Therefore you shall love the Lord your God, and keep His charge, His statutes, His judgments, and His commandments always.


- Deuteronomy 11:1

Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Chosen as Vice President of General Assembly

by Ilse Posselt

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Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon

Friday, 02 June 2017 | Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations (UN), Danny Danon, was elected on Wednesday to serve as the vice president of the UN’s General Assembly in what is considered a significant feat for the Jewish state’s mission to the world body.

Danon is scheduled to start his one-year term when the 72nd session of the General Assembly opens in September 2017.

Following the vote, Danon took to Twitter to share the news of his selection with his followers. “Today I was elected to be the Vice President of the @UN General Assembly. It is an honor to represent the State of Israel in this leadership position at the @UN,” he shared.

Given Israel’s somewhat contentious history with the world body, the election is seen as a triumph for the Jewish state.

“We have proven once again that Israel is able to serve in significant positions at the @UN & the attempts to block this progress will not succeed,” Danon tweeted.

Danon will serve alongside Slovak Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, Miroslav Lajcak, who was elected as the General Assembly president.

Vice presidents of the General Assembly are selected according to a model that ensures equal geographical representation. Danon was chosen for the position as a representative of the Western European and Others (WEOG) group.

As vice president, his responsibilities will include chairing General Assembly meetings in the president’s absence, providing an input into agenda items and overseeing “the rules and decorum during the sessions,” Danon shared in a statement.

Last year Danon made history when 109 member states elected him to head the UN’s Judicial Committee, making him the first Israeli to chair one of the world body’s permanent committees.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, 02 June 2017)

Photo Credit: Sasson tiram/wikipedia

Photo License: Wikipedia

Prayer Focus
Magnify the God of Israel as His kindness and goodness endures forever. Exalt His name for answered prayer as God favored Israel by placing Danny Danon in a significant position at the UN. Ask God to go before him and continue to pray for wisdom as the new position will allow his input into agenda items.

Scripture

He has remembered His mercy and His faithfulness to the house of Israel; All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God. Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth; break forth in song, rejoice, and sing praises.


- Psalm 98:3-4

Israeli Cabinet Meets at the Holiest Spot in Judaism

by Edgar Asher

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Special cabinet meeting held in Jerusalem’s Old City, near the Western Wall

Tuesday, 30 May 2017 | Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held the regular Sunday cabinet meeting  in the Western Wall tunnels in honor of Jerusalem Day, which this year coincides with the fiftieth year anniversary of the city’s reunification. Usually the weekly cabinet meeting is held in the prime minister’s office in west Jerusalem.

The prime minister introduced the theme of the cabinet meeting by saying, “Here King Solomon built the First Holy Temple, and in this place, those who returned from the Babylonian exile built the Second Holy Temple. After the destruction of the Second Temple, it served for thousands of years as a gathering place for the Jewish people.  Thousands of years later, the nation of Israel returned to its land.”

The prime minister explained a number of decisions that had been made for the strengthening of the city. This included the development of the Old City area as well as a plan to improve health services in the east of the city where most of the Arab citizens live.

The prime minister also spoke about an investment of some $56 million that will be used to develop Jerusalem, and in particular the Old City. The central project is intended to be the development around the Kotel (Western Wall) to improve accessibility. The proposed plan is to install an elevator to take visitors from the Jewish Quarter to the Western Wall and the development of underground passageways to make the Jewish Quarter more accessible to the Western Wall Plaza, particularly for visitors with disabilities.

Source: (This press release was originally published by Ashernet on 28 May 2017)

Photo Credit: Ashernet/Kobi Gideon/GPO

Prayer Focus
Pray for PM Netanyahu and his cabinet and thank God for His goodness during the Jerusalem Day festivities. Pray for vision that will strengthen the city in various ways, for unity, finances and strategies. Pray that they will follow God in all they do.

Scripture

And there I will meet with the children of Israel, and the tabernacle shall be sanctified by My glory. So I will consecrate the tabernacle of meeting and the altar. I will also consecrate both Aaron and his sons to minister to Me as priests. I will dwell among the children of Israel and will be their God.


- Exodus 29:43-45

Furious Trump Tells Abbas: “You Lied to Me”

by Ilse Posselt

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President Trump and President Abbas meeting in Washington

Tuesday, 30 May 2017 | Less than a month ago Palestinian Authority (PA) president, Mahmoud Abbas, stood at US President Donald Trump’s side in the White House’s Roosevelt Room in Washington, DC, for an amicable joint press conference about the prospects for peace between Israel and the Palestinians. Speaking in Arabic, Abbas assured the world and the American commander-in-chief that under his leadership, the Palestinian people were raising their youth, their children and their grandchildren “on a culture of peace.”

Two weeks later Trump and Abbas met again. Yet this time, the meeting was reportedly less than amicable. According to Israel’s Channel 2, an angry Trump took a shocked Abbas to task during their talks last week in Bethlehem for the PA president’s role in spurring his people on to violence against the Jewish state. The Channel 2 report is based on the testimony of an American source who was present at the meeting.

“You tricked me in DC!” Trump allegedly shouted at the PA president. “You talked about your commitment to peace, but the Israelis showed me your involvement in incitement [against Israel].”

Channel 2 reports that Trump’s scolding left the Palestinians speechless. After a few minutes of uncomfortable silence, the meeting resumed. Yet the atmosphere of tension lingered.

The Palestinians vehemently denied the claims that Trump called out Abbas’s lie, claiming that the meeting went well and to the point.

Yet Trump’s statements during a joint press conference following the meeting in Bethlehem again highlighted his censure of the Palestinian leader’s support for terror. Standing next to Abbas, the US president said, “Peace can never take root in an environment where violence is tolerated, funded and even rewarded. We must be resolute in condemning such acts in a single unified voice.”

Despite the criticism, Trump also used the press release to laud Abbas’s commitment to peace, telling the media that he had “committed to taking firm but necessary steps to fight terrorism and confront its hateful ideology.”

“I am committed to trying to achieve a peace agreement between the Israelis and the Palestinians,” Trump continued, “and I intend to do everything I can to help them achieve that goal. President Abbas assures me he is ready to work toward that goal in good faith, and Prime Minister Netanyahu has promised the same. I look forward to working with these leaders toward a lasting peace.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has long blamed the Palestinian leadership for spurring its people on to bloodshed. Following the meeting between Trump and Abbas in Washington, the prime minister scoffed at the PA president’s claim of fostering a “culture of peace.”

“I heard Abu Mazen, who praises terrorists and pays them according to the severity of the murders they committed against Israelis,” Netanyahu said. “I heard Abu Mazen say that the Palestinians are also educating their children for peace. I regret that this is simply incorrect. They name their schools after mass murderers of Israelis and they pay terrorists.”

The Palestinian leadership has a long and bloody history of inciting its youth to violence against Israelis, glorifying martyrdom and indoctrinating young minds to commit terror attacks. The incitement starts early on using children’s toys, television programs, songs, video games and social media. Palestinian streets, squares, schools and cultural institutions also often bear the names of Palestinian terrorists convicted of murdering Israelis.

Trump was not the only international leader to condemn this Palestinian practice. Late last week Norway denounced the naming of a Palestinian women’s center after Dalal Mughrabi, a female terrorist who led the 1978 coastal road massacre in which 38 Israelis were murdered. The Norwegians, who provided funding for the construction of the center, did not only voice their dismay but also demanded that their money be returned.

“We have asked for the logo of the Norwegian representation office to be removed from the building immediately, and for the funding that has been allocated to the center to be repaid,” said Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Børge Brende.

On Sunday, the United Nations (UN), who also has a stake in the center, followed the Norwegian’s example and demanded that the UN logo be removed. The UN Women group said in a statement on their website that they had “no role” in naming the center.

“UN Women strongly condemns all acts of terrorism and the glorification of such acts. UN Women dissociates itself from the center and all related activities and, at the request of UN Women, the logo has been removed.”

Source: (Bridges for Peace, 30 May 2017)

Photo Credit: The White House/wikipedia

Photo License: Wikipedia

Prayer Focus
Intercede for President Trump’s efforts towards peace and fighting terror. Bring the leaders involved before God, asking for honesty, integrity, uprightness, trustworthiness and righteousness as they govern their people. Pray for truth to go forth from the Middle East through media reports to the rest of the world.

Scripture

Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who deal truthfully are His delight.


- Proverbs 12:22

Israel Arrests Terror Cell Responsible for Shooting Attacks on IDF

by Yoav Zitun

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Pipe bomb (illustrative)

Monday, 29 May 2017 | The Shin Bet [Israeli internal security organization], together with IDF [Israel Defense Forces] and Border Police forces, has arrested a terror cell suspected of carrying out a shooting attack against an IDF force at the Jabara checkpoint near Taybeh and Tulkarm, it was cleared for publication on Sunday.

Three of the suspects are members of Palestinian security forces and another was released as part of the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange. The suspects are residents of Danaba and Tulkarm.

According to the Shin Bet, cell members were able to carry out seven attacks against IDF forces in the area before their arrest.

“During the investigation, various weapons were seized, including two ‘Carlo’ sub-machine guns, six pipe bombs and an improvised explosive device,” the Shin Bet said in a statement.

In addition to the six suspects and the weapons seized, the Shin Bet said that “As part of the investigation, Ahmed Abd al-Qader, a resident of Tulkarm, was also arrested on suspicion of supplying the weapons used by the cell in last month’s shooting attack.”

“The investigation uncovered serious terrorist activity meant to harm IDF soldiers with the support of the Tanzim organization and operatives of the Palestinian Authority’s security services,” the Shin Bet said.

Source: (Ynetnews originally published this article on 28 May 2017. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Israel Defense Forces/wikimedia

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Thank God for the investigation by the Shin Bet, IDF and Border Police forces that uncovered serious terrorist activity which targeted the IDF soldiers and resulted in the arrest of six suspects. Pray for vigilance, wisdom and alertness to God’s guidance so they will discover other terror cells before they have the opportunity to carry out terror attacks of any kind.

Scripture

For You are my rock and my fortress; therefore, for Your name’s sake, lead me and guide me. Pull me out of the net which they have secretly laid for me, for You are my strength.


- Psalm 31:3-4

Iran’s Shiite Crescent Draws Closer to Israel

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Logo of Badr Organization

Thursday, 01 June 2017 | One of the most effective Iraqi Shiite militias has captured a town on the Syria border, drawing Iran’s “Shiite crescent” closer to Israel, Seth Frantzman reported for The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.

The Badr Brigade has reached the Iraqi village of Um Jaris, meaning that “forces that are close to Tehran pose a risk of linking up through Syria” and threatening Israel.

The Badr Brigade is “one of the best organized and most veteran Iran-supported Shiite militias” or Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) in Iraq, according to Jonathan Spyer, director of the Rubin Center for Research in International Affairs. Hadi al-Amiri, the commander of the Badr Brigade, is close to Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, head of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ elite Quds Force. It is an “effective and well-organized military unit with armored vehicles and artillery,” Spyer said.

Iran now has the means to project its influence from Baghdad to the Syrian border. Analyses and reports cited by Frantzman note that this is “part of a wider [Iranian] strategy to construct a corridor” to the Mediterranean Sea.

“The next move that can be expected from the Shiite militias is to strike south along the Iraqi border and clear ISIS toward Qaim and Al-Bukamal, which could link them up with Syrian regime forces moving east from Damascus,” Frantzman wrote. However, there are some US-backed rebel groups in the region that could oppose such an effort.

If the Badr Brigade or other PMF units start operating inside Syria, it could pose an increased threat to Israel, “because Hezbollah is present in Syria and uses Syria as a corridor for weapons transfers,” Frantzman observed.

“Shiite militias controlled by Iran now play a far greater role than in 2011,” The Wall Street Journal reported last September, a month after Iraq expelled its Saudi ambassador after he criticized the Iran-backed groups. The militias were integrated into the Iraqi army last year and have taken over numerous Sunni areas from ISIS.

Andrew Tabler, a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, told the Journal that “Iran’s power has spread further afield than before in terms of direct military power. We have never had so many Shiite militias operating in so many different areas, and fighting in traditional Sunni strongholds.”

Analysts have warned that the threat posed by Shiite militias could lead to a new insurgency in the region. Saleh al-Mutlaq, a Sunni and former Iraqi deputy prime minister, told the Journal that the ongoing disenfranchisement of Sunnis could lead to a repeat of history. “Unless you start thinking about the conditions that created ISIS in the first place and try to overcome these conditions,” he said, “there will be a new ISIS again, maybe of a different kind.”

Iran’s formation of a Shiite “Liberation Army” last year has raised fears among observers that Tehran “is asserting itself as a regional or even an imperialistic power,” according to Tallha Abdulrazaq, a researcher at the University of Exeter.

Reuters reported in August 2016 that Washington has failed to rein in the PMF operating in Iraq, even as they “detained, tortured and abused” hundreds of Sunni civilians. In Syria, forces backed by Iran have ethnically cleansed several Sunni neighborhoods in and around Damascus.

Source: (This article was originally published by The Israel Project, in its publication The Tower on 30 May 2017. Time related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Photo License: Wikipedia

Prayer Focus
Bring Israel’s borders before the Lord and pray for the IDF soldiers serving in those areas. Ask the Lord to grant them courage, health, alertness, wisdom and motivation. Continue to lift up the leadership of the IDF and Israel and pray that they will continue to seek God in all their decisions as threats of war increase.

Scripture

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. Keep me, O Lord, from the hands of the wicked; preserve me from violent men, who have purposed to make my steps stumble.


- Psalm 140:1-2, 4

Norway, UN Condemns Palestinian Naming of Women’s Center after Terrorist

by Joshua Spurlock

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Sign on youth center named after female terrorist

Monday, 29 May 2017 | The Israelis have long been pointing out to the world that the Palestinians keep honoring terrorists by naming facilities after them. Last week, when Norway found out their funding of a Palestinian women’s center had been named after terrorist Dalal Mughrabi—who participated in the murder of 37 Israelis, including 12 children—they not only expressed their dismay, they demanded their money back.

“We have asked for the logo of the Norwegian representation office to be removed from the building immediately, and for the funding that has been allocated to the center to be repaid,” Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende was quoted as saying in a report on the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs website. “We will not enter into any new agreements with either the Palestinian Election Commission or UN [United Nations] Women in Palestinian areas until satisfactory procedures are in place to ensure that nothing of this nature happens again.” Israel said other nations should do as Norway did.

“Norway has done the right thing. Standing strongly against the positive commemoration of terrorists is an essential part of the international effort to eradicate terrorism,” said a statement posted to the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.

“Israel suggests that all members of the international community check where money invested in the [Palestinian Authority] ends up, and expects all other partners in this project to follow Norway’s example.”

The United Nations, another entity involved in the center, also insisted their logo be removed. The UN Women group was involved with the center, but noted they had “no role” in naming the center or any other activity since 2016. Furthermore, they noted that the UN Women logo used in the center’s inauguration event “was used without any prior authorization from the United Nations,” according to an official statement from the UN Women website.

Said the statement, “UN Women strongly condemns all acts of terrorism and the glorification of such acts. UN Women dissociates itself from the center and all related activities and, at the request of UN Women, the logo has been removed.”

The UN Deputy Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Robert Piper, was even stronger, posting a statement to his Twitter account stating that “the name chosen by the community center is wrong and unacceptable.”

The Norwegian report said that they had stopped funding the center before they learned of it being named after the terrorist, which happened at the inauguration ceremony earlier in May. Norway heard of the terrorist name last week, the same day that Palestinian Media Watch released a report on the center.

“The glorification of terrorist attacks is completely unacceptable, and I deplore this decision in the strongest possible terms. Norway will not allow itself to be associated with institutions that take the names of terrorists in this way. We will not accept the use of Norwegian aid funding for such purposes,” said Minister of Foreign Affairs Brende.

Ironically, the stern condemnation and demand of repayment by Norway came just two days after the Norwegian Representative Office to the Palestinian Authority [PA] tweeted that they were “pleased” about the new aid system launched by PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, the World Bank, and the United Nations.

Nickolay Mladenov, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, tweeted the aid coordination system was intended to “streamline international assistance” for the Palestinians.

Later that same week, the UN and Norway were already distancing themselves from one way in which the Palestinians were spending some of the international aid funds.

Source: (The Mideast Update originally published this article on 28 May 2017. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today.)

Photo Credit: Palestinian Media Watch/Ma'an

Prayer Focus
Praise God for the bravery of Norway’s leaders who demonstrated in word and deed their dismay that humanitarian funds are used to glorify terrorists. Thank God for exposing the truth and pray that leaders of other nations will likewise demonstrate boldness in the fight against terrorism. Pray that Norway will persevere in this process setting a world class example for good.

Scripture

Let not mercy and truth forsake you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart, and so find favor and high esteem in the sight of God and man.


- Proverbs 3:3-4

Israel Hosts United Nations to Boost Doctor Participation in Global Efforts

by Joshua Spurlock

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Nepalese elder being treated by Israeli doctor

Friday, 26 May 2017 | The United Nations hasn’t been particularly friendly towards Israel in recent years, but that doesn’t mean the international organization doesn’t still want and need Israeli assistance. Toward that end, last week the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) hosted a seminar with the UN Medical Services Division and Human Resources, and more than 100 Israeli medical professionals, to discuss UN medical services and employment opportunities.

A press statement on the seminar posted to the MFA website said the event, which was done with the participation of the Israeli Ministry of Health, was “aimed at encouraging the participation of Israeli doctors in UN medical activities.” Dr. Jillian Farmer, Head of the UN Medical Services Division, and Steve Damond-Fagota, a senior officer of the UN Human Resources Department, made the presentation. According to the MFA press release, “This is another expression of Israel’s integration into the positive global agenda and the interest shown by the UN in recruiting Israelis into its ranks.”

The event was held the same day that United States Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley met with UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein to discuss the UN approach to Israel, among other topics.

According to a recap of the meeting by Haley’s office, Ambassador Haley encouraged High Commissioner al-Hussein to “help counter the [UN] Human Rights Council’s obsession with Israel.”

Haley has made anti-Israel bias at the UN a key talking point in her role as representative to the organization, repeatedly urging the international body to adjust its position on the Jewish state. The Human Rights Council is especially problematic in that regard, including a permanent agenda item to discuss Israel in particular, while actual violators of human rights get less consistent attention.

The press statement went on to note that Haley conveyed “her concerns that Council members exploit what should be the world’s premier rights body to promote their anti-Israel agenda, diverting attention from some of the worst human rights abusers including Syria, Iran, North Korea, and Venezuela.”

Source: (The Mideast Update published this article on 21 May, 2017. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today.)

Photo Credit: Embassy of Israel, Kathmandu/mfa.il.gov

Prayer Focus
Declare Israel as the light to the nations through the UN recruitment program which acknowledges the commitment and excellence of Israel’s medical personnel. Thank God and pray for people like Nikki Haley and others devoted to conquering anti-Israel agendas.

Scripture

Indeed He says, It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also give You as a light to the Gentiles, that You should be My salvation to the ends of the earth.


- Isaiah 49:6

Cable Car Project to Ease Access to the Western Wall

by Itamar Eichner

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Route of the planned cable car access to Old City

Tuesday, 30 May 2017 | In honor of the 50th anniversary of the unification of Jerusalem, the government approved the cable car project in Jerusalem on Sunday, led by Tourism Minister Yariv Levin.

The cable car will provide a solution to the problem of difficult access to the Western Wall and will provide quick and convenient access to about 130,000 visitors and tourists visiting the Western Wall every week.

The cable car will run between the station compound, through the Mount of Olives, all the way to the Dung Gate, and it will be visible from the height of the city of Jerusalem and its sites.

The planned route is about 1,400 meters [.9 mi] long, with 40 cars able to carry 10 passengers each, at 21 kilometers [13 mi] per hour. The four stations through which the cable car will pass are the railway station, HaMefaked Street, Mount Zion and the Western Wall station. The price of a cable car ride will be the same as bus fare.

The Ministry of Tourism said that the cable car will be used by all residents of Jerusalem, Jews and Arabs, as well as the tens of thousands of tourists who arrive in Jerusalem, and will shorten their time of arrival in the Old City.

Currently, the access roads to the holy sites are narrow, steep and overloaded due to the topographical structure of the Old City, making it practically impossible to expand the existing routes or pave additional roads.

The cable car will also serve as an accessible transport solution to people with disabilities, and it will be “green” due to the use of non-polluting electricity. As published in Yedioth Ahronoth, the government will also approve the construction of an elevator to the Western Wall.

The cost of the entire project is NIS 200 million [US $56 million], most of which will come from the Ministry of Tourism, and the cable car is expected to begin operations in 2021. “The cable car will change the face of Jerusalem,” said Minister Levin, “to provide easy and convenient access to tourists and visitors at the Western Wall … There is no better time than the marking of the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem to commence such a revolutionary project.”

Source: (Excerpt of an article originally published by Ynetnews on 29 May 2017. Time related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Screenshot/YouTube/AICvideo

Prayer Focus
Offer thanksgiving to the Lord for Jerusalem, for the increased interest shown by the number of visitors to the Western Wall. Pray for this wonderful project to have successful planning and implementation, enough finances to complete the building process, wisdom and patience for the contractors and energetic, healthy workers.

Scripture

I was glad when they said to me, Let us go into the house of the Lord. Our feet have been standing within your gates, O Jerusalem! Jerusalem is built as a city that is compact together, where the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord, to the testimony of Israel, to give thanks to the name of the Lord.


- Psalm 122:1-4

Archaeological Findings Prove Jewish People’s Historic Connection to the Land of Israel

by Edgar Asher

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Newly discovered stepped-street from Second Temple period

Thursday, 01 June 2017 | There is no question that the intense archaeological activity in Israel today and Jerusalem in particular, is motivated by the government policy to reveal the historic and unique connection of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel. Apart from the historic and academic interest in the eastern Mediterranean, there is a clear need to emphasize that the incredible archaeological finds that are being revealed, on an almost weekly basis, reinforce the indelible connection of the Jewish people to this small parcel of land. There is hardly another place on the planet that has revealed so much information from its archaeological endeavors.

The particular connection and history of the Jewish people to Jerusalem is supported by excavations, particularly in and around the Old City. The adversaries of the Jews have undermined, and continue to undermine, the veracity of the Jewish connection to Israel by the attempt to destroy archaeological evidence that only reinforces the Jewish connection to the Land, in particular the Jewish connection to Jerusalem.

The Palestinian Authority [PA] has systematically been trying to dredge and remove large quantities of subsoil below the Temple Mount and dump the excavated soil outside Jerusalem. It was soon realized by the Israelis that among these tons of soil were many artifacts that date back to Temple times. Artifacts that the PA hoped would be lost forever. However, the government decided that all of this excavated material would be sifted and hundreds of volunteers began the sifting project. As a result of this sifting process, dozens of valuable and often unique artifacts were found, once again underlining the unique and indelible connection of the Jewish people to the Land of  Israel, and in particular to Jerusalem—the City of David.

The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) in collaboration with the Israel Nature and Parks Authority (INPA) continues to unveil evidence of Jerusalem’s unique and rich history. Current excavations are unveiling evidence from the battle of Jerusalem some two thousand years ago, which resulted in the destruction of the Second Temple. The finds are bringing to life the words of the famous historian Flavius Josephus who documented the Roman siege of the city.

Current excavations have revealed stone ballista balls and arrowheads on the city’s main street that goes from the city gates to the Siloam Pool. According to Josephus, “this whole thoroughfare was set alight from the town, as far as Siloam.”

To date a section of road some one hundred meters long [328 ft] and seven and a half meters [25 ft] wide has been exposed. This construction method is similar to other examples of construction in the Roman Empire. Archaeological investigation has shown that Herod the Great was not solely responsible for the large building projects in Jerusalem, as present day investigation shows that the road was built after the reign of Herod.  Perhaps it coincides with the administration of the Roman governor Pontius Pilate.

The present excavations are expected to take about five years to complete, when the whole length and width of the street will be revealed. On completion the street will be preserved and made available to visitors. The finished excavation will answer many questions, including, what did the main street to the Temple look like?

Source: (This press release was originally published by Ashernet on 28 May 2017)

Photo Credit: Ashernet

Prayer Focus
Give thanks to God for more and more evidence that solidly proves Jewish existence in Jerusalem. Pray for the archaeologists and their teams to be motivated and strengthened as they sift through the soil, uncovering further evidence in support of God’s people.

Scripture

For Zion’s sake I will not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until her righteousness goes forth as brightness, and her salvation as a lamp that burns.


- Isaiah 62:1

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