Compassion

Help Bridges for Peace pursue our mission of doing good in the Land of Israel.

Friday, June 21, 2019

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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.

Iran Will Exceed Fuel Limits in Nuclear Deal Later This Month

by Joshua Spurlock

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As it backs out of the nuclear deal, Iran will reopen its Arak heavy water reactor in addition to stockpiling its nuclear fuel.

Tuesday, 18 June 2019 | Following the Iranian decision to withdraw from some of the limitations under their nuclear deal with world powers, the Islamic Republic’s nuclear fuel supply has increased to the point that they will exceed the limits on nuclear fuel storage under the atomic agreement on June 27. Iran’s Fars News Agency reported that spokesman of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Behrouz Kamalvandi informed the world of Iran’s progress on Monday, noting that his country intends to walk away from more of their requirements if their economic demands of Europe are not met by the end of their 60-day deadline on July 7.

Enriching uranium for nuclear fuel beyond what is needed for civilian power—including significant enhancement to medical research levels previously reached by the regime’s program before the deal—is on the table, according to the spokesman. Nuclear weapons enrichment levels—an even further step in nuclear fuel efforts—were not mentioned in the report.

Still, the specter of Iran speeding back to activity levels achieved prior to the nuclear deal hangs threateningly, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu believes Iran should be punished by the world community if they exceed what’s permitted under the accord. “Should Iran make good on its current threats and violate the nuclear agreement, the international community will need to immediately impose the sanctions regime that was agreed upon in advance, the ‘snapback sanctions,’” Netanyahu was quoted by his office as saying Monday. “In any case, Israel will not allow Iran to achieve nuclear weapons.”

Netanyahu noted that Iran’s efforts to violate the agreement by exceeding limits on nuclear fuel is not a surprise based on what Israeli spy craft[s] learned about past Iranian actions prior to the nuclear deal.

“Today Iran threatened to enrich uranium to higher levels beyond that which is permitted by the nuclear agreement,” said Netanyahu. “This does not surprise us because just as when we brought the secret nuclear archive from [Tehran] to Israel, we discovered the extent to which Iran has violated its promise to the international community—its promise to report truthfully on its nuclear program.”

Israel uncovered a treasure trove of Iranian documents detailing elements of their nuclear weapons program and exposed Iran last year as violating standard international agreements in the past—all while raising questions as to why the Iranians were hiding and saving old nuclear weapons research as recently as 2018.

That makes the current Iranian threats of nuclear program enhancement, including increasing the capacity at its heavy water plant, according to Fars, all the more troubling. The Iranian moves are retaliation for Europe failing to mitigate renewed American sanctions after the United States exited the nuclear deal last year. Iran intends to continue making nuclear progress unless Europe grants Iran economic benefits the Islamic Republic expects under the nuclear deal, which Europe upheld even after the US left.

But while Europe and the US don’t see eye-to-eye on Iran, Netanyahu declared that some traditional enemies of Israel actually agree with the Jewish state when it comes to Iran—and on even more than that.

“Israel stands at the forefront with the US, with moderate Arab countries and with other countries, in opposition to the Iranian aggression,” he said. “…Alongside the peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan, we are tightening—in an unprecedented manner—relations with additional countries in the Arab and Islamic world. These countries increasingly understand that Israel is not their enemy. On the contrary, Israel is a steadfast and stable ally that—with them—seeks to ensure the future of our region.”

Source: (This article was originally published by the Mideast Update on June 17, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today.)

Photo Credit: Nanking2012/wikimedia.org

Photo License: wikimedia.org

Prayer Focus
Bring this situation before God and beg Him to open the eyes of the international community and bring the truth to light. As we put our hope in the Lord to bring about justice, ask Him to thwart any evil intentions the Islamic Republic of Iran holds toward Israel or any other nation.

Scripture

Those who seek my hurt speak of destruction, and plan deception all the day long. For in You, O LORD, I hope; You will hear, O Lord my God.


- Psalm 38:12b, 15

Israel Starts Construction on Infrastructure to Ease Gaza’s Water Woes

by Kate Norman

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Israel is constructing a new pipeline to provide Gaza with water. (Illustrative)

Wednesday, 19 June 2019 | Israeli company Mekorot has begun construction on a water pipeline to transfer clean drinking water from Israel to homes in Gaza. The coastal enclave is currently in a dire situation with 97% of its water deemed undrinkable.

This will be the fourth water pipeline from Israel into Gaza and will contribute the most water. Only 11% of Gazans have access to drinkable water, contrasted with 95% of Palestinians in Judea and Samaria. Israel currently provides the people of Gaza with 3 billion gallons (11.5 million cubic meters) of water per year, even though it only committed to providing 2.6 billion gallons (10 million cubic meters), the Times of Israel reported.

Mediators from Egypt, Qatar and the UN have been bouncing back and forth between Israel and Hamas—the terror organization in political and military control of the Gaza Strip—to work out a strategy to improve infrastructure for Gaza’s water and sewage, which is poorly maintained under the terror entity’s leadership.

Hamas’s handling of the current infrastructure is such that Israel’s water provision might not be enough to save the people of Gaza from a crisis, as the enclave is currently pumping too much water out of its desalination plants, which are too small to keep up with the workload and rendered largely ineffective from frequent power cuts.

Eager to improve the power issue, delegates from Qatar are speaking to leaders in Israel and Gaza about funding a new power line between them. The proposed line would transfer 100 megawatts to Gaza in addition to the 120 megawatts that Israel currently sends in order to get closer to Palestinian leader’s goal of 500–600 megawatts, Ynetnews reported. The additional electricity would provide power to Gaza’s desalination plants and sewage pumps, supplying the people with additional clean drinking water.

“Water is a basic thing,” an unnamed construction crew worker on the water pipeline project told Ynetnews. “There’s an entire population in Gaza that doesn’t want war with Israel. It’s a shame that’s the situation. Most of the people in Gaza are thirsty for water, but also hungry for a normal life and a better future for their children. Despite everything, they’re our neighbors and we can’t ignore what’s happening here.”

Ynetnews reported that the new water pipeline will cross into Gaza from Israel’s Eshkol Regional Council—a region which lies across from Gaza’s central border—whose inhabitants are often sent scrambling to bomb shelters when terrorists in the Strip launch rockets into Israel.

The Jewish state is stepping in despite recent attacks on Israel from the Strip, including fire balloons that have burned Israeli land and a rocket barrage last month that launched over 700 projectiles into Israel. Even now, the construction crew is working to build the water pipeline under heavy military guard for fear of a terror attack—in which case Hamas would literally be shooting the hand that’s trying to feed it.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, June 19, 2019)

Photo Credit: Middle East Children's Alliance/flickr.com

Photo License: Flickr

Prayer Focus
Praise the Lord for Israel’s love for her neighbors, despite their intentions and attempts to do her harm. Pray God’s blessing upon the Jewish state’s efforts to bring relief to the people of Gaza, and intercede for a hedge of protection around the construction crew and the whole nation of Israel as they work to bless their neighbors.

Scripture

Do not say, “I will do to him just as he has done to me; I will render to the man according to his work.”…Will He not render to each man according to his deeds?


- Proverbs 24:29, 12b

Amidst Regional Tensions, Russia, US and Israel to Hold “Unprecedented” Trilateral Meeting

by Joshua Spurlock

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PM Netanyahu stresses the significance of the upcoming meeting with the US and Russia.

Wednesday, 19 June 2019 | National Security officials from Israel, the United States and Russia are set to meet together next week in what Israel’s leader has called an “historic and unprecedented meeting in Jerusalem.” [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu made the comments on Tuesday, one day after the United States increased its troop deployment to the Middle East again amidst tensions with Iran.

The trilateral world power meeting in Jerusalem has been planned for weeks, with a report in May from the Times of Israel saying the meeting was expected to focus on Syria, including Iran’s military buildup in that country and US troop pullout from there. On Tuesday in comments published by his office, Netanyahu said the meeting “is a very important summit for ensuring stability in the Middle East during turbulent times.”

He continued, “What is important about this trilateral meeting of the two superpowers in the State of Israel is that it greatly attests to the current international standing of Israel among the nations.”

The meeting will also come just days after the US Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan announced that “approximately 1,000 additional troops for defensive purposes” had been authorized for deployment in the Middle East, according to a press release posted to the US Defense Department website.

“The recent Iranian attacks validate the reliable, credible intelligence we have received on hostile behavior by Iranian forces and their proxy groups that threaten United States personnel and interests across the region,” said Shanahan on Monday.

“The United States does not seek conflict with Iran. The action today is being taken to ensure the safety and welfare of our military personnel working throughout the region and to protect our national interests. We will continue to monitor the situation diligently and make adjustments to force levels as necessary given intelligence reporting and credible threats.”

The American move follows maritime attacks on oil shipping by Iranian forces and was made the same day as an announcement by Iran, reported by the Fars News Agency, that their growing nuclear fuel stockpile was nearing the limits imposed by the international Iran nuclear deal. Furthermore, Iran plans to smash through the cap if Europe doesn’t provide better economic relief to Iran.

Meanwhile, Netanyahu wasn’t the only Israeli official commenting on Iran on Tuesday. Israeli President Reuven Rivlin also mentioned the Islamic Republic in a warning to the Lebanese Hezbollah terrorist group—which is also a proxy for Iran.

“We warn Hezbollah not to impose Iran’s agenda on Lebanon, and we warn Lebanon not to be a base for attacks on Israel,” said Rivlin in comments published by Israel addressing the Hezbollah terror tunnels into Israel uncovered in the last six months.

“We are not eager to fight. But the IDF [Israel Defense Forces] is alert and ready to respond to any threat and to any scenario. The State of Israel will not stand idly by and will ensure that citizens of Israel continue to sleep peacefully!”

Source: (The Mideast Update originally published this article on June 18, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today.)

Photo Credit: PM of Israel@IsraeliPM/twitter.com

Prayer Focus
Lift up the leaders of these three nations before God, and ask His blessing of wisdom, courage and discernment upon them as they discuss and make important decisions that will affect millions of people. Petition the Lord to bless them with wisdom on how to effectively deal with the threat of Iranian aggression within the region and across the world.

Scripture

For the LORD gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding; He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk uprightly; He guards the paths of justice, and preserves the way of His saints.


- Proverbs 2:6–8

Rocket Fired from Gaza Strikes School in Southern Israel

by Ilse Strauss

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Terrorists in Gaza fire more rockets at communities in southern Israel.

Friday, 14 June 2019 | Just after 9 p.m. last night, residents in the south of Israel ran for shelter for the second time in less than 24 hours as the now-familiar sound of the Code Red air raid siren screamed a warning of a rocket launched from the Gaza Strip. The wail of the alarm was followed by the sound of a crash as the incoming projectile struck a direct hit on a Jewish religious school in Sderot.

The rocket failed to explode, but smashed into the outer structure of the yeshivah (religious school), shattering a number of windows and sending debris showering onto the sidewalk. Since most students had already left for the weekend, the building was largely empty and the strike caused no injuries.

Israel retaliated in the early hours of Friday morning, striking “several terror targets, including terror infrastructure in military compounds” and a Hamas naval force military complex, the Israeli military said in a statement. “The attack was carried out in response to the rocket that was shot from the Gaza Strip earlier this evening.”

No group in the Gaza Strip has claimed responsibility for the attack on Israel yet. The Jewish state does, however, hold Hamas—the terror organization in complete military and administrative control of the strip—accountable for all aggression emanating from the coastal enclave. “The IDF [Israel Defense Forces] will continue to act against attempts to harm Israeli citizens and sees the Hamas terrorist organization as responsible for all actions in and from the Gaza Strip,” the IDF spokesperson said.

Last night’s attack was the second of the day. The first came in the predawn hours of Thursday, when a rocket launched from Gaza sent sleeping Israeli civilians scrambling for the safety of their bomb shelters. According to the army, the Iron Dome intercepted the projectile. In response, Israel struck a Hamas underground facility.

Yesterday’s exchange of fire follows a week of escalating tensions between Israel and Gaza after a wave of arson attacks launched from the coastal enclave set southern Israel ablaze almost daily. Incendiary balloons and other devices sparked at least eight fires on Wednesday and seven on Tuesday, the Jerusalem Post reported.

This is also the worst flare-up in violence since a reported cease-fire spelled the end of two days of intense fighting between Israel and Gazan terror groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad that left four Israelis and 29 Gazans dead.

The IDF also anticipates a possible escalation in violence on the Gaza border as Gazans prepare to resume the usual Friday violent protests at the border fence. The riots, which started in March last year, have seen more than 500,000 protestors attempt to storm and break down the fence, burn tires and hurl stones, grenades and other explosive devices at soldiers stationed on the Israeli side of the border.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, June 14, 2019)

Photo Credit: YouTube/TV7 Israel News/Screenshot

Prayer Focus
Praise God for His protection in that there were no injuries from the rocket. Pray His continued hand of protection over Israel and her people, allowing them to sleep soundly without fear.

Scripture

When you lie down, you will not be afraid; yes, you will lie down and your sleep will be sweet. Do not be afraid of sudden terror, nor of trouble from the wicked when it comes; for the LORD will be your confidence, and will keep your foot from being caught.


- Proverbs 3:24–26

Israel Wraps up Largest Military Drill in Years amid Simmering Tensions

by Jo Sarah Stanford

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An aircraft takes off during the IDF exercise.

Thursday, 20 June 2019 | The Israeli Air Force (IAF) conducted a four-day, large-scale combat exercise this week to test the country’s preparedness for war—Israel’s largest military drill in years. The exercise simulated attacks on multiple fronts, coming from Iran and Hezbollah in Lebanon and Syria and from the Gaza Strip. New advanced technology was put to the test, including the latest model of the F-35 stealth fighter jet.

The military exercise comes at a time of heightened tensions in the Middle East, with Iran pushing for more control in the region. However, officials say the drills were planned months in advance.

Running from Sunday to Wednesday, the drill involved all branches of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and simulated attacks on the Home Front Command and key military infrastructure, such as runways and communications, testing the IAF’s ability to operate with limited capabilities. Fighter jets, helicopters, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and ground support troops operated under simulated heavy rocket fire and underground assaults.

Focused primarily on the north, Israel is preparing for the threat that Iran poses, namely through their terror proxy Hezbollah, who has inserted itself in Lebanon and Syria. The IAF tested its abilities against the Russia-made S300 and S400 anti-missile defense system, an advanced technology that restricts IAF capabilities to carry out counterstrikes on military installations.

However, the IAF has deployed the F-35 fighter jet, adding their own stealth technology, which makes it almost invisible to radar. The Israeli-named “Adir” (strong one) is the fifth generation of the American-made plane and was deployed for the first time during the combat drill. Israel had ordered 50 of the planes and has already received 14 of them, costing US $100 million each. A senior military official said that the fighter jet was faster and much more advanced, allowing it the IAF to go places it “hasn’t been able to get to before.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited operations during the drills. “I’m very impressed by the improvement in readiness, by the fighting spirit of the soldiers and commanders…” he said.

The military exercise not only allowed the IAF to prepare for war, but also served as a warning to Israel’s enemies who constantly threaten its destruction. President Reuven Rivlin said, “We caution Hezbollah not to subordinate Lebanon to Iran’s agenda, and we caution Lebanon not to be used as a launching pad for attacks against Israel,” reported SF Gate. “We are not happy to go to war, but the military is fully prepared to respond to any threat and any scenario.”

Source: (Bridges for Peace, June 20, 2019)

Photo Credit: IDF/idf.il

Prayer Focus
Lift up the IDF before the Lord—everyone from the generals to the privates. Ask Him to bless their efforts as they train and prepare for whatever lies ahead. Pray for His supernatural protection over them as they defend the Land that bears His name.

Scripture

Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.


- Deuteronomy 31:6

Israeli Campaign Shutters 30 BDS Fundraising Accounts over Links to Terrorists

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BDS demonstration in Montreal. (Illustrative)

Tuesday, 18 June 2019 | Israel’s Strategic Affairs Ministry said Monday that a two-year targeted campaign against the financial infrastructure of organizations that promote the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) campaign with links to terrorist groups resulted in the shutdown of dozens of fundraising accounts.

“For years, boycott promoters have disguised themselves as ‘human-rights activists,’ managing to raise tens of millions of euros from Western countries and citizens who thought they were contributing to causes supporting justice and equality,” said Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan in a statement.

“Over time, however, we have revealed that the supposed ‘human-rights’ NGOs are actually filled with anti-Semitic operatives with deep ties to terrorist groups fixated on destroying the State of Israel,” Erdan added.

The effort shuttered ten accounts based in the United States and 20 in Europe, the ministry said. The accounts were hosted on platforms like PayPal and DonorBox.

A report released in February by the Israeli Ministry of Strategic Affairs revealed over 100 alleged links between BDS groups and terrorism, particularly the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and Hamas.

“As a result of our actions, countries and financial institutions are now distancing themselves from these organizations. Our efforts have drastically undermined the boycott campaign, leading to it having much less finances to operate, and barred from receiving financial services,” Erdan noted.

In April, several global payment providers cut ties with the BDS organization Samidoun over its alleged links to PFLP. Samidoun made headlines when the group invited a convicted terrorist, Rasmeah Odeh, to speak at an event in Germany in support of BDS. Berlin’s Foreign Nationals Office eventually revoked Odeh’s visa on the grounds that it would threaten public order, and she was forced to leave the country.

Odeh was convicted of a 1969 Jerusalem bombing that killed two Jewish students, Leon Kanner and Eddie Joffe. She was convicted in 2017 of immigration fraud and was deported from the United States to Jordan last year.

Source: (This article was originally published by The Israel Project in its publication The Tower on June 17, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Stephanie Law/flickr.com

Photo License: flickr.com

Prayer Focus
Praise God for this victory over the hateful, anti-Semitic efforts of the BDS movement to harm Israel. Thank Him for bringing the evil ties and intentions behind the movement to light and thwarting their intentions. Ask Him to continue to bless the efforts of Israel and her allies in the battle against these evil efforts.

Scripture

You shall seek them and not find them—those who contended with you. Those who war against you shall be as nothing, as a nonexistent thing. For I, the LORD your God, will hold your right hand, saying to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you.’”


- Isaiah 41:12–13

Gaza Balloon Terrorism Continues Despite Cease-fire Efforts

by Matan Tzuri

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An agricultural field near the border with Gaza burns, destroying 12 acres (50 dunams) of crops.

Monday, 17 June 2019 | The incendiary balloon terrorism from the Gaza Strip shows no signs of slowing down despite the Qatari aid being transferred to the enclave, with dozens of fires being started in the nearby Israeli communities over the weekend.

Qatari envoy to Gaza Muhammad al-Emadi was to enter the Hamas-controlled enclave sometime on Sunday to deliver [US] $25 million in aid to the officials in the Strip, said Palestinian sources. The transfer of the funds is apparently one of the key demands put forward by the terror group in order for the quiet along the border to be maintained.

At least three fires were started on Sunday in the Eshkol and Sha’ar HaNegev Regional Councils. All the fires had been extinguished and no injuries were reported. The same two communities were subjected to incendiary balloons attacks on Friday as well with at least seven fires breaking out there.

In addition, on Thursday an explosive device attached to a balloon was found in Kibbutz Ruhama near the southern city of Sderot, and a fire broke out in Simhoni Forest near Kfar Aza.

Over the course of Wednesday and Tuesday, more than a dozen blazes broke out in the communities bordering Gaza as a result of incendiaries being launched into Israel by Palestinian factions in the Strip.

Last week it was reported that terror groups in Gaza appear to have found a new method of launching incendiary balloons in order to ignite as many fires as possible on Israeli territory, thereby maximizing the damage.

The latest upgrade in what has become an entire arsenal of terror tools for the Palestinian factions in Gaza is to soak a slow-burning fuse in explosive liquids and attach it to an incendiary balloon. The balloon drips fireballs as it flies, creating several ignition points from just one device.

Source: (Ynetnews originally published this story on June 16, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: TV7 Israel News/YouTube/Screenshot

Prayer Focus
Ask God to put a shield around the Israeli communities on the border with Gaza, providing His supernatural protection from the fires that the enemy is using to destroy.

Scripture

O Israel, trust in the LORD; He is their help and their shield.


- Psalm 115:9

Netanyahu Welcomes Bahrain Conference, Confirms Israeli Participation

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Netanyahu: “A very important conference…a US effort to bring about a better future and solve the region’s problems. Israelis will be present, of course.” (Illustrative)

Thursday, 20 June 2019 | Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has praised the US-sponsored conference on the Palestinian economy, which will take place in Bahrain later this month, confirming Israeli participation in the event.

The Israeli delegation will consist of private citizens involved in business, high-tech and innovation, sources said, as well as Yoav Mordechai, a former Israeli general who served as chief liaison officer to the Palestinians.

“A very important conference, which we welcome, will be held in Bahrain very soon—a US effort to bring about a better future and solve the region’s problems,” Netanyahu said in a speech on Tuesday. “Israelis will be present, of course.”

Netanyahu also charged that Israel had “contacts” with “most of the Arab countries,” adding that Israel maintains “secret contacts with many leaders of the Arab world and there are ramified contacts between the State of Israel and Arab countries, with most of the Arab countries.”

Meanwhile, the Palestinian Authority (PA) continues to boycott all negotiations and insist they have successfully obstructed the June 25–26 workshop.

“The American conspiracy has faltered, and its direction has changed,” PA Spokesman Nabil Abu Rudaineh asserted. “That’s because of Palestinian rejection and President Mahmoud Abbas’s clear position on Jerusalem, the refugees and the national principles.”

Speaking in Ramallah last month, PA President Mahmoud Abbas said, “The Palestinian Authority does not recognize this conference.” The PA chairman went on to describe the US peace initiative as a “disgrace” and predicted that “the economic project they are working on for next month will also go to hell.”

The United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia announced in May that they would participate in the conference. Last week, Egypt, Jordan and Morocco confirmed that they would also be sending [a] delegation to Bahrain.

Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published by The Israel Project in its publication The Tower on June 19, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Foreign and Commonwealth Office/wikimedia.org

Photo License: wikimedia.org

Prayer Focus
Thank the Lord that Israeli businessmen and influencers will be able to attend this conference and have their voices heard! Pray that God will thwart the Palestinian leadership’s tireless efforts to derail the forum, and pray that the international community—especially the other Arab nations—will see who truly wants peace and is working toward it.

Scripture

I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.


- Genesis 12:2–3

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