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Bringing The Jewish People Home

Friday, June 25, 2021

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Every week, we post seven to ten news stories from Israel with a suggested prayer focus and scripture for each one, guiding readers how to pray for Israel’s most urgent needs. This Prayer Update is also sent to over 18,000 subscribers every Friday by e-mail. Please contact us at intl.office@bridgesforpeace.com if you would like to receive this Prayer Update by e-mail.

The Flurry of US–Israeli Meetings amid Iran Nuclear Talks

by Kate Norman

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IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi (left) and US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan (right)

Thursday, 24 June 2021 | Israel’s new government is wasting no time to meet with their US counterparts in an attempt to weigh in on the talks of a return to the nuclear deal with Iran.

Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi is currently in Washington DC meeting with top US defense officials, and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid is scheduled to meet US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Rome on Sunday—both primarily to discuss Iran and the ongoing nuclear deal talks.

Lapid will meet with Washington’s top diplomat in the first meeting between officials from the Biden administration and Israel’s new government. The meeting comes just a week after the sixth round of Vienna talks negotiating a return to the 2015 Iran deal came to a close.

Washington is reportedly willing to delay the next round of talks until it discusses the situation more with Israel, an unnamed source “with knowledge of the US President Joe Biden’s administration’s side of the talks” told the Jerusalem Post.

Israel has vehemently opposed a return to the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), asserting that it has done nothing to prevent Tehran’s nuclear development.

Conflicting rumors have arisen from Vienna about how close the US and Iran are to reaching a deal. The regime in Tehran has claimed that Washington is willing to drop sanctions on Iran’s oil and shipping industries, according to the outgoing Iranian president’s chief of staff.

That is an exaggeration, according to another unnamed Jerusalem Post source “with knowledge of the American side of the talks.”

Washington’s national security adviser said on Sunday that the negotiations still have “a fair distance to travel.”

This will be Lapid’s first international trip in his new role, and he decided to meet with Blinken in Rome in order to allow Prime Minister Naftali Bennett the honor of having the first visit to Washington, the Jerusalem Post reported.

IDF chief Kochavi met yesterday with US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan to discuss regional security issues, according to the IDF website. The main focus was Iranian aggression, entrenchment throughout the Middle East and “the failures of the current nuclear deal.”

Kochavi was also slated to meet with the directors of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the National Intelligence Service.

“In his meetings throughout the day, the chief of staff presents the possible ways to prevent military nuclear capabilities from Iran,” the IDF stated.

Since arriving in Washington DC on Sunday, Kochavi has met US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin; chief of the US Central Command, Kenneth McKenzie; and head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Mark Milley.

After a busy week of stating Israel’s case against Iranian aggression and cautioning the US not to return to the Iran deal, Kochavi is scheduled to return to Israel on Friday.

The meetings are also in part for both newly minted governments to get to know each other and maintain the alliance between Jerusalem and Washington. Israeli President Reuven Rivlin is scheduled to visit Washington next week, his last visit to the US in his official role before his term ends next month.

Lapid also spoke to US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday, their first conversation with Lapid in his new role as foreign minister.

Another attack was reported on an Iranian nuclear site on Wednesday. Small drones reportedly attacked and damaged a nuclear facility northwest of Tehran that was used to develop centrifuges to enrich uranium. Though Iran claims there was no damage, Hebrew media writes that the site was damaged. Tehran has not yet blamed anyone for the attack.

Iran’s nuclear sites have taken a beating over the past year. Just this week, the regime announced an emergency shutdown of its only fully functioning nuclear plant near the Bushehr port for a “technical overhaul.” Other mysterious setbacks in recent years include fires, cyberattacks and other acts of alleged sabotage. The Islamic Republic has vacillated between denying or downplaying the setbacks and blaming Israel for acts of sabotage.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, June 24, 2021)

Photo Credit: Shmulik Amrani/idf.il

Photo License: idf.il

Prayer Focus
Pray that the relationship between Israel and the US will stay strong and on track despite the changes in leadership. Beseech the Lord to open the eyes of the American administration to the dangers of proceeding with the JCPOA and pray that IDF Chief of Staff Kochavi’s suggestions will be taken seriously.

Scripture

The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes. Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the hearts. To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.


- Proverbs 21:1-3

Israeli Observers See Instability in Gaza Truce, Fear Return to New Round of Violence

by Yaakov Lappin ~ JNS

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Members of Al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Hamas terror group, join a rally in Beit Lahiya

Wednesday, 23 June 2021 | The current Israel–Hamas cease-fire is inherently unstable; remarkable developments would need to occur to prevent an eventual slide into a new round of violence, Israeli observers have said.

A month-and-a-half after the latest conflict, “it is clear we are in an open-ended story—perhaps the first scene in a much longer campaign,” Col. (ret.) Michael Milshtein, head of the Palestinian Studies Forum at the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies at Tel Aviv University, told JNS.

Milshtein, who until 2018 served as an adviser on Palestinian affairs in COGAT (the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories) and who was previously the head of the Department for Palestinian Affairs in the Israel Defense Forces [IDF] Military Intelligence, said “both sides understand that they did not, in effect, succeed in strategically changing reality. Israel has not caused severe deterrence against Hamas, and Hamas is continuing with its [arson and explosive] balloon terror, even if there was a break for a few days. Israel has not managed to secure long-term quiet. Hamas, for its part, is starting to understand that it lost many assets that it had on May 10 [the day that hostilities began], mainly the civilian gestures that it earned during the arrangement period [in the years leading up the May conflict]. These were very important to Hamas for stabilizing its regime.”

Both sides are currently trapped in a catch-22, he said, and this is likely to lead to another round of escalation in the coming months, unless extraordinary events take place.

Col. (res.) Moshe Elad, one of the founders of security coordination between the Israel Defense Forces and the Palestinian Authority [PA], described the overall story of Gaza since Hamas seized power in a 2007 coup. “Four conflicts ended with truces; each past truce was eventually violated,” he said.

“This is unlike Lebanon, where there have been many years of quiet,” said Elad. “The reason for this is that Lebanon has much to lose. They have a prime minister, a state, resources, tourism. [Hezbollah leader Hassan] Nasrallah issues threats, but on the Lebanese border, Israel has experienced its longest period of calm since the founding of the country.”

In Gaza, on the other hand, armed terror factions are quick to violence: “The agreements don’t hold up for very long.”

Milshtein noted that Israel has now canceled most of its civilian gestures to Gaza, and is mainly conditioning progress in negotiations on the release of the remains of Israeli MIA soldiers and civilians held by Hamas.

Yahya Sinwar, the head of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, is highly disturbed by the civilian situation in Gaza and [is] “beginning to realize that he lost civilian assets following the conflict; yet he is still not demonstrating any flexibility and is unlikely to do so on the issue of a prisoner swap with Israel,” said Milshtein.

“There Is Some Deterrence, but it’s not Long-term”

Milshtein listed two options that could prevent an escalation in the coming months. The first involves Hamas showing new flexibility on the MIA-prisoner deal—a highly unlikely scenario.

The second option, he said, is that Israel agrees to return to the arrangement that existed until May 10, and which collapsed as a doctrine with the outbreak of the conflict. The Israeli government looks unlikely to go down that route as well, he argued.

“In this situation, a lack of civilian quiet in the Strip that projects onto Hamas is expected, and Hamas can be expected to pressure Israel, mainly through [the arson and explosive] balloons, but later also through rocket attacks, which can lead to a deterioration and escalation relatively quickly,” cautioned Milshtein. That, in turn, can develop into a new round of fighting or even a bigger conflict than the one that occurred in May.

Whether or not the Palestinian Authority [PA] takes on the role of allocating future assistance funds in Gaza, as Israel has requested, it will still not be able to establish itself as an entity that influences the Strip. The PA will not be able to recreate its bureaucratic and security presence in Gaza, said Milshtein; Hamas will not allow that to happen.

Qatar, for its part, continues to be the main outside actor that financially supports the Strip, despite becoming deeply unpopular in Israel these days, and it seems that despite pledges, no other Arab country is set to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in the near future to Gaza on a regular basis, he noted.

Egypt “is continuing to do its normal work of ending rounds of conflict, but its influence each time turns out to be fundamentally limited,” he added. “It cannot or does not want to enforce things on Hamas. It has no real economic leverage in Gaza, and it is clear that Egypt has much bigger headaches to deal with.”

Elad said that “there is always a reason why the truces collapse. One time, it is the money entering Gaza; another time, it is because of how many goods enter the Strip. The real answer is that they don’t have much to lose.”

He echoed Milshtein’s assessment that the military blow that Israel dealt to Hamas will create only limited deterrence. “There is some deterrence, but it’s not long-term. Hence, the conclusion is that we are expecting a new round of fighting, though it’s hard to say when. It could take a year, two years or more,” he said.

Elad said the Israeli government should condition Gaza’s recovery on the demilitarization of Gaza by Hamas, even though it’s clear that Hamas would not ever accept those conditions.

“Unless a new Israeli government wants to go in with a ground offensive and clear the area, the situation will remain,” he said. “There is no technical obstacle for a ground offensive to happen, but the price [in lives], the economic price, the reserves that need to be called up means no government has done this,” he said.

In the event that a new escalation does take place, it will also be necessary to keep attention on “other arenas beyond Gaza,” noted Milshtein—“mainly, Arab society in Israel, where the atmosphere is extremely charged at the moment, and sparks from the south can cause to a renewed eruption.”

The West Bank [Judea and Samaria] has proven itself to be a fundamentally calm arena, said Milshtein, and Israel should ensure that it safeguards security coordination with the PA and the stability of the civilian fabric of life there, he added, in order to keep that arena quiet.

Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on June 22, 2021. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Atia Mohammed/Flash90/jns.org

Prayer Focus
Pray that the Lord will open the door to a true and lasting cease-fire with Gaza. Ask that great wisdom be granted Israel’s leaders as they negotiate prisoner exchanges and other conditions that will ensure a long-lasting cessation of violence.

Scripture

Be exalted, O God, above the heavens, and Your glory above all the earth; that Your beloved may be delivered, save with Your right hand, and hear me.


- Psalm 108:5–6

Foreign Minister Lapid Heading to the UAE Next Week in Historic Visit

by Kate Norman

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Lapid will be the first Israeli minister to visit the UAE (nation’s flag pictured)

Tuesday, 22 June 2021 | Foreign Minister Yair Lapid is scheduled to visit the United Arab Emirates (UAE) next week in the first ever official visit of an Israeli minister to the Emirati kingdom.

Lapid will travel to the Emirati capital of Abu Dhabi to inaugurate Israel’s embassy and then on to Dubai to open the Israeli consulate. This is Lapid’s first international trip in his new role, and he will be hosted by Emirati Foreign and International Cooperation Minister Abdullah bin Zayed.

“The Israel–UAE relationship is of great importance, the fruits of which will be enjoyed not only by the citizens of the two countries, but by the entire Middle East,” the foreign ministry said in a statement announcing Lapid’s visit.

Last year the UAE became the third Arab nation to sign a peace treaty with Israel, following Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994. A quarter of a century had passed with no new peace treaties or normalization agreements between Israel and another Arab state—until former US President Donald Trump brokered the historic Abraham Accords.

The landmark accords ushered in a new era of peace and open cooperation between the Jewish state and her Arab neighbors. Bahrain quickly jumped on board, and on September 15, 2020, the accords were officially signed on the White House lawn by Trump, former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Emirati Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed and Bahraini Foreign Minister Abdullatif bin Rashid.

After signing the accords, Netanyahu planned multiple visits to the UAE during his tenure as prime minister but never made the trip due to various scheduling conflicts, most due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Israeli National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat, however, traveled with a delegation to visit Abu Dhabi just weeks after the accords were signed.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett acknowledged the importance of Lapid’s visit in a Twitter post.

“Foreign Minister Yair Lapid will be the first Israeli minister to pay an official visit to the United Arab Emirates,” Bennett tweeted. “This is a historic and important event. Israel–Emirates relations are an important part of Israel’s foreign policy, and we will work to deepen them. Good luck, Yair!”

In a rotating leadership agreement, Bennett is serving as prime minister and Lapid as foreign minister and alternate prime minister for two years. In 2023, the two will switch roles.

After Israel’s new government was sworn in last week, both the UAE and Bahrain released welcoming statements. Lapid spoke over the phone with Bin Zayed and said in a Twitter post that he looks “forward to working with [Bin Zayed] to build on the warm and unique relations between our two countries for the benefit of our peoples and the entire Middle East.”

Source: (Bridges for Peace, June 22, 2021)

Photo Credit: Paolo Rosa/flickr.com

Photo License: flickr.com

Prayer Focus
Pray that Israeli Foreign Minister Lapid’s visit to the UAE will serve only to strengthen the relationship between the two nations. Pray that the “new era of peace and open cooperation between the Jewish state and her Arab neighbors” will bring blessing to both countries and stability to the entire region.

Scripture

Oh, how great is Your goodness, which You have laid up for those who fear You, which You have prepared for those who trust in You in the presence of the sons of men!


- Psalm 31:19

New COVID-19 Outbreak in Israel, Prime Minister Bennett Warns

by Kate Norman

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An Israeli riding an empty bus amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Wednesday, 23 June 2021 | The Israeli government is treating the recent uptick in COVID-19 cases as a new outbreak, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett announced during a tour of Ben Gurion airport and its testing facilities on Tuesday.

“Our goal is to cut it off, to take a bucket of water and pour it over the fire while the fire is still small,” Bennett said in a televised address from the airport.

Israel has been infiltrated by the Delta variant of the virus, which spreads more quickly and even infects people who have been vaccinated, Bennett warned. The virus was likely brought in by people returning from abroad.

“The spread of the Delta variant is currently accelerating throughout the world in many countries, with a rate of infection that is much higher than we have known,” Bennett said in the televised address. “It infects at a 50% higher rate and I regret that we are also seeing that it is starting to spread in the State of Israel, including infections in the community in which we cannot always locate the source.”

The government is reestablishing a corona cabinet to deal with containing and responding to the virus in Israel, Bennett said. The government is going to take a few more days to evaluate the situation before issuing new regulations.

Bennett urged Israelis to reconsider traveling abroad unless it’s absolutely necessary and warned that there will “likely be significant changes in the policy for entering and exiting the country.” He urged people who have not booked their vacation yet to hold off on doing so.

The prime minister also encouraged the public to resume wearing masks indoors, although he said it is not yet mandatory, as Israel just lifted the indoor mask mandate last week. The government is monitoring the new cases, Bennett said, and if Israel passes a threshold of more than 100 new cases per day several days in a row, they will consider reinstating the mask mandate.

Bennett did say, however, that wearing masks while inside the airport is mandatory.

He also announced that Israel has increased the number of coronavirus testing stations in the airport from 30 to 70 in order to prevent unnecessarily long lines.

The prime minister called on children 12 years and older to get vaccinated as soon as possible. Because Israel’s current inventory of vaccines will expire at the end of July, Bennett urged parents to schedule their children’s first inoculations before July 9 so they can get both doses before the end of next month.

“As a parent, I am not waiting,” Bennett, a father of four, said. “I will do this tomorrow. Because if the first vaccination is not administered by July 9, we will be unable to vaccinate because of the expiry date.”

Israel’s Health Ministry reported 125 new cases on Sunday, the highest number in two months, the Jerusalem Post reported. These new cases follow outbreaks in multiple schools throughout the country, infecting about 200 students and 20 teachers. As a result, masks are again required inside the schools that saw outbreaks of the virus.

“Let us not become panicky,” Bennett urged. “We are in a good situation at the moment.”

He said Israel will tighten its borders and use common sense within the nation to prevent a resurgence of the virus. “We do not want to return to the days of general lockdown or lockdowns on cities,” Bennett said. “We can avoid this. It depends on you alone,” appealing to the public.

The prime minister added: “We can defeat the coronavirus without draconian measures.”

Source: (Bridges for Peace, June 23, 2021)

Photo Credit: Jenna Solomon/bridgesforpeace.com

Prayer Focus
Pray that Israelis will be cooperative with any new restrictions that the government feels are necessary to stem the tide of this new outbreak. Pray that every person currently infected will experience a complete and rapid recovery, and ask the Lord to simply stop the virus in its tracks. Cry out to Him that lockdowns will not be necessary and borders will be opened to all who desire to enter.

Scripture

No evil shall befall you, nor shall any plague come near your dwelling; for He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways.


- Psalm 91:10–11

Israel Okays New Judea and Samaria Construction in First Such Move by New Government

by Elisha Ben Kimon

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Kfar Adumim in Judea and Samaria

Thursday, 24 June 2021 | Israel approved on Wednesday new construction in some Jewish settlements in the West Bank [Judea and Samaria] in first such move okayed by the government of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.

The subcommittee on settlements in the Civil Administration approved limited construction plans in settlements of Elkana, Mishor Adumim, Karnei Shomron, Kfar Adumim and Yitzhar.

Among constructions that were approved are a school for children with special needs in Elkana, a shopping mall in Mishor Adumim and yeshivahs [religious schools] and synagogues in Karnei Shomron and Kfar Adumim.

In addition, a small number of housing units was also approved for construction in Yitzhar. A total of 31 construction units were approved during the meeting.

The subcommittee usually approves individual construction plans on a small scale.

Large-scale and extensive construction projects are usually approved by the Higher Planning Council of the Civil Administration. The council normally convenes every three months but has not convened since January of this year.

No date has been set for the Higher Planning Council to meet in the near future.

The Yesha Council, an umbrella organization of municipal councils of Jewish settlements in the West Bank said in response [that] the Higher Planning Council should be convened immediately to approve large-scale housing projects in the area.

“We have been waiting for six months for approval of housing plans and that has not happened yet,” said the statement.

Source: (This article was originally published by Ynetnews on June 23, 2021. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: WebsThatSell/flickr.com

Photo License: flickr.com

Prayer Focus
Thank the Lord that these communities have received the okay for their construction projects. Pray that the Higher Planning Council of the Civil Administration will meet very soon. Pray that these communities in Judea and Samaria will receive the necessary approvals for badly needed large-scale housing projects in the area.

Scripture

For God will save Zion and build the cities of Judah, that they may dwell there and possess it. Also, the descendants of His servants shall inherit it, and those who love His name shall dwell in it.


- Psalm 69:35–36

Iran Elects a New President: The “Hangman of Tehran”

by Janet Aslin

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Iran’s new president, Ebrahim Raisi

Monday, 21 June 2021 | Iran’s controversial chief justice, Ebrahim Raisi, was chosen from a slate of four candidates to fill the position of Iran’s eighth president on Saturday, June 12. Fewer than half of Iran’s population turned out to vote in the election and, of the votes that were cast, the Jerusalem Post reported that “there were 3.7 million invalid ballots that were likely to have been mostly blank or protest votes.”

The president-elect, who will take office in August of this year, was endorsed by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and was widely expected to emerge victorious.

Expressing the Will of Khamenei

Elections in Iran may have the façade of democracy, but there is little left to chance or the will of the people. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has been in power since June 4, 1989, and has what appears to be unlimited power. Although in theory, his position is filled by an election in the Assembly of Experts, the reality is that there have only been two supreme leaders since the Islamic Republic of Iran was established in 1979. Although he may clothe himself in religious fervor, Khamenei is a dictator, and the election went to the candidate of his choice.

What can the world expect from Iran’s president-elect? Outgoing President Hassan Rouhani, who is nearing the end of his second term, has been widely touted as a moderate. The results of the recent election may signal a return to the days of former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a hardliner who openly demonstrated Iran’s anti-Zionist position as he regularly threatened Israel’s destruction.

At a minimum, Iranians will lose what little freedom of expression they may have had. President-elect Raisi has been closely associated with the regime of Supreme Leader Khamenei and has brutally enforced its will. In 1988, he was one of four judges who oversaw the secret death sentences for approximately 5,000 prisoners, earning him the infamous title, “Hangman of Tehran.” As Iran’s chief justice, Raisi has continued the crackdown on human rights and the protection of security forces who unlawfully killed or arrested many protestors in the November 2019 demonstrations.

A Clear Warning

Since the ayatollahs’ takeover of Iran in 1979, their desire to annihilate Israel and her people has continually been expressed. Therefore, Israel keeps a close eye on this hostile regime. It was no surprise, then, that reactions from Israel’s new government came quickly. At Sunday’s cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett addressed the matter in English, perhaps wanting to send a clear warning to the global community.

In part his remarks are as follows:

“Raisi’s election is, I would say, the last chance for the world powers to wake up before returning to the nuclear agreement, and to understand who they are doing business with. These guys are murderers, mass murderers.

“A regime of brutal hangmen must never be allowed to have weapons of mass destruction that will enable it to not kill thousands, but millions.

“Israel’s position will not change on this.”

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid echoed the position as he tweeted, “His election should prompt renewed determination to immediately halt Iran’s nuclear program and put an end to its destructive regional ambitions,”

Weighing in specifically on the effects the election will have on Iran’s populace, Amnesty International Secretary-General Agnes Callamard addressed the matter on the organization’s website. “That Ebrahim Raisi has risen to the presidency instead of being investigated for the crimes against humanity of murder, enforced disappearance and torture is a grim reminder that impunity reigns supreme in Iran.”

In conclusion, the effects of the elections are two-fold. First, such callous disregard for human life as has been displayed by President-elect Raisi will certainly mean more suffering for Iran’s population. And, as Prime Minister Bennett so succinctly warned the world, his election should serve as a wake-up call to the true nature of Iran’s current regime and what it will mean if they achieve their goal of nuclear weaponry.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, June 21, 2021)

Photo Credit: Tasnim News Agency/wikimedia.org

Photo License: Wikimedia.org

Prayer Focus
Pray that the warnings voiced by PM Bennett, FM Lapid and others will reach the ears of the international community and awaken them to the increased danger the world will face if President Raisi and his regime are allowed to move forward toward their goal of becoming a nuclear power. Pray that there will be a willingness on the part of world leaders to join with Israel in doing whatever is necessary to bring Iran’s nuclear program to a swift and complete halt.

Scripture

“For I am with you to save you and deliver you,” says the LORD. “I will deliver you from the hand of the wicked, and I will redeem you from the grip of the terrible.”


- Jeremiah 15:20b–21

Palestinian Authority and Abbas Vow to Continue Rewarding Terrorists with Generous Salaries

by Maurice Hirsch, Adv. ~ PMW

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PA President Mahmoud Abbas

Wednesday, 23 June 2021 | As US President [Joe] Biden and Secretary of State [Antony] Blinken are doing all they can to renew US funding to the Palestinians, the Palestinian Authority [PA] and its chairman, Mahmoud Abbas, are simply spitting Biden and Blinken in the eyes.

One of the major obstacles impeding US aid to the Palestinians is the PA’s terror-rewarding “Pay-for-Slay” policy. While the PA seems to be trying to convince the Biden administration that it has reformed, or even abandoned its pugnacious terror reward program, at home, in Arabic, PA TV is clarifying the message of Abbas to the Palestinian people: “Pay-for-Slay” will continue!

Since the beginning of June, PA TV has repeatedly—no less than 18 times!—broadcast Abbas’ speech in which he promises that even if the PA is left with only “one penny” in its coffers, he will pay that penny to the families of the dead terrorists, the terrorist prisoners, and the wounded terrorists.

Introducing the speech, the PA narrator presents Abbas as the one who “preserves the right of the martyrs, the wounded, and the prisoners.”

Since its creation, the PA has been paying substantial financial rewards to terrorists. This policy, collectively known as the PA’s “Pay-for-Slay” policy, has two main parts:

1) Payment of financial rewards to terrorist prisoners and released prisoners;

2) Payment of financial rewards to wounded terrorists and the families of dead terrorists (so-called “martyrs”)

  1. Palestinian terrorists who have been imprisoned by Israel are paid a monthly salary by the PA. The salary increases from 1,400 shekels ([US] $432)/month to 12,000 shekels ([US] $3,707)/month with time spent in prison. Released terrorists who spent up to five years in prison receive unemployment benefits for a period of time equal to the length of their sentences. Released terrorists who spent 5–10 years in prison are entitled to a position in the PA or a fixed salary. Released terrorists who spent over 10 years in prison are guaranteed a high-paying PA position, with the only condition being that if they are actually called to work, they must show up. Both imprisoned terrorists and released terrorists are entitled to additional financial rewards, simply as a function of their involvement in terror and their incarceration. As Palestinian Media Watch has conclusively shown, these payments are not welfare payments.

The PA payments to the terrorist prisoners and released prisoners are codified in the 2004 PA Law of Prisoners and Released Prisoners and its implementing regulations.

  1. Alongside the payments to the terrorist prisoners and released prisoners, the PA also pays monthly allowances to wounded terrorists and the families of dead terrorists. The payments to the families of the dead terrorists are paid at a set monthly rate, with additions in certain circumstances.

The payments to the wounded terrorists are calculated based on the degree of the injury as a percentage of the sum paid to the family of a dead terrorist—i.e. a wounded terrorist whose injury results in a 50% disability will receive 700 shekels ([US] $216)/month.

Abbas’s words are not just bravado or empty rhetoric. In 2020, as COVID-19 ravaged the globe, the PA had to make a serious decision: Continue paying rewards to terrorists or purchase critical life-saving medical equipment and vaccines. Spending a cumulative sum of no less than 750 million shekels [US $229.4 million] (600 million [US $ 183.5 million] on the salaries of the terrorists prisoners and released prisoners and 150 million shekels [US $45.9 million] paying the allowances to the wounded terrorists and families of the dead terrorists), the PA chose rewarding terrorists over saving the lives of the simple law-abiding Palestinians.

The US Taylor Force Act (TFA) conditions the bulk of US aid to the Palestinians on the PA abolishing its “Pay-for-Slay” policy and revoking all the laws associated with the phenomena. PMW urges President Biden and Secretary Blinken not to allow themselves to be hoodwinked into misleading Congress and renewing the US aid to the PA before the PA complies fully with TFA and other conditions for aid stipulated in US law.

Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published by the Palestinian Media Watch on June 22, 2021. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Kremlin.ru/wikimedia.org

Photo License: wikimedia.org

Prayer Focus
Pray that the Biden administration will heed the advice of PMW and the Israeli government and hold the PA to strict and full compliance with the Taylor Force Act before any aid packages are renewed. Pray that US leaders will not be deceived by PA propaganda and beseech Him for an end to the horrific “Pay-for-Slay” policy.

Scripture

For there is no faithfulness in their mouth; their inward part is destruction; their throat is an open tomb; they flatter with their tongue. Pronounce them guilty, O God! Let them fall by their own counsels; cast them out in the multitude of their transgressions,


- Psalm 5:9–10a

Israel Demonstrates First-ever Airborne Laser Interceptor

by Yaakov Lappin ~ JNS

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The Elbit Systems 100-kilowatt laser system on a Cessna aircraft

Thursday, 24 June 2021 | In a groundbreaking demonstration of a new capability against aerial threats, the Israeli Defense Ministry and Elbit Systems held a trial in recent days in which a high-power airborne laser system placed on board an aircraft shot down multiple unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) over the Mediterranean Sea.

The Defense Ministry said the trial was part of an initial development program that aims to produce a prototype of a solid state, 100-kilowatt laser that can be flown on a Boeing-sized aircraft within three to four years. The system will be able to shoot down large hostile UAVs, smaller drones, rockets, missiles and particularly long-range threats as they travel through the air.

According to Brig.–Gen. Yaniv Rotem, head of Research and Development in the Directorate of Defense R&D, the altitude the laser system will fly at means that clouds will be beneath it, forming no obstacle to the laser system’s ability to detect threats, he added.

“The airborne, high-power laser system will complement Israel’s multi-tier missile defense array, which includes the Iron Dome, David’s Sling and Arrow missile interceptor systems,” the Defense Ministry said in a statement. “This system will increase the effectiveness of air defense against existing and future threats in the region.”

In particular, the airborne laser is designed to complement Iron Dome batteries on the ground, giving Israeli air-defenders additional shoot-down options against incoming enemy attacks.

“Iron Dome is the basic system, and it will continue to do its great job, as we saw in last [month’s] conflict,” said Rotem. During “Operation Guardian of the Walls” in May against Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip, Iron Dome maintained an interception rate of around 90%, according to the Israel Defense Forces [IDF].

The general manager of Elbit Systems ISTAR, Oren Sabag, said the laser could also be miniaturized in the future to allow it on board UAVs. He cited the use of advanced optics and algorithms that detect and track targets, and which direct and correct the laser beam.

Once the beam strikes its target, it creates a fire and causes it to crash within seconds, said Sabag.

A prototype of the laser will be ready in the next three to four years, defense officials said during a conference call.

The Defense Ministry described the ability to intercept airborne from the air as precedent-setting, noting that “Israel is among the first countries in the world to achieve and demonstrate such capabilities.” It said a successful trial is the first stage in a multi-year program.

The Defense Ministry is also working with defense companies Elbit and Rafael to develop ground-based laser systems, also scheduled to become operational in three to four years.

Both types of laser systems are primarily designed to assist Iron Dome shoot down targets, though they could also assist other types of Israeli air defense systems.

Iran maintains an active missile development program

The push to create new interception capabilities comes as Israel’s adversaries are working to improve the ranges and warheads of their rocket and missile arsenals.

Terrorist armies on Israel’s borders—Hamas in Gaza, Hezbollah in Lebanon and Iranian proxies in Syria—continue to try to develop their rockets, missiles and UAV fleets. Iran maintains a highly active ballistic and cruise missile development program, and plants missiles both on its own soil and around the region in places such as Syria.

In January 2020, the Defense Ministry said it had made a dramatic breakthrough in developing laser defense systems that will shoot down rockets, artillery mortars, drones and even anti-tank missiles.

“Based on high-energy lasers, this technology will prompt a strategic change in the defense capabilities of the State of Israel,” the Defense Ministry said at the time.

A combined research-and-development program with Rafael and Elbit systems, as well as academic institutions, led to that breakthrough.

The ground-based lasers under development include one version that will help Iron Dome defend Israeli cities and a second, mobile version that will travel onboard military vehicles to defend soldiers on the battlefield.

Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on June 23, 2021. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Israel Defense Ministry/jns.org

Prayer Focus
Praise the Lord that Israeli ingenuity is again at the forefront of technological developments that will help to strengthen their security capabilities. Pray, however, that all Israel will remember that their safety is found in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Scripture

In God is my salvation and my glory; the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God. Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us.


- Psalm 62:7–8