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What Will We Do Now?

Friday, June 3, 2022

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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.

Israel Drills Large-scale Strike on Iran Nuclear Facilities

by Ilse Strauss

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An Israeli Air Force jet

Wednesday, 1 June 2022 | Dozens of Israeli Air Force fighter jets took to the skies over the Mediterranean Sea last night to rehearse a large-scale strike on Iranian nuclear facilities.

The simulation comprised a “long-range flight, aerial refueling and striking distant targets,” the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said in a statement today. Additionally, it also included preparing for and responding to Iranian retribution for an Israeli strike.

Last night’s maneuvers form part of the IDF’s Chariots of Fire exercise, the largest war drill in Israel’s history. Starting in early May, the four weeks of extensive war games are seeing all hands on deck with nearly every IDF unit participating in scenarios that involve fighting off Israel’s enemies on multiple fronts.

Shortly after Chariots of Fire kicked off, the Times of Israel revealed that the drill would include practicing a wide-scale strike on Iran, and in particular its nuclear facilities.

The drill comes as Iran’s return to the 2015 nuclear deal seems increasingly unlikely and Israel—which has never put much stock in a diplomatic solution anyway—ramps up preparations to deal with the menace of a nuclear Iran by itself.

In the beginning of 2021, IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi instructed the military to begin drafting operational attack plans against Iran. Eight months later, it was reported that the Israeli Air Force (IAF) was set to start training for a strike to dismantle Iran’s nuclear program as early as the beginning of this year. Two months after that, Kochavi said the IDF “is accelerating operational planning and preparedness to deal with Iran and the military nuclear threat.” And another month later, NIS 5 billion (US $1.6 billion) was allocated to prepare for the execution of such plans.

However, the insistent rhetoric and the increased efforts don’t mean the Israeli warplanes will be taking off for Iran anytime soon—if at all.

Executing a successful strike that puts a long-term stop to Iran’s nuclear ambitions is extremely complicated, if not borderline impossible at present. Israel has in the past reduced two neighboring countries’ budding nuclear endeavors to ashes—Iraq in 1981 and Syria in 2017. The Iraqi and Syrian programs had much in common. Most importantly, both were concentrated in one location.

The Iranian program is different. Facilities are spread out, well-fortified and in the case of the Fordow facility, embedded in a mountain, thus requiring special munitions and tactics. And whether Israel has the military capacity and resources to deal all the main elements a fatal blow with a single action remains unclear.

Israeli military strategists must also take into account the very real possibility of Iranian payback. Reprisals would probably go well beyond a counterstrike and should be considered within a broad regional context. Iranian power and influence extend to various Middle Eastern countries as the regime seeks to surround Israel with terror armies.

In the aftermath of an Israeli attack, Iranian puppet masters may well activate their terror puppets: Hamas in Gaza, Shiite militias in Iraq and Hezbollah in Lebanon, unleashing their arsenal of 150,000 missiles on the Jewish state. Moreover, incitement may trigger an uprising among Arab Israelis, which translates to Israel facing an onslaught both externally and on the home front.

Launching an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities is most certainly not a decision Israel will take lightly. In fact, it might well only be launched as a last-ditch effort to halt Tehran’s march across the nuclear finish line. Perhaps it will never become necessary. Perhaps it is enough of a deterrent for Iran to know that there is someone watching, working and preparing a credible threat for if and when the red line is crossed.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, June 1, 2022)

Photo Credit: U.S. Embassy Jerusalem/flickr.com

Photo License: Flickr

Prayer Focus
Cry out to the Lord that Israel’s efforts to establish a military deterrent will indeed achieve its aim, causing Iran to tread lightly and steer clear of the nuclear finish line. Also pray for all the role-players involved in developing and rolling out the military tactic against Iran, from the high-level strategists to those on the ground executing the plans, asking God for His supernatural insight, wisdom and ability over them.

Scripture

Blessed be the LORD my Rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle—my lovingkindness and my fortress, my high tower and my deliverer, my shield and the One in whom I take refuge.


- Psalm 144:1–2a

Attempted Palestinian Terror Attack Thwarted

by Elisha Ben Kimon, Elior Levy

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The attempted attack took place at a military checkpoint on a main highway in Judea and Samaria.

Thursday, 2 June 2022 | A 31-year-old Palestinian woman was shot dead by Israeli soldiers after she allegedly tried to stab them [in] the West Bank [Judea and Samaria], the IDF [Israel Defense Forces] said on Wednesday.

The woman was recently released from Israeli prison after serving a three-year sentence for trying to carry out a similar attack.

The alleged attack took place at a military checkpoint on a main West Bank highway, which was positioned to prevent shooting and stone-throwing on Israeli vehicles.

“The knife-wielding terrorist charged at an IDF soldier and was shot by others in the force,” the military said in a statement. “None of the members of the force were hurt and the terrorist was neutralized.”

Military sources added that Palestinians gathered around the force immediately after the incident and hurled racist expletives at one of the soldiers who is of Ethiopian descent.

The attempted stabbing comes one day after a 15-year-old Palestinian resident of east Jerusalem was arrested with a knife in his possession.

Police officers who suspected the teenager asked him to approach them. The suspect began to flee and discarded his bag in which the knife was found. He was later apprehended and told investigators he intended to carry out a terrorist attack.

Source: (This article was originally published by Ynetnews on June 1, 2022. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Openclipart/publicdomainvectors.org

Photo License: Public Domain

Prayer Focus
Bless the Lord for His hand of protection over the IDF soldiers and bringing the intentions of the Palestinian terrorist to naught. Bring all the men and women of Israel’s security forces before the Lord, asking Him to be their shield and guard as they shield and guard the people of Israel. Also pray for a quick and decisive end to the wave of terror that has plagued Israel since March.

Scripture

But my eyes are upon You, O GOD the Lord; in You I take refuge; do not leave my soul destitute. Keep me from the snares they have laid for me, and from the traps of the workers of iniquity. Let the wicked fall into their own nets, while I escape safely.


- Psalm 141:8–10

Israel and UAE Sign Historic Free Trade Agreement

by JNS

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The Israeli and UAE economy ministers sign the historic free trade agreement.

Wednesday, 1 June 2022 | Israel and the United Arab Emirates signed a free trade agreement on Tuesday in Dubai. The deal is the first of its kind between Israel and an Arab state.

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid hailed the agreement, calling it historic, and thanked Israel’s Economy and Industry Minister Orna Barbivai for her contribution to achieving it.

Barbivai attended the signing ceremony in Dubai, together with her UAE counterpart, Abdulla bin Touq Al Marri, and UAE Minister for Foreign Trade Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi.

Barbivai said on Monday that customs duties will be eliminated on 96% of products, including food, agriculture, cosmetics, medical equipment and medicine, according to Reuters.

The agreement also includes regulation, customs, services and government procurement.

Minister Al Zeyoudi tweeted on Tuesday: “Today, we signed a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement with #Israel that builds on the strong foundations laid by the Abraham Accords. It will push the value of our non-oil bilateral trade beyond [US] $10 billion within five years.”

The UAE and Israel normalized relations in September 2020 as part of the US-brokered Abraham Accords that also included Bahrain and Morocco, and later Sudan.

In March of this year, academic institutions in Israel and the United Arab Emirates signed their first agreement to date for academic cooperation, further strengthening ties between the two countries.

In the same month, Israel, the United States and the UAE began a new program to promote interfaith and intercultural dialogue, as well as counter religious intolerance and hatred at the inaugural meeting of the Trilateral Religious Coexistence Working Group in Dubai.

Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on May 31, 2022. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Twitter/JNS.org

Prayer Focus
Shout for joy before the Lord over this historic, first-of-its-kind agreement between the Jewish state and an Arab nation. Praise His name for the continued abundant fruit that the Abraham Accords have yielded and continue to yield. Also pray that this free trade agreement will translate to rich blessings for both Israel and the UAE, allowing the pact to stand as a testimony of success for others to follow.

Scripture

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious oil upon the head, running down on the beard, the beard of Aaron, running down on the edge of his garments.


- Psalm 133:1–2

Suriname States Intention to Open Embassy in Jerusalem

by JNS

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Jerusalem, the capital of Israel

Wednesday, 1 June 2022 | Suriname and Israel announced on Monday that the South American country would open an embassy in Jerusalem.

“Today, during our meeting in Jerusalem, Surinamese Foreign Minister Albert Ramdin informed me that his country plans to soon open an embassy in Jerusalem,” tweeted Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid.

To date, the United States, Honduras, Guatemala and Kosovo have embassies in Jerusalem.

Ramdin told Reuters the exact timing for the move was unknown.

“We don’t know yet,” he acknowledged. “We have expressed the intention. The consultation on how and what is going to start now.”

Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on May 31, 2022. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: JekLi/Shutterstock/JNS.org

Prayer Focus
Bless the Lord for this tiny South American nation’s conviction and integrity to stand up for what is right, even in the face of international pressure to do the exact opposite. Pray that His favor will rest upon Suriname in accordance with His promise to bless those who bless Israel, and that many will take note of Suriname’s prosperity, knowing that it comes from God.

Scripture

“Yet I have chosen Jerusalem, that My name may be there…”


- 2 Chronicles 6:6a

Bereaved Families Sue Hamas for US $18 Million

by Yair Altman ~ Israel Hayom via JNS

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The funeral for Pascal Avrahami, an Israeli who was killed in a Hamas terror attack in 2011

Tuesday, 31 May 2022 | The family of an Israeli police officer who was killed in a terror attack in southern Israel in 2011 has filed a [US] $18 million lawsuit against the Hamas terrorist organization.

Pascal Avrahami, 49, a decorated police counterterror unit sniper, was one of eight people killed in a Hamas shooting that targeted Israeli vehicles traveling on Highway 12, near the Israel–Egypt border, on August 18, 2011. Forty others were wounded in the attack.

The families of several other victims have also joined the suit.

“Previous rulings in Israel recognize the authority of the Israeli court to award punitive damages in a case such as these, which involve intentional or malicious infliction of injustice,” the lawsuit states.

“The defendant’s conduct had a sole purpose: to murder and terrorize…[A]nd we hereby appeal to the court to award the plaintiffs punitive and/or deterrent and/or exemplary compensation.”

Avrahami’s mother told Israel Hayom: “When I see what’s going on in the news—I can’t believe what has become of us. We give them [terrorists] luxury conditions in prison—they even get to earn a [college] degree—but what about the bereaved families? The orphaned and the parents? If every family demands compensation from the organization that sent them to murder women and children, maybe that will help.”

Yaakov Rand, a lawfare expert representing the families, said that the lawsuit was “part of an ongoing campaign against terrorists, terrorist groups, and anyone who supports them by affording the financial infrastructure for terrorism.”

This article first appeared in Israel Hayom.

Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published by Israel Hayom and republished by the Jewish News Syndicate on May 30, 2022. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Yossi Zamir/Flash 90/JNS.org

Prayer Focus
Cover this lawsuit in prayer, asking the Lord for His providence and favor upon the initiative aimed at seeking compensation for such a devastating loss. Also cry out to the Lord for the family and loved ones of terror victims who continue to mourn their loved one’s death. Pray specifically for the family of Pascal Avrahami for comfort and healing.

Scripture

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you,
yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”


- Isaiah 41:10

Blinken Speaks with Abbas ahead of Biden Visit to Israel

by JNS

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US Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets with PA President Mahmoud Abbas.

Thursday, 2 June 2022 | US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with Palestinian Authority [PA] leader Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday.

According to US State Department spokesman Ned Price, Blinken spoke to Abbas about the importance of Israelis and Palestinians working to maintain calm and de-escalate tensions in light of recent terror attacks and the death of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh. Blinken also underscored the importance of concluding investigations into her death.

According to the readout, he emphasized negotiating a two-state solution and fostering a US–Palestinian relationship.

Blinken discussed many of the same topics last week with his Israeli counterpart, Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid.

The conversations come ahead of US President Joe Biden’s visit to the region this month.

Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on June 1, 2022. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: U.S. State Department/Twitter/jns.org

Prayer Focus
Bring President Biden’s trip to Israel before the Lord, covering the entire visit with its various aims, purposes, appointments, meetings and interactions entirely in prayer. Ask the Lord for His agenda for the trip and that His perfect will for Israel as well as the US will be done throughout the visit.

Scripture

The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes.


- Proverbs 21:1

Pew Report Finds Slight Increase in Americans Favorable View of Israel

by Itamar Eichner ~ Ynetnews

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US and Israeli flags

Monday, 30 May 2022 | Two-thirds of Americans express at least a somewhat favorable view of the Israeli people, A Pew survey released on Thursday showed, indicating a slight rise from 64% to 67% in previous polling in 2019.

According to the survey, one in five Americans say they feel very favorably toward the Israelis, while 52%—up from 46%—hold a favorable view on the Palestinian people, and one in ten US adults have a very favorable opinion of the Palestinians.

The new survey, conducted last March among 10,441 US adults, showed only that among younger Americans under the age of 30, support for Israel has dropped from 63% in 2019 to 57%.

The survey shows that American public opinion on Israel and the Palestinians varies according to political affiliation, with the Republican Party voters more supportive of Israel while Democrats are more supportive of the Palestinians.

[Of] more than a third of Americans asked, (35%) say a two-state solution is the best resolution of the conflict, 27% say they prefer a one-state solution and 37% say they are undecided.

The survey also revealed that most Americans have never heard of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement (BDS) and only 7% of those surveyed heard and support the anti-Israel organization.

Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published by Ynetnews on May 26, 2022. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: zeevveez/flickr.com

Photo License: flickr.com

Prayer Focus
Thank the Lord for the increasingly somewhat favorable view that two-thirds of Americans hold of Israelis. Pray for this upward trend to continue through God opening the eyes of people—particularly Christians—around the world to His continued commitment and care for Israel.

Scripture

For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD will give grace and glory; no good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.


- Psalm 84:11