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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 Unveils Countdown to the “Destruction of Israel”

by Ilse Posselt

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Israeli flags being burned on Al-Quds Day (illustrative)

Tuesday, 27 June 2017 | Nearly four decades ago, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the former Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, issued a rallying call to all followers of Islam. “I invite Muslims all over the globe to consecrate the last Friday of the holy month of Ramadan as Al-Quds [the Arabic name for Jerusalem] Day and to proclaim the international solidarity of Muslims in support of the legitimate rights of the Muslim people of Palestine.”

Millions answered Ayatollah Khomeini’s clarion call. For the past 38 years, Muslims around the world have set the last Friday of Ramadan aside as an annual anti-Israel day to rally against the Jewish state.

Al-Quds Day is particularly prevalent in the Ayatollah’s home country. Each year, the event sees millions of Iranians take to the streets of Tehran and other cities across the Islamic Republic to gawk at parades aimed at showcasing the country’s military prowess and to partake in popular Al-Quds Day activities, such as burning Israeli and American flags, watching effigies of Israeli and American leaders go up in flames and chanting “Death to America and Israel.”

This year was no different. On Friday—the last Friday of this year’s month of Ramadan—millions of Iranians participated in special Al-Quds Day rallies hosted around the country. As in previous years, Friday’s celebrations featured the customary flag burning, chanting and pledges from the marchers that the destruction of the Jewish state is “the Muslim world’s top priority.”

Moreover, the Islamic Republic’s Revolutionary Guard Corps went to great lengths to ensure that the Iranian Ghadr missiles, which have the capability to reach Israel, were proudly exhibited in Tehran. The display also featured the Zolfaghar surface-to-surface projectile that Iran used last weekend to strike Islamic State (ISIS) targets in Syria.

Despite the similarities to previous rallies, this year’s celebrations featured a special highlight: the inauguration of a massive digital countdown in Tehran Palestine Square, showing 8,411 days to the alleged “destruction of Israel.”

This particular timeframe comes from a comment that Iran’s current Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, made in 2015, claiming that there would be “nothing” left of Israel by the year 2040. From Ayatollah Khamenei’s threat, the digital countdown thus celebrated 8,411 days before the destruction of the Jewish state.

In line with the day’s atmosphere of ferocity and venom, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani issued a call to his fellow Muslims to unite in violently confronting Israel.

“The message of Al-Quds Day is that of hatred towards the occupying and usurping regime [Israel] as well as support for the oppressed nation of Palestine,” Tehran’s Press TV quoted Rouhani as saying.

According to The Algemeiner, Rouhani’s word’s echo the latest propaganda peddled by the Islamic Republic, which claims that Israel is the driving force behind the terror group, ISIS.

Rouhani continued to explain that Friday’s Al-Quds Day rallies were pivotal, “given the presence of terrorists in the region, who are backed by Israel.” He then shared his commitment to “cleanse the region of Tel Aviv-backed terrorists.”

Rouhani was not the only senior Iranian official who laid the blame for terror in the Middle East at Israel’s door. In a speech to Tehran demonstrators, parliament speaker Ali Larijani called the Jewish state the “mother of terrorism.”

Although Ayatollah Khamenei failed to address his followers during Friday’s rally, Iran’s supreme leader did speak out on Monday during an Eid al-Fitr ceremony to mark the end of Ramadan. Addressing a number of Muslim ambassadors, state officials and Iranian citizens, Ayatollah Khamenei said that every follower of Islam carries the responsibility to fight Israel in any means possible.

“According to Islamic jurisprudence, when an enemy takes over Muslim lands, jihad in any possible form becomes everyone’s duty,” the supreme leader taught. “Today the fight against the Zionist regime is obligatory and necessary for Muslims.”

Ramadan is the ninth—and also the holiest—month on the Islamic calendar. Muslims believe that the Koran was revealed to the Prophet Mohammed during the 30-day period of Ramadan and his followers mark this period annually with intense prayer, dawn-to-dusk fasting and joyous nightly feasts.

In theory, Muslims are required to observe Ramadan as a month filled with piety, charity, self-restraint and peace. Yet practice is often far removed from theory. Over the past few years, Ramadan has become synonymous with an upsurge in bloodshed, as religious extremists across the globe use the time as a rallying cry to sow violence. The holiest month in Islam has turned into a month devoted to terror, a period which many in Israel and around the world anticipate with dread.

This Ramadan proved one of the bloodiest in modern history. Over the course of the month, 1,627 people were murdered in 161 terror attacks. The attacks took place in 29 countries spread across Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, 27 June 2017)

Photo Credit: Sonia Sevilla/wikimedia

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Thank God for His faithful covenant with the house of Israel. Pray for Israel’s defense forces and its government to prepare well for the reality of these threats but also to keep their hearts focused on the Lord. Pray that the incitement happening in the neighboring nations will fall on deaf ears.

Scripture

Thus says the Lord, Who gives the sun for a light by day, the ordinances of the moon and the stars for a light by night, Who disturbs the sea, and its waves roar: the Lord of hosts is His name: If those ordinances depart from before Me, says the Lord, then the seed of Israel shall also cease from being a nation before Me forever.


- Jeremiah 31:35-36

Israel Takes a Stand ahead of UNESCO Vote over Hebron and Jerusalem

by Ilse Posselt

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Tomb of the Patriarchs, Hebron

Wednesday, 28 June 2017 | “Jewish history begins in Hebron,” David Ben-Gurion said some six decades ago. Israel’s first prime minister was right. The ancient city of Hebron serves as the cradle and the roots of the children of Israel, the backdrop against which the opening paragraphs and numerous subsequent chapters in the tale of the Jewish people would play out.

The Jewish connection to Hebron began some 3,800 years ago, when the father of the Jews, Abraham, pitched his tents and purchased a plot of land there. The nearly four millennia since have seen an almost unbroken chain of Jewish presence in the ancient city. In biblical times, Hebron served as the capital city of Judah and the seat of King David’s reign for the first seven years of his kingship. Moreover, Hebron is the eternal resting place for the founding fathers, patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and their wives, Sarah, Rebekah and Leah.

There is no question that Hebron is inextricably linked to the identity of Israel. In fact, without Hebron, there would be no Jewish history as we know it.

Yet despite the archeological, historical and scientific proof of a Jewish presence in this city dating back 3,800 years, the Palestinian narrative claims Hebron as its own. In fact, the Palestinians have now requested the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to inscribe the Old City of Hebron—including the Tomb of the Patriarchs—on its List of World Heritage in Danger as a protected site in the “State of Palestine.”

UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee is set to pass a vote on the Palestinians’ claim to the ancient city—and the burial spot of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob—next week when the committee meets in Krakow, Poland, for its annual assembly.

Israel requires seven of the 21 nations serving on the committee to vote against the resolution in order to block the motion. Yet given the Arab nation’s overwhelming majority in the forum, the claim is expected to pass, The Times of Israel reports.

Accepting the motion will establish international agreement that the Tomb of the Patriarchs is a Palestinian Muslim site and will make it the third Israeli site to be listed on UNESCO’s List of World Heritage in Danger as located in the “State of Palestine.” The Church of Nativity in Bethlehem and the “cultural landscape of southern Jerusalem” fill the first two spots.

According to Breaking News Israel, Jordan has also submitted a last-minute motion on Monday, requesting that the Old City of Jerusalem be retained on the committee’s list of endangered sites. The motion calls on the forum to withdraw and annul “all legislative and administrative measures and actions taken by Israel, the occupying power, which have altered or purport to alter the character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem.”

UNESCO’s 58-member Executive Board passed a similar resolution earlier this year. Although the wording of this motion is slightly less harsh, it still disavows Israeli sovereignty and any Jewish ties to Jerusalem.

Israel’s ambassador to UNESCO, Carmel Shama HaCohen, indicated that while the text has been watered down, “we are not distinguishing between the texts.”

“No matter how hard you try to persuade a person that it is better to be in an oven set to 100 degrees rather than 1,000 degrees, that person would prefer it to be at room temperature,” he explained.

“As far as we are concerned the motion seeks obsessively to blacken Israel,” HaCohen held. “Israel does not want the resolution to be softened; it wants an end to this shameful obsession.”

In the run-up to the vote, Israel is making every effort to persuade some of the 21 members of the committee to give the resolution thumbs down. While the Jewish state knows full well that the odds are not in its favor, all hope is not yet lost. “The Palestinians have never lost a vote at UNESCO,” HaCohen admitted. “But there is always a first time and we are getting closer to it.”

Last week, Israel barred a UNESCO team on a so-called fact-finding mission from entering Hebron. HaCohen said that the refusal served as a “principled and strategic” stand against the prospective pro-Palestinian resolution.

He explained that similar fact-finding missions were dispatched in the past to the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem and the “cultural landscape of southern Jerusalem” to determine whether they should be added to UNESCO’s List of World Heritage in Danger. Despite the team on the mission being advised against the addition, the committee placed them on the list regardless.

“Israel will not take part in and will not legitimize any Palestinian political moves under the guise of culture and heritage,” HaCohen concluded. “We are in the midst of a campaign against the opening of an additional Palestinian front in the religious and cultural war they are trying to force on us.”

Source: (Bridges for Peace, 28 June 2017)

Photo Credit: Kathy DeGagne/www.bridgesforpeace.com

Prayer Focus
Bring the upcoming UNESCO vote before the Lord and pray that nations will vote in light of the truth and not because of pressure or fear. Pray especially that nations who have received some kind of assistance from Israel will boldly vote against the PA claims. Ask God for wisdom and favor as Israel’s representatives describe the undeniable and overwhelming evidence of Hebron’s part in their history.

Scripture

In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem: Do not fear; Zion, let not your hands be weak. The Lord your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.


- Zephaniah 3:16-17

Israel Has no Intention of Going to War, Says Defense Minister

by Ilse Posselt

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A view of Israel’s northern border with Lebanon

Thursday, 29 June 2017 | The past five days have seen the borders of the Promised Land come under fire from multiple fronts. The first assaults came from the north, when ten shells fired by the Syrian regime loyal to President Bashar al-Assad hit the Golan Heights. The bombardment continued on Sunday, with several more Syrian projectiles striking the Jewish state. Then, Monday morning dawned with reports of machine gun fire from Syria. Last night, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said that yet another Syrian regime missile had struck Israeli territory.

Yet the hostilities were not confined to Israel’s northern boundary. On Monday evening, a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip hit an open area in the south of Israel.

As tensions on Israel’s northern and southern borders remain on a knife-edge, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman refuted all speculations that the Jewish state might soon face either Hezbollah or Hamas in battle.

Addressing the Knesset Defense and Foreign Affairs committee on Monday, Lieberman had a rather sardonic message to squash the rumors of war. “If you read the newspapers it seems that we have many prophets predicting a hot summer,” he began. “Let me be clear once again: We have no intention of initiating a military operation, neither in the north nor in the south.”

While Lieberman highlighted Israel’s desire and commitment to life in peace with its neighbors—during the coming summer and beyond—the defense minister was quick to add that the Jewish state will not sit by idly as the Syrian civil war spills across the border into the Promised Land. Neither will it allow the war-torn country to be used as a base from which to launch attacks on Israel or smuggle advanced weapons to the Lebanese terror group, Hezbollah, Lieberman assured.

“We will not hold back if necessary and when needed we will respond with all our might. We will not let anything pass, whether it is just spillage or not. Everything will get a powerful response,” he warned.

Lieberman also had some words of caution for the Islamic Republic, who is reported to have strengthened its influence and foothold in Syria over the past few months. “Whoever wants to turn Syria into a base for Syria and the Iranians against Israel should think again. We will not accept Syria being turned into another base and front against Israel.”

Lieberman added that the State of Israel is in a period of relative peace, quiet and economic growth. He expressed his hope that these favorable conditions would not be disturbed.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu echoed Lieberman’s sentiments regarding Israel’s policy of zero tolerance. Speaking at an event held in the Golan Heights, the proverbial stone’s throw from the Syrian border, Netanyahu said, “Our line is clear—we do not interfere in what is happening in Syria, but we are determined to respond firmly and forcefully to any violation of our sovereignty.”

“We are in full control of the situation,” the prime minister added. “We know what is happening across the border.”

Since the start of the Syrian civil war seven years ago, Israel has gone to great lengths to refrain from taking sides or getting embroiled in the fighting on its doorstep.

There are, however, exceptions to Israel’s policy. The IDF has responded to spillover fire with limited airstrikes. Moreover, senior Israeli officials, including Netanyahu and Lieberman, have also disclosed that Israel has acted in Syria to prevent Iran from using the cover of civil war to smuggle advanced weapons via Damascus to its proxy Hezbollah.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, 29 June 2017)

Photo Credit: IDFblog

Prayer Focus
Praise God for Israel’s example of steadfastly continuing and committing to seek peace with its neighbors and living up to their commitment. Pray that the leadership, especially PM Netanyahu and Defense Minister Lieberman, will have discernment in these crucial times of multiple threats.

Scripture

If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.


- Romans 12:18

Netanyahu to Beef up Security at Damascus Gate

by Itay Blumental

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Damascus Gate

Monday, 26 June 2017 | Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Thursday evening that he intends to beef up security arrangements and implement other changes at the Damascus Gate in the Old City—a site which has become a flashpoint of repeated terror attacks.

Speaking during a groundbreaking ceremony for a new park in Bat Yam which is to be named after his brother Yoni Netanyahu—who was killed during Israel’s famous rescue operation in Entebbe—the Israeli premier said that he had already met with Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan and Police Commissioner Roni Alsheikh to bring the changes to fruition.

“I asked for changes at the Damascus Gate. They have prepared a plan to augment security and restrict the freedom of action by potential terrorists. I approved this plan and it will be implemented extremely soon,” Netanyahu promised.

Explaining his decision, Netanyahu turned to the latest deadly attack that was carried out by three terrorists at the site which last Friday claimed the life of the border police officer Hadas Malka, 23.

“Hadas Malka said a wonderful thing. During a visit I made with (my wife) Sara at the family home, they told us that she had told her officers: ‘Understand that if we are not here, (none of us) will be here.’ We are protecting the capital of Israel, we are protecting the existence of Israel with our wonderful young men and women,” the prime minister said.

“The gate has become a gathering for murderers time and again, for attackers time and again. It has become a symbol of terrorism and has also become a symbol for anti-terrorism, of the fight against terrorism. That is why I asked for a plan and changes.”

Hadas Malka was killed during an attack involving three terrorists who went on the rampage with guns and knives. In addition, the attack left five others wounded. All three attackers were shot and killed by security forces at the scene.

In a similar attack in 2016, border guard Hadar Cohen, 19, was also murdered by terrorists at the same site.

Source: (Ynetnews originally published this article on 23 June 2017. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Prayer Focus
Cry to the Lord about the many terror and stabbing attacks that have taken place at the Damascus Gate of the Old City in Jerusalem. Lift up the soldiers putting their lives on the front line of terror, asking the Lord to give them sound minds, eyes like hawks and strength in times of crisis. Give thanks for the patriotism of the entire IDF and other security forces who stand together to protect us.

Scripture

He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler. You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day…


- Psalm 91:4-5

Action
If you have visited Jerusalem, share your experiences with others. Become a voice speaking against terrorism of all its many forms.

Israel Retaliates after Syrian Shells Hit the Golan Heights

by Ilse Posselt

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Golan Heights border with Syria

Monday, 26 June 2017 | Shabbat in the Promised Land is a day set apart from the others, a designated time of peace, quiet and rest. Yet this past Saturday, the already tense situation on the Jewish state’s border with Syria continued to escalate as ten shells fired by the Syrian regime loyal to President Bashar al-Assad hit the north of Israel, shattering the calm of Shabbat. In response to the fire, Israeli Air Force (IAF) struck a number of targets in Syria in what The Times of Israel describes as “standard response in such cases.”

A day later, on Sunday afternoon, another volley of shells fired from Syria hit the Golan Heights for the second day in a row. The IAF again responded by striking targets in the war-torn country.

According to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), the mortars were likely errant fire spilling over into Israel from the civil war raging in Syria. Ten projectiles were identified to have struck open areas in the northern region of the Israeli Golan Heights on Saturday. No injuries or damage was reported.

Saturday’s IAF retaliation airstrike targeted two tanks belonging to Assad forces as well as the post from which the mortars were fired into Israel. Arab media sources claim that the strike left two Syrian Army soldiers dead. According to the IDF spokesman, Sunday’s strike hit two Syrian regime artillery positions as well as an ammunition truck.

A statement released by the army Saturday afternoon commented on the strike, “The IDF sees with severity and will not tolerate any attempt to harm the sovereignty of the State of Israel or the security of its residents, and sees the Syrian regime as responsible for what is happening in its territory.”

The Jewish state also sent a protest letter to the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force to lodge a formal complaint over the cross-border fire.

Top Israeli leaders also issued statements over the weekend on the Jewish state’s position regarding fire emanating from Syria. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke out late Saturday, saying, “With the IDF action today, we are making our policy clear again. We are not willing to accept any ‘drizzle’ [of fire] or ‘spillover’ on any front. We will react with force to any firing on our territory.”

Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman echoed Netanyahu’s message, warning, “We react with force, determination and discretion to every such incident, as the IDF did [today] on the Golan Heights. As far as we are concerned, the Assad regime is responsible for what is happening in its territory, and it will continue to bear the consequences if such events repeat themselves.”

For its part, a Syrian army general on Sunday released an official response to the weekend’s exchange of fire, threatening Israel with “dangerous repercussions for aggressive action.”

“The Syrian army general command warns against the dangers of these aggressive activities and lays the responsibility for the dangerous repercussions of these old actions on the Israeli enemy, whatever its excuses may be,” the statement said. “The general command stresses that it is determined to defeat the terrorist organizations, the Israeli enemy’s emissaries in the region.”

The Golan Heights is a popular outdoor destination, and summer months see numerous Israelis flock north to hike, camp and pick fruit. Following the Syrian fire on Saturday, the IDF evacuated all backpackers and hikers from the area and has asked civilians to avoid open areas near the Quneitra border crossing into Syria.

Over the past seven years, Israel has consistently remained on the sidelines as civil war raged in neighboring Syria. The powers-that-be in the Jewish state have reiterated its commitment to refrain from taking sides or getting embroiled in the fighting on its doorstep.

There are, however, a number of exceptions to Israel’s policy. The IAF has responded to spillover fire with limited airstrikes. Moreover, senior Israeli officials, including Netanyahu and Lieberman, have also disclosed that Israel has acted in Syria to prevent Iran from using the cover of civil war to smuggle advanced weapons via Damascus to its proxy Hezbollah, the Shiite terror organization based in Lebanon.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, 26 June 2017)

Photo Credit: Masterpiz9/wikipedia.org

Photo License: Wikipedia

Prayer Focus
Intercede for all the brave soldiers who are protecting Israel along this volatile border. Pray for the families and children who live in this area and face uncertain circumstances, asking God to protect them and give them peace.

Scripture

Be of good courage, and let us be strong for our people and for the cities of our God. And may the Lord do what is good in His sight.


- 2 Samuel 10:12

Israel Cybersecurity Expert Thwarts Global Hacking Attack

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Friday, 30 June 2017 | An Israeli cybersecurity researcher discovered a way to thwart the ransomware attack that has plagued computers across the world this week, CNN reported Wednesday.

Amit Serper, a security researcher at Cybereason, found a way to reverse-engineer the NotPetya ransomware, which affected Windows-based computers in Ukraine, Russia, the United States, and much of Europe on Tuesday. The virus locks up a victim’s computer until they make a payment to the hackers. Security experts have warned victims not to issue any such payment, saying this will not help release their data.

While Serper is more familiar with Linux and Apple operating systems, he spent three hours parsing through the code during a visit to relatives in Israel. He discovered that NotPetya will not run on a computer it had previously taken over. In order to determine whether it already ran on a certain machine, the virus stores a file at a specific location and uses it as a marker.

By creating the file that NotPetya looks for before taking over a computer, Serper found a way to trick the virus into terminating itself before it could lock up any files on the targeted computer.

On Wednesday night, a wave of cyberattacks struck Israeli computer systems, notably in a number of hospitals, The Times of Israel reported.

The attacks were countered “immediately” and there was no reported damage, Israel’s National Cyber Authority said.

The cyberattacks took place as Israel hosts a national Cyber Week conference in Tel Aviv. Officials who spoke at the conference warned that hackers are gaining the upper hand.

Earlier this week, Shin Bet [Israeli internal security organization] chief Nadav Argaman told the conference that Israel has been successful in countering online threats, but cautioned, “In light of the deceptive characteristics of cybersecurity, it would be appropriate for us to remain modest and cautious concerning our ability to receive a hermetic picture of what is happening in this area.”

Source: (Excerpt of an article originally published by The Israel Project, in its publication The Tower on 29 June 2017. Time related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Chris Roberts MOD/wikimedia

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Give thanks to the Lord that Israel was able to prevent the cyber attack on hospital computers. Continue to pray that Israeli cybersecurity experts will proactively solve virus problems, stop and prevent hackers causing chaos in Israel. Ask God that the national Cyber Week conference will bear much fruit for safe usage of computer systems all over the world.

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

Arrow 3 Anti-ballistic Missile Developers Receive Israel Defense Prize

by Itamar Eichner

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Arrow 3 anti-ballistic missile

Tuesday, 27 June 2017 | The Israel Defense Prize was given Monday evening to the Arrow 3 anti-ballistic missile project. The prize was also given to a project led by the prime minister’s office, whose details were not made public.

The Arrow 3 is an Israeli-developed, long-range, surface-to-surface missile system that is funded by several Israeli security organizations, namely the Israel Aerospace Industries, the Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, the Defense Ministry and the Israeli Air Force. It is considered one of the best anti-missile defense systems in the world, due to its long-range capabilities and high precision level.

Though its details were not revealed, the second project to be given the award was chosen due to its “extraordinary operational daring, combined with impressive technological innovation.”

The award was presented to the two projects’ representatives by President Reuven Rivlin, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot and Defense Ministry Dir. Gen. and IDF Maj. Gen. (res.) Udi Adam.

It was Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, who originally decided to award such a prize, as a way of acknowledging the contributions of developers to the young state’s security. The prize itself is named after Eliyahu Golomb, who was a commander in the Jewish resistance organization, the Haganah. So far, the award has been given to 178 projects and over a thousand individual recipients; 52 people have won the award twice, and seven have won it more than twice.

Among the projects to receive the Israeli Defense Prize are the Uzi machine gun, the Galil assault rifle, the Gabriel missile, the Popeye missile, the Merkava tank, the Calanit artillery shell and the Iron Dome defense system.

Speaking at the ceremony, President Rivlin said, “The Israeli public doesn’t know how much it owes you, the recipients. Those who live in our area know that we must be quicker, sharper and more sophisticated to win against those who wish us ill. You have chosen to dedicate your creativity, not to look after your own interests, not to wait until you make it big. In 2017, this is not taken for granted.

“In this day and age, those who dedicate themselves, their creativity, their initiatives and their dreams to Israel’s security, deserve the recognition, respect and above all the greatest of hugs from the citizens of Israel.”

Source: (Ynetnews originally published this article on 26 June 2017. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Public Domain/wikimedia

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Rejoice for the proven effectiveness and new status of the Arrow 3 anti-ballistic missile system. Thank God for those who worked on its development and ask Him to bless them for their contribution to the security of the State of Israel.

Scripture

For wisdom is a defense as money is a defense, but the excellence of knowledge is that wisdom gives life to those who have it.


- Ecclesiastes 7:12

Knesset Speaker Addresses Russian Parliament 33 Years after Release from Soviet Prison

by Moran Azulay

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Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein addressing the Russian parliament

Thursday, 29 June 2017 | Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein gave a first-of-its-kind speech on Wednesday at the Federation Council, the upper house of the Russian parliament, 33 years after his release from Soviet prison.

“Even in my finest dreams, I never believed I’d reach this moment. For me, this brings double closure: For me, Yuli Edelstein, and for the entire Jewish nation, which I stand here as its representative,” Edelstein said.

“Thirty-three years ago I was imprisoned here in Moscow by the authorities of the Soviet Union for teaching the Hebrew language,” he said.

“I was imprisoned because I was teaching the language which spread to the world the ideas of rejecting tyranny, upholding the rule of justice, love of mankind and the hopes of freedom; the language in which the prophets of Israel foretold the day on which ‘Nation shall not lift up sword against nation; nor will they learn war anymore.’ I was imprisoned because I worked to disseminate the language in which Abraham, the founder of the Jewish religion, was told ‘Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.'”

Edelstein told the Russian parliamentarians that “only after nine years of being barred from making aliyah [immigration to Israel], three of which were spent doing hard labor in a Gulag, could I too follow the footsteps of Abraham. Exactly 30 years ago I made aliyah to the Land of Israel, where the Jewish state was born anew.

“This is the state in which the miracle of my people’s revival, from the ashes of exile and the Holocaust, happened; where my people made the desert bloom, defended themselves, and lived in prosperous national liberty; where Hebrew, the holy language, was revived, after being dormant for 2,000 years,” he continued.

“Today, I stand before you as the Speaker of Israel’s Knesset, and, in the same language which I was imprisoned for teaching, I bless you with the ancient Jewish blessing: ‘Shalom Aleichem!’ meaning ‘Peace be upon you.’”

Normally, addressing the Federation Council is an honor only reserved for leaders of foreign nations. Edelstein, who spoke both in Hebrew and in Russian, was invited by Federation Council chairwoman Valentina Matviyenko for a reciprocal visit after she visited the Knesset last year. During Matviyenko’s visit, the Knesset and the Federation Council signed a cooperation agreement.

Edelstein took advantage of his visit to Russia to take a personal tour of meaningful stops in his life, including the Moscow Choral Synagogue, where Edelstein was active as a Refusenik, the site of his arrest, the courthouse where his trial was held, and the Moscow prison where he was jailed, among others.

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

Photo Credit: Photo by Ashernet/Aleksandr BiBik/GPO

Prayer Focus
Glorify the Lord for what He has done in Knesset member Edelstein’s life who was in prison and denied aliyah and now serving in the Knesset. Pray that he will be a great encouragement for the hopeless who want to return to Israel but are facing obstacles. Pray that God will comfort them, give them favor and quickly bring them back to their homeland.

Scripture

Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all you who hope in the LORD. 


- Psalm 31:24

Israel Sends Wheelchairs of Hope to Vietnam

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Wheelchairs arrive in Hanoi

Friday, 30 June 2017 | In a moving ceremony held at the Orthopedic and Functional Rehabilitation Center in Hanoi, Israeli Ambassador to Vietnam, Meirav Eilon Shahar, presented the first 20 wheelchairs to a festive crowd, sending a message of solidarity and friendship.

The embassy decided to utilize the budget allocated for the festivities of Israel’s 69th Independence Day to purchase the innovative, one-of-a-kind and lightweight wheelchairs from Israeli company “Wheelchairs of Hope.”

The remaining 80 wheelchairs will be delivered to additional rehabilitation centers in four provinces in Vietnam: Ho Chi Minh, Can Tho, Ben Tre and Ha Giang. Wheelchairs of Hope is an Israeli initiative that aims to develop, design, manufacture and provide wheelchairs to children in need of mobility. They were among the first to receive the Grand Challenges Israel (GCI) grant, dedicated to supporting technological and innovative solutions to challenges in global health and food security in developing countries. GCI is operated by the Office of the Chief Scientist Ministry of Economy in collaboration with MASHAV as part of commitment to share its knowledge and experience to inspire and support fellow nations in their struggle with development challenges, and constitutes a meeting point between Israeli development diplomacy and technological entrepreneurship.

Source: (Ministry of Foreign Affairs originally published this article on 22 June 2017. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: MASHAV-Israel Embassy Vietnam/ MFA

Prayer Focus
Pray that the Vietnamese children who receive these new one-of-a-kind, lightweight wheelchairs will have a new lease on life because of increased mobility. Give thanks for the initiative of the Israeli ambassador in Vietnam, Meirav Eilon Shahar, who offers solidarity and friendship in light of Israel’s independence celebrations.

Scripture

But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.


- Hebrews 13:16

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