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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.

US to UN: End the “Obsession with Israel”

by Ilse Posselt

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UN Human Rights meeting room

Thursday, 02 March 2017 | When the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) was established eleven years ago, the intergovernmental body within the United Nations [UN] formulated as its mandate “the promotion and protection of all human rights around the world.”

The council’s core objective is certainly a critical and much needed one. As civil wars rip at the fabric of civilian populations, radical Islamists cut a swath of terror and destruction across continents and world governments refusing to treat their citizens with basic humanity; a watchdog organization taking action against the gross violation of human rights is invaluable. Yet in the face of numerous instances of flagrant human rights abuse, one nation continues to bear the brunt of the UNHRC’s scrutiny and reproach.

However, the United States (US) spoke out on behalf of the Jewish state yesterday, stating that it might reconsider its membership in the UNHRC unless the council ends its “obsession with Israel.”

Speaking at the opening segment of the UNHRC’s 34th session in Geneva, US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Erin Barclay assured her audience that her country’s commitment to human rights “is stronger than ever.”

She admonished, however, that the UNHRC does not appear to share that commitment. “Regrettably, too many of the actions of this council do not support these universal principles. Indeed, they contradict them.”

Barclay continued to point out one particular issue of concern. The US, she said, “remains deeply troubled by the council’s consistent unfair and unbalanced focus on one democratic country, Israel.”

Barclay pointed out that the UNHRC has a policy of discussing the Jewish state at every single session under Agenda Item 7, an agenda item solely devoted to Israel’s alleged human rights abuses. Claims of human rights violations committed in all other countries in the world fall under one item which means that Israel is the only country with an entire agenda allocated to its supposed misdeeds.

“No other nation is the focus of an entire agenda item. How is that a sensible priority?” Barclay asked.

Highlighting the incongruity, she stated that millions of citizens are denied basic human freedoms in both North Korea and Iran. “Right now,” Barclay continued, “the Assad regime is bombing hospitals in Syria and forcing its own people to flee as refugees to neighboring countries to escape its murderous rule.”

“The obsession with Israel through Agenda Item 7,” she warned, “is the largest threat to this council’s credibility. It limits the good we can accomplish by making a mockery of this council.”

“When it comes to human rights,” Barclay said, “no country should be free from scrutiny, but neither should any democratic country be regularly subjected to unfair, unbalanced and unfounded bias.”

Apart from the dedicated agenda item, Israel also bears the brunt of the UNHRC in other ways. Over the past decade, the council has issued 233 country-specific resolutions. More than a quarter of these resolutions are focused on Israel and point an accusatory finger at the Jewish state for a number of alleged wrongdoings.

Barclay vowed, however, that the US is committed to stand against any attempts to “delegitimize or isolate Israel”—in the UNHRC and everywhere else.

Reminding the UNHRC of its mandate, she charged, “In order for this Council to have any credibility, let alone success, it must move away from its unbalanced and unproductive positions. As we [America] consider our future engagements, my government will be considering the Council’s actions with an eye toward reform to more fully achieve the Council’s mission to protect and promote human rights.”

Source: (Bridges for Peace, 02 March 2017)

Photo Credit: Moumou82/wikipedia

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Offer petition to the Lord for the UN and ask God to guide them in their mission to protect and promote human rights rather than being obsessed with Israel in unfair, unbalanced and biased ways. Give thanks for the strong US opposition of any effort to isolate Israel.

Scripture

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


- Isaiah 62:1

Report: Hamas Built At Least 15 Terror Tunnels Inside Israel

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A tunnel reaching from Gaza into Israel seen in a photo released by the IDF on April 18, 2016

Wednesday, 01 March 2017 | The terror group Hamas has built at least 15 tunnels that extend into Israel, the country’s Channel 2 reported Sunday, citing members of the government’s security cabinet.

Although the Israel Defense Forces [IDF] discovered and destroyed at least 34 tunnels during Operation Protective Edge in 2014, Hamas has been pouring resources into rebuilding its terror infrastructure and is believed to spend some $40 million [NIS146 million) of its $100 million [NIS 365 million] military budget on tunnel construction and dig around six miles of tunnels every month. A senior IDF official recently told Channel 2 that Hamas had rebuilt its tunnel infrastructure and rocket arsenal to pre-war levels.

Palestinian affairs correspondent, Khaled Abu Toameh, pointed out last year that Hamas has prioritized building up its terror infrastructure over rebuilding Gazan homes, writing that “the last thing Hamas cares about is the welfare of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.”

Gen. Yossi Kuperwasser, formerly the head of the research division of Israeli military intelligence and later the director general of the Ministry of Strategic Affairs, told reporters last May that the tunnels were a sign that Hamas is preparing for another war against Israel. “They definitely invest a lot in making the necessary preparations so that in the next round, when they decide to start it, they will be able to inflict the heaviest damage on Israel, including through those tunnels,” he said.

Hamas killed several Israeli soldiers in 2014 through its use of cross-border tunnels. The IDF explained at the time that Hamas intended to use the tunnels “to carry out attacks such as abductions of Israeli civilians and soldiers alike; infiltrations into Israeli communities, mass murders and hostage-taking scenarios.”

Israel began constructing a $530 million [NIS two billion] underground barrier along its border with Gaza in September to prevent more Hamas tunnels from breaching Israeli territory. IDF Chief of Staff Gen. Gadi Eisenkot described the barrier as “the largest project” ever undertaken in Israel’s military history.

Earlier this month, Hamas elected Yahya Sinwar—an influential hardliner convicted by Israel of multiple murders—to be its new Gaza-based chief.

Source: (This article was originally published by The Israel Project, in its publication The Tower on 27 February 2017. Time related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: IDF Spokesperson's Unit

Prayer Focus
Implore the Lord for His protection all around, under and over Israel. Ask God to bless the IDF divisions stationed at the Gaza Strip with foresight, clear thinking and intelligence as they brainstorm practical means of defense against Hamas and the tunnels they continue to build.

Scripture

Redeem Israel, O God, out of all their troubles!


- Psalm 25:22

Eighth Rocket in 30 Days Fired at Israel

by Ilse Posselt

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Hamas rockets being fired towards Israel during Operation Protective Edge 2014 (illustrative)

Tuesday, 28 February 2017 | Over the past 30 days, eight rockets have been fired on the tiny Jewish state. The latest attack came in the predawn hours of Monday morning when a projectile from the Gaza Strip struck the Negev region in southern Israel.

According to the Israel Defense Forces [IDF], the incoming missile alert siren did not sound a warning as it was calculated that the rocket was not headed towards a populated area, The Times of Israel reported. The projectile struck an open field northeast of the Israel-Gaza border, causing neither damage nor injury.

Monday morning’s rocket was launched at roughly 4:15 am which is a rather uncommon time for terrorists to strike. Attacks from Gaza usually come during daylight hours, often during peak times, for instance while Israelis are making their way to or from work and school. The reasoning behind the particular times is presumably a ploy to bring maximum disruption to the activities of daily lives and to gain optimal media exposure.

A few hours later on Monday afternoon, Israeli Air Force (IAF) jets struck various Hamas terror targets in the coastal enclave. “In response to a rocket fired from Gaza that hit Israeli territory last night, the IAF targeted five Hamas positions throughout the Gaza Strip,” the Israeli military announced in a statement. “The IDF holds Hamas accountable for all attacks from the Gaza Strip that threaten Israel and her citizens.”

A Palestinian security source confirmed that the IAF struck a Hamas military base, an Islamic Jihad base in the north of the Strip and Hamas lookout posts along the Israel-Gaza border. According to the French press agency, Agence France-Presse, Israeli tanks on the border also fired on a number of targets.

In the two and a half years since Israel and Hamas last faced one another on the battle field in 2014’s Operation Protective Edge, rocket attacks against the Jewish state have hovered at a historic low, coming in at roughly one or two attacks per month.

Yet yesterday morning’s attack marks the eighth rocket fired on Israel over the last month. February began with the Islamic State or ISIS affiliate operating in the Sinai Peninsula close to the Egyptian border firing four rockets at the southern Israeli port city, Eilat. The Iron Dome system intercepted three of the projectiles while the fourth fell in an open area, causing no injury or damage.

Three days later, a rocket was fired from Gaza towards Israel’s Mediterranean port city of Ashkelon. The IDF responded by striking three military positions in the northern Gaza Strip from where the projectiles were fired.

Then, last week, ISIS in the Sinai Peninsula struck again, firing two rockets from near the Egyptian border into the Jewish state.

Although none of the eight projectiles caused injury or damage, the increased attacks over the past month signal an upsurge in hostilities, particularly from ISIS in Sinai and its allies in Gaza, Ynet News reports.

Over the past months, the Jewish state has remained consistent in acting on attacks from Gaza. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said earlier this month that Jerusalem would not stand for a “drizzle” of attacks on its civilians. “My policy is to respond strongly to any rocket fire. We are firm in this response.”

Israelis living close to the Gazan border have enjoyed 30 months of relative quite since Operation Protective Edge came to an end. Yet according to a senior IDF official, Hamas has spent that time preparing for the next war with the Jewish state. Speaking to Israel’s Channel 2 news in the beginning of February, the official said that Hamas has succeeded in rebuilding its military capabilities to the level prior to the 2014 war. The official explained that the Islamist terror group had replenished its arsenal of weapons, including their stockpile of rockets and rebuilt their terror tunnel network.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, 28 February 2017)

Photo Credit: IDF/ Ashernet

Prayer Focus
Continue to declare God’s scriptural promises to Israel and thank Him for His eternal covenant. Bring the nation of Israel before His throne, asking for steadfast hearts and a trust in God for protection with an abundance of miracles to glorify His Name.

Scripture

But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You; let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them; let those also who love Your name be joyful in You.


- Psalm 5:11

Palestinians: Why a “Regional Peace Process” Will Fail

by Khaled Abu Toameh ~ Gatestone

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PM Netanyahu, US Secretary of State Clinton, Palestinian President Abbas and US Special Envoy for Middle East Peace Mitchell meet at Sharm El Sheik, Egypt in 2010 (illustrative)

Thursday, 02 March 2017 | Here is a fundamental misapprehension: Arab countries can help achieve peace in the Middle East by persuading, or rather pressuring, the Palestinians to make concessions to Israel.

This misapprehension is both misleading and baseless.

Recently, officials in Israel and Washington started talking about a “regional approach” to solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In this view, as many Arab countries as possible would be directly involved in the effort to achieve a lasting and comprehensive peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. Advocates of the “regional approach” believe that Arab countries such as Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, Qatar and Saudi Arabia have enough leverage with the Palestinians to compel them to accept a peace agreement with Israel.

The Palestinians, however, were quick to dismiss the idea as yet another American-Israeli-Arab “conspiracy to ‘liquidate’” their cause and force them to make unacceptable concessions. Chief among these “unacceptable concessions” are recognizing Israel as a Jewish state and giving up the demand for a “right of return” for millions of Palestinian refugees into Israel.

What the recent Washington-Israeli notion misses is that Palestinians simply do not trust their Arab brothers. The Palestinians consider most of the Arab leaders and regimes as “puppets” in the hands of the US and its “Zionist” allies. Worse, many Palestinians sometimes refer to Arab leaders and regimes as the “real enemies” of the Palestinians. They would rather have France, Sweden, Norway and Belgium oversee a peace process with Israel than any of the Arab countries.

In general, Palestinians have more confidence in Western countries than they do in their Arab brothers. That is why the Palestinian Authority (PA) headed by Mahmoud Abbas continues to insist on an international conference as its preferred method for achieving peace in the region and not a “regional approach” that would give Arab countries a major role in solving the conflict. Arab involvement in a peace process with Israel is, in fact, the last thing Abbas and other Palestinians want.

Hani al-Masri, a prominent Palestinian political analyst, echoed this skepticism concerning a potential role for Arab countries in the Middle East peace process. He, in fact, believes the Arabs want to help Israel “liquidate” the Palestinian cause.

He also predicted that the recent rapprochement between Israel and some Arab countries would embolden “all opposition and jihadist groups” that are fighting against the Arab regimes. According to al-Masri, it is not even clear that any Arab states, especially Israel’s neighbors, are keen on a “regional solution.” The Jordanians, for example, are worried that a “regional solution” would promote the idea of replacing the Hashemite kingdom with a Palestinian state.

Echoing this fear, former Jordanian Minister of Information Saleh al-Qallab denounced the talk of a “regional conference” as a “poisonous gift and conspiracy” against Jordan and the Palestinians.

The Egyptians, for their part, are worried that a “regional approach” would mean giving up land from Sinai to the Palestinians of the Gaza Strip—a highly unpopular idea in Egypt. The Egyptians have good reason to be worried: some Arab leaders and countries have expressed interest in this idea.

Likewise, the Lebanese are worried that a “regional solution” would force their country to grant full citizenship and equal rights to hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees living in that country. The Lebanese have for decades dreamed of the day they could rid themselves of the Palestinian refugee camps and their inhabitants who have long been subjected to apartheid and discriminatory laws.

Another adjacent state, Syria, is far too preoccupied with their own implosion to think about peace between the Palestinians and Israel. Besides, when have the Syrians ever expressed concern for the Palestinians? Since the beginning of the civil war five years ago, more than 3,400 Palestinians have been killed and thousands injured. In addition, more than 150,000 Palestinians have been forced to flee Syria to neighboring Arab countries or to Europe. The Syrian regime does not care about its own people who are being massacred in large numbers on a daily basis. Why, then, might it be expected to care about Palestinians? It would be a Syrian nightmare to resettle Palestinians and grant them full rights and citizenship. Like most Arab countries, Syria just wants its Palestinians to disappear.

Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon and Syria are rather wary, then, about a “regional solution.” And no wonder: it poses a massive threat to their national security. So, which Arab countries would help to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Saudi Arabia? Qatar? Kuwait? Oman? Tunisia? Morocco? Really?

Israel as a Jewish state is anathema to Palestinian aspirations. No Arab leader in the world can persuade the Palestinians to give up the “right of return” for Palestinian refugees or accept a solution that allows Israel to retain control over certain parts of the West Bank [Judea and Samaria] and east Jerusalem. Any Arab or Palestinian leader who promotes such compromise is taking his life in his hands. And Palestinian history will record him as a “traitor” who sold out to the Jews and surrendered to American and Israeli pressure.

Moreover, Abbas and the Palestinian Authority are far from interested in any Arab-Israeli rapprochement. Abbas and his Ramallah cohorts are already up at night worrying about the talk between Israel and some Arab countries, particularly Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states. This is “normalization”—plain and simple. Such “normalization”, in the view of the PA, is to be reserved after Israel submits to its demands.

Abbas’s foreign minister, Riad al-Malki, made it clear this week that the Palestinians reject the idea of a “regional solution” that would give Arabs a role in the peace process. Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu  said, he was mistaken to think that rapprochement between Israel and some Arab countries would produce anything good. Al-Malki denounced Netanyahu’s “regional approach” as a “twisted policy,” adding: “Netanyahu thinks that by establishing ties with Arab governments he could force the Palestinians to enter negotiations with Israel.” According to him, the Palestinians wish to see the Europeans and not the Arabs, at their side when they “negotiate” with Israel.

The Palestinian foreign minister is saying that the Palestinians would rather have the Europeans in their court than their Arab brothers when it comes to trying to squeeze the life out of Israel. The Palestinians think that this is a better bet.

In any event, any “regional solution” involving Arab countries would be doomed to fail because the Palestinians and their Arab brethren hate each other. Moreover, even if Abbas were to accept terms dictated to him by such an alliance, his own people would reject them. Any solution offered by the Arab governments will always be regarded as an “American-Zionist dictate.”

Here is what Palestinians really want: to use the Europeans to impose a “solution” on Israel. That is why Abbas sticks to the idea of an international conference like a dog that holds for dear life onto his bone.

Source: (The Gatestone Institute originally posted this article on 27 February 2017. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Public Domain/wikipedia

Photo License: Wikipedia

Prayer Focus
Intercede for the leadership of Israel and their position regarding the Land of Israel, promised by God, while negotiating the peace process with their neighbors. Ask Him to lead Israel into His will regarding the possible solution of involving Arab nations. Pray for all the European nations to support God in what He is doing.

Scripture

Then the Lord appeared to him and said: “Do not go down to Egypt; live in the land of which I shall tell you. Dwell in this land, and I will be with you and bless you; for to you and your descendants I give all these lands, and I will perform the oath which I swore to Abraham your father.”


- Genesis 26:2-3

Facebook Shuts Down Fatah’s Official Page in Crackdown on Incitement

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Wednesday, 01 March 2017 | Facebook shut down the official page of the ruling Palestinian political party Fatah on Monday, a move that came amidst a campaign by the social media network against accounts that promote violence.

Munir Jaghoub, a spokesman for Fatah’s Mobilization and Organization Commission, told The Jerusalem Post that the trigger for Facebook’s action was the posting of a historic picture of former Fatah leader Yasser Arafat holding a weapon alongside newly-appointed deputy leader Mahmoud al-Aloul.

Jaghoub explained that the notification from Facebook saying that the account had been closed came with an attachment of the Arafat photo. He added that Facebook had previously sent Fatah three warning messages attached to other photos. Jaghoub also denied that the photographs constituted incitement.

Facebook has not publicly announced why it suspended the account. However, Fatah’s Facebook page has often promoted or celebrated violence against Israel and glorified terrorists. Just in the past 12 months, the page celebrated the killer of graduate student and US Army veteran Taylor Force as “a heroic martyr,” boasted that Fatah had killed over 11,000 Israelis and posted an image featuring blood dripping from a knife as part of a thank-you message to the UN Security Council for condemning Israeli settlement activities. In January, Fatah celebrated the 52nd anniversary of its first terror attack with an image including illustrations of terrorists who were also described as “martyrs.”

Perhaps the most unsettling post on Fatah’s Facebook page appeared two years earlier as part of its 50th anniversary celebrations. The image showed a pile of skulls, marked with Stars of David, with a Fatah flag—with the emblem of guns crossed in front of a background of all of Israel—hanging from a rifle planted in middle of the pile.

Palestinian Media Watch, which often exposes this inciting material, documented over 130 posts by Fatah glorifying murder and terror during 2016 alone.

Source: (This article was originally published by The Israel Project, in its publication The Tower on 28 February 2017. Time related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Public Domain/ Pixabay.com

Photo License: Pixabay

Prayer Focus
Praise God for Facebook’s decision to shut down accounts that promote violence; lift up their senior leadership to continue their concentrated efforts of keeping their platform safe. Pray for the young who are innocently exposed to very influential and harmful material.

Scripture

Do not enter the path of the wicked, and do not walk in the way of evil. Avoid it, do not travel on it; turn away from it and pass on. For they do not sleep unless they have done evil; and their sleep is taken away unless they make someone fall. For they eat the bread of wickedness, and drink the wine of violence.


- Proverbs 4:14-17

A Day in the Life of the IDF Alpine Soldiers

by Itay Blumental

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Fighters of the IDF Alpine Unit

Tuesday, 28 February 2017 | The wintery weather over the past week provided a rare glimpse into the activity of the IDF Alpine Unit stationed on the Syrian-Lebanon border. A Ynet team joined the unit on Thursday on one of its non-routine patrols under heavy snowfall, in extreme weather conditions.

At a height of 2,000 meters [2,187] with winds blowing at 70 km/h [43.5], the fighters went out to patrol the tri-border area near Syria and Lebanon on the range of Mt. Hermon. Wearing white snow suits, skis strapped to their feet and carrying heavy operational equipment on their backs, they canvassed the area. The troops were looking for anything suspicious that might point at a terror cell or a terrorist who might have crossed the border to execute an attack.

Using their ski poles to signal their readiness, the fighters started scouring the snowy terrain. The snowcat, a vehicle that looks like an enclosed cab running on tracks, plowed through the snow, making way for the fighters.

Later on, the snowcat fell behind to bring up the rear, serving as an extraction vehicle in case anything went downhill. Other forces including infantry and armor stood at the ready nearby, for any scenario.

“Our troops are the only ones who know how to work on rocky and snowy terrain like Mt. Hermon; thanks to the lengthy and unique training we provide our soldiers,” explained Amir Shukrun, Commander of the Alpine Unit Training Company.

“We assume the enemy is familiar with snowy terrain and so we make sure to operate wherever they might think to surprise us,” he continued.

The unit consists of reserve soldiers who during their active duty, served in elite infantry units. Over the summer, regular infantry units patrol the peak of Mt. Hermon, however, at the beginning of winter, the Alpine fighters receive their orders to report for reserve duty due to their unique set of skills.

“The guys leave their families and their jobs and come to serve in extreme weather. We come here to do our work in order to protect Israel,” said Shukrun who is set to return home after more than two weeks on the mountain. “Motivation is high and the guys want to contribute their knowledge and experience as much as they can.”

The Mt. Hermon front has been relatively calm over the past few years, but the Alpine fighters still maintain a high level of awareness.

One of the main difficulties, as explained by the fighters, is that every time they reach the mountain—the view and the terrain change in accordance with the snowfall, making it somewhat harder to adjust.

And yet, everything is covered in white—pure and unblemished.

Source: (Ynetnews originally posted this article on 18 February 2017. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: IDF blog

Prayer Focus
Give thanks to God for the soldiers of the Alpine Unit, who place their lives on hold while they face extreme, unfamiliar conditions as they patrol Mount Hermon. Ask God to bless them with sound minds and willpower as their bodies face grueling situations and give them wisdom to track down the enemy.

Scripture

The Lord God is my strength; He will make my feet like deer’s feet, and He will make me walk on my high hills.


- Habakkuk 3:19

More than 1,500 Jews Attend New York Aliyah Event

by Liron Nagler-Cohen

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Participants at Nefesh B’Nefesh Aliyah Fair

Thursday, 02 March 2017 | More than 1,500 Jews attended the Manhattan ‘Mega Aliyah’ fair hosted by Nefesh B’ Nefesh on Sunday, 350 of whom were from medical and high-tech backgrounds.

“While the event—which was attended by a record number of Jews—was protected by heavy security, the surge in anti-Semitic incidents which have swept across the US, appear to have had no bearing on the increased enthusiasm for moving to Israel.”

Organizers of the event say that over the last few years, the number of people choosing to make the move from North America has gradually increased.

“This is a long-standing dream,” Leah and Avi Feinberg from Los Angeles told Ynet. The two have five children, two of whom already live in Israel, which is one of the primary reasons for their desire to make Aliyah.

“When my oldest four-year-old granddaughter wants to know what time her grandfather will arrive to pick her up from kindergarten, it has an impact. I want to be a part of her life.”

The event, which attracted record numbers, took place at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and took up 7 floors spreading across 35 rooms in which representatives from 11 hospitals and HMOs, 13 cities and local councils, including the mayors of Modi’in, Omer, Ofakim) universities and real estate companies, offered assistance to the browsing participants in their potential journey.

Present in the rooms were also financial, employment and tax advisers.

Dr. Charles Manovla (27) from Brooklyn dreams of drafting into the IDF to put his expertise to use as a military doctor. His parents, he said, don’t know about his participation in the event. “My mom may not be too enthusiastic about the fact that I am about to go far away but she won’t be surprised.”

“It is heartwarming,” Professor Jonathan Halevi told Ynet, a manager at the Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem.

Already by the first part of the event, Halevi had interviewed 13 doctors who expressed their desire to join the medical center and many more before its conclusion.

“To see the people interested in making Aliyah, it is unbelievable,” he said. “There is a massive turnout here of doctors who want to move to Israel for ideological reasons and the thing that touches my heart the most are those who want to make Aliyah because they have children in Israel.”

Immigrant Absorption Minister Sofa Landver was also present at the event and addressed the participants. “Aliyah is exciting but full of concerns,” she told the prospective immigrants. “That is why we are here, to direct, to advise and to explain so that the Aliyah process can start here and be quick, easy, efficient and comfortable for you.”

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

Photo Credit: Screenshot/YouTube/Jewish Star

Prayer Focus
Glorify the Lord for answered prayer on a successful Aliyah Fair and for numerous Jews with extraordinary skills who attended. Thank God that they heeded to His call as many already have children in Israel; pray for their dreams to be fulfilled in the Land.

Scripture

But you, O mountains of Israel, you shall shoot forth your branches and yield your fruit to My people Israel, for they are about to come.


- Ezekiel 36:8

Netanyahu Welcomes Zambian President to Israel

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PM Netanyahu meets with Zambian President Edgar Chagwa Lungu

Thursday, 02 March 2017 | Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed President Edgar Chagwa Lungu of Zambia to Israel on Tuesday, offering him assurances “of our friendship and our commitment to our relationship.”

Netanyahu recalled having met Lungu last July in Uganda and expressed his hope that they would meet again in few months.

Lungu is visiting Israel with a contingent of ministers, including from the departments of foreign affairs, agriculture, trade, industry and employment, energy, tourism, water development and environment, transportation and health.

Netanyahu referred to the opening of the Zambian embassy in Israel a year and a half ago, noting that the two nations have begun cooperating in “water, agriculture, education and also security, defense and anti-terrorism.” He added that Israel will be sending experts in alternative energy to Zambia and that Zambia is set to open a synagogue and a museum devoted to Jewish history in its capital city. “I hope one day I have the opportunity to visit those institutions and to visit Zambia,” Netanyahu remarked.

The Israeli prime minister pledged that “Israel is coming back to Africa,” a theme he mentioned several times over the past year and said that he was scheduled to attend a summit in the West African nation of Togo in a few months “to discuss Israeli technology in so many areas, in agriculture, in water, in cyber security.”

The prime minister also praised Zambia for undergoing “an amazing and admirable change in a transition to democracy since the 90s.”

On his Facebook page, Lungu said, “On this official trip to Israel, we revisit our rich history as we seek to work together in various sectors for the mutual benefit of our people.”

Last year witnessed a series of diplomatic breakthroughs for Israel, especially in Africa. After Netanyahu embarked on a historic tour of East Africa in July, Israel restored diplomatic ties with the Muslim-majority nation of Guinea after a 49-year gap. In September, Netanyahu met with 15 African heads of state and ambassadors at the United Nations General Assembly.

In the February 2017 issue of The Tower Magazine, Seth Frantzman highlighted the history of MASHAV, Israel’s international development agency, which has helped numerous African nations make the best use of their often limited resources. MASHAV deputy chief Yuval Fuchs told Frantzman that MASHAV’s advantage comes from the fact that it focuses on implementation. This means that “the countries have the ability to continue with MASHAV-generated projects long after the Israelis have left.”

Source: (This article was originally published by The Israel Project, in its publication The Tower on 01 March 2017. Time related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Ashernet/GPO

Prayer Focus
Pray for PM Netanyahu as he continues to build strong relationships with African countries and assuring president Lungu from Zambia, of Israel’s friendship and commitment to the relationship. Thank God that they are working together in various sectors for mutual benefits of their people.

Scripture

Thus says the Lord of hosts: “In those days ten men from every language of the nations shall grasp the sleeve of a Jewish man, saying, Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.”


- Zechariah 8:23

Afghan Toddler Undergoes Life-saving Surgery in Israel

by Itamar Eichner

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Sanusey, from Gambia is the 4,000th child whose life was saved through heart surgery performed in Israel (illustrative)

Monday, 27 February 2017 | A worldwide effort has saved the life of a two-year-old Afghan toddler named, Yakub, who was secretly brought to Israel after suffering from a heart defect from birth. The child was rushed to an operating room immediately upon landing at Ben Gurion Airport where doctors saved his life.

Yakub was born in a remote village in Baghlan, where soon after his birth, his parents noticed the child did not eat, cried often and did not grow and develop like other children.

After seeking out doctor after doctor, a family friend put the parents in touch with a man named Farhad who dedicated his life to helping sick children in Afghanistan.

Farhad made contact with the organization Save A Child’s Heart (SACH), based out of Wolfson Medical Center, where doctors analyzed Yakub’s tests and decided to operate in an attempt to save his life.

Doctors were initially worried that Yakub would not survive the journey to Israel due to low oxygen levels in his blood. However, doctors arranged for Yakub to travel with oxygen and a complicated diplomatic endeavor was undertaken.

Passports for the child and his father were secured along with exit and entrance visas from both Afghanistan and Israel. Yakub and his father flew to Israel via Turkey from Afghanistan where they were met at the airport by Dr. Ilan Cohen who noticed the child was exhausted and blue.

After arriving at the hospital, doctors performed emergency surgery and succeeded in saving Yakub’s life. Yakub is currently recovering in the pediatric intensive care unit at Wolfson Medical Center.

Yakub’s father does not speak English or Arabic and communication is handled by a group of Afghani Jews who live in Israel and speak with Pashtu.

“Yakub came to us at the very last minute. He arrived in poor condition, was extremely underweight and we had to revive him twice before getting into the operating room,” said Dr. Rachaeli Sion Sarid. “He suffers from a congenital heart defect that prevents blood flow to the lungs and reduces oxygen in the blood. He underwent emergency surgery and his condition is stable. He is breathing alone and he even shook our hands and is eating alone.”

Source: (Ynetnews originally posted this article on 25 February 2017. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Facebook/SaveAChild'sHeart

Prayer Focus
Bring Yakub before the Lord for a blessed healing process and pray his parents will be strong and stay positive. Pray for Farhad and many others who risk their own lives to save those of others and thank God for all who make these efforts successful.

Scripture

The Lord will strengthen him on his bed of illness; You will sustain him on his sickbed.


- Psalm 41:3

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