Compassion

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

Friday, March 1, 2019

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

Since March, Hamas Fired Over 1,300 Rockets into Israel, Mostly “After Mass Violent Riots”

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A rocket fired from Gaza toward civilians in southern Israel. (Illustrative)

Thursday, 28 February 2019 | Beginning on March 30, 2018, the Islamic terrorist group Hamas, which is in complete political and military control of the Gaza Strip, launched weekly riots at the Gaza–Israel border, an effort known as “The March of Return.” The IDF [Israel Defense Forces] has now released a report detailing the environmental, material and human damage caused by the violence.

The army revealed that “over 1,300 rockets and mortars have been launched towards Israel, resulting in death and injury, property damage, psychological injury and economic harm.” The report observed that the majority of the rockets were fired on Fridays and Saturdays, “immediately after mass violent riots.” In a separate incident, an anti-tank missile launched from Gaza hit a bus in southern Israel, severely wounding a 19-year-old soldier.

Large groups of rioters marched on the border with the intent to breach the security fence and infiltrate the Jewish state. The “peaceful protesters” were carrying guns, knives, stones, explosives and Molotov cocktails. They also burned thousands of tires and sent kites over Israeli territory with burning objects, causing extensive damage.

The IDF estimates that “thousands of incendiary kites and balloons have been launched into Israel,” causing “over 2,000 separate fires” on Israeli territory. As a result, the army said 8,500 acres [34,400 dunams] of land were burned, including 3,200 acres [13,000 dunams] of nature reserves and over 2,700 acres [11,000 dunams] of forest.

In addition, incendiary balloons “landed in residential areas, including playgrounds and kindergartens, posing a serious risk to the lives of civilians.” The army explained that “specifically, the use of balloons to deliver incendiary and explosive devices, often attached to objects designed to appear as children’s toys, have had a severe psychological effect on children in Israel.”

Hamas, the organizational mastermind behind the violence, claimed that the riots are a legitimate protest against the December 2017 decision by the United States to relocate its embassy to Jerusalem—a move which enjoys bipartisan political support in Congress.

Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar warned the world should “wait for our great move when we breach the borders and pray at Al-Aqsa.” He was surrounded by hundreds of supporters who chanted, “We are going to Jerusalem, millions of martyrs.”

As part of its perverse strategy, Hamas sent civilians—many of them just children—to threaten Israel’s security and provoke the soldiers who defend it. The army noted, however, that the terrorist group failed to achieve its “primary military aims,” namely, “causing breaches in the security infrastructure and infiltration en masse into Israel in order to conduct military attacks inside Israeli territory.”

In April, the European Parliament voted, for the first time, to condemn Hamas for its acts of terrorism and use of human shields. Members “strongly condemn[ed] the continuous tactic of Hamas to use civilians for the purpose of shielding terrorist activities…Hamas seems to aim at escalating tensions.”

Ahead of the riots, US envoy Jason Greenblatt said in a statement: “We condemn leaders and protestors who call for violence or who send protestors—including children—to the fence, knowing that they may be injured or killed.”

Source: (This article was originally published by The Israel Project in its publication The Tower on February 27, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: paffairs_sanfrancisco/flickr

Photo License: flickr.com

Prayer Focus
Pray that the Guardian of Israel who never slumbers nor sleeps will protect His Promised Land and its citizens from the enemies who hate them and actively seek their destruction. Ask the Lord to thwart the evil plans of Hamas and the other terrorists who seek to infiltrate the Jewish state to kill and destroy.

Scripture

“The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? Though an army may encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war may rise against me, in this I will be confident.”


- Psalm 27:1,3

The Golden Gate: A New Focus of Tension on the Temple Mount

by Yoni Ben Menachem

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The Muslim council wants to revamp the Golden Gate and turn it into an Islamic place of prayer.

Friday, 22 February 2019 | The new Islamic Waqf Council on the Temple Mount, headed by Sheikh Abdul Azim Salhab, is striving to change the status quo on the Temple Mount. The council was recently expanded to include officials from the Palestinian Authority [PA] and Fatah [the leading Palestinian political party and largest faction of the PA] movement. Fatah officials say the battle against Israel on the Temple Mount will escalate toward the expected publication of President [Donald] Trump’s “Deal of the Century” [peace] plan.

On February 19, Sheikh Salhab told Palestinian Ma’an News Agency of the council’s intention to renovate the Golden Gate structure within the Temple Mount plaza and reopen it as a place of prayer for Muslims as well as Waqf offices. “This place should not remain neglected; we do not recognize the occupation’s decisions in connection with it. The Gate of Mercy is part of Al-Aqsa, and the mosque is a red line. No Muslim can relinquish even a grain of its sand.”

Several members of the new Salhab-led Waqf council paid a visit to the Gate of Mercy structure on the Temple Mount in mid-February, following clashes between Palestinians and the Israel police on the site. The police sent in a large force that arrested seven rioters and blocked entry to the Temple Mount.

The rioting stemmed from the Muslim Waqf’s attempt to change the status quo of the Gate of Mercy compound on the Temple Mount by having Muslim worshipers pray in the compound. In response, the police installed steel gates with locks and closed the entrance to the site.

Sheikh Wasaf al-Bakri, of the Jordanian Ministry of Religious Endowments, stated on the Donia Al-Watan [online Palestinian newspaper] website on February 19 that following talks between the Jordanian government and the Israeli authorities the previous night, it was decided to reinstate the status quo on the site.

On February 20, the Israeli police removed the gates and locks it had put in place and released the rioters arrested the day before.

In the morning, Waqf officials arrived on site and placed new gates at the entrance to the Gate of Mercy compound.

The Golden Gate is part of the eastern wall of the Temple Mount. It consists of two bricked-up openings. The Gate of Mercy is the sole gate within the wall directly leading to the Temple Mount.

The Gate compound consists today of an Islamic study room, the entrance to which is only possible from the Temple Mount. The Gate and its adjacent compound have been closed since 2003 by court order. Following the metal detector crisis on the Temple Mount in 2017, the closure of the site was extended until further notice.

Palestinian propaganda claims that Israel wants to build a synagogue in the Golden Gate compound.

 The Waqf’s Malevolent Intention

In its editorial from February 20, the Jerusalem-based al-Quds newspaper claimed that putting up gates by the police at the entrance to the Gate of Mercy constitutes a step in Israel’s plan to divide the Al-Aqsa Mosque between Muslims and Jews in terms of place and prayer times.

“Ever since Trump declared Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, Israel has been racing to Judaize Jerusalem and divide the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the way to its removal and the establishment of the Temple in its place…” the article claims.

The announcement by the new head of the Islamic Waqf Council of the intention to rebuild the Gate of Mercy compound and repurpose it into a prayer site is a provocation aimed at violating the status quo and renewing the struggle for Temple Mount control toward the publication of Trump’s “Deal of the Century.”

The Jordanian government recently approved the expansion of the Islamic Waqf Council from 11 to 18 members and for the first time allowed the PA to have a foothold in the council.

The council includes senior members of the PA and Fatah, particularly Adnan al-Husseini, PA minister for Jerusalem affairs.

Jordan and the PA are cooperating in accordance with the understanding between King Abdullah and PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas on the subject of the Temple Mount to thwart Trump’s “Deal of the Century” program.

Source: (This article was originally published by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs on February 21, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today.)

Photo Credit: Wilson44691/wikimedia.org

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Remind the Lord that He chose Jerusalem to place His name upon, and pray that He will foil the Islamic attempts to continue building up modern-day high places on His holy ground.

Scripture

Yet regard the prayer of Your servant and his supplication, O LORD my God, and listen to the cry and the prayer which Your servant is praying before You: that Your eyes may be open toward this temple day and night, toward the place where You said You would put Your name, that You may hear the prayer which Your servant makes toward this place. And may You hear the supplications of Your servant and of Your people Israel, when they pray toward this place.


- 2 Chronicles 6:19–21

Israeli Navy Drills for War in the North

by Yoav Zitun

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The Israeli Navy conducts full-scale military exercises, testing readiness for war.

Tuesday, 26 February 2019 | With the IDF [Israel Defense Forces] apparently engaged in multiple strikes aimed at preventing Hezbollah from acquiring advanced weaponry and stopping Iranian entrenchment in Syria, the navy drills for tense encounters off the Israeli coast.

The Israeli Navy’s entire fleet of missile boats and submarines and all of its naval commandos last week took part in a large-scale exercise in the northern arena.

The drill’s scenario began with an undercover operation at sea, continued with discovery by the enemy—including the involvement of the elusive, elite Shayetet 13 unit and ended in an exchange of fire that lasted until the targets were destroyed.

This is the second time in recent years that the IDF has drilled for a scenario in which an activity spirals into an escalation.

The exercise is part of plans to increase the IDF’s preparedness for a situation in which a secret operation is exposed or elicits a counter-attack, which leads to an escalation.

The exercise comes following multiple IDF attacks in the northern arena over the last 12 months, as Israel moved to stop Hezbollah receiving advanced weapons and prevent an Iranian military buildup in Syria, incidents that resulted in return rocket fire into Israel.

The most recent incident of this nature came about a month ago, when Israel shot down an Iranian missile over the Golan Heights, following an attack on an advanced weapons shipment at Damascus Airport, which was attributed to Israel.

A similar training scenario was used two weeks ago at annual exercises by the Israel Air Force and the US Army air defense forces, which are intended to help Israel in real time.

During the two-day exercise, the two forces trained in a wide swath of the Mediterranean Sea running parallel to the Israeli coast from Haifa to Ashdod.

According to foreign reports in recent years, including the Sunday Times, Israeli naval submarines have carried out secret strikes on targets in Lebanon.

“In response to enemy fire, we operated several platforms, including the Air Force, to simulate causing maximum damage to enemy targets,” said Israeli naval officer Lt. Col. Simeon Gamburg.

“It was a mixed scenario, using various forces operating from a number of locations and controlled by one command post. A naval force pretended to be the enemy and acted against us in a coordinated manner that challenged us during the decision-making process.”

Source: (Ynetnews originally published this article on February 24, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: IDF blog/idf.il

Prayer Focus
Lift up the IDF in prayer. As the Jewish people do in synagogues every Shabbat, ask the Lord to protect the soldiers who defend His Land and His people. Ask God to bless their endeavors and grant them victory against the enemies who seek Israel’s destruction

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, who subdues my people under me.


- Psalm 144:1–2

Netanyahu, Putin Meeting Marked by Warm Ties, Commonalities

by Joshua Spurlock

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PM Netanyahu met with Russian President Putin in Moscow on Wednesday.

Thursday, 28 February 2019 | As the Israeli and Russian leaders found one commonality after another between their countries in their meeting on Wednesday, it certainly didn’t look like Israel and Russia had tense relations just months ago. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu highlighted that he and Russian President Vladimir Putin had met 11 times in the last three-and-a-half years, even as this was just the second face-to-face meeting—and the first in Moscow—since Russia accused Israel of negligence that led to a Russian plane being shot down last September by Syrian air defenses, according to a report at the time by Sputnik International.

While Israel denied the claims, Russia moved forward anyway with arming the Syrians with an advanced air defense system in response to the event, per a Twitter post last week from ImageSat International. Yet just five months after the incident, there was Putin accepting an invitation to visit Israel for the dedication ceremony for a memorial in Jerusalem to those who fell during the siege of Leningrad during World War II.

The warm signals sent by Putin are key, as Netanyahu’s primary goal during the visit was battling Iran in Syria—a sensitive topic given that Russia is a major player in Syria, has ties to Iran and backs their joint ally in the [Syrian President Bashar al-]Assad regime.

Ahead of his departure for the Putin meeting, Netanyahu had said in comments released by his office that stopping Iran’s “entrenching” in Syria was to be the “focus” of his talks with Putin, and even in the public portion of the meeting he made sure that was included.

“The greatest threat to stability and security in the region comes from Iran and its proxies,” Netanyahu said during his meeting with Putin, according to a press release from the Israeli’s office. “We are determined to continue our vigorous action against the attempts by Iran, which calls for our destruction, including its attempts to entrench militarily in Syria.”

In his comments prior to his leaving for Moscow, Netanyahu had noted that Iran “explicitly says that its goal is to wipe us out. You know that when I say we are acting against this, these are no empty words,” an apparent reference to the numerous Israeli strikes in Syria against Iranian forces and their agents.

During the meeting with Putin, however, Iran wasn’t the only topic. Netanyahu highlighted not only their joint memorialization of the war against the Nazis—noting roughly 500,000 Jews fought for Russia—but also the many Israelis who originally emigrated from Russia.

Putin, in comments with Netanyahu published to the Russian president’s website, also recognized the Russian Israelis. “I would like to pay tribute to the Israelis—1.5 million descendants from the former Soviet Union made a substantial contribution not only to the development of Israel but also to the birth of the Israeli statehood and are now playing a very important role as a bridge between Russia and Israel,” said Putin.

“We not only remember them but we also appreciate the role they play today. Of course, Israel is their home country, obviously, but we also call them our compatriots.”

Putin further spoke of increasing trade between the countries, noting that “it is not very large in absolute figures but the trends are positive.”

The only veiled reference Putin made to the plane incident in Syria came at the beginning of his comments, in which he noted he and Netanyahu had been planning their meeting for a while before saying that “life moves forward and requires consultations at the top level,” possibly alluding to the idea that it was time to move on from the plane tragedy.

That’s a welcome change from the openly hostile comments made by Russia’s defense minister last year, and it’s a good thing given the importance of Israeli–Russian relations. Netanyahu said to Putin on Wednesday, “The direct link between us is a vital component in preventing risks and friction between our militaries and contributes to security and stability in the region.”

Source: (The Mideast Update originally published this article on February 27, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today.)

Photo Credit: Haim Zach/GPO

Prayer Focus
Praise God for the continually warming relations between Israel and Russia, and ask Him to continue to bless and strengthen the ties between the two nations. Pray that God will bless both sides with wisdom and courage to stand together against Iranian aggression in the region.

Scripture

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up. Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him.


- Ecclesiastes 4:9–10,12

Sea of Galilee’s Waterline Expected to Rise above Lower Red Line

by Israel Moskowitz

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For the first time in two years, pumping water from the Sea of Galilee will no longer face government restrictions.

Friday, 22 February 2019 | The water level in the Sea of Galilee, or Kinneret, is expected to climb above the freshwater lake’s lower red line for the first time in two years, at which point pumping will no longer face government restrictions.

The water level now stands at 23 centimeters [9 in] below the lower red line, but is expected to pass that within a few weeks, thanks to the heavy rains and snow this winter. Since Thursday, the waterline has risen by 10.5 centimeters (4.13 in), the Water Authority says, and by a total of 1.405 meters (4.6 ft) since the beginning of Israel’s rainy season.

“Despite the heavy rainfalls that have been hitting Israel over the past few weeks, the Sea of Galilee is still 4.435 meters (174.6 in) short of reaching its full capacity. We expect that by the beginning of March, the waterline will rise above the lower red line,” said a Water Authority official.

Kinneret Authority Deputy Chairman Pinchas Green warned, however, that the lake’s water levels would soon return to below the red line once the weather heats up.

“Every summer, the lake’s waterline decreases by 0.5–1 centimeters [0.2–0.4 in] per day due to water evaporation, which means the Kinneret will again plunge below the lower red line,” he said.

“Nevertheless, by the end of the winter season, the Sea of Galilee will rise above the red line. Although we are still 23 centimeters [9 in] from reaching the lower red line, the heavy snowfall that blanketed the north of the country in January is expected to raise the water lever by dozens of centimeters, which is definitely good news,” Green said.

“After the difficult year we had in 2018, the rainfall we are experiencing in 2019 will allow the Kinneret’s waterline to rise above the lower red line. Only by the end of this winter season, we’ll know how much the lake’s water level has risen.”

Source: (Ynetnews originally published this article on February 18, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Zachi Evenor and MathKnight/wikimedia.org

Photo License: wikimedia.org

Prayer Focus
Praise the Lord with a joyful heart for the abundance of rain He has blessed the Holy Land with this rainy season. Ask Him to bless Israel with more of His precious water to boost the supply before the wet season comes to an end.

Scripture

Ask the LORD for rain in the time of the spring rain. The LORD will make flashing clouds; He will give them showers of rain, grass in the field for everyone.


- Zechariah 10:1

Agricultural Terror: Palestinians Uproot Trees Planted in Memory of Slain Israeli Teen

by Elisha Ben Kimon

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Friends of murdered Israeli teen, Ori Ansbacher, put music to her poems, which will also be displayed on public buses.

Tuesday, 26 February 2019 | Palestinians on Sunday uprooted some 50 trees planted in the West Bank [Judea and Samaria] in the memory of Ori Ansbacher, who was brutally murdered in Jerusalem by a Palestinian terrorist.

The 19-year-old was attacked and murdered at the beginning of February by 29-year-old Arafat Irfayia in the woods of Ein Yael, on the outskirts of Jerusalem.

Gush Etzion Council head Shlomo Ne’eman said in response [to the Palestinians uprooting the newly planted trees], “The State of Israel must define this agricultural terrorism as terror for all intents and purposes and put an end to this phenomenon. A firm stand must be taken for we cannot allow human lives to be harmed.”

Meanwhile, as part of an initiative led by drivers from the Egged bus company [largest public bus company in Israel], poems Ansbacher wrote will be printed and displayed on the company’s vehicles.

Several days after she was murdered, one of Ansbacher’s poems was published by the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper, moving many Israelis. One of them was bus driver Amnon Aliah, who decided to commemorate Ori.

“This murder shook me up and I felt I have to do something. When I read Ori’s poems, I felt the urge to distribute them for the sake of the family,” Aliah said.

Aliah’s colleagues joined him in his initiative to commemorate Ori and some 15 signs with her poems will be posted on the exterior of Egged buses in the upcoming days.

“This is the least we can do. Ori was special and managed to touch each and every one of us,” Aliah said.

Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published by Ynetnews on February 25, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Screenshot/YouTube/Dov Lipman

Prayer Focus
Pray that God will continue comforting Ori Ansbacher’s family and loved ones as they heal from the pain of her murder. Ask the Father to protect His Children from this new form of terror and hatred, and petition Him to restore what has been stolen and to heal the wounds.

Scripture

You, who have shown me great and severe troubles, shall revive me again, and bring me up again from the depths of the earth. You shall increase my greatness, and comfort me on every side.


- Psalm 71:20–21

Vicious Assault on Argentina’s Chief Rabbi Raises Concern over Rising Anti-Semitism

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Argentina’s Chief Rabbi Davidovich was brutally attacked in his home. 

Wednesday, 27 February 2019 | Intruders broke into the house of Argentina’s chief rabbi, stole money, beat him and seriously injured him, the Jerusalem Post reported Tuesday.

A statement from Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA), the Jewish communal organization in Buenos Aires, said that a group of strangers broke into the home [of] Rabbi Gabriel Davidovich at 2:00 in the morning.

The assailants also told Davidovich, “We know that you are the AMIA Rabbi.”

Davidovich was hospitalized with nine broken ribs; his wife was tied up but was otherwise unhurt.

The Times of Israel reported that Aryeh Davidovich, the chief rabbi’s son, described the attack. According to the younger Davidovich, his father heard noises and left his bedroom to investigate. He saw an intruder trying to escape downstairs. The rabbi followed the man and was set upon by his accomplices.

“Then they started shouting and three more burglars came from downstairs, pushed him on the stairs, beat him, bound him. He lost consciousness. They took my mother and asked for all the money she had, and she gave them everything she had,” the son said.

Aryeh Davidovich also said that he believed that the motive was robbery and that the assailants figured that the communal rabbi would be rich.

The attack prompted statements condemning the attack and offering support to the chief rabbi.

“We denounce the attack that Chief Rabbi Gabriel Davidovich suffered in his home,” Mauricio Macri, Argentina’s president wrote on Twitter. “We are with him as he recovers and he has our support for an investigation to find those responsible.”

In a tweet condemning the attack as “despicable,” Israeli President Reuven Rivlin said, “The State of Israel will do everything necessary to protect Jews wherever they choose to live.” More generally, he called on all nations “to ensure the security of their Jewish communities” and to demonstrate an “uncompromising rejection of anti-Semitism.”

Other Israeli politicians across the spectrum also condemned the attack.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “I send wishes for a quick recovery to Argentina Chief Rabbi Gabriel Davidovich and his wife who were viciously assaulted.”

He added, “We must not let anti-Semitism rear its head. I strongly condemn the recent acts of anti-Semitism and call on the international community to take action against it.”

Isaac Herzog, chairman of the Jewish Agency, said that it is “imperative we fight against the human garbage who are driven by their hatred of Jews.”

AMIA said that the attack was cause for “alarm” and expressed “its deep concern” over the incident.

In 1994, the AMIA building was destroyed and 85 people were killed in a terror attack that was carried out by Iran and Hezbollah.

Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published by The Israel Project in its publication The Tower on February 26, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Screenshot/YouTube/i24 News

Prayer Focus
Place Rabbi Davidovich into the loving arms of the Father to heal his emotional and physical wounds. Beg protection from the Lord for the Jewish people in Israel and around the world as the cancer of anti-Semitism seems to be growing worse around the world every day.

Scripture

The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; the God of my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge; my Savior, You save me from violence. I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised; so I shall be saved from my enemies.


- 2 Samuel 22:2–4

Trump Peace Plan to Focus on “Establishing Borders and Resolving Final Status Issues”

by Kate Norman

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White House Adviser Jared Kushner visits the Middle East in preparation for the unveiling of US-led Israel–Palestine peace plan.

Wednesday, 27 February 2019 | Senior White House adviser Jared Kushner has been visiting Arab Gulf States this week with President Trump’s Middle East envoy, Jason Greenblatt, to garner support for their anticipated Israel–Palestine peace proposal.

In an interview with Sky News Arabia on Monday, Kushner divulged that the plan will address the borders conflict and final status issues, which the American Israel Public Affairs Committee defined as security (mainly from Palestinian terrorism and rocket fire), borders, the Palestinian demand for “right of return” of its refugees to Israel, the status of Jerusalem and mutual recognition between the states.

The senior adviser has been highlighting the economic advantages the peace plan would bring for both sides rather than discussing the political components. Kushner and other officials have been tight-lipped about the details, fearing leaders from both sides would be prematurely scared away from the negotiating table.

“The goal of resolving these borders is really to eliminate the borders,” Kushner said. “If you can eliminate borders and have peace and less fear of terror, you could have freer flow of goods, freer flow of people and that would create a lot more opportunities.

Kushner also said they focused on four key principles while drafting the proposal.

“The first principle is to have freedom,” he continued. “We want people to be able to have the freedom of opportunity, the freedom of religion, the freedom to worship, regardless of your faith. Respect: we want all people to have dignity and to respect each other. Opportunity: we want people to be able to better their lives and not allow their grandfather’s conflict to hijack their children’s future. And the final one is security.”

The proposal—which Kushner confirmed will be released after the Israeli elections on April 9—will require the Israelis and the Palestinians to both make concessions and compromise. Both sides have been speculating what those concessions will entail.

The Palestinian Authority (PA) has been boycotting Trump and his administration since he formally recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in December 2017. PA President Mahmoud Abbas has stated every time someone hands him a microphone that he will reject the forthcoming peace proposal. What President Trump calls the “deal of the century,” Abbas called the “slap of the century” and a conspiracy against the Palestinian people.

Abbas said earlier this month, “We will not accept the ‘deal of the century’ and we will not accept a situation where the US is the sole broker in the peace process.” While speaking at the Arab–European Conference in Egypt, Abbas said the 2002 Arab initiative—which calls for the withdrawal of Israel from the Golan Heights, Judea and Samaria, east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip—is the only acceptable solution.

Senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat slammed Kushner’s comments this week and said a proposal that doesn’t establish a Palestinian state with the pre-1967 borders (Gaza and Judea and Samaria entirely under PA control) and a capital in east Jerusalem “is not worth discussing.”

A quote in the Times of Israel from Abbas’s spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, made the PA’s stance crystal clear: “There will be no peace and stability in the Middle East without a peaceful solution that leads to a Palestinian state, with Jerusalem as a capital.”

In his statement at the Israeli–Palestinian Economic Forum last week, US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman—who has been working with Kushner and Greenblatt on the peace proposal—said he believes he will see Israelis and Palestinians working together in the future.

“To all my Palestinian friends who are here who may be listening, who may watch this video in the future: The United States is with you…and to my Israeli friends I say the same: We are with all of you together to support you in new, out-of-the-box thinking to create a better, a safer, a more prosperous world for Israelis and Palestinians alike.”

He continued, “As the children of Abraham, there is far more that unites us than divides us. We are not destined to fight…We know that with the differences that Isaac and Ishmael had in the Bible, they had a great reconciliation before their father Abraham died, and we now how they jointly buried their father Abraham. They reconciled their differences; obviously we can do and should do no less.”

With Abbas and his peers actively opposing the peace proposal and calling on their Arab brethren to refuse to normalize ties with the Jewish state, it seems the children of Isaac are more willing to play ball at this point than the children of Ishmael.

While meeting with US Vice President Mike Pence at the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews on the sidelines of the Warsaw Conference earlier this month, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he looks forward to seeing the peace plan.

“I have to say that I know that the Trump administration seeks to ensure the security of Israel for generations,” Netanyahu said, “And even though I always say, based on the experience that we endured here [at the Warsaw ghetto], Israel must always be able to defend itself by itself against any threat, it’s comforting to know that we have such a strong ally in the United States of America.”

Source: (Bridges for Peace, February 27, 2019)

Photo Credit: U.S. Embassy Jerusalem/wikimedia.org

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Intercede for peace in the Middle East and the protection and flourishment of the Jewish state. Lift up the men who are involved in drafting the peace proposal and ask the Lord to bless them with wisdom and discernment. Beseech the Lord to soften the hardened hearts of the Palestinian leaders who are so hostile against the upcoming peace plan.

Scripture

The thoughts of the righteous are right, but the counsels of the wicked are deceitful. The words of the wicked are, “Lie in wait for blood,” but the mouth of the upright will deliver them. The wicked are overthrown and are no more, but the house of the righteous will stand.


- Proverbs 12:5–7

Israel Shoots for the Moon

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PM Netanyahu waits in the Israel Aerospace Industry control room for the launch of Israel’s Beresheet spacecraft.

Monday, 25 February 2019 | Israel’s first moon mission successfully launched on a SpaceX Falcon 9 missile from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on Thursday night, Reuters reported. If the mission is successful, Israel will join the prestigious group of only three countries that have so far landed on the moon: Russia, the United States and China.

The spacecraft went into orbit at a velocity of 22,000 miles per hour [35,000 km/h] at about 8:45 pm EST, after what Reuters described as a “textbook” disengagement from the launch missile.

It will take nearly two months for the unmanned robotic spacecraft, called Beresheet—Hebrew for Genesis or “in the beginning”—to reach the moon, with an anticipated touchdown on April 11. A direct flight path from Earth to the moon would cover roughly 240,000 miles [386,000 km], but Beresheet will follow a more circuitous route.

The privately funded lunar lander, which is about the size of a washing machine, was developed by the SpaceIL nonprofit organization in cooperation with Israel Aerospace Industries for the low-budget cost of [US] $100 million. It was part of three sets of cargo carried aloft by the Falcon 9 as part of the private rocket fleet of billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk.

“We thought it’s about time for a change, and we want to get little Israel all the way to the moon,” said Yonatan Weintraub, co-founder of Israel’s SpaceIL.

“We’ll keep analyzing the data, but bottom line is we entered the very exclusive group of countries that have launched a spacecraft to the moon,” added Yigal Harel, head of SpaceIL’s spacecraft program.

Throughout the mission, Beresheet will transmit data to the control room in Israel. The spacecraft will collect lunar data and deposit a time capsule that includes children’s drawings, the Bible and Israel’s Declaration of Independence. Beresheet is also set to place the Israeli flag on the lunar surface and take some snaps before the mission ends two days later.

Before the launch, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: “This evening, I would like, first of all, to honor the memories of Ilan, Rona and Asaf Ramon. This attests to Israeli heroism. A marvelous thing is happening here. While this is a great step for Israel, it is a huge step for Israeli technology.”

He added: “Several hours ago I said that the State of Israel is a rising global power, to the moon. This is a great achievement and it is very moving. I asked that a Tanakh [OT], an Israeli flag and the writing ‘Am Yisrael Chai’ [the people of Israel live] be taken to the moon. They told me ‘It’s OK. It has already been taken care of.’ This is something that it was possible only to dream about.”

Source: (This article was originally published by The Israel Project in its publication The Tower on February 22, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Ashernet/Kobi Gideon_GPO

Prayer Focus
Shout for joy that the Lord has blessed the tiny nation of Israel with such resourcefulness that it is joining mighty world powers in achievement and success. Ask Him to continue lifting up the Land of Promise so that the world will know He is God, and pray that the nation of Israel will continue to rely upon the God of their fathers for blessings.

Scripture

And you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.


- Deuteronomy 8:18

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