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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.

Bringing Them Home – an Update on the B’nei Menashe Aliyah

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Indian mother and child upon arriving at Ben Gurion

Recently we sent out an urgent request for funds by email and telephone. Without our help the entire aliyah (Jewish immigration) from India was at risk. An ultimatum was issued from the Ministry of Interior: “Bring the next group by the middle of February or we will stop the entire aliyah.” Our friend, Michael Freund of Shavei Israel was missing $100,000 dollars, and Christians gave. The next group was able to arrive in Israel as scheduled! 

Michael has a goal of bringing another 600 Jews home from India this year and is asking for our help. Families are currently divided. Parents and children separated by thousands of miles (kilometers). Their financial lack makes it impossible for them to make aliyah without help. But thanks to the generosity of our donors, the program will continue and families will be reunited. With our ongoing support, Shavei Israel will meet its goal this year as Christians extend a loving, helping hand to this “lost” tribe of Israel.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, 10 March 2017)

Photo Credit: Shavei Israel

Prayer Focus
Thank God for Christians around the world who are standing with the people God calls His own. Pray that the B’nei Menashe, and all new immigrants, will settle easily in their new homes, learn the language quickly and find satisfying jobs.

Scripture

When the Lord brought back the captivity of Zion, we were like those who dream. Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing. Then they said among the nations, the Lord has done great things for them.


- Psalm 126:1-2

Action
It’s not too late to help! Please consider a donation to the New Immigrant Fund and join your hand with ours, as together we reach out to help the B’nei Menashe return to the Land of their inheritance.

Israel Security Forces Bring Down Weapon-smuggling Network

by Yoav Zitun

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Display of restricted components that can be made into illegal weapons (illustrative)

Thursday, 09 March 2017 | An operation to bring down a weapon parts and combat accessories smuggling network was finished Tuesday night as the IDF [Israel Defense Forces], Shin Bet, Israel Police and customs stormed the last operating shop in Nablus, seizing illegally smuggled equipment and arresting the shop owner.The smuggling network ran by ordering the equipment online from undisclosed countries to the Ashdod port by ship, and from there, sending it by mail or some other legitimate delivery system to a recipient in either Balata or Casbah refugee camps in Nablus.

The operation, which began in the summer of 2016, started after a routine check by customs of an innocent-looking package revealed it to hold weapon parts.

The packages found to be holding the smuggled equipment were usually labeled as “plastic parts” or “cloth manufacturing,” and so IDF believes that hundreds of shipments managed to successfully reach their destination before the system was revealed.

The shop owner was the ninth person to be arrested since the raids by security forces started in December as part of this months-long operation. During Tuesday’s raid a wedding dress shop was also revealed to be run by the main suspects and served as part of the smuggling network.

All in all, as part of the operation security forces seized were three M16s, hundreds of bullets, 25 scopes, several laser scopes for sniper rifles, one M4, about 200 small weapon parts, dozens of tactical combat vests and more.

These join the 500 weapons that IDF seized last year, the 170 weapons seized in the Gaza Strip alone in 2015, and by careful estimations, more than 500 weapons which will be seized this year. In addition, IDF stated to have uncovered over 50 weapon manufacturing factories as part of their fight against illegal combat equipment.

Source: (Ynetnews originally posted this article on.08 March 2017. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: IDF

Prayer Focus
Praise God for Israel’s security forces including the Shin Bet; bring them and their families before God’s throne, asking for His blessing upon their lives. Lift them up, praying for accurate, timely intelligence information, careful actions and the calmness to hear God’s instructions as they rid Israel of smuggled goods intended for possible terror activities.

Scripture

Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.


- Jeremiah 33:3

Iran Responsible for 80% of Israel’s Security Threats

by Ilse Posselt

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PM Netanyahu speaking at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Tuesday, 07 March 2017 | According to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the overwhelming majority of security threats the Jewish state faces originate from one source: the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Speaking at a ceremony held at the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem to mark the 25th anniversary of the 1992 Iran-sponsored bombing of the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires, Netanyahu quoted one of Israel’s security agencies, telling the audience that “more than 80 percent of our security problems emanate from Iran.”

On 7 March 1992, a suicide bomber detonated in front of the Jewish state’s embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The blast killed 29 people, including a number of Israeli diplomats, and wounded nearly 250 more.

Netanyahu said that it was clear from the very beginning who was behind the deadly attack. “Iran initiated and planned it, and Hezbollah, which does what it [Iran] says, carried it out.”

The prime minister also pointed to the Iran-sponsored bombing of the AMIA Jewish community center in Buenos Aires two years later. This time, the blast killed 85 people and wounded at least 100.

“Iran is the greatest generator of terrorism in the world and we need to fight this terror because it is just one arm of Iranian aggression, which also seeks nuclear weapons and advances its ballistic missiles program,” he continued.

“Since the terror attack in Argentina, Israel has grown much stronger,” Netanyahu vowed. “We will forcefully oppose the arming of Hezbollah and dangerous weapons. Our red lines are thick and clear and we do not hesitate to act in order to enforce them.”

According to The Israel Project, Hezbollah is not the only terror proxy to benefit from the Islamic Republic’s resources. Tehran also supports Palestinian terror groups, including Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, through funds, intelligence and weapons. Late last month, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei issued a clarion call to all Palestinians, calling for a “holy intifada” to destroy Israel, which Khamenei called a “cancerous tumor.”

Netanyahu’s address occurred mere hours before he received a call from US President Donald Trump to talk about the Iran nuclear deal as well as Tehran’s recent acts of aggression on contravention of the agreement.

According to a readout of the call which the prime minister’s office made available, the two world leaders “spoke at length about the dangers posed by the nuclear deal with Iran and Iran’s malevolent behavior in the region and about the need to work together to counter those dangers.”

Trump’s call appears to be prompted by reports that the Islamic Republic successfully carried out missile tests using the advanced S-300 aerial defense system received from Russia. Moreover, the International Atomic Energy Agency’s report on Iran’s compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal aimed at blocking Tehran’s path to a nuclear weapon indicates that “Iran is not fully complying with the agreement, or is at least pushing the envelope of compliance in a detrimental direction.”

Both Trump and Netanyahu are strongly opposed to the Iran nuclear deal. At the time the agreement was signed, Netanyahu hailed it as a “bad deal” that would pave rather than block the way for Tehran to become a nuclear power. Trump was more outspoken, calling it one of the worst deals he has ever witnessed.

Since his inauguration, Trump has also adopted a strict stance where the Islamic Republic is concerned. Last month, his administration imposed new sanctions on a number of individuals and entities connected to Tehran’s ballistic missile program. At the time, Trump issued a warning, telling Iran that it was “playing with fire” and had been “put on notice.”

For his part, Netanyahu revealed yesterday that he would be meeting with Russian President, Vladimir Putin on Thursday to reach “specific understandings” between Jerusalem and Moscow to prevent Iran from setting up a permanent military position in Syria and using the war-torn country as a base from which to launch operations against Israel.

Speaking at the opening of the weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday, Netanyahu warned Israeli lawmakers that Tehran was aiming to exploit the current efforts to hammer out a political agreement in Syria to establish a military foothold on Israel’s doorstep.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, 07 March 2017)

Photo Credit: Screenshot/ GPO

Prayer Focus
Remind God that He is the Protector of Israel and pray for a good outcome of PM Netanyahu’s visit with president Putin from Russia. Pray that Russia will not stand in Israel’s way as they seek to prevent Iran from setting up a permanent military position in Syria. Pray for the nation of Israel to keep their eyes fixed on God.

Scripture

Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.


- Deuteronomy 31:6

Sea of Galilee Levels Lowest in a Century

by Ilana Curiel

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The Sea of Galilee’s receding shoreline (illustrative)

Thursday, 09 March 2017 | After registering a drought for the fourth consecutive year in the north, the Water Authority is reporting a record low for precipitation in the month of February since measurements began in the 1920s.

Water levels in the Kinneret rose only 22cm [8.7 in] last month which is decidedly lower than the multi-year average of 60cm [23.6].

As of the beginning of March, current water levels in the Kinneret are standing at 16cm [6.3] below the red line.

These measurements, which are recorded now at the end of the rainy season, present a dire picture that has not been seen in a decade.

Due to low levels of precipitation in the western Galilee over the last four years, the lack of available water volume in the Kinneret is the largest it has been in 100 years.

The available water volume in the Kinneret last month amounted to 35 cubic meters [115 square foot] , compared to the multi-year average of 86 cubic meters [210 square feet] in the month of February.

These worrying data were still recorded despite Water Authority policy that stopped Kinneret pumping almost entirely. Exacerbating matters, the water shortage in the north is expected to worsen this summer.

The Water Authority is working to complete a desalination system to stabilize the water market in Israel, half of which is already made up of 50% recycled water.

Source: (Excerpt of an article originally published in Ynetnews on 07 March 2017. Time related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Chmee2/ Wikipedia

Photo License: wikipedia

Prayer Focus
Cry out, interceding for the beautiful miracle of rain in the Holy Land as the water levels in the Kinneret are their lowest in a decade with the least amount of available water in a 100 years. This is the time of the latter rains and hope still abounds for the farmers in the north. Pray that all residents will be water-wise in their homes and use God’s commodity of life sparingly.

Scripture

Then Elijah said to Ahab, Go up, eat and drink; for there is the sound of abundance of rain. Then it came to pass the seventh time, that he said, There is a cloud, as small as a man’s hand, rising out of the sea! So he said, Go up, say to Ahab, Prepare your chariot, and go down before the rain stops you.


- 1 Kings 18:41, 44

Hamas Responsible for Suffering in Gaza, Israeli Defense Minister Holds

by Moran Azulay, Attila Somfalvi

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Each Hamas tunnel cost $3 million which could have been used for productive purposes.

Monday, 06 March 2016 | Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman claimed Thursday that there was no diplomatic alternative to going to war in Gaza in the summer of 2014, saying that those who think Hamas can suddenly become pacifists are “delusional and detached from reality.”

In a report on Operation Protective Edge released on Tuesday, State Comptroller Yosef Shapira reprimanded Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for not bringing any alternative diplomatic options to the Security Cabinet ahead of the military operation.

Lieberman, who was the foreign minister and a member of the Security Cabinet at the time, rejected that claim.

“There was no diplomatic alternative,” he insisted. “People keep thinking more can be done, another move, to throw (Hamas) another bone, and everything would suddenly work itself out. They think Hamas will suddenly become pacifists, a kind of Peace Now, and not want to destroy us.”

The only diplomatic alternative, according to Lieberman, “is primarily to raise awareness among the residents of Gaza that they are suffering because of the Hamas leadership. The second thing is that the Hamas leadership must understand it is always losing.”

While the State Comptroller pointed to an unprepared, ill-informed and ineffective Security Cabinet during the war, Lieberman claimed he had done his part during the war in Gaza.

“As the Foreign Ministry, we got the government diplomatic credit for 51 days,” Lieberman said. “In this, we definitely gave everything we had to give.”

The defense minister asserted that while the IDF [Israel Defense Forces] has already learned the necessary lessons from Operation Protective Edge, the State Comptroller’s report “is serious, and we must read it closely and shouldn’t reject it out of hand.”

Source: (Excerpt of an article originally published in Ynetnews on 02 March 2017. Time related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.) 

Photo Credit: IDF blog

Prayer Focus
Ask God to bring unity among Knesset members regarding the report on Operation Protective Edge—what could have or should have been done during the Gaza war. Thank Him for His guidance of the Israeli government and IDF.

Scripture

So his armor bearer said to him, do all that is in your heart. Go then; here I am with you, according to your heart.


- 1 Samuel 14:7

Action
Is it time for you to make peace with somebody? We are to be peace makers and are commanded to live in peace with one another. It can be extremely difficult to be the first one taking the giant leap to rekindle any relationship, but through it all, if we do it in love and humbleness, God will be glorified. Do not hesitate; God is with you.

UN Reports Slams Israel’s Presence in Judea and Samaria

by Itamar Eichner

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Israeli SodaStream factory closed in 2015 due to the effects of the BDS movement

Tuesday, 07 March 2017 | A new United Nations report on the settlements is due to be made public. Ynet found that the report is said to blame Israel for acting to annex the disputed territories in the West Bank [Judea–Samaria], as well urge companies to end trade and business agreements with Judea and Samaria, east Jerusalem and the Golan Heights. The report was written by United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and Jordanian Prince Zeid bin Ra’ad Zeid al-Hussein. It is also said [to be] bereft of any mention of Palestinian terrorism in the West Bank or in general.

The report notes that 2017 marks 50 years since the Six Day War (the text describes this period as 50 years of Israeli occupation of Palestinian land). It additionally states that Israel’s activities in the West Bank have brought on a consistent growth of the settler population and a unilateral takeover of widespread areas of land, in opposition to international law.

“With the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territory now in its 50th year, the illegal settlement enterprise continues to advance apace. Through unabated expansion of illegal settlements and parallel efforts to consolidate Israel’s control over the West Bank, successive Israeli governments since 1967 have overseen the steady growth of the settler population and the unilateral takeover of large swaths of the West Bank’s land reserves, in clear violation of international law.”

The report goes on to state that Israel’s actions have dire effects on Palestinian human rights in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.

“Israel’s policies and practices (…) raise serious concerns of a de facto annexation of large swaths of West Bank areas under its full control. Furthermore, the impact of Israel’s settlement policy on the human rights situation of Palestinian in the West Bank, including east Jerusalem, is devastating.”

It also makes a case for companies to end their ties with businesses in the West Bank.

“The production and trade of settlement goods continues [to be] a key source of profit for settlement business,” added the report’s draft. “The role of Israeli and foreign businesses in supporting and maintaining the existence of the settlements has been highlighted previously.

“It (the settlement project—ed.) is a key driver of humanitarian need in the West Bank, including east Jerusalem, and lies at the core of a range of human rights violations. The settlements enterprise further constitutes one of the main obstacles to a viable Palestinian state.

“Third-party states should provide guidance on implementing the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights to business enterprises domiciled in their territory and/or jurisdiction which operate in conflict-affected areas, including in the context of military occupation, such as in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.”

The report’s draft additionally mentions concern over Israel’s plans to erect a national park at the “occupied Hermon,” over towns in the Golan Heights and over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s statement that Israel will never relinquish the Golan Heights.

One year ago, the UN tasked al-Hussein to compile a list of all the Israeli and international companies working with settlements in the West Bank, as well as east Jerusalem and towns in the Golan Heights. And while the list has since been shelved due to US pressure, the aforementioned report was written in keeping with the same UN decision that called for the list’s compiling.

Source: (Ynetnews originally posted this article on 06 March, 2017. Time related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Ashernet

Prayer Focus
Continue to proclaim scriptural promises about Israel in response to the UN’s anti-Israel reports that continuously appear from different bodies within. Ask God to remind and guide the UN bodies into their original purpose of protecting and promoting human rights.

Scripture

Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.


- Genesis 17:8

Logo Marking 50 Year Anniversary of Jerusalem Liberation Unveiled

by Moran Azulay

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Culture Minister Miri Regev shows logo marking the 50-year anniversary of Jerusalem’s reunification

Monday, 06 March 2017 | Culture Minister Miri Regev (Likud) presented the new official logo to mark the 50th anniversary of the liberation of Jerusalem on Sunday at a cabinet meeting. “If we are unable to say to ourselves that we liberated Jerusalem from generations of foreign occupation, how can we complain about the world,” said Regev, insisting on the use of the word “liberation.”

The new logo will now adorn the official letterhead of the various ministries and accompany the Jubilee events throughout the year. “This logo tells the true story of Jerusalem,” Regev said.

“The basis of the number 5 is the harp that reminds us of David, King of Israel, who determined Jerusalem as our eternal capital over 3,000 years ago. The top is a lion’s head—Jerusalem’s symbol to this day. The number 5 symbolically represents the timeline of the history of Jerusalem—from King David to the IDF’s 55th Paratroopers Brigade that entered through the Lion’s gate and liberated Jerusalem during the Six Day War.”

Inside the ‘zero,’ the Israeli flag appears above the Old City, the Western Wall and the Temple Mount.

The logo’s chosen color is gold which according to Regev represents the “near-prophetic Naomi Shemer lyrics depicting a ‘Jerusalem of Gold.'”

Regev also commented on the slogan—”50 years since the liberation of Jerusalem. A united and unifying Jerusalem”—chosen to accompany the logo. “The liberation of Jerusalem must be above political disputes,” said Regev.

Source: (Excerpt of article originally posted by Ynetnews on 05 March 2017. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Miri Regev/ Facebook

Prayer Focus
Intercede for the safety of the nation of Israel during this important Jubilee event—the celebration of the liberation and reunification of Jerusalem.

Scripture

For the people shall dwell in Zion at Jerusalem; you shall weep no more. He will be very gracious to you at the sound of your cry; when He hears it, He will answer you.


- Isaiah 30:19

Arab-Israeli Enlistment in IDF Continues to Grow

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Golani soldiers doing fire drills and onslaught exercises (illustrative)

Friday, 03 March 2017 | A growing number of Muslim Arab-Israelis are enlisting in the Israel Defense Forces [IDF] despite the disapproval of their communities, NBC reported Sunday.

“There is more openness among Arab Muslims that are not Bedouins to volunteer and join the army,” said Col. Wagdi Sarhan, the head of the IDF’s minorities unit. “We’re talking about recruitment of dozens of Arab Muslim youth and we are hopeful that the numbers will grow.”

There were fewer than ten Arab Muslims serving in the Israeli army a few years ago, according to Sarhan, but now the number is in the dozens.

“This is my country and it’s my duty to protect its borders,” explained Sgt. Yossef Saluta, one of the growing number of Muslim Arabs serving. He added that his family was supportive, but that when he told his friends, they initially gave him “a strange look….But after I told them about my experiences in the army they were convinced to also join.”

The Times of Israel reported in August that non-Jewish enlistment in civilian national service has increased 650% in just six years.

Maj. Alaa Waheeb, the highest ranking Muslim officer in the IDF, wrote an op-ed in the Jewish News in March 2016 expressing pride in the role he plays in Israeli society. He recounted being on a speaking tour of the United Kingdom with a Jewish medic: “We were the Muslims who protect Jewish lives and the Jew who saves Muslim lives. There’s only one country in the Middle East that could produce a couple like that—and it sure as hell isn’t an apartheid state.”

Source: (This article was originally published by The Israel Project, in its publication The Tower on 03 March 2017. Time related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Moshe Milner/GPO

Prayer Focus
Praise God for the testimony of this Muslim who protects Jewish lives and the Jew that saves Muslim lives! Thank God for the growth of Arab enlistments in the IDF and pray for protection of all the soldiers, whether they risk their lives to join or risk their lives to save others. Thank God that He blesses those who love the Jewish state.

Scripture

Let peoples serve you, and nations bow down to you. Be master over your brethren, and let your mother’s sons bow down to you. Cursed be everyone who curses you, and blessed be those who bless you!


- Genesis 27:29

Israel Starts Natural Gas Exports to Jordan

by Ilse Posselt

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Israel’s Tamar natural gas rig off the Mediterranean coast (illustrative)

Friday, 03 March 2017 | In August 2015 the Israeli cabinet announced a plan for the development of its offshore natural gas production in the Mediterranean that would reportedly launch the Jewish state as an energy superpower within the region. Eighteen months later, Israel marked the country’s first ever export of natural gas, the French press agency, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported this week. The recipient of the first shipment from the Jewish state is its neighbor, Jordan.

A spokesperson from Delek Drilling, which along with Noble Energy forms the consortium managing the development of Israel’s offshore gas deposits, told AFP that the flow of natural gas to the Hashemite Kingdom began in January 2017. However, amid the political sensitivities in Jordan regarding business dealings with Israel, both sides initially chose to keep the news out of the spotlight, Haaretz reports.

Jordan and Egypt are the only two Arab countries that have peace deals with Israel. Many Jordanians do, however, strongly disapprove of the 1994 agreement and reject any dealings with the Jewish state who they regard as a bitter enemy.

Delek Drilling announced in 2014 that it had signed a deal with two firms from the Hashemite Kingdom, Arab Potash and Jordan Bromine—to import 2 billion cubic meters (roughly 70 billion cubic feet) of gas from Israel’s Tamar field. The deal was reportedly worth $771 million [NIS 2 billion 848 million].

Two years later in 2016, Jerusalem and Amman signed a $10 billion deal whereby the Jewish state would become the largest supplier of gas to the Hashemite Kingdom. The deal entails Israel’s Leviathan gas consortium providing the Jordan Electric Power Company with approximately 45 billion cubic meters of gas from the Leviathan gas field over the next 15 years. Deliveries to and from the Leviathan plant to Jordan is expected to begin in 2019.

Israel, which historically had few natural resources, discovered a number of mammoth gas reserves off the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in recent years. These are the Tamar gas fields which have been operational since 2013 as well as the Leviathan, Karish and Tanin natural gas fields. The Leviathan reserve is considered the largest in the Mediterranean Sea with a reported gas reserve of more than 500 billion cubic feet.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, 03 March 2017)

Photo Credit: Ashernet

Prayer Focus
Offer thanksgiving and petition for God’s guidance of the leadership of Israel and especially pray for PM Netanyahu and President Rivlin as they have a special level of responsibility and influence over Israel’s natural resources. Ask God’s hand of favor and protection upon them and their decisions.

Scripture

Lead me, O Lord, in Your righteousness because of my enemies; make Your way straight before my face.


- Psalm 5:8

Team Israel Scores a Baseball Miracle

by Ilse Posselt

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Nate Freiman, Israel baseball player

Wednesday, 08 March 2017 | ESPN called it “the Mighty Ducks… and the Jamaican bobsled team all rolled into one.” CBS hailed it as a Cinderella story. And the New York Post refers to it as a miracle. Regardless of which description you choose, Team Israel’s performance at the World Baseball Classic 2017 in South Korea has emerged as a surprising source of national pride in recent days.

Baseball is not a particularly popular sport in the Promised Land. In fact, according to Tablet Magazine, in the normal course of things, Israelis in general are unaware of the Word Baseball Classic. Moreover, few knew that a national team from the Jewish state had made it to this year’s annual international baseball tournament. Yet things changed suddenly when the low-ranked team from tiny Israel burst onto the international baseball scene as the tournament’s underdog-turned-powerhouse story.

Israel’s miracle baseball story began long before the first game of the tournament. In fact, ranked 41st in the world, nobody expected that the Jewish state’s team would even make it to the World Baseball Classic. Yet against all odds, the squad from the Promised Land qualified—for the first time in the country’s history—and the team decked out in the national blue-and-white proudly headed to South Korea to face the best that international baseball has to offer.

The next seemingly impossible hurdle came almost immediately. Israel’s first opponent was host South Korea, which is ranked 3rd in the world and has won two medals in previous World Baseball Classics. Yet in what Tablet Magazine calls “the Six Day War of baseball games,” the team from Israel was triumphant, scoring a 2-1 win in 10 innings against the South Koreans on Monday.

The Jewish state’s miraculous run continued on Tuesday when the blue-and-white team scored another victory, this time against 4th ranked Chinese Taipei. Israel will come against its toughest opposition yet today, when it faces the Netherlands, a team sporting a number of major league players.

However, even if there happens to be a hitch in Israel’s winning streak today, the team has already scored a 2-0 in the pool play and stands an excellent chance of advancing to the next round.

Apart from the fact that everybody loves an underdog-turned-victor story, two other aspects have endeared the team from Israel to baseball fans the world over.

The first is the team’s mascot, a life-sized stuffed toy dressed as an Orthodox Jew, called “Mensch on the Bench” (mensch is Yiddish for a person with integrity and honor). Sporting the Israeli team’s blue-and-white and clutching a Hanukkah candle, the Mensch on the Bench accompanied the team to South Korea, where it sits on the bench in the dugout to watch over every game. According to reports, the Mensch even has his own locker and joins the team during press conferences.

The second factor is the passion with which the team members have embraced the opportunity and responsibility to act as representatives of the Jewish state. Over the past two games, the team members have adopted a touching custom of taking off their traditional baseball caps and donning a kippah (the Jewish skullcap) as the Hatikvah, Israel’s national anthem, is played before every match.

Win or lose and regardless of its performance during the rest of the tournament, the team from the Promised Land has managed to give Israel a positive publicity boost, while establishing a place in the hearts and minds of baseball lovers around the world.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, 08 March 2017)

Photo Credit: WBC Baseball / Twitter

Prayer Focus
Rejoice in the Lord as Israel is breaking new ground in many areas, bringing awareness of the small Jewish state to the world. Pray for a joyful time as the team experiences new things while they have the opportunity to represent Israel in a new way to the world. May God bless each one.

Scripture

Declare His glory among the nations, His wonders among all peoples. For the Lord is great and greatly to be praised; He is to be feared above all gods.


- Psalm 96:3-4

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