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Bringing The Jewish People Home

Friday, March 19, 2021

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

Biblical Scroll Fragments from 2,000 Years Ago Discovered in Israel

by Kate Norman

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The scrolls fragments before conservation in the IAA lab

Wednesday, 17 March 2021 | A daring years-long archeological operation yielded rich discoveries tying the Jewish people to their homeland, including 2,000-year-old biblical parchment fragments, the world’s oldest basket and the 6,000-year-old mummified remains of a young girl.

The operation in a Judean Desert cave was undertaken by the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) together with the Civil Administration and the Archaeology Department to protect the site from looting. Though it provided the perfect dry, hot environment to protect the ancient artifacts, the “Cave of Horror” was only accessible by rappelling 80 meters (262 ft) down a rope over the edge of a cliff.

“The aim of this national initiative is to rescue these rare and important heritage assets from the robbers’ clutches,” said IAA director Israel Hasson in a statement. “The newly discovered scroll fragments are a wake-up call to the state. Resources must be allocated for the completion of this historically important operation. We must ensure that we recover all the data that has not yet been discovered in the caves before the robbers do. Some things are beyond value.”

The dig, which was launched in 2017, uncovered parchments containing excerpts from Zechariah (8:16–17) and Nahum (1:5–6), as part of a compilation of books of the twelve minor prophets. Though written in Greek, the parchments contain the name of God written in ancient Hebrew.

This is the first finding from the site in 60 years, since a 1950s dig in the cave that produced a large biblical scroll.

“The desert team showed exceptional courage, dedication and devotion to purpose, rappelling down to caves located between heaven and earth, digging and sifting through them, enduring thick and suffocating dust, and returning with gifts of immeasurable worth for mankind,” IAA director Hasson praised in a press release.

The excavation supplied other rich finds in addition to the scrolls.

The archaeological team also discovered a shallow grave holding the 6,000-year-old skeleton of a child somewhere between 6 and 12 years old, wrapped up in a cloth and tucked in, “just as a parent covers his child in a blanket,” IAA prehistorian Ronit Lupu told the Jerusalem Post. Lupu noted that the child’s remains and the blanket were well preserved due to the climate conditions of the cave. “A process of natural mummification had taken place; the skin, tendons, and even the hair were partially preserved, despite the passage of time.”

The team also discovered what they called the world’s oldest whole woven basket, again well preserved because of the hot climate. The basket was found empty, and according to the IAA, only future testing will determine what the 90–100 liter (24–26 gallon) container held.

The caves tucked into the Judean Hills yielded a stash of coins dating to the end of the Bar Kochba Revolt. Rebels took shelter in the haven and left behind other objects, including arrowheads and spearheads, sandals and fabric. An IAA archaeologist said the families likely planted those items there intending to “build a new life” after the war.

After the discovery 70 years ago of the Dead Sea Scrolls by Bedouin shepherds, the Judean Desert has fallen victim to rampant looting by ancient treasure hunters looking for a piece of the pie. The IAA undertook this archaeological rescue operation in 2017 to uncover and protect the Jewish state’s history. Yesterday’s unveiling of the finds shows the rich history the area has to offer.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, March 17, 2021)

Photo Credit: Shai Halevi/Israel Antiquities Authority

Prayer Focus
Praise the Lord for these amazing archaeological treasures. Thank Him for preserving this piece of Israel’s history and for keeping looters from stealing or destroying it. Pray that Israel’s archaeologists will continue uncovering such amazing discoveries, clearly linking the Jewish people to their ancient homeland.

Scripture

On the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying: “To your descendants I have given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the River Euphrates—the Kenites, the Kenezzites, the Kadmonites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaim, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites, and the Jebusites.”


- Genesis 15:18–21

IDF Warns of Massive Aerial Assault in War with Hezbollah

by Ilse Strauss

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Preparing for any scenario on Israel’s northern border.

Tuesday, 16 March 2021 | In the next war with Hezbollah, Israel could face an aerial assault of thousands of rockets a day raining down on civilians, OC Home Front Command Maj. Gen. Uri Gordin said yesterday.

Speaking at the B’Sheva Conference in Jerusalem, Gordin warned: “In the next war the State of Israel is expected to absorb about 2,000 missiles and rockets that will be launched at it every day and will challenge all military and civilian systems alike.”

However, the grim reality is not a reflection of the Iranian terror proxy’s military superiority, Gordin explained. In fact, Hezbollah is well aware that it stands no chance against the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in the trenches and therefore seeks to inflict as much carnage, chaos, trauma and devastation as possible away from the frontlines.

“They know they cannot defeat us on the battlefield, so they try to move the war to a second front and that is our homes and in our cities—physical damage to cities, towns and villages and damage to our spirit through psychological warfare,” Gordin held.

Although the onslaught will certainly take its toll, Gordin is convinced that Israel will also be victorious on the so-called second front: “They must understand that even on the home front they will meet a determined and cohesive iron fist,” he said.

Hezbollah currently takes the top spot as Israel’s most imminent threat—and for good reason. With a fighting force numbering 45,000, many of whom have gained valuable battlefield experience fighting alongside Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad in the Syrian Civil War, Hezbollah functions as a terror army, rather than a terror group.

Iran also used war-torn Syria as a supply route to smuggle game-changing weapons to its terror proxy in Lebanon, and Hezbollah now boasts an arsenal of 150,000–300,000 precision long- and medium-range rockets, larger than that of all Europe’s armies combined.

Israel and Hezbollah faced each other on the battlefield during the Second Lebanon War in 2006. However, the next round may be much bloodier, more violent and costlier than the first.

At the start of the Second Lebanon War, Hezbollah had an arsenal of 20,000 rockets and fired 4,000 of them at Israel over a five-week period, translating to 100 to 150 missiles daily. Thirty-nine civilians were killed. According to the IDF, Hezbollah’s current arsenal can support a barrage of 2,000 rockets carrying 60 to 70 kilograms [132 to 154 lbs] of thermobaric explosives per day. Moreover, Hezbollah now has the ability to launch dozens of rockets simultaneously at a single target, meaning that the Iron Dome will not be able to repel the fire.

Despite the ferocity of the onslaught, Israel will, however, answer any attacks decisively, Gordin vowed. “Our enemies on the different fronts need to know that if needed, we will activate a powerful military that has never been seen before,” he said.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, March 16, 2021)

Photo Credit: Cpl. Eden Briand, IDF Spokesperson's Unit/flickr.com

Photo License: Flickr

Prayer Focus
Pray that Israel will continually look to the Lord of Hosts as their protector and defender. Thank Him for Israel’s military might and determination but pray that He will cause peace to reign on the northern border and throughout the rest of the land as well. Pray that He will confound Israel’s enemies and cause their strategies to fail.

Scripture

Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; but we will remember the name of the LORD our God. They have bowed down and fallen; but we have risen and stand upright.


- Psalm 20:7–8

Biden’s Plan to “Reset” Israeli–Palestinian Situation

by Ilse Strauss

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US President Joe Biden

Thursday, 18 March 2021 | The Biden administration is reportedly planning to walk back on some of his predecessor’s decisions regarding Israel and the Palestinians, resetting the US’s diplomatic approach to fall back in line with its traditional position.

The National, a Dubai-based English-language daily, revealed the intended reboot after obtaining “The US Palestinian Reset and the Path Forward,” a four-page US memo detailing President Joe Biden’s planned strategy for the Israeli–Palestinian situation. The plan—the brainchild of Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Israeli–Palestinian Affairs Hady Amr—was allegedly presented to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on March 1.

The document advocates reestablishing diplomatic relations with the Palestinians that disintegrated when Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas turned his back on the US after former President Donald Trump’s decision to acknowledge Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The ties further disintegrated in the aftermath of the Trump administration’s peace plan, which the PA deemed “the slap of the century” and rejected out of hand.

According to the memo, the US “suffers from a lack of connective tissue” with the PA, which should be remedied by “reset[ing] US relations with the Palestinians.”

The future plans further include resuscitating the stalled peace process between Israel and the Palestinians, focusing on a two-state solution based on the pre-1967 borders with mutually agreed land swaps.

The pre-1967 borders refer to the lay of the land prior to the Six-Day War, a defensive conflict in which Israel managed to beat back the invading Hashemite Kingdom and reclaim the eastern part of Jerusalem as well as Judea and Samaria, which had been under Jordanian occupation since the 1948 War of Independence. Notably, in the nearly 20 years that Jordan occupied the so-called West Bank, the Palestinians neither identified as a unique nation nor sought to establish a country of their own. In fact, with no record of Palestinian rule in either the eastern part of Jerusalem or Judea and Samaria, the question remains unanswered as to why Israel is required to hand over the biblical heartland—where more than 90% of the Tanakh (OT) played out and where generations of Jews lived and died—as a pre-requisite to peace.

Moreover, the memo suggests doing an about-face on some of former President Trump’s decisions that Amr believes would harm the possibility of a two-state solution. This refers in particular to the change in policy that allows US exports from Judea and Samaria to be labeled as “Made in Israel,” thus legitimizing the so-called settlements as part of Israel.

Another part of the plan entails the Biden administration padding the PA’s coffers with a US $15 million aid package in COVID-10 assistance. Prior to 2018, the US was the Palestinians’ largest single donor. However, the streams of cash soon slowed to a trickle and then dried up when the PA failed to halt its “Pay for Slay” policy of rewarding terrorists and their families with monthly salaries for committing acts of terror against Jews.

Despite the focus on improving ties, aid and the future of the Palestinians, the memo also mentioned the Jewish state. The plan was, however, thin on details as to the benefits Israel can expect, merely stating that the US will “take a two-fold approach of maintaining and ideally improving the US relationship with Israel by deepening its integration into the region…”

Source: (Bridges for Peace, March 18, 2021)

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore/flickr.com

Photo License: Flickr

Prayer Focus
Cry out to the Lord for His wisdom to fall on the Biden administration, keeping them from “resetting the US’s diplomatic approach” to the Palestinians. Pray that the Americans will make good on their promise to stand with and support Israel as their ally and friend. Beseech Him that former President Trump’s landmark decisions will remain in place, particularly the US’s refusal to provide aid to the PA while they continue their “Pay for Slay” policy.

Scripture

Save me, O God, by Your name, and vindicate me by Your strength. Hear my prayer, O God; give ear to the words of my mouth. For strangers have risen up against me, and oppressors have sought after my life…Behold, God is my helper; the Lord is with those who uphold my life.


- Psalm 54:1–2, 3a–4

The Differences between Israel’s 2020 and 2021 Elections

by Alex Traiman~JNS

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Finance Minister Yair Lapid (left) and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Thursday, 18 March 2021 | Israelis will head to the polls next week for the fourth parliamentary elections in two years. The voters will determine which of the 13 parties polling near the electoral threshold will enter the 120-member Knesset. Following the vote, party leaders will again compete to form a parliamentary majority coalition to determine who, if anyone, will emerge as prime minister.

During the successive three elections that took place between April 2019 and March 2020, embattled Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed to form a majority as a growing number of political rivals, including former allies, refused to join a Netanyahu-led government. Yet the challengers’ insistence on finally replacing Israel’s longest-serving prime minister fared no better at coalition-building.

Israel’s third election cycle devolved into an unprecedented political crisis following the vote, with an attempted parliamentary putsch supported by Israel’s High Court, in which opposition parties sought to retroactively invalidate Netanyahu from serving as prime minister.

The putsch failed as Netanyahu and his lead challenger, Benny Gantz of the Blue and White Party, formed a “national unity government” intended to end the political crisis and contend with COVID-19.

Disunity Government

One year later, the ineffective alignment has dissolved. Gantz, the current defense minister who was slated to become prime minister in November this year as part of a faulty rotation arrangement, has plummeted in the polls. Former Likud member Gideon Sa’ar defected to form the New Hope Party to challenge Netanyahu from the right, yet his popularity has also been sinking since he first announced his candidacy in December of last year. Longtime Netanyahu opponent Yair Lapid of the left-wing Yesh Atid Party has emerged as Netanyahu’s primary challenger.

Polls show that parties promoting right-wing policies will score an unprecedented number of votes—potentially 75 to 80. However, with Netanyahu’s former right-wing allies—Sa’ar and Avigdor Lieberman—pledging not to join a Netanyahu-led government, the potential for continued political gridlock still exists.

In the upcoming fourth election, many of the existing domestic political issues remain and new challenges have simultaneously emerged.

Corruption Charges

The issue looming largest over the entire political system is whether the polarizing Netanyahu, who brings unparalleled experience in security, diplomacy and economics, has outstayed his welcome as the head of an unstable political system.

Dubious corruption charges against him are a contributing factor. Still, there have been no substantial developments over the past year to substantially change the positions of voters on this particular issue.

Coronavirus Management

Israelis last went to the polls on March 2, 2020, just days after the first confirmed cases of coronavirus in the country.

Management of the crisis has been contentious. The next prime minister will need to simultaneously steer Israel out of the current health crisis and strengthen the health-care system to prepare for future scenarios.

Vaccination Campaign

One of Netanyahu’s major accomplishments has been to arrange for Israel to cut to the front of the international line for experimental coronavirus vaccines. While nations around the world are struggling to acquire the jabs, most Israelis have already been inoculated.

Around the world, nations are praising Israel’s efforts. And Israelis themselves seem generally satisfied with the efficient vaccine distribution via the four national HMOs.

Netanyahu is placing the initial success of the program at the heart of his campaign. If the vaccines prove effective long-term against virus mutations, then he will have succeeded in bringing Israel out of the health crisis ahead of most other nations.

A Battered Economy

Restrictions on business are being lifted and the economy is reopening. As day-to-day life slowly resumes, rebuilding an economy battered by extended lockdowns has become a major national priority.

The Israeli economy has not been damaged as badly as some other countries around the world. The high-tech sector—the brains of the Israeli economy—has performed well despite the lockdowns. However, small-business owners and the entire tourism sector—together, the heart of the Israeli economy—have been severely damaged.

The question of which prime-ministerial candidate can best rebuild the economy is now among the primary issues for voters.

US–Israel Relations

The recent US election also looms large in Israeli politics. For the past four years, Israeli and American policies were fully aligned. The gains for Israel were unparalleled, including the Trump administration’s official recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and Israeli sovereignty in the strategic Golan Heights. It is not believed that a Biden administration would reverse these specific policies.

The Trump administration also maintained that Israeli settlements do not represent a violation of international law and would likely remain as part of Israel in any future scenario. The Israeli–Palestinian conflict was placed lower down on the list of regional priorities. The Palestinian Authority was isolated for failing to improve the conditions necessary for successful negotiations with Israel and for continuing its “Pay for Slay” policies for terrorists and their families.

A Biden administration may attempt to reverse course regarding settlements and a long-stalled peace process, potentially creating a diplomatic crisis that will need to be carefully managed.

The Islamic Republic

Perhaps most important for Israel, Trump withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal and leveled harsh sanctions on the Islamic Republic, significantly handicapping its ability to push towards nuclear breakout and wreak havoc across the region.

While the sanctions have been effective, the regime in Iran has managed to cling to power. Over the past several years and even over the past several weeks, Israel and Iran have been targeting each other as part of an asymmetric shadow war.

In the Israeli assessment, a return to the 2015 nuclear deal that includes the removal of sanctions and even a return to direct funding increases the chances for open conflict with Iran. With more than 150,000 rockets and missiles pointed at Israel in southern Lebanon (some with precision-guided capabilities) by Iranian proxy Hezbollah, an escalation to all-out conflict represents an existential threat.

Netanyahu has repeatedly declared that on his watch, Iran will never develop a nuclear weapon, let alone an arsenal of nuclear weapons.

A major question in the Israeli elections will be the question of who is best-suited to order the IDF into action should Israel decide that it needs to take out Iranian nuclear facilities—as it did with Osirak in Iraq in 1981 and with Syria in 2007.

Abraham Accords

Israeli airstrikes and covert actions in the region sent a powerful message throughout the Middle East that Israel would place regional security interests first, even above the health of its relationship with its most important ally. The result has been breakthrough normalization arrangements with Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Morocco and Sudan, with other agreements on the horizon. The arrangements lay the groundwork for new regional military alliances, in addition to billions of dollars in commercial opportunities.

The Abraham Accords represent the world’s greatest geopolitical achievement in 2020—a year most countries wish to put in the rearview mirror. Netanyahu negotiated and announced the agreements.

But in the wake of the accords, the Biden administration quickly reneged on Trump’s pledge to sell F-35s to the Emirates—sending a strong signal that there may no longer be incentives from the US for signing normalization agreements with Israel.

Stable Governance

At the end of the third election cycle, Netanyahu offered rival Gantz a king’s ransom to join a government, including a rotation arrangement for the prime minister’s chair. At the time, it was the only way to avoid a successive fourth election. But having staunch political rivals and ideological opponents within the same coalition proved unworkable.

Netanyahu clearly prefers to form a coalition with political allies committed to right-wing policies. Such a government could set a transparent security, diplomatic and economic agenda. A right-wing government would likely, at least temporarily, stabilize the political system, while also focusing on judicial reform aimed at reigning in the influence of the largely left-wing High Court.

Small-party Rotation

If Netanyahu fails to form a majority with his preferred partners, it’s unclear which of the other party leaders would emerge as the leading prime ministerial candidate. Lapid’s Yesh Atid is currently polling as a distant second to Likud, but several mandates higher than Sa’ar’s New Hope or Naftali Bennett’s Yamina.

Netanyahu claims that a vote for alternative right-wing leaders Bennett or Sa’ar is a vote for the left-wing Lapid as prime minister. Bennett has pledged not to serve in a government under Lapid. Sa’ar has similarly claimed that Lapid will not be prime minister.

It is difficult to imagine a party leader capable of bringing only 10 or 12 mandates into the 120-member Knesset emerging as prime minister. There are already rumblings of potential rotation arrangements between the second-tier party leaders.

But following the rapid dissolution of the Netanyahu–Gantz arrangement, would a rotation among smaller parties that don’t share a common ideology give Israelis the stability they demand?

A Fifth Election?

Meanwhile, polls show that the election is Netanyahu’s to win or lose. If he cannot form a coalition, it is unlikely that another candidate would fare better, although one should always expect the unexpected in Israeli politics.

The likeliest outcome is a stable right-wing government led by Netanyahu. If he can form a simple majority, there’s always the possibility that new rival Sa’ar may choose to join Netanyahu and form a large right-wing government, despite campaign promises not to do so. In the previous election cycle, similar promises were made and then broken by Gantz and former Labor Party leader Amir Peretz.

Alex Traiman is managing director and Jerusalem bureau chief of Jewish News Syndicate.

Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published by JNS on March 17, 2021. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Marc Israel Sellem/POOL/Flash90

Prayer Focus
Pray for the Lord’s favor on this election and the ensuing process of building a coalition. Pray that He will put in place the ruler of His choosing, one who will lead the nation with courage, integrity and faith in the God of Israel.

Scripture

For the LORD gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding; He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk uprightly; He guards the paths of justice, and preserves the way of His saints.


- Proverbs 2:6–8

Kosovo Becomes First Muslim Nation to Open Embassy in Jerusalem

by Ilse Strauss

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The Kosovo flag

Monday, 15 March 2021 | Jerusalem as the capital of Israel received two significant nods of acceptance from Europe this weekend with the Czech Republic and Kosovo shunning international ire to open diplomatic offices in the disputed City of Gold—as opposed to Tel Aviv.

Kosovo took the biggest step, making history as the first European and first Muslim-majority nation to establish an embassy in Jerusalem. The Eastern European nation follows in the footsteps of the US and Guatemala as the third country to turn its back on international propaganda, opting for a consulate in Jerusalem instead of the more politically correct Tel Aviv.

“A truly proud and historic moment for Kosovo–Israel relations,” Kosovar Ambassador Ines Demiri tweeted following the opening yesterday. “The greatest honor of my life is to have this opportunity to open the embassy and proudly serve my country in Israel.”

For its part, the Israeli Foreign Ministry said it “warmly welcomes the opening of the Embassy of Kosovo in Jerusalem today, a natural development of the relations and a realization of the Washington agreement.”

The move comes half a year after a US-orchestrated Kosovo–Serbia summit hosted at the White House where the establishment of diplomatic ties between Israel and Kosovo was announced and just over a month after the newly forged relationship was made official during a virtual ceremony. The Kosovar Foreign Ministry announced during the ceremony that the Eastern European nation had chosen Jerusalem as the spot where its embassy would open its doors—and submitted a formal request to do so shortly after.

Pristina made good on its promise. “The pledge given in the Oval Office…is finally fulfilled,” the Foreign Ministry tweeted yesterday afternoon.

The Czech Republic’s step was slightly less committed, with Prague opting to establish a branch of its Israel office in Jerusalem while its official embassy remains headquartered in Tel Aviv.

Speaking at the ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš assured his audience that the move communicates Prague’s tacit approval of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the Times of Israel reports.

According to Babiš, the diplomatic office “represents another milestone in our cooperation and gives evidence that we see the importance of this great city.”

Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi hailed the move as “additional proof of the depth and the scope of the friendship we share with the Czech people, and the Czech Republic and government.”

Ashkenazi thanked Prague for “leading the change in Europe towards the city of Jerusalem as a whole and towards the connection with the State of Israel.”

“The Middle East as a whole has experienced a paradigm shift,” Ashkenzai said. “It is suitable to begin an era of peace with the recognition of truth. A historical truth that the city of Jerusalem has been for more than 3,000 years the beating heart of the Jewish people and its only capital.”

Jerusalem has been labeled a point of contention in Israeli–Palestinian relations for decades. The latest chapter in the controversy started when Jordan invaded and occupied the eastern part of the city during the 1948 War of Independence, but Israel managed to beat back the Hashemite Kingdom during the 1967 defensive Six-Day War, reuniting the city as the capital of Israel. However, despite historical and archaeological evidence proving the Jewish ties to Jerusalem dating back millennia, the Palestinians claim the eastern part of the city as their historic own, laying claim to it as the capital of their future state. The majority of the international community sides with the Palestinians, failing to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and thus opting to establish embassies in Tel Aviv.

All this changed in December 2017. After 70 years of labeling Jerusalem an occupied, contested or international city and following seven decades of denying Jewish ties to the City of Gold, the US became one of the first nations in the world to recognize the city’s true status when former President Donald Trump chose to break with decades of US and international policy to formally recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to the City of Gold. Guatemala followed suit in May 2018. Since then, a number of countries have pledged to do the same. To date, none—except for Kosovo—has made good on that promise.

The unfulfilled promises may be ascribed to tremendous international pressure. For example, Turkey, a close ally of Kosovo, advised the Eastern European nation to change its mind about the location of its embassy, warning that an embassy in Jerusalem may have serious repercussions for Turkish–Kosovar relations in the future.

The Palestinian Authority foamed at the mouth in outrage at the Czech Republic, lambasting Prague for its “flagrant violation of international law” and its “blatant attack on the Palestinian people and their rights.”

For its part, the Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit bemoaned the fact that “the legal status of Jerusalem will be affected by the decision of one country or another to open representative offices. East Jerusalem,” Gheit emphasized, “is an occupied land under international law.

Gheit failed to mention how his opinion of international principles pertained to the Czech office, seeing that it is located in what the international community describes as West Jerusalem.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, March 15, 2021)

Photo Credit: jorono/pixabay.com

Prayer Focus
Pray that the Lord will bless the nation of Kosovo for its courage in placing its embassy in Jerusalem. Pray that the Czech Republic will do the same. Pray also for the city of Jerusalem as it receives increasing international attention and scrutiny while the Lord moves forward in the fulfillment of His prophecies for the city He loves.

Scripture

I have set watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem; they shall never hold their peace day or night. You who make mention of the LORD, do not keep silent, and give Him no rest till He establishes and till He makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth.


- Isaiah 62:6–7

Iran Shows Off Revolutionary Guards “Missile City”

by Kate Norman

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Iran’s underground missile city where vertically stored missiles are in position for rapid, consecutive launching.

Tuesday, 16 March 2021 | Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) inaugurated an underground “missile city” yesterday and unveiled new missile technology, Iranian media reported.

Footage on Iranian Mehr News Agency shows rows and rows of missiles clustered in an underground bunker, though the Persian media did not disclose its location or how many missiles were tucked into the subterranean fortress.

“What we see today is a small section of the great and expansive missile capability of Revolutionary Guards’ naval forces,” IRGC chief Major–General Hossein Salami said on Iranian TV, as quoted by the Jerusalem Post.

The unnamed post, according to Mehr News, holds multiple missile systems with various ranges that will make the Islamic Navy “capable of launching precision missiles from underground, launching naval mines with different ranges, firing at 360-degree, confronting electronic warfare, and increasing the range and destruction power in operations.”

One of the systems is even capable of changing targets after launching.

“Today, part of our missile power that offers superiority in the battlefield and has been developed by domestic experts and capabilities enter the operational section of the IRGC Navy,” IRGC Navy Commander Rear Admiral Tangsiri boasted, as quoted by Mehr.

Iran reportedly boasts one of the largest missile programs in the Middle East.

Tensions between Iran and Israel remain high, most recently amid tit-for-tat targeting on each other’s ships. Yesterday, Tehran blamed the Jewish state for an attack that damaged one of its cargo ships in the Mediterranean and says it has the right to respond.

Israel pointed the finger at Iran for a blast that damaged Israeli-owned cargo ship MV Helios Ray in the Persian Gulf last month.

Iran’s leaders are flexing their muscles with their boasts of equipping the Islamic navy with upgraded missile technology.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, March 16, 2021)

Photo Credit: Baron Corvinus/youtube/screenshot

Prayer Focus
Cry out to the Lord for His protection against Iran’s growing arsenal. Beseech Him to cause their armaments to prove useless as He did for Israel in the past, causing weapons to fail and enemy soldiers to flee their posts in fear.

Scripture

“No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment You shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is from Me,” says the LORD.


- Isaiah 54:17

Israel Develops “Groundbreaking” Precision Mortar Designed to Reduce Collateral Damage

by Joshua Spurlock

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The “Iron Sting” mortar uses laser and GPS-guidance to hit targets more accurately (illustrative).

Monday, 15 March 2021 | Israel’s Ministry of Defense (MOD) on Sunday announced a “groundbreaking” new technology that protects civilians—including those of its enemies. The “Iron Sting” mortar uses laser and GPS-guidance to hit targets more accurately with technology previously only available for larger munitions such as missiles, thereby reducing collateral damage and civilian casualties.

The MOD press release said the Iron Sting “is designed to engage targets precisely, in both open terrains and urban environments, while reducing the possibility of collateral damage and preventing injury to non-combatants. Its operational use will revolutionize ground warfare and equip battalions with organic, accurate and effective firepower.”

Israel’s enemies, such as Hamas and Hezbollah terrorists, often use their own people as human shields by attacking or storing weapons in civilian areas. As a result, Israel has to make special efforts to avoid hitting innocent bystanders when striking back against terrorist targets.

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz was quoted in the press release as saying the new Iron Sting mortar “fulfills the IDF’s [Israel Defense Forces’] needs, adapting combat capabilities to contend with enemies hidden within civilian, urban environments, while meeting the legal and moral standards set by the State of Israel.”

The technological breakthrough follows 10 years of research and development, according to Brig. Gen. Yaniv Rotem, the head of Research and Development in the Directorate of Defense R&D. He noted this weapon capability is “made for the modern battlefield.”

“This laser and GPS-guided mortar munition provide troops with a precise firing capability that has only been implemented in missiles and air munition thus far. This is a very complex program and a groundbreaking system on the international level,” Rotem was quoted in the press release as saying.

The Iron Sting recently completed final testing in southern Israel and was developed in conjunction with Elbit Systems. A video provided with the press release showed the mortar in action, hitting targets accurately and precisely.

General Manager of Elbit Systems Land Division Yehuda (Udi) Vered was quoted in the press release as saying: “The introduction of this laser and GPS-guided munition transforms the mortar system from a statistical fire power into a precision fire system, thus delivering a significant change in fire capabilities at the tactical level.

“We believe that we have been able to develop an efficient solution that enables to increase precision and reduce collateral damage.”

Israel, whose military technology research includes creating the Iron Dome missile defense system, has put together multiple developments aimed at reducing civilian casualties in conflict in recent years—and with the Iron Sting, even enemy civilians will benefit.

Source: (This article was originally published by the Mideast Update on March 14, 2021. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today.)

Photo Credit: piqsels.com

Prayer Focus
Thank God for this new technology that helps Israel fulfill its commitment to reduce civilian casualties to whatever degree possible. Thank Him for the IDF’s determination to respect and protect human life, even that of its enemies.

Scripture

“You shall do no injustice in judgment. You shall not be partial to the poor, nor honor the person of the mighty. In righteousness you shall judge your neighbor. You shall not go about as a talebearer among your people; nor shall you take a stand against the life of your neighbor: I am the LORD.


- Leviticus 19:15–16

Israeli, Hungarian and Czech PMs Team Up to Fight Coronavirus 

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The PMs of Israel, the Czech Republic and Hungary met to discuss cooperating in the research, development and production of vaccines.

Friday, 12 March 2021 | Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday held a trilateral summit meeting with Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban on cooperating in the research, development and production of vaccines.

Prime Minister Netanyahu at the statements with the leaders said: “This is a delight to welcome two close friends, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán of Hungary and Prime Minister Andrej Babiš of the Czech Republic. When I say close friends, I mean that. Both are close personal friends but also leaders who’ve made their countries even greater friends of Israel than before.

“We appreciate the fact that they’ve opened up missions in Jerusalem and also that they assist us on the international stage as true friends do. In the spirit of that friendship, they came here to Jerusalem to see how we can cooperate on COVID.

“We discussed a number of ideas. The first is exchanging green passports as we’ve done with several countries already. It would be an important addition to add Hungary and the Czech Republic to this but equally to see how we can involve both the Czech Republic and Hungary in the international plant that we want to build here in Israel for the production of the vaccines of the future.

“We discussed this. I have to say that there is interest in cooperating on this. This creates a capability for our countries that is, I think, more significant when we do it together. We are better together.”

The three leaders also held a working meeting with their countries’ professional teams. The heads of government and their representatives discussed the fight against the coronavirus in all its aspects, including an exit strategy, reducing regulation between the countries and the green passport.

Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published by the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs on March 11, 2021. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: 드림포유/flickr.com

Photo License: Flickr

Prayer Focus
Thank the Lord for this cooperative effort and pray that He will bless it with great success. Pray that treatments and cures for COVID-19 will be discovered and become more Israeli blessings spreading across the earth in fulfillment of God’s promises. Pray that the nations will begin to see the faithfulness of God in His relationship with Israel.

Scripture

“I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”


- Genesis 12:2–3