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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.

Israel Plans Mass Evacuations in Case War Erupts

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IDF evacuates elementary school children on the Israeli-Gaza border during a drill exercise (illustrative)

Thursday, 23 March 2017 | In case of a future war with the Islamist terrorist groups Hamas or Hezbollah, Israel would completely evacuate its border communities—up to 250,000 people in either case—to lower the threat level, the Associated Press reported Wednesday.

These evacuations, coordinated with local municipalities to keep civilians safe, would be the biggest in Israeli history.

“In 2017, all of Israel is under threat,” Col. Itzik Bar, part of the Israeli military’s Homefront Command, told the AP. Israel is preparing to deal with “very high amounts” of incoming fire, he added.

Bar noted that Hezbollah gained valuable battle experience while fighting in the Syrian conflict, and that the leader of the Iranian proxy group, Hassan Nasrallah, had recently increased his hostile rhetoric against Israel.

Israel seeks to “remove the threat by not having civilians there,” Bar said. “We want a meeting of army and Hezbollah forces and not civilians with Hezbollah forces.”

“In places where we understand there is a great danger to civilians, for example, where we won’t be able to supply defenses or supply deterrence … we will evacuate,” he explained.

In such a case, Israel would house the evacuees in existing buildings, including schools, kibbutz guest houses and hotels.

Bar’s comments come in wake of reports indicating that both Hamas and Hezbollah are beefing up their capabilities to attack Israel.

Veteran Haaretz military correspondent Amos Harel assessed last month that Hamas was fully capable initiating attacks against Israeli communities near the Gaza border using its network of tunnels.

Brig. Gen. (res.), Nitzan Nuriel, formerly the head of Israel’s Counter-Terrorism bureau, warned earlier this week that Hezbollah is attempting to acquire game-changing weapons in anticipation of launching another war against Israel. These weapons include Scud-D warheads, as well as air defense systems including the SA-8, SA-14 and SA-18. These systems would give Hezbollah “an umbrella of protection,” Nuriel said. He added that the terrorist group is also looking for a chemical weapons system which could be used tactically against Israel or as a deterrent.

Hezbollah’s growing military capabilities have been an Israeli concern for years. Nasrallah admitted last June that “Hezbollah’s budget, its income, its expenses, everything it eats and drinks, its weapons and rockets, are from the Islamic Republic of Iran,” and insisted that his group “will not be affected” by American sanctions on Iran. “As long as Iran has money, we have money… Just as we receive the rockets that we use to threaten Israel, we are receiving our money. No law will prevent us from receiving it,” he declared.

Nasrallah’s acknowledgement of Iranian aid seems to confirm a public assurance given to him in August 2015 by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif that the nuclear deal Iran reached with global powers presented “a historic opportunity” to confront Israel. Iran announced in June that its defense spending would increase by 90% in the following year.

According to a July 2016 report by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, Israeli officials believe that any future war with Hezbollah has the potential to cause “thousands of civilian deaths” in Israel. Hezbollah has, among other things, threatened to attack ammonium tanks in Haifa which could kill tens of thousands of people.

Source: (This article was originally published by The Israel Project, in its publication The Tower on 22 March 2017. Time related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: IDF blog.com

Prayer Focus
Intercede for the nation and State of Israel as they prepare for possible war and the need to evacuate thousands of people. Pray for the emotional wellness and preparedness of those residents who could be affected. Cry out for the IDF commanders and other leaders, asking for wisdom as they have to make tough decisions in the face of the dual threat of Hezbollah and Hamas.

Scripture

He sits in the lurking places of the villages; in the secret places he murders the innocent; His eyes are secretly fixed on the helpless. Arise, O Lord! O God, lift up Your hand! Do not forget the humble.

 


- Psalm 10:8, 12

Israel’s Arrow Anti-missile System Intercepts Rocket from Syria

by Ilse Posselt

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Arrow 3 Interceptor

Monday, 20 March 2017 | During Operation Protective Edge, the Jewish state’s 2014 summer war with Hamas, Israel’s short-range anti-missile system proved invaluable in protecting civilian lives. Over the 50 days of battle, the terror group ruling Gaza fired nearly 5,000 rockets and mortars at Israeli targets. The Iron Dome system achieved an astonishing intercept success rate of 90%, saving countless Israeli lives. The Iron Dome became a household name, sought after by many countries.

Last week, another offering in Israel’s air defense arsenal proved its mettle under fire. According to a statement by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), the Jewish state’s Arrow-3 system successfully intercepted an anti-aircraft missile which Syria fired at Israeli jets on Thursday night. This marks the first time the Arrow-3 long-range anti-missile system was used operationally.

In a rare and unprecedented confirmation of operations conducted in foreign airspace, the IDF statement explained that the Syrian attack came as IDF jets returned to base following a strike near Palmyra. Arab media reported that the target of the Israeli strike was a convoy carrying state-of-the-art weapons from the war-torn country to Hezbollah.

The statement released by the IDF on Friday confirmed that Israeli jets “targeted several targets in Syria” at approximately 2:30 am, which resulted in an attempt by Syrian military to shoot down the aircraft. “Several anti-aircraft missiles were launched from Syria following the mission and IDF aerial defense systems intercepted one of the missiles,” the statement said. Two more projectiles landed in open spaces in Israel without causing any damage or injury.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s military launched the three missiles from the eastern part of the country, after which the projectiles travelled through the Jordan Valley en route to Jerusalem. As a result, a Red Alert rocket siren sounded at 2:43 am in parts of the Jordan Valley.

According to The Times of Israel, the intercepted missile struck in Jordan. Reuters reported that witnesses recounted hearing the sound of two distinct explosions as far as the central Israeli town, Modiin, and Jerusalem. Pictures of what is said to be debris from the Arrow missile began circulating on social media as early as Friday morning.

Since the start of the bloody civil war in Syria some six years ago, Jerusalem has chosen to remain on the sidelines of the conflict. However, a number of senior Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister, Avigdor Liberman, have disclosed that the Jewish state will not refrain from acting to ensure that chaos of civil war is not used as a cover to smuggle advanced weapons from Syria to Hezbollah for use against Israeli targets. An Iranian proxy, Hezbollah is perched right on the Jewish state’s northern border.

Liberman confirmed Israel’s stance on Sunday, saying, “We have no interest in interfering in the Syrian civil war, not for nor [sic] against (President Bashar) Assad. Our main problem is with the transfer of advanced weapons from Syria to Lebanon. That is why every time we identify an attempt to smuggle game-changing weapons, we will act to thwart it. There will be no compromise on this issue. If the IDF does choose to act, there is a real reason for it.”

This is the second time in six months that the Syrian military used its air defense system against the Jewish state. In September 2016, Assad’s forces launched two missiles at Israeli jets. At the time of the strike, the aircraft were heading back to base after conducting a mission in Syria in retaliation for a mortar shell that struck the Golan Heights from Syria.

The Arrow-3 system is designed to obliterate intercontinental ballistic missiles emerging from outside the earth’s atmosphere, thus shooting down “conventional, nuclear, biological or chemical warheads close to their launch sites,” The Times of Israel reports.

As part of Israel’s three-tiered missile defense system, the Iron Dome, David’s Sling and Arrow-3 systems are aimed to guard the skies of Israel against short, medium and long-range airborne threats. Iron Dome protects Israel from short-range projectiles fired from Gaza, while the Arrow-3 fills the top layer in the multifaceted defense system.

The missiles from Syria were, however, not the only fire Israel endured over the weekend. On Saturday morning, a rocket was fired from Gaza into the southern part of Israel. The IDF responded with tank and jet strikes against Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip.

Over the past month-and-a-half, Israel has suffered five rocket attacks from Gaza and six from the Sinai Peninsula.

According to Alex Fishman writing for Ynet News, the two military incidents may prove the harbingers of troubled times ahead. “The winds of war,” Fishman writes, “are blowing on Israel’s borders.” Although the two incidents are entirely unrelated, he warns that they “point to the fact that the relative calm along the borders in the past few years, which has become a symbol of security stability and Israel’s deterrence abilities, is gradually wearing out.”

Source: (Bridges for Peace, 20 March 2017)

Photo Credit: Ministry of Defense/ MFA

Prayer Focus
Thank God for the effectiveness of Israel’s three-tiered missile defense system which has successfully intercepted rockets fired at Israel. Praise God that no lives were lost when the Arrow-3 was deployed. Pray for the IDF’s soldiers to receive timely intelligence that will prevent more weapons from being smuggled from Syria to Hezbollah.

Scripture

He delivered me from my strong enemy, from those who hated me; for they were too strong for me.

 


- 2 Samuel 22:18

Israel’s Multi-layer Defense System Nears Full Completion

by Ilse Posselt

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Israel’s David’s Sling missile defense system

Wednesday, 22 March 2017 | The story of a young shepherd from the fields of Bethlehem who turned into Israel’s beloved poet king needs no introduction. The Tanakh (Gen.–Mal.) is, after all, filled with the tales of King David’s bravery and heroism on behalf of his people. The most celebrated of these is arguably the account of a young David, armed with his sling and five stones, triumphant over the giant Goliath on behalf of the armies of Israel.

Today, David’s Sling is once again featured in Israel’s arsenal; this time as a revolutionary new air defense system, capable of intercepting medium-range missiles or other guided threats. And after passing its final round of tests late in 2015, this anti-missile battery will be ready for operational use within the next two weeks.

David’s Sling was designed as the final level of Israel’s multi-layered air defense system. The Iron Dome short-range rocket interceptor saved countless lives during 2014’s Operation Protective Edge when Hamas fired nearly 5,000 rockets and mortars at Israeli civilians. Last week, the Jewish state’s long-range ballistic air defense system, Arrow 3, proved its mettle under fire when it neutralized a Syrian missile carrying a payload of 200kg [441 lbs] of explosives heading for the Jordan Valley. As a medium-range interceptor, David’s Sling will now fill the middle tier between the Iron Dome and the Arrow 3, completing what The Jerusalem Post hails as a “comprehensive protective umbrella” securing the skies of Israel.

The Jewish state is situated in one of the most volatile neighborhoods on earth surrounded by neighbors eager to spearhead her destruction. Moreover, those who wish to annihilate the people of the Promised Land are equipped with a varied arsenal, ranging from state-of-the-art long-range missiles to short-range rockets. It thus stands to reason that Israel should possess a defensive offering capable of facing the diverse threats.

The Iron Dome system counters the danger posed by Hamas and other Palestinian terror groups operating from Gaza and firing rockets at a range of up to 75km [46.6 mi]. David’s Sling is geared towards the danger that Hezbollah, the Lebanese terror organization, poses on Israel’s northern border. The system can neutralize tactical ballistic missiles and medium-range rockets fired at ranges of up to 300km [186 mi]. The Arrow-3 was designed in answer to Iran’s highly sophisticated long-range ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear payloads. The system can intercept targets outside the earth’s atmosphere close to the launching point.

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah recently boasted that the terror organization possesses an arsenal of missiles capable of striking any target throughout Israel. According to a senior Israel Defense Force (IDF) officer, David’s Sling empowers the Israeli army to protect a larger portion of the nation and its citizens against such dangers. “The addition of David’s Sling has brought Israel’s air-defense systems to a whole new level,” the officer told The Jerusalem Post. “We are now able to protect more of the country from aerial threats.”

A joint Israeli-US project, David’s Sling is developed and manufactured both by the Jewish state’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. and America’s Raytheon Co.

The IDF has already drafted a number of soldiers to train on and ultimately operate the David’s Sling batteries. Coming from a number of disciplines, all the soldiers have experience with other air-defense systems.

 

Source: (Bridges for Peace, 22 March 2017)

Photo Credit: Public Domain/ Wikipedia

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Proclaim the God of Israel as He has once again granted Israel divine wisdom to create and build the David’s Sling which will protect Israeli airspace from medium-range missiles. Pray for alertness and mental strength for the soldiers who will be responsible for the operation of the David’s Sling batteries.

Scripture

O God, You are more awesome than Your holy places. The God of Israel is He who gives strength and power to His people. Blessed be God!

 


- Psalm 68:35

Shin Bet Chief: “No Doubt” Hamas Planning Passover Terror Attacks

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Passover massacre memorial at Ramat Hasharon commemorates one of the many terror attacks that have happened on Passover.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017 | The Iran-backed Palestinian terror group, Hamas, will “no doubt” try to launch terror attacks on Israel during the upcoming Passover holiday, the head of Israel’s internal security agency told the Knesset’s influential Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Monday.

“We are just before the Passover holiday, and there is no doubt that terrorist infrastructures, mostly the established one, and specifically Hamas, will try to agitate the area and carry out attacks,” Shin Bet chief Nadav Argaman testified.

“Our goal, of course, is to ensure quiet holidays for every citizen of the State of Israel,” he added.

It is not uncommon for Israeli security agencies to warn of increased terror risks prior to holidays. Jews often go up to the Temple Mount before holidays, prompting Palestinian claims that Jews are “storming” their holy places. Arrested terrorists often cite concern over the Temple Mount as a motivation for their attacks. Families who go on hikes and other outings can also be targeted.

Due to these concerns, the Israel Defense Forces close crossing between Israel and the West Bank [Judea and Samaria] during major Jewish holidays.

Argaman, who was appointed to lead the Shin Bet last May, also said that his agency has been improving its ability to prevent “lone wolf” attacks, which were frequent during the “wave of terror” in late 2015 and early 2016. The Shin Bet arrested 400 would-be lone wolf attackers last year, Argaman revealed.

Source: (This article was originally published by The Israel Project, in its publication The Tower on 20 March 2017. Time related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: דוד שי/ Wikipedia

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Petition the Lord for the safety of the nation of Israel as they prepare for the pilgrimage festival of Pesach (Passover) and pray for safety and peace at the Western Wall. Thank God for His wisdom and guidance to help the Shin Bet act to prevent lone-wolf attacks and for the brave soldiers who protect the people.

Scripture

He shall deliver you in six troubles, yes, in seven no evil shall touch you.

 


- Job 5:19

Netanyahu’s Advisors Fly to America for Talks on Judea and Samaria

by Itamar Eichner

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Judea and Samaria, shown in coral on the map, is the biblical heartland of Israel

Monday, 20 March 2017 | Two advisors to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu were not part of the delegation to China and instead, flew to Washington, DC, where they will try to reach an understanding with President Donald Trump’s administration, notably on the issue of the settlements.

The US president’s Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt had recently concluded a round of talks with both Israeli and Palestinian officials, during which Netanyahu claimed that there is no political feasibility to freezing settlement construction.

Netanyahu sent his two advisors to Washington to join the talks held by Israeli ambassador to the US Ron Dermer along with Greenblatt, in an attempt to reach an understanding on a variety of subjects. The importance of the mission is evident due to the fact that the two consultants did not join Netanyahu on his trip to China.

Greenblatt and Dermer head a team established by Trump and Netanyahu in an attempt to come up with a formula for settlement construction.

Israel is seeking approval to build in the area of municipal jurisdiction which consists of 8 to 10 percent of the West Bank [Judea–Samaria]. The Americans oppose this notion, though agree to construction within already existing residential areas. They are also emphasizing the need to form a collaborative mechanism regarding Israeli announcements on the settlements so as to avoid embarrassment to the Trump administration.

The prime minister was originally scheduled to attend the AIPAC [American Israel Public Affairs Committee] conference at the end of this month and meet with President Trump, but the trip was canceled. The parties are trying to reach a middle ground, which both sides could potentially live with.

During his visit, Greenblatt held an unprecedented meeting with two settler leaders, Yossi Dagan, the head of the Samaria Regional Council, and Oded Revivi, Mayor of Efrat, during which the two expressed concern over the looming possibility of the freezing of construction. 

(Translated and edited by N. Elias)

Source: (Ynetnews originally published this article on 19 March 2017. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Ramiy at Hebrew Wikipedia/ Wikipedia

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Pray for PM Netanyahu and representatives of the government as they discuss Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria with members of the Trump administration. Pray for clarity in communication and that Israel will keep their eyes fixed on the Lord and His promises.

Scripture

Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass. He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday.

 


- Psalm 37:4-6

US Boycotts UN Council Over Anti-Israel Bias

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US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley

Tuesday, 21 March 2017 | The United States on Monday boycotted the United Nation’s Human Rights Council over its disproportionate focus on Israel, saying this “long-standing bias” severely jeopardizes the organization’s credibility.

Israel is the only country that has its record examined during each of the council’s three annual meetings under a standing agenda item, known as Item 7, which examines the “human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories.” The council’s current session ends Friday and is expected to produce at least five anti-Israel resolutions, as well as seven on the rest of the world combined.

“The United States will vote against every resolution put forth under this agenda item and is encouraging other countries to do the same,” the State Department said in a statement. “Today’s actions in the Council are yet another reminder of that body’s long-standing bias against Israel. No other nation has an entire agenda item dedicated to it at the Council.”

“As an expression of our deeply-held conviction that this bias must be addressed in order for the Council to realize its legitimate purpose, the United States decided not to attend the Council’s Item Seven General Debate session,” the statement continued.

US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley harshly denounced the council’s record on Israel, noting that its primary target “is not Syria where the regime has systematically slaughtered and tortured its own people. It is not Iran where public hangings are a regular occurrence. It is not North Korea where the regime uses forced labor camps to crush its people into submission. It is Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East.”

The US decision is part of the Trump administration’s ongoing effort to encourage reform at the UNHRC which includes member countries accused of severe human rights violations.

During her confirmation hearing in January, Haley slammed the UN’s “outrageous bias against our close ally Israel,” and specifically mentioned that in the past ten years since its founding, the UNHRC “has passed 62 resolutions condemning the reasonable actions Israel takes to defend its security. Meanwhile, the world’s worst human rights abusers in Syria, Iran and North Korea received far fewer condemnations. This cannot continue.”

In a letter last week to nine advocacy groups that urged the US to remain on the UNHRC, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warned that “While it may be the only such organization devoted to human rights, the Human Rights Council requires considerable reform in order for us to continue to participate.”

He added that the US would not withdraw from the UNHRC for the time being, but that its representatives would “reiterate our strong principled objection to the Human Rights Council’s biased agenda against Israel.”

Haley last week blasted a report issued by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), a UN agency comprising 18 Arab states, which accused Israel of pursuing discriminatory policies against the Palestinians. UN Secretary-General António Guterres also distanced himself from the report which was co-authored by 9/11 conspiracy theorist Richard Falk.

Guterres demanded on Friday that ESCWA remove the report from its website causing the head of the agency, Jordanian diplomat Rima Khalaf, to resign in protest.

Hillel Neuer, head of UN Watch, credited Haley’s strong stand against the report which was its disavowal by Guterres and eventual removal, saying, “there is no question that the initial moral voice here was that of US ambassador Nikki Haley, and that it was US leverage which prompted the UN to act.”

The UN has long been accused of having an entrenched bias against the Jewish state. In 2016, the UN General Assembly adopted 20 resolutions against Israel and only six on the rest of the world combined, according to UN Watch.

In December, then-Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon acknowledged his organization’s bias against Israel, saying, “Decades of political maneuvering have created a disproportionate number of resolutions, reports and committees against Israel.” Ban also criticized the UNHRC’s singular focus on Israel shortly after assuming his post in 2007, saying that he was “disappointed at the council’s decision to single out only one specific regional item, given the range and scope of allegations of human rights violations throughout the world.”

The Associated Press reported in June that one of the driving forces behind the UN’s focus on Israel is the influential Organization for Islamic Cooperation which often spearheads the push for anti-Israel resolutions.

Source: (This article was originally published by The Israel Project, in its publication The Tower on 20 March 2017. Time related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)  

Photo Credit: Office of the President-elect/ Wikipedia

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Rejoice as the US is the first to stand against the UN’s biased focus on Israel and give thanks for their declaration that they will vote against every resolution with this anti-Semitic agenda. Ask God to lead other countries to support Israel and pray for the proposed resolutions to be defeated. Continue to pray for the UN’s transformation into an organization devoted to human rights.

Scripture

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

 


- Isaiah 62:1

Hamas Is Exploiting Turkish Aid for Military Purposes

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National emblem of Turkey

Friday, 24 March 2017 | Actions taken by the Israeli Security Agency [ISA], with the assistance of the Israel Police, led to the February 2017 arrest and interrogation of Muhammad Murtaja, born in 1977 and a resident of Gaza. Murtaja is the coordinator of the Gaza branch of the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TİKA) organization, a humanitarian assistance program run by the Government of Turkey. He was arrested on suspicion of working for the military wing of Hamas.

During its investigation, the ISA ascertained that Muhammad Murtaja was recruited by Hamas at the end of 2008. Beginning in 2009, Murtaja was active in the military wing of Hamas. His activity included, inter alia, military training and exercises, manufacturing weapons and explosive devices and digging terror tunnels. Murtaja even stored weapons, such as hand grenades and guns, in his home.

During the investigation, it became clear that Murtaja’s trip via Israel to receive training from TİKA, which led to his arrest for interrogation, was also intended to allow him to acquire information that would improve the accuracy of Hamas rockets being launched at Israel.

It was further discovered during the investigation that, beginning in 2012, Murtaja served as the Gaza Strip coordinator of TİKA. TİKA works on behalf of the Turkish government to advance humanitarian projects in the Gaza Strip. The investigation showed that Murtaja deceived TİKA by misusing the organization’s resources and funds, which were intended for substantial humanitarian projects in the Gaza Strip, by diverting them to Hamas’s military wing. This fraud was carried out in collusion with the senior ranks of Hamas in Gaza, headed by Ismail Haniyeh.

The investigation uncovered the various techniques Murtaja used. For example, he would give his superiors in TİKA a list of impoverished residents in the Gaza Strip who were candidates to receive financial aid. In fact, Hamas senior officials provided these lists to Murtaja, and most of the so-called “needy” people on them were actually terrorists in the Hamas military wing or their family members. In this manner, they received benefits and stipends.

Another scheme used by Muhammad Murtaja uncovered in the investigation enabled millions of shekels to be diverted to members of the Hamas military wing during and after Operation Protective Edge. For instance, food aid packages donated by TİKA for the destitute population in the Gaza Strip were given to members of the Hamas military wing. In addition, when Operation Protective Edge ended, the organization financed a public event, at which Hamas military members were awarded stipends and benefits.

It was further revealed that the Turkish İHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation helped to directly fund the activities of the Hamas military wing. İHH was designated in 2008 by Israel as a terrorist organization because of its support for Hamas. The investigation uncovered that Mehmet Kaya, the coordinator of IHH’s Gaza office, gave Hamas leaders Ismail Haniyeh and Raad Saad cash from Turkey that was earmarked for the Hamas military wing. The money transferred by the IHH to the Hamas military wing was used, inter alia, to build a facility to train Hamas marine forces, as well as to purchase equipment and weapons. For years IHH methodically transferred funds this way to the Hamas military wing to be used for its military buildup.

Murtaja provided a great deal of operative information during the investigation, including on tunnel routes, the methods used by Hamas in digging the tunnels, action plans for fighting, and weapons manufacturing.

Murtaja’s interrogation provides broad exposure to the methods used by Hamas in acquiring resources for its buildup and in the operative military sphere. This information, combined with a great deal of information obtained in the investigations of Hamas military members over the past year, show the considerable efforts invested by Hamas in preparing for a military confrontation with Israel, at the expense of the humanitarian situation in Gaza.

This investigation demonstrates the diverse fraudulent methods used by Hamas vis-à-vis the international community and humanitarian aid organizations. These acts of fraud, involving the highest levels of Hamas leadership, divert money and resources meant to rehabilitate the Gaza Strip and the destitute population therein. This fraud gives Hamas more room to use all its material and economic resources for acts of terror and military buildup.

Source: (The Ministry of Foreign Affairs published this article from the Israel Security Agency on 21 March 2017. Time related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original at this link.)

Photo Credit: Public Domain/wikipedia

Photo Credit: wikipedia

Prayer Focus
Ask God to expose more of Hamas’s schemes to use the humanitarian aid intended for the people of Gaza to instead advance their terror acts. Thank God for leading the Israeli Security Agency and police to make this valuable arrest which exposed the diversion of funds from the nations for use by Hamas’s military wing.

Scripture

For they intended evil against You; they devised a plot which they are not able to perform.

 


- Psalm 21:11

Netanyahu Pays Official Visit to China

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PM Netanyahu and Mrs Sara Netanyahu arrive in China

 Monday, 20 March 2017 | Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu left on Sunday (19 March 2017) for an official visit to China. The visit follows an invitation by Chinese President Xi Jinping and will mark 25 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. The Chinese president will meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu and host him for an official dinner. The prime minister will also meet with his Chinese counterpart, Li Keqiang.

The visit will stress the continued strengthening of economic cooperation with the Chinese government: increased Israeli exports to China, attracting Chinese investments in Israel, and increased industrial and research cooperation between Chinese and Israeli companies.

A series of economic agreements – that will assist Israeli industry by continuing to increase the number of countries active in, and exporting to, China – will be signed during the visit.

Prime Minister Netanyahu will meet with the leaders of China’s largest corporations, each one with turnovers of tens of billions of dollars.

Prime Minister Netanyahu is accompanied by a senior business delegation of dozens of Israeli businesspeople from the various industries and companies active in China, as well as from companies interested in penetrating the Chinese market. Delegation members will attend a business forum with over 500 invited guests, to be chaired by the prime minister.

Additionally, Prime Minister Netanyahu will attend the third joint Israel-China innovation conference. The first such conference was held in China in 2015; the second was held last year in Israel with the attendance of a Chinese deputy prime minister.

Israel and China will sign cooperation agreements in aviation, education, bringing Chinese construction workers to Israel, science, health, environmental protection and a multi-year plan for a task force on strengthening bilateral economic ties.

Prime Minister Netanyahu is also accompanied by Environmental Protection Minister Zeev Elkin, Economy and Industry Minister Eli Cohen, Science, Technology and Space Minister Ofir Akunis, Health Minister Yaakov Litzman and Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel.

Prime Minister Netanyahu’s remarks: “We will continue the talks on establishing a free trade agreement between China and Israel and we will hold the third joint Israel-China innovation conference. Of course, we are continuing to develop new markets and to open new markets for the Israeli economy. I expect all ministers to cooperate on this, and they are doing so.”

Source: (The Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs published this article, released by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser, on 19 March 2017. Time related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Haim Zach/ GPO

Prayer Focus
Bring PM Netanyahu before the Lord, asking that his recent visit to China will result in continued and enhanced economic cooperation with the Chinese government and a free trade between the two countries.

Scripture

The generous soul will be made rich, and he who waters will also be watered himself. The people will curse him who withholds grain, but blessing will be on the head of him who sells it.

 

 


- Proverbs 11:25-26

Israel—Too Familiar with Vehicular Terror—Offers Support to London

by Joshua Spurlock

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Tel Aviv City Hall lit up with the British flag

Friday, 24 March 2017 | From cars, to trucks, to bulldozers, Israel has been facing terrorism by vehicles for almost a decade. So when the city of Tel Aviv lit up city hall in the colors of the British flag on Wednesday night for London following that city’s terror attack, it was more than just support. Perhaps more than any other, Israel knows what it feels like to face off against terrorists willing to use cars and knives, like the attack on Wednesday that has killed at least four persons and wounded many more. Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai tweeted a photo of the large-scale flag of light, saying it was “in solidarity with the city of London and my colleague Sadiq Khan,” the mayor of London.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu noted Israel’s tragic familiarity with such violence: “The citizens of Israel were among the first to face the challenge of vehicular ramming and stabbing attacks. We must stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the citizens of Britain and the entire civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism.”

Netanyahu’s condolences, issued via a statement from his office, also emphasized he “strongly condemns the murderous terror attack in London.”

The Israeli leader wasn’t the only one to note that Israel has seen such terrorism before. Israeli Prime Minister’s Office spokesman Ofir Gendelman pointed out on Twitter that while Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the London attack when similar attacks happen in Israel, Abbas condemns the Israeli police for “killing the ‘hero, innocent’ terrorist!”

Meanwhile, the IDF [Israel Defense Forces] spokesperson Twitter feed posted a video noting that terrorists are learning the vehicular tactic from Palestinians. The video said that there were more than 40 car ramming attacks against Israelis since October 2015.

Israel Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon also linked terror attacks from around the world in his Twitter feed to emphasize their solidarity with London. “London, Berlin, Nice, Jerusalem- same front against Islamist terror. We will prevail,” tweeted Nahshon.

Israeli Ambassador Mark Regev, meanwhile, pointed towards the location of the attack—near the British Parliament—in his condolence Tweet. “My thoughts are with families of the victims and all Londoners. An attack at the heart of British democracy is an attack on all free peoples,” tweeted Regev.

And those lights on Tel Aviv’s city hall? They didn’t go unnoticed by the Brits. UK Ambassador to Israel David Quarrey, retweeting a post showing the British flag illuminating the Israeli city, tweeted, “Wow. Thank you Tel Aviv, a city whose resilience and diversity we celebrate.”

Source: (The Mideast Update originally published this article on 23 March 2017. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today.)

Photo Credit: Neri Zilber/ Twitter

Prayer Focus
Offer thanksgiving to the Lord that in tough times we can support and encourage one another. Praise God that Israel can be a true friend in time of trouble, able to support Britain now through their distress because of their first-hand experience of terrorism and radical Islam. Ask God to comfort the nation of Britain and the affected families with their loss.

Scripture

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

 


- Psalm 31:24

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