Compassion

Yes, I will help bring the Jewish people home.

Friday, March 29, 2019

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

Israel under Attack: Over 60 Rockets Fired Overnight from Gaza

by Kate Norman

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Israelis living close to the Gaza border spent the night in bomb shelters as Hamas rained down a barrage of rockets.

Tuesday, 26 March 2019 | Last night, Israelis in communities bordering Gaza made the familiar scramble to the nearest bomb shelter under the familiar roar of the Code Red siren. Many families in southern Israel spent a sleepless night in bomb shelters, huddled under the loud booms of explosions as rockets collided with Israel’s Iron Dome aerial defense system.

Less than 15 hours after a rocket from Gaza destroyed a home north of Tel Aviv, injuring seven Israelis—including a toddler and an infant, Gaza launched over 60 more rockets into the Jewish state. There are no reported casualties from the attack, but one rocket struck a direct hit to a home in Sderot, located less than a mile (1.5 km) from Gaza, but failed to explode. The Iron Dome reportedly intercepted several of the projectiles, while others landed in open areas.

After firing thirty rockets at Israeli civilians, Hamas—the terror group that controls the Gaza Strip and the group the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) confirmed was responsible for last night’s attacks—tried to hide behind a cease-fire that was supposed to go into effect at 10 p.m.

However, the Israeli military reported that the terror organization launched another thirty rockets between 10 p.m. and 3:15 a.m., according to the Times of Israel. The rocket barrage began around 9 p.m., about three hours into the IDF’s strikes on the Gaza Strip in retaliation for yesterday morning’s rocket attack that reached 70 miles (120 km) into Israel and destroyed the home north of Tel Aviv—the farthest reaching attack from Gaza since Operation Protective Edge in 2014. Despite Hamas’s claims of an Egyptian-brokered cease-fire, which Israel never seemed to confirm, both sides continued back-and-forth retaliatory strikes into the night.

The IDF reported that it struck several terrorist targets, including Hamas Chief Ismail Haniyeh’s office, Hamas’s “secret” military intelligence headquarters, offices of Hamas’s internal security services and several military compounds across the Gaza Strip. Ynetnews reported that Gaza’s health ministry counted seven Palestinians wounded during the Israeli air strikes.

The people living in communities bordering Gaza live in a reality that even those of us living in Jerusalem cannot comprehend. Several Israelis in the border communities posted videos from within their bomb shelters last night to paint a small picture of what their reality looks like.

The IDF posted a video that had gone viral of Einav, a 25-year-old college student who lives minutes from Gaza. Einav filmed herself curled up in bed in a bomb shelter, hiding under the sheets, clutching her dog, Anchel, to her chest for comfort as tears streamed down her cheeks and loud explosions boomed outside.

StandWithUs shared a video that a young mother posted from a bomb shelter, teaching her little girl not to be afraid. Where most mothers around the world would ask their children, “What noise does a cow make?” this mother asked her daughter, “What noise does a siren make?”

“Is it scary?” the mother asks. “No!” the little girl replies. “What happens when it starts? What are we going to do?” the mother asks again. The little girl with brown curls and a blue bow atop her head thinks for a moment, then replies, “Run, run, run, run, run!”

Following the night of violence, schools in southern Israel closed Tuesday on the recommendation of the Home Front Command. The Times of Israel reported that the IDF deployed two additional brigades to the region and has called up around 1,000 reservists for air defense, intelligence and other units.

After an investigation revealed that the Iron Dome failed to intercept Monday morning’s rocket north of Tel Aviv because there most likely wasn’t a battery within range, the IDF spread additional Iron Dome batteries across Israel yesterday afternoon in preparation for any further escalation, according to the Times.

Wafa, a Palestinian news agency, put a unique spin on the story: “The caretaker government of Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah condemned today the ongoing Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip, stressing that they are a continuation of Israel’s open war against the Palestinian people in the besieged enclave.” The report failed to mention the 60 projectiles the “besieged” Palestinians had hurled into Israeli communities just hours earlier.

Like a child who is about to lose a game of tag and quickly calls out, “Time out!” in order to regroup, Hamas is getting into a pattern of hurling projectiles into the Jewish state then shouting “cease-fire!” through its Palestinian media. The terror organization’s ever-growing collection of weapons, however, points to preparations for war, not peace, with its Jewish neighbor. A recent article from the Associated Press reported that Hamas has built up its weapons arsenal over the past decade to include rockets and missiles that can reach anywhere in Israel.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is currently en route to the defense ministry in Tel Aviv after cutting his trip to Washington D.C. short following Monday’s initial rocket attack.

As he departed the US capital, Netanyahu said, “We have responded very, very forcefully. Hamas needs to know that we will not hesitate to go in and take all necessary steps—regardless of anything, any date, other than Israel’s security needs.”

The prime minister was most likely referring to the upcoming Israeli elections on April 9. Israeli media is predicting that Hamas will continue to escalate the violence on the border in celebration of the upcoming one-year anniversary of the “March of Return” riots this weekend.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, March 26, 2019)

Source: Israel Defense Forces@IDF/twitter.com

Prayer Focus
Cry out to God for physical and emotional protection for the Israelis living in the direct firing line of Hamas’s rocket barrages. Remind the Lord of His promise to be the Guardian over Israel who never slumbers nor sleeps. Thank Him for being the failsafe Iron Dome over the Jewish state and safeguarding the family from serious injury, or worse, as the Hamas rocket struck their home.

Scripture

I will lift up my eyes to the hills—from whence comes my help? My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.


- Psalm 121:1–4

US Formally Recognizes Israeli Control over Golan

by Joshua Spurlock

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Israeli PM Netanhayu and US President Trump sign a formal agreement recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.

Tuesday, 26 March 2019 | United States President Donald Trump made history in favor of Israel again on Monday, becoming the first American president to officially recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights region that borders Syria. The territory, captured by Israel in 1967 while battling Syrian aggression, is a critical high ground for defense, and this was a key reason for Trump’s decision.

Against the backdrop of Iranian buildup in Syria, ongoing threats from the terror group Hezbollah in Lebanon and simmering Syrian antagonism against Israel, Trump signed a presidential declaration on Monday proclaiming that “the United States recognizes that the Golan Heights are part of the State of Israel.”

The declaration, posted to the White House website, noted that Israel “took control of the Golan Heights in 1967 to safeguard its security from external threats” and listed security concerns facing Israel today posed by Iran and terror groups such as Hezbollah. Those concerns were shared by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was in the US for the Trump signing. “Your recognition is a two-fold act of historic justice,” Netanyahu told Trump in comments released by his office. “Israel won the Golan Heights in a just war of self-defense, and the Jewish people’s roots in the Golan go back thousands of years.”

A factsheet released to the White House website summarized the motivation behind the move: “Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights is critical to the security of Israel and the stability of the entire Middle East.” Along those lines, the presidential declaration noted that “any possible future peace agreement in the region must account for Israel’s need to protect itself from Syria and other regional threats.”

History highlights the importance of the territory. “From 1948 to 1967, Syria rained deadly fire from the Golan Heights on Israel’s citizens below. A generation of Israeli children lived in constant danger,” said Netanyahu on Monday. “And then, in two glorious days in June 1967, the brave soldiers of Israel scaled those daunting heights and liberated the Golan.”

Netanyahu noted that it took decades to “translate our military victory into a diplomatic victory,” and Trump said that delay was too long.

“It’s something that I’ve been hearing about for many years, from many people. I’ve been studying for years,” said Trump in comments with Netanyahu posted to the White House website. “And this should have been done, I would say, numerous presidents ago. But for some reason, they didn’t do it, and I’m very honored to have done it.”

The timing is critical for both Israel and for Trump. For Israel, Iran’s activities in Syria are a pressing concern that has resulted in many Israeli military strikes in Syria to prevent their enemies from growing the threat there.

For Trump, the diplomatic boost to Israel comes as the Americans are leaving Syria militarily and thereby removing a forceful counter to Russian and Iranian influence there. It also comes at a time when voices of support for sovereignty of the Golan on behalf of the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad will be stifled by the war crimes committed by that regime in Syria’s civil war.

In comments given to reporters on Monday and published by the State Department, the US Special Representative for Syria Engagement, Ambassador James Jeffrey, didn’t expect the Golan move would harm his mandate of addressing the conflict in Syria and the threat posed by ISIS.

“The Assad regime is considered a pariah by almost all of the countries in the Middle East. It will continue to be considered a pariah. I don’t think I’m going to have a lot of problems with this,” he said on Monday.

As for Israel, past wars with Syria in 1967 and 1973 that involved the Golan were recalled by Israel in thinking about the dangers today. “Your proclamation comes at a time when the Golan is more important than ever for our security, when Iran is trying to establish bases in Syria to strike at Israel. From across the border in Syria, Iran has launched drones into our airspace, missiles into our territory,” Netanyahu told Trump.

“Mr. President, just as Israel stood tall in 1967, just as it stood tall in 1973, Israel stands tall today. We hold the high ground and we shall never give it up.”

Netanyahu was soaring in his thanks to Trump for making the move, comparing him to the Persian ruler who issued the order to rebuild the Temple and historic leaders who called for Jews to have a homeland.

“Over the years, Israel has been blessed to have many friends who sat in the Oval Office, but Israel has never had a better friend than you. You show this time and again,” said Netanyahu. “…In the long sweep of Jewish history, there have been a handful of proclamations by non-Jewish leaders on behalf of our people and our land: Cyrus the Great, the great Persian king; Lord Balfour; President Harry S. Truman; and President Donald J. Trump.

“You, Mr. President, you’ve done it not once, but twice: with your bold proclamation on Jerusalem and with your bold proclamation today on the Golan.”

Said Netanyahu, “Mr. President, we have a saying in Israel. I’ll say it in Hebrew. It says HaAm im haGolan. That means the people are with the Golan. But thanks to you, we now know that there are two peoples who stand with the Golan, the people of Israel and the people of America.”

Source: (Excerpt of an article originally posted by The Mideast Update on March 25, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today.)

Photo Credit: AMOS BEN-GERSHOM/GPO/twitter.com

Prayer Focus
Praise the Lord for President Trump’s bold backing of the Jewish state in giving his stamp of approval on Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights. Pray that United States will be the firstfruits of many who recognize the Jewish people’s God-given right to the land of their promise.

Scripture

“Dwell in this land, and I will be with you and bless you; for to you and your descendants I give all these lands, and I will perform the oath which I swore to Abraham your father. And I will make your descendants multiply as the stars of heaven; I will give to your descendants all these lands; and in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed.”


- Genesis 26:3–4

Bracing for Gaza’s “Million Man March”

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Large, violent protests are expected along the Gaza border, marking one year since the “March of Return” began.

Friday, 22 March 2019 | The Israel Defense Forces [IDF] is preparing for tens of thousands of Palestinians to gather along the Israel–Gaza border next weekend as they join a Hamas “million man march” to mark the one year anniversary of the “March of Return” protests held regularly at the frontier.

The IDF will deploy hundreds of snipers along the Gaza border in anticipation of the march, set to take place on March 29.

According to IDF assessments, Hamas will not only try to reenact the earlier Friday marches attended by thousands of Gazans, but will in fact seek to surpass them by transporting more than 50,000 people to the main protest points along the border fence.

The IDF is preparing for the disturbances by doubling the amount of troops that will be deployed along the Gaza border in order to thwart any infiltration attempts by hostile Palestinians into Israel and prevent attacks at the border town communities.

The army believes that Hamas will make an effort to channel the frustrations of the Gaza population—which has been protesting the harsh economic reality under Hamas rule—away from themselves and toward Israel, near the fence. Therefore, Israel is anticipating an unusual amount of violence and for events to spiral out of control.

So far, Hamas has managed to forcibly suppress the street protests against it, including assaulting journalists, human rights activists and the local Fatah [a rival faction and the largest political party in the Palestinian Authority] leader in the Strip. The protests were organized by minor Palestinian parties in Gaza, mainly from the left, against Hamas and to a certain extent, Islamic Jihad. Alongside the violence, some 600 people were arrested by Hamas authorities.

Those same organizations that protested Hamas—the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), the Popular Front (PFLP), the Communist Party, the Palestinian Democratic Union (FIDA), Fatah and the Arab Liberation Front—are also helping organize the weekly protests along the border.

Israeli officials estimate that these organizations will stand alongside Hamas, just like on every Friday for the last year (except last week), for the planned “million man march.” However, the Hamas leadership is aware that although the Gaza street protests under the banner of “Let Us Live” may have been suppressed, the criticism against Hamas, both from the street and from the Palestinian Authority [PA] in the West Bank, will continue. Until a solution is found that will improve the economic situation, the Gaza street could well rise up again.

There are signs that this Friday’s protest, at which 10,000 protesters are expected, is a dress rehearsal for the big event next week. On the day after the “million man march,” Israeli Arabs will mark Land Day, a day expressing solidarity with the Palestinians in the territories [Judea and Samaria].

In the meantime, there has been a return of the nightly harassment units—Gazans dispatched to make the lives of Israelis living on the other side of the border miserable. These units resumed their activities this week with loud noise and smoke after a 10-day pause due to Egyptian-brokered negotiations, and the rate of these activities is increasing.

Israel is preparing for a worst-case scenario in which the protests get out of hand and there are dozens of casualties, as happened last May. Such a circumstance may set off another round of military conflict, which Israel has been trying to avoid.

Furthermore, Land Day kicks off a two-month period consisting of several of noteworthy days, each of which may be used by Hamas as a focal point for violence. Following Land Day on March 30 is the Day of the Palestinian Prisoner on April 17. In May there is Nakba Day (commemorating the effects of Israeli independence on the Palestinians), and in June, Naksa Day (when the Palestinians mark the Arab defeat in the 1967 Six Day War). In between is the Muslim holy fast month Ramadan and the agitation it can entail.

The only way to stave off this frightening scenario is to implement the partial understandings reached between Egypt, Israel and Hamas. Most of the subject matter was found to be acceptable by both sides. Israel agreed to allow Hamas to expand the Gaza fishing zone to 12 nautical miles [22 nautical km] from the Gaza coast and allow the UN [United Nations] to fund the employment of some 90,000 Gazans currently without work. Israel also agreed to provide Gaza with additional electricity capacity.

Iran has also drastically cut its aid to Hamas, who has been forced to raise taxes on residents and businesses in Gaza. Cigarette prices jumped by 200% and pita bread by 40%. Such harsh economic realities brought Gazans out into the streets to protest. Therefore, it is crucial for Hamas to reach an agreement; at least until the summer, as Israel is asking.

Source: (Ynetnews originally published this article on March 21, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Israel Defense Forces/flickr.com

Photo License: Flickr

Prayer Focus
Plead with the Lord to bring Hamas’s wicked schemes to naught. Pray specifically that He will confuse and confound the plans for the “million man march” over the weekend, while endowing the IDF and security services on the Israel–Gaza border with supernatural calm and wisdom to keep the Promised Land and her people safe.

Scripture

Do not keep silent, O God! Do not hold Your peace, and do not be still, O God! For behold, Your enemies make a tumult; and those who hate You have lifted up their head. They have taken crafty counsel against Your people, and consulted together against Your sheltered ones. They have said, “Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation, that the name of Israel may be remembered no more.”


- Psalm 83:1–4

Palestinians Cutting Salaries of Civil Servants to Pay Full Benefits to Terrorists

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PA leaders will not divert money from their “pay-to-slay” program for their law-abiding citizens. (Illustrative)

Wednesday, 27 March 2019 | The Palestinian Authority [PA] has decided to penalize its law-abiding employees to avoid cutting salaries of Palestinian terrorists and their families under the so-called “pay-to-slay” scheme, which led the United States and Israel to cut aid until the PA stops inciting terror.

Explaining the decision, Nabil Abu Rudeina, PA Deputy Prime Minister and Fatah [leading secular Palestinian political party] Commissioner of Information, said: “The salaries of the families of the martyrs and the prisoners will be paid regardless of the cost, and that it is not possible to abandon or treat lightly the livelihood of the Palestinian people’s heroes.”

Abu Rudeina added that “non-payment of the public employees’ salaries,” on the other hand, “is less significant than subtracting one penny from the family of a martyr or prisoner, who sacrificed his life and freedom for Palestine and its heroic people.”

As an example, he referenced the case of Karim Younes, a Palestinian terrorist who, together with his cousin Maher Younis, kidnapped and murdered Israeli soldier Avraham Bromberg in 1980.

Israel’s Diplomatic Security Cabinet decided in February to implement a major slash in the tax revenues that Israel collects on behalf of the PA with the amount the PA pays to terrorists and their families to be deducted from the aid Israel hands over to the Palestinian leadership. The PA paid out some 502 million shekels ([US] $138 million) to living terrorists in 2018, according to recent Israeli media reports.

PA Minister of Finance Shukri Bishara reiterated the decision to cut the salaries of law-abiding employees while paying in full the salaries to imprisoned terrorists and released terrorists, as well as the allowances to wounded terrorists and the families of dead terrorists.

In a televised press conference, the minister announced that “the salaries were transferred in full to the prisoners, the wounded and the martyrs according to the orders of His Honor [PA leader Mahmoud Abbas]. This is one of the national principles which no force on earth can make us deviate from.”

Last year, PA President Mahmoud Abbas swore he would make paying terrorists a top priority. “By Allah, even if we have only a penny left it will only be spent on the families of the martyrs and prisoners and only afterward will it be spent on the rest of the people,” Abbas vowed.

His announcement also revealed that 40% of PA employees earn less than 2,000 shekels per month (about [US] $535). It demonstrates the reality that under the so-called “pay-to-slay” scheme, Palestinians terrorists who have been in prison for a cumulative period of three years earn higher salaries than 40% of the PA’s law-abiding public employees.

In an op-ed published in JNS [Jewish News Syndicate] in January, TIP [The Israel Project] CEO and President Joshua S. Block observed that, “the decision to reject all US aid money means that the PA has chosen terror over the well-being of its own civilian population.”

Block added: “Israel is told that it must make sacrifices for peace. In this instance, the PA is making a sacrifice so that it doesn’t have to make peace.”

On March 23, 2018, the Taylor Force Act, which passed both houses of Congress, became law, ending most US aid to the PA until the Palestinian leadership stops paying stipends to terrorists and their families.

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

Photo Credit: emadnadi/wikimedia.org

Photo License: wikimedia.org

Prayer Focus
Bring this ongoing depravity before the Lord. Thank Him for the legislation already passed to circumvent this practice. Pray that more nations will come to recognize the consequences of the “pay-to-slay” scheme and refuse to be associated with it.

Scripture

He who would love life and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips from speaking deceit. Let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayers; but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.


- 1 Peter 3:10–12

Head of New Zealand Mosque Blames Christchurch Massacres on Israel

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The chairman of NZ’s biggest mosque has blamed the terror attack at Al Noor mosque (pictured) on Israel.

Thursday, 28 March 2019 | The chairman of New Zealand’s biggest mosque told a rally attended by thousands in the city of Auckland on Saturday that Israel’s intelligence agency, Mossad, was behind the far-right terrorist attack on two Christchurch mosques that left fifty people dead and wounded dozens of others.

In a video posted online, Ahmed Bhamji can be heard saying, “I will not mince my words. I stand here and I say that I have a very, very strong suspicion that there is some group behind him, and I am not afraid to say that I feel that the Mossad is behind this.”

Bhamji continued: “And not only them. There are some business houses (…) Zionist business houses that are behind him,” to which a member of the crowd loudly replied, “That is the truth, Israel is behind it.”

The preacher made the comments the same day New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern spoke to hundreds gathered at the mosque that he chairs—the Masjid e Umar in Mt. Roskill—for an open vigil for the victims of the massacre.

New Zealand’s Jewish community reacted with outrage to the news. “These conspiracy theories are dangerous lies. They put the Jewish community at risk, at a time of heightened security concerns,” New Zealand Jewish Council spokesperson Juliet Moses told the local outlet, Newshub.

“Conspiracy theories—particularly the idea that Jews (whether through the Jewish state or otherwise) are a malevolent controlling force in the world—are at the very core of anti-Semitism,” she added.

Umar Abdul Kuddus, a prominent Muslim activist and council member, wrote on Facebook: “I am horrified and offended that the chairman made these ridiculous and hurtful comments towards the Jewish community.”

“I was on the ground in Christchurch and I saw rabbis and Jewish community leaders coming to support and pray with us for the victims and their families.

“I feel embarrassed,” he said, “that this individual is seen as a representative of my community when in fact he represents no one person of the Muslim community but for his own unacceptable views.”

The Jewish community in Pittsburgh—five months after suffering a xenophobic terror attack of its own—has so far raised [US] $60,000 in support of the victims of the Christchurch mosque attacks.

“We feel compelled to come to the aid of those communities, just as our Jewish community was so compassionately supported only a few short months ago by people around the world of many faiths,” the fundraising website says. “We recall with love the immediate, overwhelming support Tree of Life received from our Muslim brothers and sisters in Pittsburgh.”

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

Photo Credit: Abdullah@xtra.co.nz/wikimedia.org

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Beseech to Lord to act against this malicious slander that seeks to fan the flames of rabid anti-Semitism. Ask Him to expose the baseless claims and quench the fiery lies before they can sow division and hate.

Scripture

In my distress I cried to the LORD, and He heard me. Deliver my soul, O LORD, from lying lips and from a deceitful tongue.


- Psalm 120:1–2

IDF Reservist: Two Friends Died Trying “To Do Their Mission without Harming Civilians”

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IDF soldiers during Operation Protective Edge.

Monday, 25 March 2019 | In explaining why he created an NGO to publicize the morality of the IDF [Israel Defense Forces], Avihai Shorshan recalled that he had two friends who died in 2014 because they tried “to do their mission without harming civilians” during Operation Protective Edge [the month-long conflict between Israel and Hamas], the Jerusalem Post reported Friday.

Shorshan—whose group, My Truth, mae their case in Geneva at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) and in Brussels this week—explained to the Post that despite being called a war criminal, after seeing his friends die, it was his turn “to break the silence.”

Over the past two decades, Shorshan recalled numerous incidents where the IDF put its soldiers at risk in order to avoid civilian casualties. The list of incidents includes battles in the central market of Nablus [Arab city north of Jerusalem], in Jenin [south of Nazareth], in the central Gaza Strip and in the Gaza neighborhood of Shejaia.

In Shejaia, Shorshan told of how his unit once was discovered. Hamas then sent a 10-year-old boy in a suicide belt toward them.

“Hamas’s response was swift, and a 10-year-old boy in a suicide bomber’s belt was sent our way,” he recalled. “In defiance of orders and the command to shoot to kill, the team member guarding the door at the time decided not to open fire, ducked behind some cover and instead instructed the boy to undress and remove the explosive belt.”

The boy was later released unharmed. A subsequent investigation showed that his brother, a Hamas commander, had paid him the equivalent of two-and-a-half dollars to put the belt on.

Shorshan said that he put up a post on Facebook about his experiences in war and received hundreds of comments. This led to hundreds of responses from other soldiers and the beginning of My Truth.

Another member of My Truth, Eli Bogdan, a former squad commander, asked, “In many combat operations civilians are being used by militants in order for them to carry out attacks and escape. How come the IDF is being condemned and not Hamas, which uses their own women and children as human shields?”

Lital Shemesh, a combat soldier who joined the delegation of My Truth in Geneva, pointed out, “The border fence protests are not people who want to have coffee with us—they want to destroy Israel.”

Ravid Elfassi, a former IDF combat soldier, told the council before they voted on a resolution condemning Israel’s response to the Hamas-led riots along the border fence, “In 2007, I was sent on a mission in Gaza to seek out a Hamas squad which was launching rockets at Israeli cities. In my own eyes I witnessed as Hamas sent out six- and seven-year-old children to search for me and my men. When these children found us, Hamas opened heavy fire using AK-47s and RPGs, while the children were still between us and them.”

The testimonies of the My Truth soldiers add a personal angle to the assessment made by law professors Geoffrey Corn and Peter Margulies, defending the conduct of Israeli troops over the past year. In their paper, Corn and Margulies asserted that the IDF used the most restrictive standards for using force.

They argued that the Commission of Inquiry (COI) set up by the UNHRC, in fact, demonstrated a “flight from consistency and common sense,” in judging the IDF.

In their conclusion, Corn and Margulies wrote that the COI’s “arbitrary” report “will only affirm ill-founded assumptions about the security operations conducted by the IDF last spring, and possibly spur fresh resort to dangerous confrontations by illicit actors such as Hamas.”

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

Photo Credit: IDF/flickr

Photo License: Flickr

Prayer Focus
Pray that God will amplify the voices of Avihai Shorshan and the rest of the My Truth soldiers so that their testimonies will resound far and wide. Entreat Him to incline the ears of many around the world to the truth of the IDF’s morality and humanity—even to the enemies of Israel.

Scripture

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


- Proverbs 12:6–7

Honduras, Romania Recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital, Hint at Possible Embassy Relocation

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Honduran President Hernández has recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Tuesday, 26 March 2019 | The leaders of Honduras and Romania announced on Sunday that they would recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, following the lead of the United States, Reuters reported.

Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández and Romanian Prime Minister Viorica Dăncilă made their announcements at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s annual conference in Washington, D.C..

“Today I have announced the first step, which is to open a trade office in Jerusalem, the capital of the state of Israel, and this will be an extension of our embassy in Tel Aviv,” Hernández said. “I’ve said that a second step will draw a lot of attacks from the enemies of Israel and the United States, but we will continue along this path,” the president added.

Hernández stopped short of announcing imminent plans to move Honduras’s embassy from Tel Aviv.

Dăncilă went a step further when she told the cheering crowd that, “I, as prime minister of Romania, and the government that I run, will move our embassy to Jerusalem,” breaking with European Union [EU] policy. Romania currently holds the EU’s rotating chairmanship.

The prime minister promised that Romania would “remain the same loyal friend and the strongest European voice in support of the Jewish people and the State of Israel,” concluding with the words, “Shalom chaveirim (Peace friends), see you in Jerusalem.”

[Hours after Dăncilă made her statement, Romanian President Klaus Iohannis rejected that the decision to move the Romanian embassy to Jerusalem had been made and noted that he has the authority on any final decision on embassy moves, according to a report by Zaire.com and translated by Google Translate. President Iohannis said the issue of moving the embassy to Jerusalem is still under government review.]

According to POLITICO, Dăncilă also told the audience that her country is working on three new laws to bolster the rights of Jews in Romania. Those laws include “granting Romanian citizenship to all Romanian Jews who were forced to renounce it when they left the country under the communist regime; granting compensation and special pensions for Holocaust survivors in Romania; and granting access to state archives to specialists from the Federation of Jewish Community in Romania.”

The US recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moved the US embassy to the city in May. Guatemala followed suit soon after. In 2018, Guatemala and Honduras were two of only a handful of countries to join Israel and the United States in voting against a UN [United Nations] resolution calling on Washington to drop its recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital.

Source: (This article was originally published by The Israel Project in its publication The Tower on March 25, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)

Photo License: Julio Cesar Hernandez Reyes/Presidencia de la República/wikimedia.org

Prayer Focus
Sing praises to the Lord for two more voices recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s eternal capital. Intercede for the leaders of Honduras and Romania that they will remain bold and steadfast in the face of the international pressure that this decision may bring.

Scripture

For the LORD has chosen Zion; He has desired it for His dwelling place: “This is My resting place forever; here I will dwell, for I have desired it…There I will make the horn of David grow; I will prepare a lamp for My Anointed.


- Psalm 132:13–14, 17

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