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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.

Tensions Flare on Gaza Border After Death of Hamas Terror Boss  

by Ilse Posselt

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Demonstrators at the main Israel-Gaza checkpoint holding flags and signs with message, “End the Closure” (illustrative)

Monday, 27 March 2017 | The already strained situation on Israel’s southern border with Gaza intensified over the weekend as Hamas accused the Jewish state of assassinating one of its top terror heads. Mazen Fukha, a senior leader in Hamas’s armed wing, the Izzadin Kassam Brigade, was shot outside his home in Tel al-Hawa in the Gaza Strip late Friday night.

Although the parties responsible remain unknown, the terror organization ruling over the Gaza Strip immediately pointed an accusatory finger at Israel. “Hamas and its fighting brigades place the full responsibility on the Israeli occupation and its collaborators,” the Izzadin Kassam Brigade said in an official statement. The statement identified Fukha as a commander in the organization and hailed him as a “martyr.”

Hamas’s international spokesperson, Husam Badran, also commented on the incident via its official Twitter account, saying, “The occupation is responsible for this assassination. Netanyahu knows this will not pass quietly.”

The Jewish state has refrained from commenting on the incident.

Fukha is no stranger in Israeli circles. A known terrorist, Fukha was responsible for planning and executing a 2002 suicide bombing on an Israeli bus in the north of the country that killed nine people and wounded 38 others. An Israeli court sentenced the terrorist to nine life sentences in 2003. He was, however, released in 2011 as part of the Gilad Shalit prisoner swap deal and deported to Gaza where he promptly resumed his terror activities against the Jewish state.

During the six years Fukha spent in the coastal enclave, he was instrumental in both establishing a Hamas stronghold in Israel and managing the terror organization’s headquarters outside Gaza. According to The Times of Israel, Fukha was responsible for Hamas terror cells in Judea and Samaria and also played a leading role in planning a number of terror attacks against Israelis in that area. Ynet News reports that “Fukha worked day and night from the Gaza Strip to plan and execute attacks against Israel by establishing and guiding military cells. He was one of the pillars of Hamas’s “West Bank [Judea and Samaria] branch.”

Thousands of mourners clad in the colors of Hamas turned out for Fukha’s funeral procession in northern Gaza on Saturday. Shouts of “revenge, revenge!” reverberated through the streets as Hamas prime minister, Ismail Haniyeh, and head of the terror group in Hamas, Yahya Sinwar, accompanied Fukha’s body, draped in the Hamas flag, from the morgue to the mosque for burial.

Vows of vengeance and retaliation filled the impassioned eulogies for the deceased terror head. “The occupation knows that the blood of those struggling in the way of God will not be wasted,” a spokesperson for Hamas threatened. “Hamas knows how to deal with these crimes.”

For his part, Haniyeh vowed, “We will preserve [his] blood, carry [out his] will and continue the battle until the liberation of Jerusalem.”

Despite Hamas’s conviction that Israel is responsible for Fukha’s death, a number of questions as to the responsible party remain, Ynet News reports. Although his activities in establishing terror cells in Judea and Samaria and threatening the lives of Israelis through his continued commitment to perpetrating attacks served as a red flag for the powers that be in the Jewish state, Ynet News argues that Hamas, Gaza-based Salafi groups and even the Palestinian Authority [PA] could be behind Fukha’s death.

According to Ynet News, Hamas is notorious for punishing its members, no matter how senior, “who do not follow the orders of its top command and appear to be too creative or too competitive.” Moreover, there is also the possibility that Hamas’s top brass suspected Fukha of acting as a double agent, feeding information to Israel. The terror group’s newly elected head is, after all, infamous for admitting to the murder of over ten suspected collaborators.

As far as Gaza-based Salfi groups are concerned, Ynet News explains that a recent Hamas crack-down on these groups has resulted in vows of revenge. Killing one of its top commanders might well be the method these groups chose to punish Hamas.

Lastly, the Palestinian Authority’s reason for wanting to see Fukha out of the picture is its fear of having Hamas gaining a stronger foothold in Judea and Samaria, Ynet News concludes.

While the speculation continues, Hamas reacted to the weekend’s incident by cutting off all entry and exit points to the Strip. For the first time since the terror group took control over the Gaza Strip in 2007, it closed the Erez border crossing with Israel. As a result, neither Palestinians nor international representatives are able to move in or out of Gaza. The Hamas Interior Ministry has also barred all other exit points from the Strip, claiming the closings as an attempt to bar those responsible for Fukha’s death to leave Gaza.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, 27 March 2017)

Photo Credit: Orrling/ Wikipedia

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Continue to pray for the residents of Israel who live near hostile borders, especially the Gaza border in southern Israel. Ask God to strengthen all the families and relieve their daily fears as tension intensifies continually. Pray for wisdom and courage for all the soldiers of the IDF who serve on the Gaza border.

Scripture

O Israel, hope in the Lord from this time forth and forever.

 


- Psalm 131:3

Israel to Double Maritime Iron Dome Batteries to Deter Hezbollah

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Sa’ar 5-class corvette missile boats of the Israeli Navy (illustrative)

Wednesday, 29 March 2017 | The Israeli navy will add an extra Iron Dome battery to each of its four new surface ships in order to guard its natural gas fields from Hezbollah, Defense News reported Tuesday.

A senior naval officer explained that due to Hezbollah’s growing arsenal of 122mm

Grad-type rockets and longer-range weapons systems, Israel will double the number of Iron Dome batteries on its Sa’ar-6 class corvettes which are currently being built in Germany by ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems.

The officer told Defense News that the Iron Dome batteries will be armed with 20 Tamir interceptor missiles to protect against attacks by inexpensive shore-based rockets. The ships will also include the Barak-8 anti-missile systems to repel attacks by more sophisticated weaponry, such as the “supersonic, anti-ship P800 Yakhont cruise missile.”

Both weapons systems will be guided by ELM-2248 Adir, a sophisticated radar system made by Elta Systems, a subsidiary of Israel Aerospace Industries.

Hezbollah’s improving tactical and weapons capabilities have raised concerns among Israeli officials that the terrorist group is gearing up for a future war and could try to infiltrate Israeli territory either by land or sea.

Brig. Gen. (res.) Nitzan Nuriel, formerly the head of Israel’s Counter-Terrorism bureau, warned last 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. Hezbollah leader Hassan 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 28 March2017. Time related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)  

Photo Credit: IDF/ Wikipedia

Photo License: wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Ask God to shield the land and sea borders as well as Israel’s airspace as preparations are made to guard the ammonium storage tanks and natural gas fields against threats from Hezbollah. Thank God for the successful Iron Dome and pray for financial provision for the extra batteries and maintenance thereof.

Scripture

The God of my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, My stronghold and my refuge; My Savior, You save me from violence.

 

 


- 2 Samuel 22:3

Jerusalem Holy Sites Removed from Contentious UNESCO Resolution

by Itamar Eichner

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The Temple Mount viewed from the Mount of Olives

Friday, 31 March 2017 | In a diplomatic win for Israel, the Temple Mount and Western Wall will not be mentioned nor included in any vote or measure during a meeting of the UNESCO Executive Board on Jerusalem and the territories May 1st.

A draft of the decision which Ynet obtained represents a significant achievement for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Israeli diplomacy at UNESCO which is considered one of the most hostile arenas for Israel at the UN.

The issue of Jerusalem at UNESCO has seen some extremely sensitive issues brought to the forefront, including a resolution seen by many as an attempt to erase Jewish connections to holy sites in Jerusalem.

Arab states have decided to take a step back from the sensitive issue of Jerusalem and their resolution was shortened from six pages to two. Additionally, the language was clearly softened in comparison to previous draft resolutions.

According to Israel however, despite the exclusion of Jerusalem, the proposal is still rife with political elements and falsehoods that have no business being included in an international organization, especially one that is ostensibly concerned with education and science.

In the last two weeks, a concerted effort has been put forth by the foreign ministry, the Israeli delegation in Paris and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Two weeks ago, a UNESCO delegation of foreign officials arrived in Israel for a tour of the country and Jerusalem in order to understand the complex reality that pervades in the area.

Israeli envoy to UNESCO, Carmel Shama Hacohen, said, “When you’re talking about anti-Israel resolutions initiated by Arab countries, achievements and conclusions are only counted on the stairs at the exit of the building after the vote.

“It is preferable to accept a draft resolution without a direct stab to the heart of the Jewish people, but we have no intention of keeping quiet when we are being stabbed in other places, even if they are less sensitive. The State of Israel has decided to put an end to the incitement and obsession against it in international organizations, even if it takes years.”

Shama added, “There is no doubt that the new administration in Washington DC under the leadership of President Donald Trump and the wonderful US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, have made the goal that seemed fantasy achievable. We will work around the world this month around the clock to continue explaining our truth, both current and historical, and we will observe the sanity and fairness of our neighbors.”

The Arab proposal still contains several problematic clauses, including: a section that calls the Cave of the Patriarchs and the Tomb of Rachel Palestinian sites; a clause that states that any legal and administrative decision in all of Jerusalem “by the occupying power” is illegal and another clause that states that any past decision is recognized, including the decision to erase Jewish connections from the Temple Mount.

Israel is demanding to remove the clause entirely or to specify that decisions related to the Temple Mount are not binding.

Source: (Ynetnews originally published this article on 30 March 2017. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Public Domain/ Pixabay.com

Photo License: Pixabay.com

Prayer Focus
Exalt the King of Kings for His faithfulness in hearing and answering the prayers of His saints. Thank Him for the positive change that is happening in the UN and UNESCO and especially for many of the Jerusalem holy sites that have been removed from the target list. Continue to pray for the Lord to be exalted in the UN's work.

Scripture

Oh, sing to the Lord a new song! Sing to the Lord, all the earth. Declare His glory among the nations, His wonders among all peoples. For the Lord is great and greatly to be praised; He is to be feared above all gods.

 


- Psalm 96:1, 3-4

UN Ambassador Haley: “The Days of Israel-Bashing Are Over”

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United States Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley

Tuesday, 28 March 2017 | When it comes to combating anti-Israel bias at the United Nations, “there’s a new sheriff in town,” United States Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley proclaimed on Monday at the AIPAC Policy Conference.

Haley cited two episodes that demonstrated her commitment to protecting Israel from unfair attacks. First, she recalled how she blocked the appointment of a former Palestinian Authority [PA] official to a high UN post. On Haley’s watch, she said, there will be “no freebies for the Palestinian Authority anymore” until the PA decides to negotiate with Israel in good faith.

Haley also mentioned how she called UN Secretary-General António Guterres and told him to withdraw a UN agency report that described Israel as an apartheid state. Guterres withdrew the report and the director of the agency that commissioned the report resigned.

Haley touched on the speech she made shortly after attending her first Middle East-related Security Council session in which she expressed her surprise and shock that the session focused exclusively on Israel’s alleged sins, ignoring issues like ISIS and the Syrian Civil War. Haley recalled that she had heard that anti-Israel bias was an issue at the UN, but “until you hear it and you see it, you can’t comprehend how ridiculous it is.”

She also criticized the nuclear deal with Iran. When it comes to Iran’s behavior, she promised, “We’re gonna watch them like a hawk. We’re going to make sure that every single thing they do is watched, processed and dealt with.”

Haley lambasted the Obama administration’s decision to abstain last year in a vote on UN Security Council Resolution 2334 which criticized Israeli activities in eastern Jerusalem and the West Bank[Judea and Samaria].

When Resolution 2234 happened and the US abstained, the whole country felt a kick in the gut…We don’t have a greater friend than Israel. And to see that happen was not only embarrassing, it was hurtful. And so what I can tell you is that everyone at the United Nations is scared to talk to me about Resolution 2234. And I want them to know that, look, that happened, but it will never happen again.

“I wear heels,” Haley said. “It’s not for a fashion statement. It’s because when I kick them, they’re going to feel it every single time.”

On her watch, Haley proclaimed, “The days of Israel-bashing are over.”

Source: (This article was originally published by The Israel Project, in its publication The Tower on 27 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 that winds of change have brought new life for Israel within the UN as US Ambassador Nikki Haley fearlessly proclaimed that the days of Israel bashing are over. Pray for her, for safety, guidance, wisdom, new strategies, boldness, courage and fearlessness as she stands with Israel in a very public way.

Scripture

Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; For Yah, the Lord, is my strength and song; He also has become my salvation.’

 


- Isaiah 12:2

Arab Summit Endorses Two-state Solution in “One Voice”

by Ilse Posselt

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King Abdullah II of Jordan who spoke in the opening session at the Arab League Summit (illustrative)

Thursday, 30 March 2017 | Twenty-one Arab kings, presidents and leaders from across the region gathered at the King Hussein bin Talal Convention Center at the Dead Sea in Jordan on Wednesday for the 28th Arab League Summit. The confab came to an end with a closing statement which highlighted the participants’ unwavering stance on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian issue.

“We affirm that we will continue to work to relaunch serious Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations…that take place within a set period of time based on the two-state solution,” the closing statement read. The document added that the solution should be based on the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative—without any amendments.

This initiative, which was first introduced 15 years ago, demands that Israel withdraw from Judea, Samaria and east Jerusalem land which the Jewish state liberated during the defensive Six Day War in 1967. These areas, the plan proposes, should then become the Palestinian state. In exchange for giving up the land, Israel is promised normalization of ties with Arab and Muslim countries.

Addressing the audience during the summit’s opening session, King Abdullah II of Jordan said that peace and stability in the Middle East would remain an impossibility without the establishment of a Palestinian state to coexist side-by-side with Israel.

The summit’s strong focus on a two-state solution arguably comes after American President Donald Trump said during a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that America did not view the two-state solution as the sole path to peace in the Middle East.

“I am looking at two-state or one-state; I like the one that both parties like. I’m very happy with the one both parties like. I can live with either one,” Trump said at the time.

According to The Times of Israel, yesterday’s statement is intended to communicate to Trump that “a deal on Palestinian statehood must precede any Israeli-Arab normalization.”

A number of leaders who were present at the summit, including Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, King Abdullah and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi will meet in the coming weeks.

Commenting on the summit itself, Abbas hailed it as a “success” and boasted that the Arab leaders would convey the “clear” and “specific” conclusions on the Israel-Palestinian conflict to Trump in “one voice.”

Participants also spent a good amount of time during the summit condemning the Jewish state for all hosts of evil. Condemning Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria proved high on the Israel-bashing agenda with Abbas calling it an attempt to “wreck the two-state solution,” and Abdullah accusing Jerusalem of “undermining” the peace process.

The final statement released on Friday also appealed to countries to refrain from relocating their embassies from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Over the past few decades, Israel has been on the receiving end of numerous suggested plans, accords, initiatives and summits aimed at brokering peace between the Jewish state and the Palestinians. Some plans had merit to establish a framework for further negotiations between the two sides. Others simply did not. The Arab Peace Initiative falls into the latter category.

The ten-sentence proposal, unveiled and adopted by the Arab League in 2002, demands that Israel withdraw to pre-1967 borders, evacuate all Jews living in Judea and Samaria, divide Jerusalem and welcome an influx of “Palestinian refugees.” In exchange, the Jewish state will receive the promise of normalization of ties with Arab countries. The Arab League accepted the plan. Israel politely declined.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, 30 March 2017)

Photo Credit: Sebastian Derungs/ World Economic Forum/ swiss-image.ch/ Wikipedia

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Beseech the Lord for His will to be carried out regarding the physical Land of Israel. Pray that the leadership of Israel will not lose heart but will seek God and His wisdom. Be persistent in prayer as you bring Israel to God’s remembrance, boldly declaring His promises found in the Scriptures regarding the Land.

Scripture

Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me! For my soul trusts in You; and in the shadow of Your wings I will make my refuge, until these calamities have passed by. My soul is among lions; I lie among the sons of men who are set on fire, whose teeth are spears and arrows, and their tongue a sharp sword. Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let Your glory be above all the earth.

 


- Psalm 57:1, 4-5

Israel Issues Travel Warning for Turkey, Jordan and Egypt

by Itamar Eichner

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Coastal area along the Sinai Peninsula

Wednesday, 29 March 2017 | Israel’s Counter-Terrorism Bureau on Monday issued a travel warning for Middle Eastern countries bordering ISIS conflict zones, urging its citizens not to travel to Turkey, Jordan and Egypt.

An advisory was issued ahead of the Passover holiday, the Counter-Terrorism Bureau warned against possible terror attacks and attempts to kidnap Israeli citizens in these countries.

The bureau stated there were terror threats in some Western countries as well, particularly in Russia, France, Belgium and Germany, as well as India.

Israelis are, therefore, advised to be vigilant when they are in crowded places, such as tourist spots, sports stadiums, cultural sites, shopping centers, hotels, airports, public transportation terminals, houses of prayer and other large events.

“The more the Islamic State (ISIS) is backed into a corner, the more it would try to execute attacks across the world on every possible front: against Christians, crusaders and Jews,” said Eitan Ben-Dror, the head of the Counter-Terrorism Bureau. “Israel is not at the center of the threats, but Israelis are required to be vigilant. There are no specific warnings, but we definitely call on Israelis to be careful, remain alert and avoid large crowds.”

The travel warning for Sinai is at the highest level, a very high concrete threat, and the Counter-Terrorism Bureau advised Israelis to avoid traveling to Sinai altogether, urging those already there to leave immediately.

Ben-Dror said that in light of the increased ISIS activity in Sinai in recent months, including against Israel, its calls for the murder and abduction of Israelis, and its vow to avenge an attack allegedly carried out by Israeli drones in Sinai, there is an immediate, grave threat to tourists in Sinai, including Israelis.

Israelis cross the border to the Sinai Peninsula to visit resorts and beaches on the Sinai’s Red Sea coast every year despite terror alerts. During the High Holiday Days in the fall of 2016, some 17,000-20,000 Israelis crossed the border into Egypt, half of them Israeli Arabs.

“The terror organizations in the Sinai Peninsula have no red lines, and Israelis entering Sinai during the holiday would be irresponsible,” Ben-Dror warned.

In an event of a terror incident in Sinai during the holidays, Ben-Dror said Israel might close the Taba Border Crossing for several hours or several days, but that it has no plan to do so in advance.

The travel warning for Turkey is set to the second highest level, a high concrete threat, with the Counter-Terrorism Bureau advising Israelis who are already in the country to leave immediately.

The travel warnings for Jordan and other parts of Egypt were set to the third level, basic concrete threat and Israelis were advised to avoid visiting them.

Morocco received the lowest level of travel warning, an ongoing potential threat and Israelis were advised to postpone non-urgent trips.

Source: (Ynetnews originally published this article on 27 March 2017. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Public Domain/ Pixabay.com

Photo License: Pixabay.com

Prayer Focus
Intercede for Israelis who plan to travel during the upcoming holidays, praying that they will have discernment regarding their surroundings and supernatural guidance from the Lord as they visit countries that are somehow connected with ISIS. Pray for Israel’s Counter-Terrorism Bureau, asking the Lord to give them wisdom and favor as they issue warnings to safeguard their citizens.

Scripture

Direct my steps by Your word, and let no iniquity have dominion over me.

 


- Psalm 119:133

Netanyahu: Israel will Work with US to “Advance Peace”

by Ilse Posselt

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PM Benjamin Netanyahu

Tuesday, 28 March 2017 | This weekend saw top diplomats, lawmakers, world leaders and those who stand with the Jewish state flock to Washington DC for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) annual policy conference. The largest gathering of the pro-Israel movement, the 2017 conference kicked off on Sunday with former UK prime minister Tony Blair, US Vice President Mike Pence, Israeli ambassador to the US Ron Dermer, and Rwandan President Paul Kagame, all lauding relations with Israel.

Yet one of the conference highlights came late yesterday afternoon when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the audience from Jerusalem via satellite link. The prime minister used the opportunity to thank both President Donald Trump and Vice President Pence for their dedication to Jerusalem. “The administration is showing its commitment to Israel by turning words into policy…” he explained. “You see it in the budget request submitted by President Trump. It leaves military aid to Israel fully funded… We appreciate that.”

Netanyahu then continued to highlight one of his own commitments: partnering with the American leaders in a combined effort to ensure a peaceful Middle East. “Israel is committed to working with President Trump to advance peace with the Palestinians and with all our neighbors,” he told the conference. “I believe that the common dangers faced by Israel and many of our Arab neighbors now offer a rare opportunity to build bridges towards a better future—a future more prosperous, more secure and more peaceful. And to achieve that, Israel will stand ever vigilant, never compromising on our security, always ready to defend ourselves.”

Addressing the Israel-Palestinian issue, Netanyahu reiterated the Jewish state’s desire for peace. “Israel’s hand and my hand is extended to all our neighbors in peace,” he said. “We teach peace to our children, and it is time the Palestinian Authority [PA] does the same. It must stop teaching hatred to its children. It must stop paying terrorists. It must stop denying our legitimacy and our history. It must, above all, once and for all, recognize the Jewish state.”

Confronting the threat of radical Islam—in the Middle East and around the world—was also on Netanyahu’s agenda. “We will not let them drag humanity away from the promise of a bright future to the misery of a dark past,” he vowed. Jerusalem and Washington, he said, would “stand together, shoulder to shoulder, to ensure that light triumphs over darkness and hope triumphs over despair.”

According to Netanyahu, this entails “confronting Iran’s aggression in the region and its terrorism around the world” and “preventing Iran from ever developing nuclear weapons. That is our policy; it will always be our policy.”

Netanyahu also used the opportunity to extend a word of welcome to the new American ambassador to Israel David Friedman. “I look forward to welcoming you to Israel with open arms, especially in Jerusalem. I have said it before and I will say it again; Israel has no better friend than America and America has no better friend than Israel.”

Various other speakers also touched on the blossoming relations between Jerusalem and Washington. Dermer, Israel’s top diplomat in the US capital said during his address on Sunday that “for the first time in many years, perhaps even in many decades, there is no daylight between our two governments.”

For his part, Pence touched on the campaign promise Trump made of relocating the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Israel’s capital. “After decades of simply talking about it, the president of the United States is giving serious consideration to moving the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.”

Source: (Bridges for Peace, 28 March 2017)

Photo Credit: PMO webcast/ mfa.gov.il

Prayer Focus
Bring PM Netanyahu before the Lord, and give thanks to God as He goes before the PM to pave the way, guide his steps, encourage him and direct his decisions with His wisdom. Beseech the Lord for the world to recognize Israel as a Jewish state and to stand in unison against terrorism and the teaching of hatred.

Scripture

He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.


- Psalm 23:2-3

Reserve IDF Soldiers Are Now Taking On BDS

by Isaac Dabush

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Anti-Israel protest (illustrative)

Friday, 31 March 2017 | After immigrating to Israel as lone soldiers and serving together in Caracal Battalion, Laura, Kayla, and Rebecca decided to go to war together on behalf of Israeli informational campaign on campuses across the United States.

The three recently immigrated trio have joined the project, run by the Reservists on the Front organization, which works against the anti-Israel boycott BDS movement. As part of the organization’s informational campaigns, the three female reserve soldiers flew to the US on Monday to present the Israeli angle and expose the lies of the boycott movement.

Laura Prince, 25, made aliyah (immigrated) from New Jersey to Herzliya five years ago and served as a squad leader in the Caracal Battalion. “I came to Israel to join the army,” said Laura. She feels that she already knows how to explain Israel’s point of view. “I’ll explain the situation through my personal experiences,” she said, adding: “The media has a tendency to go against Israel and that’s what the students are learning. In order to teach them the truth, you have to speak to them face-to-face.”

Rebecca Greger, 27, who immigrated from North Carolina to Herzliya seven years ago, joined the informational campaign as well. “I felt obligated to give of myself and serve the State of Israel,” she said. “The BDS’s claims are wrong. The fact that people believe them only shows how much they don’t know about Israel,” she emphasized. “The Americans have the privilege of conducting their battles in distant places and not on their borders. Therefore, they are not exposed to feelings of distress, war and existential threats.” “I hope to share my experience with other people so that they understand that the reality in Israel is very different from what they see on television and on the news,” she added.

Staff Sgt. Kayla Dulin, 26, immigrated to Tel Aviv from New York four years ago and served as a sergeant in the Caracal Battalion. “I’m a proud Jew. I’m a Zionist. I love the country. I am the daughter of parents who fled from the Soviet Union in the late 1980s and my late grandfather was a Holocaust survivor. These are the stories I grew up on. They are an integral part of my identity,” said Kayla. “I feel like I have fulfilled a dream that is not only mine, but of generations in my family… I think the IDF is the most ethical body to deal with many challenges and in the end, is responsible for Israel’s security. It’s not black and white. We are not perfect, but we’re close,” she said. “There is no room for the new anti-Semitism disguised as pro-Palestinianism,” she concluded.

“There is tremendous power in having former lone soldiers who are now living in Israel undertaking these informational campaigns,” said Amit Dari, CEO of Reservists on the Front. “Along with an Israeli mentality, an IDF service and various experiences from Israel, they also have a deep understanding of the American mentality and complete mastery of the language. Our representatives have family and friends living in the US, and especially on campuses. The US is important to them; the poison and anti-Semitism spread by hateful organizations and the BDS are harming America no less than they’re harming Israel.”

(Translated and edited by N. Elias)

Source: (Ynetnews originally published this article on 28 March 2017. Time related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Takver/wikipedia

Photo License: wikipedia

Prayer Focus
Praise God for the willingness of these reserve soldiers who are stepping into a new field of warfare, the economic discrimination against Israel. Ask God to prepare open hearts and for safety as they will step into hostile, anti-Semitic environments.

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

Nicaragua to Reestablish Diplomatic Ties with Israel

by Itamar Eichner and Omri Efraim

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Flag of Nicaragua flying over Independence Square, Granada

Wednesday, 29 March 2017 | On Tuesday night, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu teased the impending renewal of diplomatic relations with another country which Ynet has learned to be Nicaragua.

Netanyahu was speaking at an official memorial ceremony for deceased former heads of Israeli government and state in Jerusalem. He commented, “Today, we are blessed with excellent relations with more than 160 countries. That number is growing. Next week, another country will announce the establishment of relations with the State of Israel.”

Nicaragua suspended diplomatic ties with Israel in 2010 in protest of the Israeli raid on the Mavi Marmara, a Turkish ship that was attempting to break the naval blockade on the Gaza Strip. In the incident, nine persons were killed.

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega’s decision to sever ties was announced by his wife and government communications chief, Rosario Murillo, who is now the country’s vice president.

Source: (Excerpt of an article originally published in Ynetnews on 28 March 2017. Time related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.) 

Photo Credit: José Porras/ Elemaki/ Wikipedia

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Thank God for Israel that the door has been opened for diplomatic relations with Nicaragua. Pray for a successful, profitable, long term partnership between the countries. Ask God to bring other small nations who will also partner with Israel and by doing so, experience God‘s favor upon their land and people.

Scripture

How lovely are your tents, O Jacob! Your dwellings, O Israel! Blessed is he who blesses you, and cursed is he who curses you.

 


- Numbers 24:5, 9b

Israeli Air Force Begins Joint Exercise with US, UAE, Italy, Greece

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The Israel Air Force in a joint aerial exercise with foreign air forces (illustrative)

Tuesday, 28 March 2017 | Israeli fighter planes began multinational exercises in Greece on Monday alongside jets from multiple other countries, including the United States, United Arab Emirates and Italy.

The Iniohos 2017 exercise, which is being hosted at Greece’s Andravida Air Base, featured a commemorative patch including the flags of all five participating nations.

“Multinational training engagements such as these strengthen our relationships, maintain joint readiness and interoperability and reassure our regional Allies and partners,” US Air Force spokesman Capt. Robert Howard said in a statement.

The Israeli Air Force also participated in the American-hosted Red Flag exercises in August. Those events included crews from Jordan (whose planes reportedly flew alongside IDF [Israel Defense Forces] aircraft en route to the exercises in Alaska), as well as the UAE and Pakistan.

While Israel has no formal diplomatic ties with the latter two Muslim-majority nations, clandestine ties are believed to have grown due to shared concern over Iran’s threat to the Middle East and South Asia. Last November, Israel established a diplomatic mission to the International Renewable Energy Association, which is based in Abu Dhabi, the UAE’s capital.

Source: (This article was originally published by The Israel Project, in its publication The Tower on 27 March 2017. Time related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: IDF/ Flickr.com

Photo License: Flickr.com

Prayer Focus
Pray for members of the Israeli Air force who are training in multinational exercises in Greece. Thank God for the relationships and positive interoperability that will assure regional allies of joint readiness in light of Iran’s proposed threat. Ask God to bless these soldiers with health, sound minds and lots of energy.

Scripture

The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.


- Numbers 6:24-26

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