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A Light in the Midst of Trauma

Friday, March 31, 2023

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

The Axis of Resistance Led by Iran Threatens Israel during Ramadan

by Yoni Ben Menachem ~ JCPA

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Iran poses a security threat to Israel during the Ramadan period.

Friday, 24 March 2023 | Sometime on March 11 or 12, a terrorist infiltrated from Lebanon into Israel’s Galilee region and launched a bomb attack in the Megiddo area using a sophisticated explosive device.

It is believed that the terrorist who infiltrated Israeli territory was a Palestinian who belonged to the Hamas forces in southern Lebanon and trained by Hezbollah experts on how to activate the sophisticated explosive device. Hamas is recruiting in the Tyre and Sidon refugee camps.

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah knew about the infiltration operation and approved it. It was a joint operation by Hezbollah and Hamas without leaving fingerprints, and the two organizations took no responsibility for the attack.

According to intelligence data from various sources, Israeli security officials assess that approaching the month of Ramadan [one of the Five Pillars of Islam when stringent disciplines are observed] there will be an unprecedented conflict with the Palestinian terrorist factions on several fronts that may deteriorate into a military conflict more acute than the conflict in the Gaza Strip in May 2021.

Visible signs also testify to this: the Hamas and Islamic Jihad organizations have increased the incitement against Israel in recent weeks and launched a campaign of psychological warfare to weaken Israel morale.

Hamas Terrorist Chief’s Warning

Saleh al-Arouri, the vice chairman of the Hamas movement and head of its military wing in the West Bank [Judea and Samaria], the man who coordinates in Beirut the activity with Hezbollah, said in an interview to the official website of Hamas on March 14, 2023, that the events to come will be very difficult for the “occupation and its settlers.” The “resistance” in the West Bank is in a state of escalation and it is diversifying its weapons.

Marwan Issa, the shadowy deputy commander of Hamas’s military wing in the Gaza Strip, hinted at the possibility of massive rocket fire from the Gaza Strip towards Israel. He told the Al-Aqsa channel on March 15, 2023, “The desire to commit suicide among the (Muslim) residents of the West Bank is unprecedented, and the state of resistance in the West Bank is excellent. So is the state of national unity in the face of the Occupation.”

The Iranian Connection

A spokesman for the military wing of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad threatened Israel with a new Intifada [uprising] and a conflict it had never experienced before.

The accumulation of these statements by the heads of the terrorist organizations in the media and intelligence information indicate an impending escalation.

The terrorist cells are showing the increasing use of explosive devices in the territories of Judea and Samaria and an attempt to activate them also within the territory of Israel itself. The Shin Bet [Israel internal security agency] has recently foiled several attacks using explosive devices by Palestinians from the West Bank who were recruited by Hamas from the Gaza Strip through social networks.

According to officials in the military wing of Hamas, the attack on Dizengoff Street in Tel Aviv on March 9, 2023, marks the organization’s decision to resume attacks within the Green Line [the cease-fire line established in 1949 separating Israel from the Jordanian-held West Bank].

Hezbollah Tightened Coordination with Hamas and Islamic Jihad

According to security sources, Hezbollah Secretary-General [Hassan] Nasrallah increased his coordination meetings in the al-Dahiya neighborhood in Beirut with Ziyad al-Nakhala, the secretary-general of the Islamic Jihad, and with Al-Arouri toward the beginning of the month of Ramadan. An agreement was reached between Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards in Iran for increasing terrorist activities in the coming days.

Nasrallah said last week that Israel would collapse even before it marks the 80th year of its founding. The internal dispute in Israel and the wave of protest over the legal reform issue increased the feeling among the terrorist organizations that Israel is on the verge of disintegration and that this is the time to increase the pressure through terrorist acts.

Despite the hoopla at the time, the agreement designed by the United States on the division of Lebanon’s economic territorial waters, signed on October 27, 2022, did not reduce Hezbollah’s motivation for terrorism against Israel. Moreover, it allows the Hamas organization to strengthen its military infrastructure in southern Lebanon and in the refugee camps in Tyre and Sidon.

Hamas officials say that the attacks on Israel in the coming days will be from all directions according to the doctrine of unification of the fronts, including rocket fire from southern Lebanon and infiltration operations from southern Lebanon into Israeli territory.

According to security officials in Israel, behind all this malevolent activity is Iran, which in the past year has smuggled arms and funds through Jordan to the northern West Bank into the hands of the terrorist organizations.

The axis of resistance led by Iran is preparing for a major escalation in the month of Ramadan. Israel is also seriously preparing for a scenario that may be bigger than the military conflict that took place in May 2021.

Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs on March 16, 2023. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Farkhod Vakhob/pixabay.com

Photo License: Pixabay

Prayer Focus
Pray that the Lord of Hosts will intervene, preventing the predicted escalation of violence against Israel before it gets started. Pray that He will move as He did millennia ago, thwarting the plans of Israel’s enemies to attack the Jewish state and destroying the axis of resistance.


The LORD is their strength, and He is the saving refuge of His anointed.

- Psalm 28:8

What Are the Palestinians Thinking?

by Adv. Maurice Hirsch ~ Palestinian Media Watch

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Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the PA and chairman of the Executive Committee, PLO

Wednesday, 29 March 2023 | A newly published poll conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PCPSR), provide an interesting view of the thoughts and opinions of the Palestinians regarding different subjects. Several provide an insight into how the Palestinians see both Palestinian–Israel relations and internal Palestinian issues. While the United States and the European Union often present what they believe the Palestinians are thinking, the reality is far different.

  • 71% of Palestinians support the cold-blooded murder of Israeli brothers Yagel and Hallel Yaniv while they were driving on a main road through Huwara
  • Only 27% of Palestinians support the so-called “Two-State solution”
  • 63% of Palestinians view the PA as a burden on the Palestinian people and 52% of Palestinians believe that the collapse or dissolution of the PA is in the Palestinian interest
  • 77% of Palestinians are dissatisfied with the performance of PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and want him to resign

Palestinian–Israeli relations

Palestinian support for terror: According to the survey, the Palestinian support for terror against Israel is multi-faceted and includes, inter alia, substantial support—71% of the population—for the cold-blooded murder of brothers Yagel and Hallel Yaniv, aged 19 and 21 respectively, by Hamas terrorist Abd Al-Fattah Kharousha, while they were driving on a main road through Huwara.

In addition to supporting the cold-blooded murder of Israelis, substantial parts of the Palestinians (68%) support the creation of armed terror groups to attack Israelis and 83% of Palestinians are against the surrender of existing terror groups.

87% of Palestinians believe that the PA [Palestinian Authority] Security Forces do not have the right to arrest members of these armed groups to prevent them from carrying out attacks against Israel. A majority of 63% say it supports the ending of security coordination with Israel.

When asked about the most effective means of “ending the Israeli occupation and building an independent state,” the report says that 77% of Palestinians chose violence. 54% chose armed struggle—i.e., to engage in all-out terror similar to the PA-launched 2000 – 2005 terror campaign. 23% chose “popular resistance”—i.e., the PA euphemism that includes sporadic terror attacks like shootings, stabbings, and car rammings. Only 18% of the Palestinians chose the path of “negotiations.”

These statistics are particularly significant since they reflect a rise in support for violence and a decline in support for negotiations, compared to a similar survey conducted a year ago, as exposed by Palestinian Media Watch. Then, support for violence stood at 68% while 25% of Palestinians supported negotiations.

What political solution do the Palestinians support?: According to the survey, only 27% of Palestinians support the so-called “Two-State solution”. Most Palestinians (74%) appear to have embraced the PA propaganda, and believe that the Two-State solution is “no longer practical or feasible due to the expansion of Israeli settlements”. This, notwithstanding the fact that all the Israeli settlements in the Gaza Strip were evacuated in 2005, that there are no Israeli settlements in areas A or B of Judea and Samaria (which together make up 40% of the area), and that the Israeli settlements in area C cover no more than 2.5% of that area.

The same percentage of Palestinians (74%) also believe that the chances of creating a Palestinian state alongside the State of Israel in the next five years are slim or nonexistent.

While the Palestinians are skeptical about the possibility of creating a Palestinian state, 75% of them are opposed to the suggestion of Mahmoud Abbas to demand one Israeli–Palestinian state.

Interestingly, in a question about the main problem confronting Palestinian society today, 26% say it is corruption; 21% say it is unemployment and poverty; while only 20% say it is the continuation of the Israeli “occupation and settlement construction.”

As regards the Arab residents of Jerusalem, whom the PA considers “Palestinians”, a separate recent PCPSR study, found that 38% of the respondents believe that east Jerusalem should be under Palestinian sovereignty, 19% would prefer Israeli sovereignty and 14% do not want anyone to have sovereignty over the city. The remainder want the city to be under international sovereignty (25%) or Islamic/Arab sovereignty (3%).

The findings are significant when compared to the same PCPSR survey conducted in 2010, in which 52% of the respondents supported Palestinian sovereignty over east Jerusalem and only 6% supported Israeli sovereignty.

A similar trend was also identified in the preferences of the Jerusalem Arabs regarding citizenship as part of a permanent political solution. In the current study, 58% of the Jerusalem Arabs said that they would prefer Palestinian citizenship (down from 63% in 2010) while 37% said they would prefer Israeli citizenship (up from 24% in 2010).

Internal Palestinian issues

The Palestinians and the PA:  The PA was created in 1994 as part of the Israeli–Palestinian peace process. While the international community has provided tens of billions of aid to the PA (the EU recently wrote that since 2008 alone, the European Union, Norway and Switzerland have provided over 14 billion euros [USD 15.16 billion] in official development assistance to the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinians), 63% of Palestinians view the PA as “a burden on the Palestinian people.” Only 33% of Palestinians view the PA as an asset for the Palestinian people.

57% of Palestinians believe that the survival of the PA is in Israel’s interest, while 52% of Palestinians believe that the “collapse or dissolution of the PA” is in the Palestinian interest.

Most Palestinians (67%) believe that were Israel to adopt a concerted policy of weakening the PA, the major Arab countries would simply “abandon the PA.”

While the reasoning behind the Palestinian distain for the PA is undoubtedly complex, one of the most prominent reasons (if not the most prominent reason) would be that the Palestinian perception of corruption in PA institutions stands at 82%.

The distrust of the PA is reflected in the Palestinian response to recent PA legislation that has each cell phone holder paying a monthly 1 shekel [US $0.28] tax to “support east Jerusalem.” According to the survey, despite the declared PA goal, 79% of Palestinians think that the collected funds will not benefit Arab citizens of east Jerusalem.

While PA corruption is clearly rife, 51% of the Palestinians living under PA control believe that they cannot criticize the PA without fear of repercussions.

Who will replace PA Mahmoud Abbas?: As PMW recently noted, PA leader Mahmoud Abbas is now in his 19th year of his first 4-year term as Chairman (or rather dictator) of the PA. While Abbas refuses to relinquish his dictatorial position, 77% of Palestinians are dissatisfied with his performance and want him to resign.

When asked their opinions about holding new elections for the position of PA chairman the results were reflective. If Abbas was to run against Ismail Hanniyeh, the head of the internationally designated terror organization Hamas, Hanniyeh would receive the support of 52% of the vote, while Abbas would only receive 36%.

If Abbas did not run, and the electoral race was between Hanniyeh of Hamas and convicted terrorist murderer Marwan Barghouti from Fatah (who is currently serving 5 consecutive life sentences in an Israeli prison for his part in the murder of 5 people), Barghouti would receive the support of 58% of the vote while Hanniyeh would receive only 37%.

According to the survey, in elections for the position of PA chairman, wannabe Palestinian leaders Muhammad Shtayyeh (currently the PA prime minister) would receive only 4% of the vote, and Hussein Al-Sheikh, who Abbas recently appointed as Secretary General of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization [PLO], would receive only 2%.

As regards the elections for the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC)—the PA parliament—the findings of the survey provide a false sense of hope.

In the last PLC elections—held in 2006—Hamas won the outright majority in both Gaza and the areas of Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) under PA control. According to the new survey, if new elections were held for the PLC today, “with the participation of all factions that participated in the 2006 elections,” Fatah would win 35% of the vote while Hamas would win 33%.

The reason this result provides false hope is that it assumes that only one unified Fatah list would compete against Hamas as was the case in the 2006 elections. However, the problem with this scenario is that in the run up to the 2021 elections (which were eventually cancelled by Abbas), Fatah splintered into three separate lists.

Accordingly, assuming that the same situation will repeat itself before any future election, it is irrelevant to look to answers based on a question “with the participation of all factions that participated in the 2006 elections” to understand the outcome of any future elections and prophesy a Fatah win. The more relevant analysis would be to assume that Hamas would still win 33% of the vote, while the Fatah votes would be divided between the different Fatah “representatives.” In this scenario, it is not clear, and rather unlikely, that one Fatah representative would indeed win more seats than Hamas.

In January 2021 Abbas decided, ostensibly, to hold elections for the PA Parliament in May 2021 followed by elections for the position of PA chairman in July 2021. Abbas did not want the elections, but was forced to call them by the US and the EU who demanded that the Palestinian leadership renew its legitimacy. After he realized that he and his splintered Fatah party were going to lose, on April 29, 2021, just days after PMW reported that Abbas’ Fatah was doing all it could to lay the groundwork to cancel the elections, Abbas announced that he was indefinitely “postponing” the elections. The official PA excuse was the alleged refusal of Israel to allow the holding of the elections in Jerusalem.

PA excuses aside, the recent PCPSR survey that focused on the Arab residents in Jerusalem demonstrates the irrelevance of the PA ploy. According to the survey, if the PA were to hold elections for the position of PA chairman and for PA Parliament, 92% of the Jerusalem Arabs said they would not participate.

Source: (This article was originally published by Palestinian Media Watch on March 22, 2023. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Benedikt von Loebell/World Economic Forum/flickr.com

Photo License: flickr

Prayer Focus
Pray for a move of the Holy Spirit that will begin to turn these numbers around. Cry out to the Lord for Palestinian leadership who will take the needs of their people seriously, dealing with poverty and unemployment, rather than focusing their attention on incitement, terrorism and the destruction of Israel.


It is a joy for the just to do justice, but destruction will come to the workers of iniquity.

- Proverbs 21:15

TIME Names Jerusalem One of World’s Greatest Places

by JNS

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Israelis wave flags at the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City on the eve of Jerusalem Day.

Friday, 24 March 2023 | Jerusalem was named one of TIME magazine’s 50 most extraordinary travel destinations, as part of the publication’s third annual list of the World’s Greatest Places.

TIME solicited nominations for the list—including countries, regions, cities and towns—from its international network of correspondents and contributors.

“The locations must be enthralling, exciting, and offer new or advanced experiences to meet the criteria for TIME,” according to the outlet.

Jerusalem is listed among the other destinations, including Kyoto in Japan, Musanze in Rwanda, Giza and Saqqara in Egypt, Ladakh in India and Aqaba in Jordan.

The Tower of David Museum’s 360° view of Jerusalem was featured by TIME as one of the must-see attractions in the city.

The museum is set to reopen to the public on June 1 following a three-year, US $50 million renewal and conservation project, which included the preservation and conservation of the historic citadel and archaeological park.

The other sites mentioned in the Israeli capital were the Biblical Zoo, Jaffa Gate, Kerem Tunnel and the Mahane Yehudah market.

Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on March 20, 2023. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Source: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90/jns.org

Prayer Focus
Praise the Lord that Jerusalem, the city of the Great King, has been recognized as the beautiful and amazing place that it is. Pray that throngs of people will be drawn to it, discovering that there is no other city in the world like it and encountering the God who has placed His name there forever.


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.”

- Psalm 132:13–14

FIFA Removes Indonesia as Youth Soccer Tournament Host for Banning Israel

by JNS

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Thursday, 30 March 2023 | The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) removed Indonesia on Wednesday as host of the under-20 U-20 World Cup soccer tournament, previously slated to take place from May 20 to June 11 in Bali, Indonesia. It is unknown where the event will now take place, reported the Associated Press.

FIFA officials cited “current circumstances” without specifying details, the AP reported. “A new host will be announced as soon as possible, with the dates of the tournament currently remaining unchanged,” they said.

The decision comes after Bali Governor Wayan Koster and Ganjar Pranowo, governor of Central Java, demanded that Israel be excluded. The latter is the front-runner for Indonesia’s presidential election.

This was to be Israel’s first time participating in the competition.

Indonesia, the most populous Muslim country, has a provision in its constitution calling for the abolishment of colonialism. As such, Indonesian officials have apparently interpreted that as a reason to oppose Israel.

A 2017 BBC poll found that only 9% of Indonesians saw Israel’s influence as “mainly positive,” compared to 64% that viewed it as “mainly negative.” (Pakistanis had slightly more positive views of Israel, according to that poll.)

The AP reported on Sunday that FIFA also canceled a first step toward Indonesia’s qualification for the 2026 World Cup.

Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on March 29, 2023. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Pixabay/jns.org

Prayer Focus
Thank God that FIFA has taken a firm stand against the blatant anti-Semitism of the Indonesian government. Pray that Indonesia’s 2026 World Cup ambitions will not be realized and that this action will send a strong message to other nations who harbor such prejudices.


Save me, O God, by Your name, and vindicate me by Your strength.

- Psalm 54:1

UN Commission Resumes ‘Kangaroo Court’ Hearings on Israeli–Palestinian Conflict

by Mike Wagenheim ~ JNS

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The United Nations building in Geneva

Monday, 27 March 2023 | A controversial United Nations [UN] commission that is purportedly investigating the entire Israeli–Palestinian conflict is holding hearings this week in what the Israeli mission in Geneva called a “kangaroo court.”

From the moment the UN Human Rights Council created the group—officially the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem and Israel—it has come under fire by Israel, the United States and a host of other UN member states.

They have blasted the commission for several reasons. The commission has an unprecedented and never-expiring mandate. It has unlimited scope. It covers the entirety of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. It has an oversized budget and amount of staffing. And, critics note, all three of the commission’s members have been credibly accused of anti-Semitism and rabid anti-Israel bias.

“The hearings held by the commission of inquiry are yet another kangaroo court, where witnesses are preselected to fit a predetermined narrative against Israel,” Nathan Chicheportiche, a spokesman for the Israeli mission to the United Nations in Geneva, wrote in a statement to JNS.

Last November, the commission held a set of public hearings on the killing of Palestinian–American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh during an Israeli counterterror operation and on Israel’s decision to label six Palestinian non-governmental organizations as terror organizations.

The Israeli government was not invited to speak at either set of hearings. This time, the commission did not even seek evidence from Israel, and it provided Israel with neither the agenda nor a list of topics and speakers for the week, said Chicheportiche.

“There is no transparency at all,” he said.

In a press release, the UN Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner described this week’s hearings, which are set to conclude on Friday, as focusing on “the shrinking space for civil society in the Occupied Palestinian Territory including East Jerusalem and in Israel.”

The commission will hear from “human rights defenders and activists, women human rights defenders, cultural activists, journalists, lawyers and witnesses who have been subjected to or witnessed attacks, restrictions and harassment by authorities and non-state actors,” the release added.

The November hearings consisted largely of invited speakers bashing NGO Monitor, an organization that compiled the evidence that the six Palestinian NGOs, which were a subject of the hearings, were supporting terror activities. NGO Monitor was not invited to present evidence, despite submitting materials in writing to the commission.

The Israeli mission was asked during the November hearings only to submit documentation. This time around, it found out about the hearings the way many others did—through public notices.

‘They Bring Shame to the United Nations’

Tuesday’s hearing featured far-left Israeli journalist Israel Frey, who was arrested in December and briefly held after failing to appear for prior questioning. Frey was suspected of inciting terrorism last September when he praised a Palestinian man, whom Israeli police nabbed in Jaffa with weapons and an explosive device in his possession. He was allegedly planning to carry out a terror attack.

Frey tweeted at the time that the suspect was a “hero” for making it “all the way from Nablus to Tel Aviv” and looking for “legitimate targets.” The commission questioned him about the circumstances surrounding his arrest over the course of an hour and 15 minutes, but not about his reasons for lauding a would-be terrorist.

Monday’s opening speaker was French Palestinian lawyer Salah Hamouri, who was deported to France in December. His Jerusalem residency was revoked on charges that he was active in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine [PFLP], classified by Israel and several Western nations as a terror group. The US State Department has classified it as such since 1997.

“The commission of inquiry chose as its guest of honor for its hearings a convicted terrorist, who has been a senior member of the PFLP terror organization, been personally engaged in planning attacks against civilians and conspired to murder Israel’s former chief rabbi,” the Israeli mission wrote.

“Whitewashing Palestinian terrorism and defaming Israel are the only objectives of this commission of inquiry,” it added. “They bring shame to the United Nations.”

Closed hearings were held on Wednesday and Thursday, with 12 witnesses giving testimony confidentially for what the commission felt were reasons related to safety and security. Friday’s closing session is scheduled to include testimony from Rodney Dixon, who serves as Al Jazeera’s counsel in the case of Abu Akleh’s death, and Walid Al-Omari, Al Jazeera’s bureau chief in Israel and the Palestinian territories. The lawyer for Muhammad Halabi, a Gazan aid worker whom Israel convicted of supporting terror, is also set to speak.

Reports and commentary that the commission has issued thus far have criticized Israel nearly exclusively, already labeling the “occupation” the root cause of the conflict.

‘Presented in a Very Convoluted Way’

Danny Ayalon served as Israel’s deputy foreign minister when, in the wake of the 2009 Israel–Hamas war, the United Nations launched its “Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict.” That became the infamous Goldstone Report, which accused Israel of intentionally and systematically targeting Gazan civilians. The mission head, Richard Goldstone, later recanted the claims.

Over the years, it was a dilemma for Israel whether to cooperate with the UN, as well as to share materials and try to influence reports, which would only work if UN officials acted in good faith, Ayalon told JNS.

“We did not have any trust in them to stick to the truth. Things can be presented in a very convoluted way,” he said. “We know the result was already prejudged, and we’re not going to play this game.”

Ayalon believes that the commission that is conducting hearings this week is a repeat offender in this regard. But he does not believe the Israeli government will necessarily engage in a prolonged campaign to discredit it.

“I don’t think they’ll bother with it unless there will be a public or political impact,” he said. “Then, of course, they’ll have to come after the report and expose the facts, not to the committee, but in a transparent way to the press and to other governments, mostly to the American government.”

Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on March 24, 2023. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Van Scyoc/Shutterstock/jns.org

Prayer Focus
Pray that even the United Nations will realize that the commission is indeed a “kangaroo court,” unabashedly displaying its anti-Semitic and “rabid anti-Israel” bias. Beseech the Lord that the commission will be stripped of its mandate and that its reports and commentary will be dismissed as bigoted and discriminatory drivel exhibiting no respect for the truth.


“And like their bow they have bent their tongues for lies. They are not valiant for the truth on the earth. For they proceed from evil to evil, and they do not know Me,” says the LORD.

- Jeremiah 9:3

Azerbaijan First Shiite Country to Open Embassy in Israel

by JNS

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Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen (right) greets his Azerbaijani counterpart Jeyhun Bayramov in Jerusalem.

Thursday, 30 March 2023 | Azerbaijan was set on Wednesday to become the first Shiite Muslim country to open an embassy in Israel, with the two countries’ foreign ministers meeting in Jerusalem ahead of the inauguration ceremony.

Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen called the arrival of an ambassador from Baku and the opening of a permanent embassy in the Jewish state “historic” after 30 years of diplomatic ties.

“Azerbaijan is a strategic partner of Israel,” Cohen said at a press conference with Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov, emphasizing the close coordination on regional security with an emphasis on countering Iran, which shares 428 miles [689 km.] of border with Azerbaijan, split into two noncontiguous sections.

“Israel and Azerbaijan share the same perception of the Iranian threats,” Cohen said. “The Iranian ayatollah regime threatens both our regions, finances terrorism and destabilizes the entire Middle East.”

Bayramov thanked Jerusalem for supporting “Azerbaijan’s sovereignty and territorial integrity during almost 30 years of illegitimate occupation of Azerbaijan’s territories by Armenia.”

Cohen is set to visit Baku next month.

Israel has operated an embassy in Baku since 1993, a year after relations were established. It was one of the first countries to recognize Azerbaijan’s independence after the breakup of the Soviet Union.

In late February, Azerbaijan’s first-ever ambassador to Israel, Mukhtar Mammadov, arrived in Tel Aviv before presenting his credentials to Israeli President Isaac Herzog and taking up his post. Mammadov, the outgoing deputy education minister and a veteran of both the education and foreign ministries, had been working from the Azerbaijani trade office in Tel Aviv and will now move to the embassy.

Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on March 29, 2023. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Twitter/jns.org

Prayer Focus
Praise the Lord that Israel’s network of strategic partners in the Arab world continues to expand. Pray that the relationship with Azerbaijan proves to be of value for both nations and ask the Lord for His blessing as Ambassador Mammadov moves his office from the trade office to the embassy.


“I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

- Genesis 12:3

Pakistanis Arrested for Plotting Attacks on Israeli, Jewish Targets in Athens

by JNS

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The city of Athens as seen from atop the Acropolis

Wednesday, 29 March 2023 | Greek police arrested two Pakistanis in Athens on suspicion of planning attacks against Israeli and Jewish targets, authorities revealed on Tuesday.

In a statement, the Mossad [Israeli intelligence agency] said that those detained were part of a “wide Iranian network that operates from Iran and out of many countries.”

“After the investigation of the suspects started in Greece, the Mossad assisted in uncovering intelligence related to the infrastructure, methods of operation and connection to Iran,” added the statement.

The agency vowed to “continuously thwart terror attacks by Iran all over the globe.”

Greek sources told media that officers arrested two Pakistanis of Iranian origin, aged 27 and 29, who were planning attacks on Israelis in central Athens. One of the targets was reportedly a kosher restaurant and another a synagogue in the Greek capital, according to reports.

“Their aim was not only to cause the loss of life of innocent citizens, but also to undermine the sense of security in the country, while hurting public institutions and threatening [Greece’s] international relations,” Greek police said in a statement.

Many Israelis visit Greece over the Passover holiday, which begins next Wednesday.

Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on March 28, 2023. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Menachem Wecker/jns.org

Prayer Focus
Thank the Lord that these terrorists were arrested before they were able to carry out their attacks on Israeli and Jewish targets. Pray for the Mossad as they continue in their commitment to “continuously thwart terror attacks by Iran all over the globe.” Also cry out to the Lord for His supernatural protection to surround all Israelis as they travel for the Passover holiday.


For I will not trust in my bow, nor shall my sword save me. But You have saved us from our enemies, and have put to shame those who hated us.

- Psalm 44:6–7

After a Warm Winter, Israel Braces for a Scorching Summer

by JNS

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Forest fires, such as this one near Kiryat Tivon, east of Haifa, are a deadly danger during hot, dry summers.

Tuesday, 28 March 2023 | Israeli authorities published on Sunday a forecast of possible extreme weather scenarios caused by increasing global temperatures.

The National Emergency Management Authority (NEMA) in the Ministry of Defense and the Israel Meteorological Service examined the possible ramifications of having two severe heat waves in the course of the months from June to September, during which temperatures in the country could reach 49°C (120°F).

A scenario crafted to help government bodies prepare for extreme heat waves found that mortality rates could increase by 8.5%, peak electricity consumption would increase by 10% and the chance of fires would rise.

A heat wave usually includes around a week or 10 days that are warmer than average. There can also be two heat waves within the same month with a short break between them. According to the reference scenario, temperatures in Israel’s coastal plain would reach 35°C (95°F) with more than 50% humidity, mountainous regions would hit 42°C (107.6°F), the Negev Desert and the northern valleys up to 44°C (111°F), with 49°C (120°F) in the Jordan Valley and the Arava.

“The attribution scenario we are distributing to government ministries showcases the implications of a serious event,” said NEMA director Brig. Gen. (res.) Yoram Laredo.

“The scenario is a binding document and forms the basis for preparation of government ministries and planning and operative bodies. It describes the periods of the year prone to heat waves, their expected frequency, heat maps, peak temperatures expected at any point in Israel and the consequences to prepare for, from an increase in electricity consumption and the risk of huge fires to a significant increase in morbidity and mortality,” he added.

NEMA is responsible for understanding threats to the civilian population and creating reference scenarios for preparing government ministries and emergency bodies accordingly. As a result of the increase in climate-related events in recent years, NEMA and the Israel Meteorological Service have formulated reference scenarios for extreme weather such as floods, fires and now extreme heat waves.

Heat waves can cause major disruptions in daily life and lead to considerable economic damage to the point of harming human life. Their incidence requires early preparation, coordination and involvement of several bodies and authorities in order to reduce damage and return to normal life as quickly as possible.

Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on March 26, 2023. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Yossi Zamir/Flash90/jns.org

Prayer Focus
Cry out for mercy to the One who causes the sun to shine and the rain to fall. Pray that these dire predictions will prove to be inaccurate, and ask Him for a year of mild temperatures, plenty of rain and no fires.


Sing to the LORD with thanksgiving…who covers the heavens with clouds, who prepares rain for the earth, who makes grass to grow on the mountains.

- Psalm 147:7a–8

Israel Signs Trade Deal with UAE, Eyes More Peace Partners

by Joshua Spurlock ~ The Mideast Update

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Israel signed a trade deal with the UAE and used the opportunity to promote peace in the Middle East.

Monday, 27 March 2023 | Israel on Sunday signed a trade deal with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and used the opportunity to promote—even predict—more peace in the Middle East. “This historic agreement that has been signed with the UAE continues to bear fruit for the benefit of the people of both countries,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at the UAE signing. “…I am certain that we will be able to expand the circle of peace between Israel and additional countries in our region.”

The customs agreement signed between the UAE and Israel on Sunday will lower or eliminate the customs duties on approximately 96% of the goods traded between the nations, as well as open up UAE government tenders to Israeli companies. The arrangement implements the free trade accord signed between the sides in May 2022.

Netanyahu said the customs accord will “lower the cost-of-living and inject energy into business between Israel and the UAE.”

The trade deal follows the peace agreement signed between Israel and the UAE as part of the Abraham Accords, a multi-national peace initiative that since 2020 has already seen Israel sign historic peace treaties with four nations, including the UAE. And like Netanyahu, Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen sees opportunity for more nations to join the accords.

“The taking effect of the free trade agreement [with the UAE] is important news for the Israeli economy, for the strengthening of ties with the UAE and is further testament to the importance of the Abraham Accords. We are currently striving to expand the Abraham Accords to additional countries,” Cohen was quoted in the press release as saying.

Even before the customs deal took effect, trade between Israel and the UAE exceeded US $2.5 billion in 2022—not including software and services. This made the UAE the 16th largest trading partner with Israel, according to the press release.

The customs arrangement was jointly signed by Cohen and UAE Ambassador to Israel Mohamed Al Khaja, with Netanyahu in attendance. The Israeli press release said the free trade deal kickstarted by the customs accord will “be a main growth engine for strengthening economic and commercial cooperation between the two countries and will further strengthen bilateral ties.” With the free trade deal now underway, the Israeli Foreign Ministry was noted to anticipate the scope of UAE–Israel trade to “increase considerably, which will lead to additional jobs in the Israeli market and will also lower the cost of living in Israel.”

In a symbol of the improved relations between the UAE and Israel, Khaja publicly highlighted the customs deal signing and mirrored Israel’s sentiment on his official Twitter feed, noting that the UAE “expects this to boost trade, improve the standard of living and lower the cost of goods.”

Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published by the Mideast Update on March 26, 2023. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today.)

Photo Credit: Getty images/canva.com

Prayer Focus
Pray that the customs agreement between Israel and the UAE will have the desired effects, particularly those of improving the standard of living, lowering the cost of living and strengthening the Israeli economy. Pray that Israel will successfully expand the Abraham Accords to additional countries that are sincere in their desire for peace with Israel.


Depart from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.

- Psalm 34:14

Tel Aviv University Develops Tiny Robot that can Capture Damaged Cells

by JNS

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Tel Aviv University Professor Gilad Yossifon (fourth from left) and his research team

Tuesday, 28 March 2023 | Researchers at Tel Aviv University [TAU] have developed a “hybrid micro-robot” the size of a biological cell that is capable of capturing damaged cells, the institution announced on Sunday.

The tiny robot (10 microns, or 0.000393701 of an inch, across) can navigate between cells in a biological sample, carrying a targeted cell for study such as genetic analysis, the university said.

It can be controlled using two types of mechanisms: electric and magnetic.

The technology was developed by Professor Gilad Yossifon from the School of Mechanical Engineering and the Department of Biomedical Engineering and his research team.

“Developing the micro-robot’s ability to move autonomously was inspired by biological micro-swimmers such as bacteria and sperm cells. This is an innovative area of research that is developing rapidly, with a wide variety of uses in fields such as medicine and the environment, as well as a research tool,” said Yossifon.

Collaborators on the research included TAU post-doctoral researcher Yue Wu and student Sivan Yakov, along with Afu Fu, a post-doctoral researcher at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa.

The research was published in the journal Advanced Science.

“Among other things, the technology will support the following areas: medical diagnosis at the single cell level, introducing drugs or genes into cells, genetic editing, carrying drugs to their destination inside the body, cleaning the environment from polluting particles, drug development, and creating a ‘laboratory on a particle’—a microscopic laboratory designed to carry out diagnostics in places accessible only to micro-particles,” said Yossifon.

Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on March 26, 2023. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Courtesy/jns.org

Prayer Focus
Thank God that He has revealed the intricacies of the human body so that Israeli scientists could create amazing medical technology in the rapidly expanding and innovative area of research on a cellular level. Pray that the micro-robot will transform the way researchers and doctors diagnose illnesses, administer medications and a myriad of other processes that will benefit all of mankind.


For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret.

- Psalm 139:13–15a