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Friday, May 1, 2020

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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.

 

Number of Israelis Who Have Recovered from Coronavirus Exceeds Active Patients

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Wearing masks in public is still mandatory.

Thursday, 30 April 2020 | For the first time since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in Israel, the total number of Israelis who recovered from coronavirus exceeded the number of active patients, the Health Ministry reported yesterday.

According to ministry data, 7,929 patients in Israel have already recovered (554 recoveries) compared to 7,641 patients who are still battling the virus (365 fewer than 24 hours earlier).

A hundred and nighty-three new cases of coronavirus were confirmed, bringing the country’s overall sick tally to 15,782, while 212 patients have succumbed to complications of COVID-19.

Among the latest figures are 120 people in serious condition, a 2.5% increase over [a period of] 24 hours, and 91 patients receiving respiratory support, a 3% drop.

A total of 352 people are currently being treated in hospitals, while 4,540 are battling the virus at home. Some 1,726 patients are [being] treated in specially designated hotels and another 1,023 are waiting to be informed whether they require hospitalization.

Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published in Ynetnews on April 29, 2020. Time related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Jenna Solomon/bridgesforpeace.com

Prayer Focus
Praise the Lord for the number of recoveries and beseech Him that this number will continue to increase exponentially. Pray that He will move profoundly on behalf of His people and bring a swift end to this plague, to the honor and glory of His name.

Scripture

Be exalted, O God, above the heavens, and Your glory above all the earth; that Your beloved may be delivered, save with Your right hand, and hear me.


- Psalm 108:5­–6

Netanyahu “Confident” of Israeli Sovereignty over Judea & Samaria Communities

by Itamar Eichner

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Monday, 27 April 2020 | Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said yesterday that he is “confident” Israel will apply its sovereignty over Jewish settlements in the West Bank [Judea and Samaria] and the Jordan Valley in “a few months from now.”

“For decades I have been fighting those who sought to deny the millennial connection of the Jewish people to our homeland. I’m proud to say that the decades-long struggle has borne fruit. Three months ago, the Trump peace plan recognized Israel’s rights in all of Judea and Samaria [the West Bank]. And President Trump pledged to recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Jewish communities there and in the Jordan Valley,” Netanyahu was quoted by the Times of Israel as saying in a recorded speech broadcast at a Christian Evangelical event marking the 100th anniversary of the San Remo conference.

“A couple of months from now, I’m confident that that pledge will be honored. That we will be able to celebrate another historic moment in the history of Zionism. A century after San Remo, the promise of Zionism is being realized,” Netanyahu said.

The San Remo conference was an international meeting of the post-World War I Allied Supreme Council held in April 1920. In the San Remo Resolution, the superpowers recognized the right of the Jewish people to renew their national home in Israel following the Balfour Declaration of 1927.

The resolution was adopted by the United Nations upon its establishment in 1945 and is still valid according to international law.

According to the [unity] government deal between the Likud and Blue & White [parties], Netanyahu will be able to bring the agreement reached with the Trump administration over the application of Israeli sovereignty in the West Bank and Jordan Valley territories for the approval of the Security Cabinet and Knesset [Parliament] on July 1.

In addition, “the law will be passed as quickly as possible…and will not be disrupted or delayed by the chairmen of either the House or the Foreign Affairs and Defense committees.”

Gantz managed to add a clause into the deal stating that the prime minister and the deputy prime minister must act in concert with the United States, including on the issue of drawing new roadmaps, while consulting the international opinion on the issue. All this while striving to safeguard the security and strategic interests of the State of Israel, including the need to maintain regional stability, preserve [existing] peace agreements and strive for future peace agreements.

Netanyahu’s efforts to apply sovereignty over the Jordan Valley and settlements in the West Bank even before the elections failed because of the White House’s opposition to annexation before a joint committee would come to an agreement on the roadmaps to ensure Israel would not appropriate any of the future Palestinian state’s territories.

The joint committee has already begun mapping work but was forced to stop due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Source: (Ynetnews originally published this article on April 26, 2020. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Kremlin.ru/wikimedia.org

Photo License: wikimedia.org

Prayer Focus
Pray that the Israeli government will move forward wisely but confidently as they restore the Land given to them by the Lord of Hosts to Israeli sovereignty once again. Pray that their neighbors as well as the rest of the international community will come to recognize Israel’s historical, moral and biblical right to exist in her homeland.

Scripture

“I will bring back the captives of My people Israel; they shall build the waste cities and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and drink wine from them; they shall also make gardens and eat fruit from them. I will plant them in their land, and no longer shall they be pulled up from the land I have given them,” say the LORD your God.


- Amos 9:14–15

Woman Hurt in Memorial Day Terror Attack

by Raanan Ben Tzur, Hagar Kochavi

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Meir Medical Center in Kfar Sava

Thursday, 30 April 2020 | A woman was moderately to seriously wounded in a terror attack in Kfar Sava [on Tuesday] as Israel marked Memorial Day for its fallen soldiers and victims of terrorism.

The 62-year-old woman was stabbed by a 19-year-old Palestinian assailant wearing a mask at around 1 p.m. outside a shopping mall in the central city.

She was taken to Meir Medical Center in the city, says the hospital. The head of the trauma unit at the Meir Medical Center, Dr. Uri Yaslovitch, said the woman has received a blood transfusion and will remain under observation.

The attacker, who police later said was from the West Bank [Judea and Samaria] city of Tulkarem, was shot at the scene by an armed civilian who works as a security guard. He was seriously hurt and arrested by police.

Large numbers of police were deployed to the scene of the attack as an investigation into the attack got underway. Police believe that the attack had a nationalist motive.

“When we arrived at the scene, we saw a woman aged about 62 who was fully conscious and lying on the road, ” MDA [Magen David Adom, Israel’s ambulance service] paramedic Elazar Habani said.

“We performed a preliminary examination and saw that she was bleeding from her injuries.”

“We performed life-saving medical care that included stopping the bleeding and evacuated her to [the] hospital while continuing treatment and reported to the doctors who were waiting for us,” he said.

Eyewitness Benny Halevi said: “I heard two shots, I ran over and saw two people lying on the road. Then I saw the broken knife on the ground.”

Ofek Polak, another eyewitness who lives near the scene of the attack, said he heard a woman shouting “help.”

“She was at the bus stop trying to run away from the terrorist…The terrorist hit her on the back and at first I didn’t realize he had stabbed her,” he said. “Suddenly, a car pulled up and a man with a gun came out [of the vehicle]. He shot the terrorist twice and neutralized him.”

Source: (Ynetnews originally published this article on April 28, 2020. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Tanya Preminger/wikimedia.org

Photo License: wikimedia.org

Prayer Focus
Praise the Lord that this attack was interrupted and the attacker stopped before he could do more harm. Pray that he will recover and be held accountable to the full extent of the law. Pray that the victim of this violence will heal quickly and fully, both physically and emotionally.

Scripture

Deliver me from my enemies, O my God; defend me from those who rise up against me. Deliver me from the workers of iniquity, and save me from bloodthirsty men.


- Psalm 59:1–2

Yom HaZikaron: Israel Mourns Her Fallen Sons and Daughters

by Kate Norman

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A woman in Jerusalem pauses as the siren sounds to honor Israel’s fallen soldiers

Tuesday, 28 April 2020 | Yesterday at 8 p.m. sirens blared across Israel, ushering in a solemn day: Yom HaZikaron, the Memorial Day in which the Jewish state honors those who have fallen in its defense or in terror attacks. This morning the siren blared again, calling for another moment of silence and reflection for the lives lost.

Israel is under lockdown today to prevent the spread of the virus, but grieving families visited cemeteries and memorial sites over the past several days, remembering their sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers—all taken away.

Israel has lost a total of 26,969 people since 1860—23,816 in defense of the Jewish state and 3,153 in terror attacks, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Since last year, 78 new names have been added to the list that no one wants to be on. Of those 78 people, 75 died in military service, and three civilians were murdered in terror attacks. Nearly 30,000 lives lost in total—and Israel makes a point to remember and honor each and every one of them.

Last night, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, IDF (Israel Defense Forces) Chief Aviv Kohavi and not many others gathered at the Western Wall in the Old City for a special memorial ceremony. Normally a somber, crowded event, this year the ceremony was closed to the public due to COVID-19 and was attended only by a handful of officials and soldiers wearing masks.

Yom HaZikaron is a special day for all of Israel to join with those who mourn lost loved ones every day, President Rivlin said at the ceremony.

“So that we can remember and be reminded of the two promises that are the basis of the Israeli covenant: to build by the sweat of our brow a life worth living, on that is peaceful and safe for our children, and to bring them home whatever the cost, even if they did not return from battle.”

“This year, we cannot cry together, this year we cannot look each other in the eye, but we remember these two promises,” Rivlin lamented. “We will remember and be reminded, and we will feel fully, even after this year, the inconceivable price we must pay so that these promises are kept.”

IDF Chief Kohavi noted that many Israelis “have relatives, neighbors or acquaintances who gave their lives, and most of the people have a deep sense of identification with sacrifice.”

“The whole nation of Israel is grieving today,” he continued. “But the pain of your families cannot be described. It is constant and infinite, residing in the heart and consciousness, present like the circulation of blood in the body and pulsing continuously. And the pulse increases every time you hear the song he loved, every time you prepare the dish she loved and every time you see a soldier with a beret of the same color, and then imagination and reality mix.”

Following the broadcast of the ceremony last night, Israelis stood on their balconies and sang as one Israel’s national anthem, Hatikvah, which means “the hope” and describes the yearning of the Jewish people to be free in their homeland.

Having an independent Jewish state has come at a high cost—and before Israelis celebrate the rebirth of their modern nation tomorrow in Israel’s Independence Day, today they will pause to remember the sacrifices made by thousands to purchase that freedom.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, April 28, 2020)

Photo Credit: Jenna Solomon/bridgesforpeace.com

Prayer Focus
Pray for the families and friends of those who have given their lives in service to their homeland. May their grief be lightened even a little by the knowledge that the nation of Israel and Christians around the world stand with them in their mourning and are humbled by their sacrifice.

Scripture

For they did not gain possession of the land by their own sword, nor did their own arm save them; but it was Your right hand, Your arm, and the light of Your countenance, because You favored them.


- Psalm 44:3

Iran Launches Military Satellite into Space, Raising New Nuclear Weapon Fears

by Joshua Spurlock

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US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

Monday, 27 April 2020 | The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)—Iran’s most powerful paramilitary group—claimed to have launched a military satellite into space last Wednesday (April 22), an action that was condemned by the United States and Israel, who warned the move could mark progress toward missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons.

“This satellite launch vehicle and others launched before it incorporate technologies identical to, and interchangeable with, ballistic missiles, including longer-range systems such as intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs),” said US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a press release on Saturday from the State Department. “No country has ever pursued an ICBM capability except for the purpose of delivering nuclear weapons.”

IRGC Top Commander Major General Hossein Salami claimed that the military satellite will enable Iran to “see the world from space” and increase their intelligence gathering capabilities, according to the Fars News Agency. Commander of IRGC Aerospace Force Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh was quoted by the report as saying the rocket uses liquid and solid-state fuel, technology that “only the superpowers enjoy.”

Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Lior Haiat on Twitter said the launch shows ongoing Iranian efforts towards building a nuclear weapons program. “Israel strongly condemns Iran’s attempt to launch a military satellite by its Revolutionary Guard’s, a Foreign Terror Organization, designated by the US. Today’s attempt at launching a satellite is just a facade for Iran’s continues development of advanced missile technology,” tweeted Haiat in a series of posts, following by noting that the missile technology under development includes that which “can carry a nuclear warhead.”

Haiat said the launch was a “breach” of United Nations Security Council’s resolution 2231 and Iran’s commitments to the global community. “Israel calls upon the international community to condemn this latest launch, and impose further sanctions on the Iranian regime. All in order to deter it from continuing such dangerous and opposing activity,” tweeted Haiat.

The US didn’t hold back in their condemnation of the launch either, noting the move by the IRGC exposed Iran’s claims that their space program was peaceful as another lie. “Iran’s space program is neither peaceful nor entirely civilian,” said Pompeo in his prepared remarks, noting that last week’s launch was done in secret.

“All peace-loving nations must reject Iran’s development of ballistic-missile capable technologies and join together to constrain Iran’s dangerous missile programs,” said Pompeo. He called for the European Union to sanction the persons and entities developing Iran’s missile program and for the international community to endorse the extension of the UN conventional arms embargo on Iran, which is due to expire in October.

“The world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism and anti-Semitism should not be allowed to buy and sell conventional weapons,” said Pomepo.

The timing of the launch—in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic that has hit Iran as well as other nations around the world—wasn’t missed by Pompeo or Israel. Haiat noted in his Twitter posts, “The Iranian regime continues to focus its efforts on military aggression, instead of mending its failure in dealing with the Coronavirus’s outbreak, that has affected tens of thousands of Iran’s citizens.”

Pompeo felt similarly. In separate comments to reporters last Wednesday republished by the State Department, Pompeo pointed out Iran’s hypocrisy in asking for coronavirus aid and then launching a military satellite. “The Iranian regime has gone around the world spreading disinformation in response to this virus. One of the things they’ve said is that, boy, we need resources in order to take care of the virus at home. And all the while they are launching satellites, driving ships around the Arabian Gulf, coming and harassing US naval vessels,” said Pompeo.

“…I hope that the Iranian regime will respond to the Iranian people’s demands to prioritize resources, resources that the Iranian regime clearly has, to the health and security and safety of the Iranian people, rather than continuing their global terror campaign.”

Source: (The Mideast Update originally published this article on April 26, 2020. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today)

Photo Credit: Andrea Hanks/The White House/flickr.com

Photo License: flickr.com

Prayer Focus
Pray that the nations of the world will heed the warnings given by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Israeli Foreign Ministry Spokesman Lior Haiat. Pray that the global community will be moved to take united action with Israel and the United States to stop Iran’s progress toward nuclear capability before it is too late.

Scripture

Have mercy on me, O LORD! Consider my trouble from those who hate me, You who lift me up from the gates of death, that I may tell of all Your praise in the gates of the daughter of Zion.


- Psalm 9:13–14

San Remo Conference: 100 Years Since Jewish Historic Rights became Legal Rights

by Amb. Dore Gold

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Delegates at the San Remo Conference in Italy in 1920

Friday, 24 April 2020 | In April 2020, the Jewish people will be commemorating the 100th anniversary of the San Remo Conference, which convened in Italy from April 19 until April 26, 1920, in the aftermath of the World War I. British Prime Minister Lloyd George and his minister of foreign affairs, Lord Curzon, attended along with the prime ministers of France and Italy. Representatives of Belgium, Greece and Japan also took part. They constituted what was called the Supreme Council of the Principal Allied and Associated Powers. Most people have heard of the other great postwar conferences, like the Paris Peace Conference or the Geneva Conferences at the end of World War II. But San Remo has not been on many people’s radar screens, despite the fact that it created the geographic basis of the modern Middle East for most of the 20th century.

San Remo dealt with the disposition of territories that until 1920 were a part of the Ottoman Empire, which had been defeated in the war. Formally, the Ottomans renounced their claim to sovereignty over these lands, sometimes called Arab Asia, in the Treaty of Sevres, which was signed the same year as San Remo, on August 10, 1920. It was at Sevres that a draft peace agreement between the allies and the Ottoman Empire was worked out. What these postwar treaties enabled was both the emergence of the system of Arab states and the emergence of a “national home for the Jewish people.” The Balfour Declaration from 1917 was in essence a declaration of British policy. But San Remo converted the Balfour Declaration into a binding international treaty, setting the stage for the League of Nations Mandate, which was approved in 1922. It has been noted that at San Remo, Jewish historic rights became Jewish legal rights.

Were these legal rights of the Jewish people superseded in subsequent years? At the time that the UN [United Nations] Charter was drafted in 1945, officials were cognizant that this argument might be raised. Therefore, they incorporated Article 80 into the UN Charter, which stated specifically that “nothing in this chapter shall be construed in or of itself to alter in any manner the rights whatsoever of any states or any peoples or the terms of existing international instruments to which Members of the United Nations may respectively be parties.” Thus, the foundations of Jewish legal rights established through San Remo were preserved for the future.

Source: (The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs originally published this article on April 22, 2020. Time related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: "Droits : domaine public."/wikimedia.org

Photo License: wikimedia.org

Prayer Focus
Thank God for the San Remo conference and the foundation it laid for the rebirth of the State of Israel. Pray that the political maneuvering and propaganda of Israel’s enemies will cease to blind the eyes of the nations to Israel’s legally endowed rights as a part of the international community, including the right to exist as a Jewish state in her ancient homeland.

Scripture

Let the wicked be ashamed; let them be silent in the grave. Let the lying lips be put to silence, which speak insolent things proudly and contemptuously against the righteous.


- Psalm 31:17b–18

Syria Accuses Israel of Striking Targets Near Damascus

by Ilse Strauss

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Syria accused Israel of striking an Iranian military base near Damascus this morning (illustrative).

Monday, 27 April 2020 | Syria’s state news agency SANA accused Israel of conducting an airstrike on the Mezzeh military airfield on the outskirts of Damascus in the predawn hours of this morning. The airport is reportedly used by Iranian forces stationed in Syria, according to the Times of Israel.

Details of the strike remain unclear, as conflicting reports continue to surface.

SANA boasted that Syria “confronted the Israeli aggression,” shooting down the missiles that Israeli jets fired from Lebanese airspace. The SANA report was later updated to claim that three civilians were killed and four injured when falling debris from the Syrian antiaircraft defenses intercepting the incoming Israeli missiles struck a residential area in Damascus.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) does, however, paint a slightly different picture, negating the Syrian boast of its military prowess in repelling the incoming missiles. According to the Britain-based war monitor, the strike destroyed a number of Iranian buildings and killed at least four pro-Iranian fighters.

The SOHR report added that three civilians were also killed, but was inconclusive on whether their deaths resulted from the incoming projectiles or the debris from Syrian antiaircraft missiles.

Jordanian newspaper Al-Hadath concurred with the SOHR report, claiming that the Israeli missiles hit their target and that a number of pro-Iranian militiamen perished in the strike.

This morning’s predawn strike comes a day after Defense Minister Naftali Bennett warned Israel would step up its efforts to prevent Iran from establishing a permanent foothold on Israel’s doorstep in Syria.

“Keep your ears open,” Bennet told the 103FM radio station on Sunday. “We’ve gone from a policy of blocking [Iran] to pushing it out.”

Israel usually refrains from commenting on alleged operations conducted outside its borders. However, military and political powers that be have over the last two years broken with the no comment policy, acknowledging that Jerusalem has conducted hundreds of strikes to dislodge Iranian and Hezbollah targets from Syrian soil since the start of the Syrian Civil War in 2011.

According to the Times of Israel, Jerusalem is accused of conducting three strikes on Iranian targets in Syria over the last 10 days.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, April 27, 2020)

Photo Credit: Matan Portnoy, IDF Spokesperson Unit/flickr.com

Photo License: flickr.com

Prayer Focus
Pray for wisdom for Israeli leaders and protection for her military as necessary steps are taken to keep the Iranian military and its proxy Hezbollah from becoming entrenched in Israel’s border with Syria. Pray that the Lord will increase the accuracy of any targeted strikes while protecting the lives of innocent civilians.

Scripture

The righteousness of the blameless will direct his way aright, but the wicked will fall by his own wickedness.


- Proverbs 11:5

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