Compassion

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Friday, May 10, 2019

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

Four Israelis Killed as Gaza Terrorists Fire Hundreds of Rockets

by Joshua Spurlock

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Over 600 rockets fired from Gaza have rained down on Israeli communities.

Monday, 6 May 2019 | Four Israeli civilians have been killed as of Sunday afternoon and dozens more wounded as terrorists in the Gaza Strip launched hundreds of rockets at Israel over the weekend, including more than 600 rockets in 36 hours, according to an IDF [Israel Defense Forces] Twitter post. Included among the Israeli dead was one civilian murdered when terrorists fired an anti-tank missile at his civilian car. Israeli Prime Minister’s Office Spokesman Ofir Gendelman said [on Twitter] of the attack that this “is what Palestinian terrorists do: murdering innocent civilians.”

The Times of Israel reported that the other three civilians were killed as a result of the rocket attacks, while the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs posted to Twitter that more than 90 injuries had been caused by the attacks as of Sunday afternoon.

In response, the Israeli military struck Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) targets in Gaza—including the assassination of a terrorist who transferred funds from Iran to the terror groups. An IDF Twitter post said that 280 terror targets had been “destroyed” in Gaza as of Sunday afternoon, and furthermore, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu implied a ground operation in the Strip could be on the table by referencing troop buildup.

“This morning, I instructed the IDF to continue massive attacks against terrorist elements in the Gaza Strip,” said Netanyahu on Sunday in comments released by his office. “I also ordered the reinforcement of the units around the Gaza Strip with armor, artillery and infantry.

“Hamas bears the responsibility not only for its own attacks and actions but also for the actions of Islamic Jihad, and it is paying a very heavy price for this.”

The Israeli response, according to the IDF English Twitter page, included the targeted strike of Hamed Ahmed Khudari, which the Twitter post called “a Gazan terrorist responsible for transferring Iranian funds to Hamas & PIJ in Gaza, helping fund their rocket fire at Israelis.” Continued the IDF in the post, “Transferring Iranian money to Hamas & the PIJ doesn’t make you a businessman. It makes you a terrorist.”

The IDF Twitter feed also noted the Israelis had struck at terrorist rocket launchers, terror attack tunnels, weapons manufacturing factories and an Islamic Jihad training compound and command center the Twitter post noted was located “INSIDE a mosque.”

The Israeli Security Cabinet met on Sunday and said in a press statement that “the Cabinet has instructed the IDF to continue the strikes and to prepare for continuation. The supreme consideration is the security of the state and its residents.”

During the fighting, the IDF further revealed on Twitter they had “thwarted an attempted Hamas cyber offensive against Israeli targets,” and they didn’t stop their cyber defense in the computer world. In response, the IDF Twitter feed reported they “targeted a building where the Hamas cyber operatives work.”

In Israel, 58-year-old Israeli civilian Moshe Agadi was the first killed as a result of the terrorist rocket fire. Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld noted on Twitter that the rocket strike that mortally wounded Agadi damaged multiple houses.

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin expressed his condolences to the Agadi family on Sunday morning, with a press release quoting him as saying, “We send you a big hug in your profound grief. I am praying for those injured and thinking of those sheltering from rockets in their safe spaces.

“We will continue to stand against this dreadful terror and will respond forcefully and unwaveringly to any attack on the security of our people.”

The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs summarized on Twitter some of the war crimes committed by Hamas and Islamic Jihad in just two days, including not only killing civilians but “firing rockets on a hospital” and “blowing up kindergartens & schools.”

Furthermore, Palestinian terrorists have even killed their own people. The IDF Twitter feed reported that contrary to what was reported in the media, a Gaza woman and baby were not killed by Israeli fire on Saturday. “Palestinian weapons caused the tragic death of a mother in Gaza and her baby. Hamas blamed Israel. Journalists amplified the lie. Our assessment indicates that the incident had nothing to do with IDF strikes,” said the tweet.

The Israeli prime minister official Twitter feed said that Netanyahu had met with a delegation of United States ambassadors to Europe and used that as an opportunity to inform them of the Gaza conflict and note “that Israel had the right to defend itself, adding that we would take all necessary measures to ensure this.”

The US on Saturday had already issued a strong condemnation of the Gaza rocket fire and expressed their support for Israel.

“The United States strongly condemns the ongoing barrage of rocket attacks by Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad from Gaza upon innocent civilians and their communities across Israel,” said the press statement from State Department Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus. “We call on those responsible for the violence to cease this aggression immediately. We stand with Israel and fully support its right to self-defense against these abhorrent attacks.”

The massive upsurge in rocket attacks occurred after a sniper shot and wounded two Israeli soldiers, which the IDF noted on Twitter was done under the cover of civilians in a Hamas riot on the Israel–Gaza border. The IDF later tweeted that Islamic Jihad was responsible for the sniper fire.

The intense fighting also preceded the start of the Muslim religious month of Ramadan, which began Sunday night in the Middle East, when tensions sometimes run higher than normal.

Source: (The Mideast Update originally published this article on May 5, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today.)

Source: Israel Police@IL_Police/twitter.com

Prayer Focus
Ask the Lord to bring a sense of peace and comfort to those families who have lost loved ones, as well as healing for those who were wounded. Beseech the Lord for an end to the violence, especially during this time of Ramadan (one of the Five Pillars of Islam when stringent disciplines are observed), when the situation often worsens.

Scripture

I will lift up my eyes to the hills—from whence comes my help? My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth. Behold, He who keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.


- Psalm 121:1–2, 4

Yom HaAtzmaut: Happy Birthday, Israel

by Ilse Strauss

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Yom HaAtzmaut celebrations at the Western Wall (Illustrative)

Wednesday, 8 May 2019 | Tomorrow, the modern State of Israel turns 71. “Happy birthday, Israel!” screams blue and white posters adorned with Stars of David on social and traditional media in anticipation of the joyous event. “3,000 years old. 71 years young.” Yom HaAtzmaut (Independence Day) starts tonight at sunset with an infectious joy pulsing through the country as the people of Israel celebrate their 71st year of reestablishing their nation in their ancient homeland.

Some 2,500 years ago, God pledged through the Hebrew prophet Isaiah, “Who has heard such a thing? Who has seen such things? Shall the earth be made to give birth in one day? Or shall a nation be born at once? For as soon as Zion was in labor, she gave birth to her children” (Isa. 66:8).

On May 14, 1948, more than two millennia after the prophet’s proclamation, the promise was fulfilled: the State of Israel was reborn—in one day, as per God’s pledge. More than seven decades have passed since the Friday afternoon in May 1948 when the Jewish state’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, took to the podium in the Tel Aviv Museum (now known as Independence Hall) and started his historic address to officiate the rebirth of a nation.

Today, 71 years later, the Jewish people continue to mark this miraculous day with joy, thanksgiving and festivities. The Proclamation of Independence was made on the eve of May 14, 1948. Yet Israel commemorates its historical, significant and biblical feast dates according to the biblical calendar and marks the rebirth of its nation on the fifth day of the month of Iyyar. Using the Gregorian calendar, this year’s celebration started at sundown on May 8, 2019.

Independence Day festivities in the Jewish state begin in earnest after nightfall. City streets teem with fathers, mothers, grandparents and young ones, all decked out in blue and white. Young men and women take hands to dance to the tunes of Jewish folk songs. Thousands of Israeli flags stream from windows, balconies and car windows. Concerts, street parties and spontaneous get-togethers often last till dawn.

The official celebration program starts on Mount Herzl tonight, where Israel’s independence is commemorated with prayers, hymns, a military parade and a torch-lighting ceremony. Each year, 12 exceptional Israelis are chosen to light 12 torches—one for each of the tribes of Israel.

Celebrations will continue tomorrow. One of the highlights on the traditional Independence Day agenda is the annual Israel Air Force (IAF) flyover air show. Between 9:40 and 13:00, fighter jets, helicopters and cargo planes crisscross the skies of the Promised Land from north to south in an aerial salute to Israel and its people. Independence Day is also synonymous with family and friends coming together for a traditional barbeque. The smell of roasting meat will waft from parks and backyards, adding to the exuberant, festive and relaxed mood.

While Yom HaAtzmaut is one of the most joyous days in Israel, the Jewish people celebrate knowing that the rebirth of an independent homeland was a miracle that came at a high cost. That is why one of the most joyous days in Israel follows one of the saddest—Yom HaZikaron, the Memorial Day for the Fallen Soldiers of Israel and Victims of Terrorism. The transition from one day to the next, from mourning to celebration and from tears to the sound of laughter filling the streets can appear startling at first. However, it is arranged like that on purpose.

Those who laid down their lives on the front lines did so for one goal: Israel’s rebirth and continued existence. The sacrifice was made so there could be such celebrations of independence. That is why the two days are intertwined: before the celebration starts, Israel bows its head to honor those who made such a celebration possible. That is also arguably why Israelis mourn with such passion, only to celebrate with equal passion on the day that follows.

On this birthday, Bridges for Peace joins the Jewish people to praise the God of Israel for His faithfulness to fulfill His promise to gather the Jewish people from the four corners of the world and bring them home to the Land of their promise.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, May 8, 2019)

Photo Credit: Mati Kraw/wikimedia.org

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Praise the Mighty One of Israel as He fulfills promises made millennia ago, restoring His people to their Land. Thank Him for His goodness and mercy as He blesses the nations through His faithfulness to His people Israel.

Scripture

And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with singing, with everlasting joy on their heads. They shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.


- Isaiah 35:10

Action
As we celebrate this miracle, join us in blessing Israel by giving generously to our Greatest Israel Needs fund. Your donation will go toward the most pressing needs in Israel, helping ensure that God's promise continues to flourish and prosper into the future.

Yom HaZikaron: Israel Stops to Mourn Her Fallen Sons and Daughters

by  Ilse Strauss

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The Yom HaZikaron ceremony at the Western Wall. (Illustrative)

Tuesday, 7 May 2019 ǀ The wail of an air raid siren is never the harbinger of good news. It screams a warning of impending danger, of threats looming just beyond the horizon. Yet in Israel, an air raid siren can sometimes serve a different purpose. Twice a year, on two particular days of commemoration, its mournful howl calls the people of the Promised Land to remember, to honor and to mourn.

“We have two memorial days in Israel every year: one to remind us of the cost of having a state and one to remind us of the cost of not,” explains G. Reback. Last week on Yom HaShoah or Holocaust Remembrance Day, the people of Israel remembered the six million Jewish men, women and children murdered by a fanatic regime determined to exterminate every trace of Jewish life from the face of the earth. Tonight ushers in the second memorial day, Yom HaZikaron, the Day of Remembrance for the Fallen Soldiers of Israel and Victims of Terror, for Israel to remember its sons and daughters who died defending millions more from a similar fate.

At exactly 8:00 p.m., air raid sirens will echo across the length and breadth of the country—and for a minute, the entire nation will stand in silent commemoration as Israel mourns those who died in defense of the Jewish homeland. The tribute lingers on tomorrow, with one more siren at 11:00—another two minutes in honor of the more than 23,000 soldiers who died so that the people of Israel could live.

“Do you not know that a man is not dead while his name is still spoken?” asked well-known author Terry Pratchett. That is why Israel remembers. Every name. Every day. But today, for the 24 hours between sunsets, the nation mourns as one.

This year, the cumulative number of fallen soldiers and victims of terror stands at 23,741, according to figures released by the Defense Ministry. Since last year’s memorial day, a further 96 names have been added to the list of those who died defending the country since 1860. The number includes victims of terror, soldiers, members of the security forces and wounded veterans who passed away from their injuries this past year. Since the rebirth of the modern State of Israel in 1948, 3,146 civilians were murdered in acts of terrorism, including 122 foreign nationals who died in the Promised Land and 100 Israelis killed in terror attacks abroad.

At first glance, the numbers appear almost too small. Yet Israel is a tiny nation; its population one large community. Take 23,741 children, fathers and mothers out of that community, and you have a nation in which every family has lost either a relative or a close friend. Moreover, in a country where each generation has fought at least one major war, the lives of every family have been touched by loss and marred by grief. There are the soldiers who died on the frontlines, protecting Israel’s right to exist, and those who were slain as buses and restaurants exploded—all those who should still be here but are not. That is why the pain that vibrates through Israel on this day does not just hit close to home; it hits home.

Tonight’s memorial siren at 8:00 marks the start of Yom HaZikaron, followed by hundreds of memorial rallies held throughout the country. The official ceremony takes place at the Western Wall. As soon as this ceremony concludes, the 23,741 names of Israel’s fallen will be broadcast chronologically on the national television channels until sunset on Wednesday marks the end of Yom HaZikaron.

Following the two-minute memorial siren at 11:00 on Wednesday, Israel will have state memorial ceremonies at military cemeteries and monuments throughout the country, with the main ceremony taking place at the National Memorial Hall on Mount Herzl. Israelis will observe the solemn day of remembrance by placing a miniature flag of Israel on the graves of family, friends and loved ones.

Speaking last year at a ceremony at the Yad LeBanim Memorial in Jerusalem, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the hundreds of bereaved families in attendance that the people of Israel “bow our heads in memory of our loved ones, whose blood has seeped into the soil of our homeland.”

“All families have their own agony, and every family is heroic in its own way,” Netanyahu said. “To choose life after such heartbreak is altruistic. I met, together with my wife, many bereaved families who chose life through commemoration of the fallen, commitment to the country, concern for others, responsibility, kindness and having a shoulder to lean on. And on this special day, we stand shoulder to shoulder as a united nation that sees clearly the foundations of its continued existence.

“The message left by the fallen is loud and clear; our lives may be too short, but we have ensured the life of the nation in perpetuity. They have given us the opportunity to live. Thanks to them we are here,” the prime minister concluded.

For his part, President Reuven Rivlin delivered an address during the national commemoration ceremony at the Western Wall. “We will not stop for a moment to work for the country your children fought for. We will continue to be a society that fearlessly and relentlessly holds back any enemy which disputes our right for a home in our land.”

Sundown on Wednesday will mark a transition from sorrow to joy as Yom HaZikaron, the Day of Remembrance, makes way for Yom HaAtzmaut, Israel’s Independence Day. This year, the modern State of Israel turns 71 years old.

The transition from one day to the next, from mourning to celebration and from tears to the sound of laughter filling the streets can appear startling at first. However, it is arranged like that on purpose. Those who laid down their lives on the front lines did so for one goal: Israel’s rebirth and continued existence. The sacrifice was made so that there could be such celebrations of independence. That is why the two days are intertwined. That is also arguably why Israelis mourn with such passion, only to celebrate with equal passion on the day that follows.

As Israel remembers its fallen sons and daughters today, Bridges for Peace stands alongside the people of the Promised Land in mourning.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, May 7, 2019)

Photo Credit: RonAlmog from Israel/wikimedia.org

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Pray for those who mourn the loss of loved ones, whether innocent civilians or those who gave their lives in defense of the nation. Thank the Lord for the courage and conviction of the Israeli people, who stand strong in the face of war and terror even though nearly every family in the country has been touched by loss.

Scripture

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.


- Joshua 1:9

Israel and the Gulf States: On the Way to Open Normalization

by Yoni Ben Menachem

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The UAE will host Israel at the 2020 Expo in Dubai.

Friday, 3 May 2019 | The news about Israel’s participation in the Expo 2020 international exhibition to be held in Dubai this October has spread like wildfire in the Arab world as the unveiling of details of President Trump’s “Deal of the Century” draws near.

At the exhibition, Israel will present its achievements in the fields of water, medicine, technology and information, highlighting the spirit of Israeli innovation.

Opponents of the new US plan—with the Palestinians, the Palestinian Authority [PA] and Hamas at the forefront—are tracking every sign of open normalization between Israel and the moderate Arab states in order to condemn it. It is now the United Arab Emirates’ turn for their opprobrium.

Israel has been openly and proudly publicizing its upcoming participation in the Dubai event. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a statement lauding Israel’s participation, noting: “This is another expression of Israel’s rising status in the world and in the region.”

In response, Hamas issued a statement calling Israel’s participation in Dubai a “dangerous development.” Hamas spokesman, Sami Abu Zohari, demanded that the UAE not allow it because “it encourages the Israeli crimes and constitutes a violation of the resolutions of the recent Arab Summit in Tunisia.”

The Palestinian Authority likewise protested Israel’s participation in the exhibition. Nabil Shaath, the international affairs adviser to the PA chairman, said the PA would officially raise the matter with the UAE and that letting Israel participate entails “violating the resolutions of the Arab League foreign ministers and flouting the Palestinian position.”

Shaath underlined: “Normalization with Israel is a grave mistake for any Arab state.”

Over the past two months, the covert normalization process between Israel and the Gulf states has begun to emerge in tandem with the process of crafting President Trump’s “Deal of the Century.” Open normalization is supposed to be an integral part of that deal.

Israel has begun to take part openly in sports and cultural activities in Arab countries including the UAE, Qatar, Oman and Bahrain.

Not to be forgotten in this context is Netanyahu’s official visit to Oman in October last year.

One state that has avoided publicly hosting Israeli delegations is Saudi Arabia. The Arab world is certain, however, that behind the scenes there are very close diplomatic and security ties between Israel and the Saudi royal palace and that these will go public the moment it becomes possible for Saudi Arabia, which shows high sensitivity to the issue.

The Emirates’ Attitude

The UAE does not appear overly upset by the Palestinian denunciations and the protest against Israel’s participation in Expo 2020.

Last March, Anwar Karakash, the UAE’s state minister for foreign affairs, called for “an opening of the Arab world toward Israel” and said that “the relations between the Arab states and Israel must undergo a change to achieve progress toward peace between Israel and the Palestinians.”

Some in the Arab world saw this as acceptance of the Israeli position that normalization between Israel and Arab states need not depend on reaching a permanent Israeli–Palestinian settlement and that relations ought to develop naturally because Israel has no conflict with any Arab state and has peace treaties with Jordan and Egypt.

The UAE is ignoring the Arab League resolutions that ban open normalization with Israel as well as the resolutions of the Arab Summit. Other Gulf States are moving in the same direction. They know that these resolutions are “toothless” and that their interest in cooperation with Israel and its supporter, the United States, is much more important given the dangers posed to them by Iran and the Islamic State.

Senior PA officials claim that the background to the UAE’s favorable attitude toward Israel is its quiet support and Saudi Arabia’s secret support for Trump’s Deal of the Century—notwithstanding the two states’ public declarations and their ostensible backing for the Arab Peace Initiative instead of Trump’s deal.

The disputes between the UAE on the one hand, and the Palestinians and some Arab states on the other, came to the fore in the emergency meeting of the Arab foreign ministers in Cairo on April 21, 2019.

The UAE has been pushing more overtly than any other Arab state for open normalization with Israel.

PA officials claim that the UAE got a green light for this from Saudi Arabia, which wants to propitiate President Trump, and that the groundwork is being laid for a more advanced stage in which Israel will be the Arab states’ strong friend against the Iranian danger.

These Palestinian officials say the tables have turned. The regional situation has changed in Israel’s favor, and the Gulf States now regard the Palestinians and the Palestinian problem as a big obstacle to forging closer ties with Israel and the Trump administration.

Israel Is Pursuing the Right Policy

Normalization with the Arab states should be promoted, drawn from the darkness into the light of day. Because of the Iranian danger, some Arab states have overcome the hurdle of fear that the Palestinians set up, and they no longer see open normalization with Israel as much of a problem.

It is worth recalling the important words of Oman’s Foreign Minister Yusuf bin Alawi after Netanyahu’s visit to Oman: “Israel is an existing fact in the Middle East, and everyone understands that. The world, too, is aware of the fact, and perhaps the time has come to relate to it accordingly.”

The Arab rulers respect power and desire Israel’s and the Trump administration’s support. They see, on the one hand, how Israel has been attacking the Iranian military entrenchment in Syria with full US backing and even a certain coordination with Russia, and, on the other, [PA President] Mahmoud Abbas’s rejectionist policy toward any compromise with Israel while Hamas and Islamic Jihad have been turning the Gaza Strip into an Iranian stronghold.

The conditions for open normalization between the Gulf States and Israel are gradually ripening, and Israel should encourage any possible cooperation with them. This is an important process that can help the Palestinians understand that Israel is a fact of life and that even the Arab states, apart from Egypt and Jordan, [who] have already signed peace treaties with [Israel], are getting accustomed to Israel’s presence in the Middle East and have come to terms with it.

Source: (This article was originally published by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs on April 30, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: trolvag/wikimedia.org

Photo License: wikimedia.org

Prayer Focus
Thank God for the doors that are opening for normalization between Israel and the Gulf States. Pray that the Palestinians and the rest of the world will realize that God has placed His people in their Land as their everlasting dwelling place.

Scripture

Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Your servants, to whom You swore by Your own self, and said to them, “I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven; and all this land that I have spoken of I give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever.”


- Exodus 32:13

Why the March of the Living Is So Important

by Dr. Shmuel Rosenman

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Jewish people take part in the annual March of the Living at Auschwitz every year to commemorate the horror of the Holocaust and celebrate survival. (Illustrative)

Friday, 3 May 2019 | Each year, on March 16, a contentious parade takes place on European soil. Although many people wonder why it still exists, it nevertheless goes ahead as planned every single year. This event is called “Remembrance Day of the Latvian Legionnaires” and its goal is to honor the soldiers who fought for the Latvian Legion, which during World War II was part of the Waffen-SS. Thousands of veterans commemorating Legionnaire Day don their SS uniforms—symbols of horror and tragedy—and proudly march with their heads held high in the main square of the Latvian capital of Riga.

One of the greatest challenges of Holocaust remembrance is bringing the information about the atrocities that occurred some 80 years ago to the younger generation. It’s a huge task, as evidenced by the latest surveys conducted all around the world, which reveal that an incredibly large number of people either don’t know or don’t believe that six million Jews were murdered in the Nazi genocide. Many have never heard of Auschwitz. This is a very worrying statistic, which points to the younger generation being incredibly ignorant about the horrific events of the Holocaust.

Dwindling knowledge of the Holocaust is not an educational problem, but rather a social one, with people treating the Holocaust less and less as a grave lesson in history. This is evident by the rise of anti-Semitic attacks all throughout the world, which have skyrocketed in recent years. Political leaders, institutions and even ordinary people are becoming more accepting of hateful and inciting discourse, which sometimes carry an apologetic undertone toward the Nazis and their successors.

In the meantime, our ability to combat this phenomenon is diminishing. Holocaust survivors are dying at an unprecedented rate and those still alive are both physically and mentally weak in order to continue telling their stories which describe the horrors committed by the Nazi regime.

In a few short years, there will not be a single Holocaust survivor left. The heavy responsibility of keeping the memory alive will be shouldered by their sons, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, in order to remind the world of where anti-Semitism, racism, hatred and ignorance can potentially lead to.

The old Latvian Nazis, however, are not the only once marching in the middle of spring in Europe. We do as well. Every year, tens of thousands of Jews come to Poland to march in what used to be a horrific death camp where over one million Jewish men, women and children died. We’ll continue marching until everyone in the world knows what Auschwitz is [and] what kind of atrocities took place there.

This is our burden, this is our mission and this is our indispensable contribution to humanity as a whole.

Dr. Shmuel Rosenman is the co-founder and chairman of the International March of the Living.

Source: (Ynetnews originally published this article on May 2, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Efka de~commonswiki/wikimedia.org

Photo License: wikimedia.org

Prayer Focus
Pray against the evil of anti-Semitism that is again desensitizing increasing numbers of people to the horrors of the Holocaust. As the number of survivors is rapidly decreasing, pray that both Jews and Christians will accept their responsibility to speak out and keep the memory of history’s darkest hour alive.

Scripture

The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry. The face of the LORD is against those who do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth. The righteous cry out and the LORD hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles.


- Psalm 34:15–17

Palestinian Islamic Jihad Admits Pregnant Woman, Baby in Gaza Killed in Friendly Fire

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Islamic Jihad and Hamas fire rockets from civilian homes, using Gazans as human shields. (Illustrative)

Wednesday, 8 May 2019 | The Iranian-sponsored terrorist organization Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), one of the [Islamic] groups behind the recent wave of attacks against Israel, has admitted that a pregnant woman and a 14-month-old baby died as a result of a dysfunctional rocket that exploded in the family’s home.

“A leak from the heroes of the (Islamic Jihad’s) Sarayat al-Quds (Jerusalem Brigades) on the circumstances of the death of the baby Saba Abu ‘Arar indicates that a rocket of the resistance exploded inside the family’s home due to a technical failure, and prematurely exploded,” a Hamas-affiliated news outlet reported.

The report specified that “the technical failure was caused by low-grade explosives in the rocket,” and said, “There is no doubt that the baby’s death has nothing to do with the enemy’s (Israel’s) planes.” Hamas later deleted the message posted on the encrypted social media platform, Telegram.

The pregnant woman and the baby died last Saturday night, and the Hamas-controlled Gaza Health Ministry immediately blamed Israel for their deaths. Israel categorically denied the claim and said both were killed by a dysfunctional rocket fired by one of the Gaza-based terrorist groups.

Members of PIJ reportedly met with the family of the victims on Sunday morning to offer them financial rewards and to qualify the baby as a “martyr” in exchange for their silence on the circumstances surrounding the deaths.

It was also reported that most Palestinians killed in the latest round of violence were members of [Islamic] terrorist organizations. At least eight of the Palestinians killed in Israeli strikes on the Gaza Strip since Friday were members of the Al-Quds Brigades, a military arm of PIJ.

The Al-Quds Brigades confirmed the identity of their fighters on its website. Three other terrorists killed were claimed by Hamas’s Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades. The IDF [Israel Defense Forces] also killed a Hamas field commander, Hamed Hamdan al-Khodari, in a targeted strike.

The Hamas-controlled Gaza Health Ministry claimed that 29 Palestinians were killed by Israeli strikes. An IDF spokesperson could not immediately verify those numbers.

Source: (This article was originally published by The Israel Project in its publication The Tower on May 7, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Israel Defense Forces@IDF/twitter/screenshot

Prayer Focus
Pray for this family that now mourns the loss of a mother and her baby. Pray that the Lord will reveal to the Palestinian people that Israel was not responsible for this travesty. May they realize that the fault lies with their own leaders, whose hatred and violence caused these tragic deaths.

Scripture

A poor man who oppresses the poor is like a driving rain which leaves no food. Evil men do not understand justice, but those who seek the LORD understand all.


- Proverbs 27:3, 5

Israeli Experiment Underway to Seek a Cure for Diabetes

by Rotem Elizera

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An Israeli bio-tech company is working towards a cure for diabetes.

Tuesday, 7 May 2019 | Rambam Hospital in Haifa, Israel, is cooperating with Orgenesis, a bio-tech company, to begin testing a new method of cell manipulation that may present a cure for diabetes.

Orgenesis developed a method to reprogram liver beta cells to produce insulin.

The first stage of testing will involve taking liver cells from diabetic patients or patients who [have] had their pancreas removed. These cells will be programmed—using a unique technology developed by Orgenesis—to become beta cells that may be glucose-responsive [and] produce and secrete insulin.

If successful, these cells will also be tested to see if they are not rejected by the patients’ immune system.

Only if this stage is successful [will] the next stage of testing begin.

This stage will include returning the programmed cells into the patient’s liver to see if they are accepted and able then to produce insulin inside the body.

Dr. Naim Shehadeh, who heads Rambam hospital’s endocrinology research department, says if this technology is successful, it will mean a revolution in the treatment of diabetes.

Patients of diabetes type one who require abdominal surgery, or those suffering from a failing or missing pancreas [and] also need surgery, will be selected for the experiment.

Prof. Yoram Kluger, chief of surgery, will, in the course of the operation, take a liver biopsy from which cells will be genetically reprogrammed to become pancreas beta cells able to produce insulin.

This experiment on human patients comes after experiments in animals were found safe.

It is too early to predict the effectiveness of the treatment.

Source: (Ynetnews originally published this article on April 30, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: stevepb/pixabay.com

Photo License: Pixabay

Prayer Focus
Thank God for this incredible discovery! Pray for the success of this revolutionary treatment for diabetes, an illness that affects nearly 10% of the world’s population. May the world realize that this incredible blessing comes to them from Him through His chosen nation.

Scripture

Indeed He says, “It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also give You as a light to the Gentiles, that You should be My salvation to the ends of the earth.”


- Isaiah 49:6

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