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Friday, May 13, 2022

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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.

IDF Embarks on Largest War Drill in Israeli History

by Ilse Strauss

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A soldier from the Karakal mixed gender infantry unit that operates predominantly in southern Israel.

Tuesday, 10 May 2022 | As the deadliest wave of terror in years continues throughout Israel and roiling tensions rock Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, the Israel Defense Forces on Sunday (IDF) launched the largest military exercise in its history.

The extensive war games, dubbed Chariots of Fire, will run for four weeks and involve virtually all IDF units—including thousands of conscripts and reserves from the air force, navy as well as regular and reserve forces—in a simulation of a multidimensional assault by Israel’s enemies on multiple fronts.

According to the IDF official Twitter feed, the drill will see “soldiers from every part of the IDF…train together over the next month to increase our defensive readiness and preparedness—on land, in the air, at sea and in cyberspace” for an “intensive and prolonged campaign.”

“There won’t be a unit that doesn’t take part in this drill,” IDF Spokesman Brig.-Gen. Ran Kochav said.

The military added that “the exercise will train the IDF’s response to challenges from developing events across various arenas, as well as emergency scenarios in both military and civilian spaces. In addition, operational activities will be trained in various scenarios and will test assistance efforts and life-saving capabilities on Israel’s Home Front. During the exercise, and continuing throughout the month, large-scale movement of security forces including military and armored vehicles, aircraft and vessels will be seen.”

Despite its all-encompassing nature, the IDF assured that the drill will not detract from the military’s operation to quench the wave of terror attacks that have plagued the nation since March 22, in which 19 people have been murdered.

“The IDF’s top priority is to protect Israeli civilians and strengthen the sense of security within the State of Israel. Throughout the exercise, IDF soldiers will continue to carry out counterterrorism activities and strengthen defensive efforts at the Judea and Samaria security barrier,” the IDF said.

At the same time, the IDF stressed that the drill does not come in answer to the recent uptick in violence. In fact, Chariots of Fire was supposed to take place in May 2021, but was postponed amid Operation Guardian of the Walls, the 11-day conflict with Palestinian terror groups in Gaza.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, May 10, 2022)

Photo Credit: Israel Defense Forces/flickr.com

Photo License: flickr.com

Prayer Focus
Cover the IDF in prayer, asking the Lord to bless their efforts to stay ready and prepared at all times to defend their nation. Ask the Lord’s hand of blessing and protection over each member of Israel’s military, particularly the leaders, that God will bless them with wisdom and discernment. Also pray that Israel will look to the Lord as the true guardian of the nation of Israel.

Scripture

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”


- Isaiah 41:10

Death of Al Jazeera Journalist: What We Know Thus Far

by Ilse Strauss

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Akleh was killed while covering an IDF anti-terror raid in Jenin (pictured).

Thursday, 12 May 2022 | Within less than 24 hours, the tragic death of a veteran Al Jazeera reporter yesterday in a firefight between Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and Palestinian gunmen has descended into a battle of narratives and a fight for truth.

Shireen Abu Akleh, a 51-year-old Palestinian–American duel citizen, died from a bullet wound to the head yesterday morning while covering an Israeli counterterror raid in Jenin, a Palestinian-governed city in northern Samaria that has been at the heart of recent roiling tensions in Judea and Samaria—also known as the so-called West Bank—on behalf of the Qatar-based network.

The question is: Who fired the shot that killed Akleh, an IDF soldier or a Palestinian gunman?

The Palestinians, Al Jazeera and every other anti-Israel voice were quick to jump on the Israel-bashing bandwagon, pointing a finger at the IDF. The anti-Israel camp’s narrative rest on the testimony of eyewitnesses, most notably a Palestinian reporter for Quds, who claims that only the IDF opened fire and that the IDF fire therefore struck Akleh. However, multiple videos—released by both the IDF and Palestinian sources—show Palestinian gunmen firing indiscriminately, putting a giant question mark over the Quds reporter’s account.

Israel has been more cautious, waiting to conduct an investigation before jumping to conclusions. The military did, however, provide context for the incident. The IDF was reportedly in Jenin as part of an operation to put a stop to a bloody seven-week wave of Palestinian terror in which 19 people have been murdered so far. Jenin has emerged as the hotbed from which the perpetrators of the most deadly terror attacks sprang, and yesterday morning’s raid specifically was aimed at capturing a prospective terrorist with links to Hamas before he could strike.

The Israeli troops came under massive fire as soon as they entered Jenin, a fact that numerous video clips corroborate. The IDF highlighted three direct exchanges of fire involving a gunman on a rooftop, a terrorist hurling explosives and a gunman armed with an M16 assault rifle. The forces returned fire in all three incidents.

“There was continuous, indiscriminate fire at security forces and at the area” where Akleh was shot, an IDF spokesperson said.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz said yesterday that a preliminary investigation shows that errant Palestinian fire likely hit Akleh.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett concurred. “According to the information in our hands right now, there is a good chance that armed Palestinians, firing wildly, brought about the tragic death of the journalist,” he said in a statement.

IDF Spokesperson Ran Kochav conceded that Israeli fire might have killed Akleh, but he pointed out that the journalist had been standing among or in close vicinity to Palestinian gunmen firing at Israeli troops.

There is a simple solution to the whodunit. A joint forensic investigation, ballistic analysis of the bullet and a pathology test conducted by a team of Israelis and Palestinians would identify the shooter. In fact, Israel suggested such an investigation mere hours after Akleh’s death.

There is one problem, though. The Palestinian Authority (PA)—whose Health Ministry seized Akleh’s body—refused Israel’s request for a joint autopsy and sharing forensic data.

This begs the question: Why would Israel want the investigation while the PA doesn’t?

A PA official said today that “all indications, evidence and witnesses confirm her assassination by Israeli special units.” However, if this is the case, why not confront Israel with the evidence? In fact, why not present the proof to the international community?

The IDF, for its part, has launched its own investigation, a process involving the army’s General Staff and the entire chain of command, including Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi, a reflection of how seriously it takes the incident.

Perhaps the investigation will show that a Palestinian gunshot meant for an IDF soldier hit Akleh instead. Maybe it will show that IDF fire struck her as the Israeli troops returned fire. Sadly, when it comes to the Jewish state, the truth often takes second place to an anti-Israel narrative.

The PA, the Washington Post, Al Jazeera, Amnesty International, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and hundreds of thousands the world over have already judged and found Israel guilty. The phrase Shireen Abu Akleh is currently trending on Twitter with 383,000 tweets in English and 326,000 in Arabic, the majority slamming Israel for cold-blooded murder.

In the eyes of the world, Israel is in the wrong, no matter who really fired the shot that killed Akleh.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, May 12, 2022)

Photo Credit: أمين/commons.wikimedia.org

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Pray against the spread of false accusations against Israel without proper evidence. Thank the Lord for the Israeli military’s willingness to investigate and get to the bottom of the incident, and pray that the truth will be revealed through the Israeli investigation.

Scripture

“No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment you shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is from Me,” says the LORD.


- Isaiah 54:17

Israel’s Coalition Still Safe after Ra’am Resumes Support

by Moran Azulay ~ Ynetnews

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Mansour Abbas, the leader of Ra’am

Thursday, 12 May 2022 | The leader of the Islamist Ra’am party on Wednesday said his party will unfreeze its participation in the coalition, thereby thwarting the opposition’s intentions to legislate a dissolution of Parliament.

The opposition said it intended to table a motion to dissolve the Knesset [Parliament], if a majority can be mustered, to pass a preliminary reading. A failure of the bill will require a period of six months before it can be tabled again.

[Prime Minister Naftali] Bennett’s coalition, which has already lost its parliamentary majority after the former whip announced she would be changing her alliance to the right-wing opposition, stood to lose the critical vote without the support of all members of the coalition, including the Islamist party.

Mansour Abbas said that following a period in which the party had suspended its membership in the coalition because of Israel’s policy towards the holy Muslim site on the Temple Mount, Ra’am decided to continue the political partnership with the government for the benefit of Arab citizens of Israel.

Earlier opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu said in the Knesset on Wednesday that the government of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett cannot be trusted to protect IDF [Israel Defense Forces] soldiers while in partnership with the Ra’am party. Netanyahu said the party was supporting terror.

Source: (Excerpt from article originally published by Ynetnews on May 11, 2022. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Zaher333/Commons.wikimedia.org

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Thank the Lord that the coalition and therefore Israel’s government remains intact. Lift up this nation’s fragile coalition in prayer, asking the Lord to bless this land and its leaders. Pray for Israel’s leaders and politicians, asking the Lord to bless them with the humility and wisdom to put the needs of the nation above their own. Ask that this government will honor and glorify the One who holds them in place.

Scripture

Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people He has chosen for His own inheritance.


- Psalm 33:12

Israel Mulls Military Operation to Halt Terror Wave

by Ilse Strauss

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Five people killed in last month’s terror attack in the city of Bnei Brak

Monday, 9 May 2022 | Israel is mulling launching a military operation to quench the deadly wave of terror attacks in which 19 people have been murdered and dozens injured in less than two months, Hebrew media reported yesterday. The aim of such an operation would not be to apprehend attackers after the fact, but rather to stop prospective terrorists before they can strike.

According to Channel 13 news reporting on a three-hour meeting yesterday between top security officials to brainstorm a solution to the terror onslaught, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Defense Minister Benny Gantz are at odds about the specific target of such an operation.

Gantz—backed by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and the Shin Bet (Israeli internal security organization)—wants to focus on the Palestinian-governed areas in Judea and Samaria, particularly Jenin, the home base for most of the Palestinians who committed the terror attacks over the past seven weeks. Bennett, on the other hand, favors taking on Hamas, the Iran-backed terror group acting as the de facto rulers of the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli military setting its sights on Jenin would entail arresting suspects and preventing further attacks emanating from the fundamentalist stronghold as well as additional arrest operations and a general show of force across Judea and Samaria, the reports say.

The IDF stepped up operations in Samaria as the wave of terror started gaining momentum last month, reinforcing its forces with thousands of troops. The increased manpower has, however, not stopped the terrorists from striking.

A Gaza-focused operation would entail targeting Hamas, and more specifically, the Hamas chief in the strip, Yahya Sinwar.

While Sinwar is restricted to the coastal enclave, his reach stretches well beyond. Over the past few weeks, Gaza’s Hamas chief has issued a number of heated clarion calls, urging Palestinians to rise up against Israel’s supposed desecration of the Temple Mount and defend the so-called Muslim holy site using knives, axes, hatchets and any other weapons available.

His impassioned pleas have borne fruit. One of the axe-wielding terrorists who murdered three Israelis on Thursday night left behind a will saying he was spurred on by the tensions on the Temple Mount.

As the terror attacks continue and the death toll rises, a number of Israelis have called on the government to eliminate Sinwar—as retribution of the bloodshed and to silence the incitement. Yet the defense establishment is reportedly against a Gaza operation that includes targeted killings of the Hamas leadership.

The decision whether to launch a military operation—and if so, an operation targeting Gaza or Jenin—has not been taken yet. But according to Channel 12 reports, the verdict is set to come in the next few days.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, May 9, 2022)

Photo Credit: Screenshot i24NEWS English/youtube.com

Prayer Focus
Bless Israel’s chief political and military leaders who are involved with the decision-making for the Jewish state’s national security. Ask the Lord to bless them with wisdom in knowing exactly how to move forward to ensure the safety and well-being of Israelis across the nation.

Scripture

But the salvation of the righteous is from the LORD; He is their strength in the time of trouble. And the LORD shall help them and deliver them; He shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in Him.


- Psalm 37:39–40

Bennett Announces Formation of a National Guard

by JNS

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Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett announces the formation of a national guard

Monday, 9 May 2022 | Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett announced on Sunday the creation of a national guard, with the aim of “strengthening the personal security” of Israeli citizens.

“We are advancing two very significant things,” said Bennett in his opening remarks to Sunday’s Cabinet meeting. “First: the establishment of a national guard. I have instructed the National Security Council, in coordination with the Public Security Ministry, to present the government with an orderly and budgeted plan to establish a civilian national guard by the end of the month,” he continued.

The unrest in mixed Arab–Jewish cities during “Operation Guardian of the Walls” last year had demonstrated the “urgent need” to strengthen citizens’ security, said Bennett. That need had only become more urgent in light of the current wave of terrorism, he added.

“Time and time again, we see the difference between incidents in which there was a responsible armed civilian in the area and those in which there was not. The need is great, especially in the ultra-Orthodox cities, in which fewer people carry weapons. We are taking action,” he said.

The new force will be composed of Border Police units together with mobilized, trained units of volunteers and reservists, who together will form a single national guard, said Bennett. The new forces will be activated as needed, “in emergencies and disturbances, and in routine times as well,” he added.

In addition, Bennett said that the Israel Police have launched an operation focusing on Palestinians who enter Israel illegally, something which he said had “become a national blight.”

“An entire industry has developed around the smuggling, transportation and employment of people present in Israel illegally, as we have seen, unfortunately, in the latest terrorist attack, in which the person who drove the terrorists [from the border into Israel] was brutally murdered,” he said.

Oren Ben Yiftah, 35, of Lod, was one of three Israelis killed on Thursday by Palestinian terrorists who had entered the country illegally. Yiftah, a taxi driver, unwittingly conveyed the terrorists to the scene of the attack.

The two suspected terrorists, As’ad Yousef As’ad al-Rifa’i, 19, and Subhi Emad Subhi Abu Shqeir, 20, from the Palestinian village of Rumana near Jenin, were captured on Sunday in a forest near Elad following a 60-hour manhunt, according to police.

“Over the weekend, I instructed that an effort be coordinated—operational, legal and regarding infrastructure—against those who transport, provide lodging for and employ people present in Israel illegally. We will use all of the tools at our disposal—including the seizure of vehicles, fines—whatever is needed. All government ministries, but especially the Public Security Ministry and the Justice Ministry, are already working on it,” said Bennett.

Bennett also declared that there is “no political consideration regarding the war on terrorism nor will there be. And of course, all decisions regarding the Temple Mount in Jerusalem will be made by the government of Israel, which is sovereign in the city, without any extraneous considerations whatsoever. We certainly reject any foreign involvement in the decisions of the government of Israel.”

Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on May 8, 2022. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90/JNS.org

Prayer Focus
Pray the Lord’s favor over the formation of the national guard and all the effort, planning and details that go into it. Lift up this new force before the Lord, asking Him to bless them with everything they need to keep Israelis safe.

Scripture

Our soul waits for the LORD; He is our help and our shield. For our heart shall rejoice in Him, because we have trusted in His holy name. Let Your mercy, O LORD, be upon us, just as we hope in you.


- Psalm 33:20–22

BDS Fail: Israel Swears in a Muslim Arab Supreme Court Justice

by Kate Norman

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Khaled Kabub, the first Muslim to serve as a justice on Israel’s Supreme Court

Tuesday, 10 May 2022 | The charge that Israel is an apartheid state was dealt another blow yesterday as the Jewish state swore in its first Muslim Supreme court justice.

Advocates for the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement frequently level the apartheid accusation at Israel.

Taken from the former South African movement, apartheid refers to racial segregation, blocking people from holding certain jobs, owning land, serving in government and having access to different services based on race.

Actual life in Israel flies in the face of the apartheid libel every day. Yesterday was no different.

Judge Khaled Kabub was sworn in yesterday at a ceremony at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem. Another 82 judges were also sworn in at the ceremony for a variety of court positions.

Though Christian Arabs have served in the position before, Kabub, 64, born in Jaffa, is the first Muslim to serve on the 15-member Supreme Court.

Israel’s Supreme Court is the most powerful judiciary body in the state, and deals with Israel’s society, its economy and the conflict with the Palestinians.

Kabub was previously serving as the vice president of Tel Aviv’s District Court and is now replacing former Justice Neal Hendel, who retired from his position this year.

The ceremony last night was attended by top Israeli officials, including President Isaac Herzog and Supreme Court President Esther Hayut.

Herzog tweeted photos of the ceremony and mentioned Kabub’s appointment, which the president called “a historic event that is timely.”

Supreme Court President Hayut gave a speech at the ceremony to welcome the judges to their new posts.

“The ability to listen patiently to the arguments presented to you, and to conduct the hearing in moderation and matter-of-factly, is at the heart of that ‘judicial temperament’ which should be expressed in all your actions, both in and out of court,” Hayut told the incoming judges, as quoted by the Times of Israel.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, May 10, 2022)

Photo Credit: The judiciary of Israel/commons.wikimedia.org

Photo License: wikimedia.org

Prayer Focus
Thank the Lord for Israel’s diverse government, population and cultures—all of which are reflected in its government. Pray that Kabub and the other new judges will truly listen patiently and dole out rulings with wisdom and discernment, as President of the Supreme Court Esther Hayut charged them to do.

Scripture

“Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, for wisdom and might are His. And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding.”


- Daniel 2:20­–21

Israel and India Mark 30 Years of Deepening Friendship

by Abigail Klein Leichman ~ Israel21c via JNS

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Ties between Israel and India have flourished over the past 30 years.

Monday, 9 May 2022 | India and Israel seem like a study in contrasts.

Some 1.4 billion Indians live in a vast country stretching nearly 3,000 kilometers (1,864 miles) across at its widest point, while 8.9 million Israelis live in a tiny land no more than 135 kilometers (85 miles) wide.

Yet they are bound together by surprising commonalities.

For starters, they nearly share a birthday. India gained independence from Great Britain in August 1947, and Israel in May 1948. And each has a proud history going back thousands of years.

“As I often say, we are two old nations in young countries, rich with history, culture and diversity, creatively overcoming challenges and eager to meet the future,” said Ambassador of Israel to India Naor Gilon.

On January 29, India and Israel celebrated 30 years of full diplomatic relations, kicking off a year of (mostly virtual) joint cultural and educational events.

Israelis and Indians we spoke to agree that citizens of these two Asian countries have a strong affinity.

Indians admire Israelis’ straight-shooting, work-hard, play-hard mindset, vegan cuisine and TV shows like Fauda.

Israelis are such avid travelers to India (about 70,000 annually before the pandemic) that a typical itinerary there is dubbed “The Hummus Trail.”

Indian venture capitalist Saket Agarwal, who’s invested in more than 20 Israeli start-ups and VC [venture capital] funds, says Indians and Israelis both emphasize family and disdain structure.

Sharing these values “creates a lot of love between the two places,” says Agarwal, whose Onnivation Ventures matches Indian companies with disruptive Israeli technologies to solve problems and open new opportunities.

“Indians and Israelis like to break rules,” said Agarwal.

“We each have this whole chutzpah [nerve] and tachles [bottom line] thing—we want to get stuff done and we always try to find a solution. We don’t give up. That mutual spirit of making it happen really works out.”

Indeed, India and Israel have active governmental, corporate and academic cooperation in fields including health, agriculture, water, trade, scientific research, security and technology.

Innovation and Manufacturing Synergy

In 2018, the two governments created the India–Israel Industrial R&D and Technological Innovation Fund (I4F), providing millions of dollars in funding for Indian and Israeli start-ups in water systems, agriculture, health, mobility and communications.

Over the past year, Israel’s Start-Up Nation Central and India’s iCreate incubator formed a partnership to accelerate innovation and technology cooperation.

“Israeli and Indian technologies matched with India’s manufacturing capabilities can provide innovative solutions contributing to the economies of both countries,” observed Gilon.

“There are many Israeli companies that are providing cutting-edge technologies and innovative solutions to vast projects in different Indian cities. Similarly, Israel has been an ideal place for Indian companies and entrepreneurs who are interested in finding partnerships with Israeli start-ups or R&D centers.”

Tel Aviv University and Thapar Institute of Engineering & Technology (TIET) in India—which already have a joint Center of Excellence in Food Security—plan to build a collaborative research center in advanced manufacturing for the biomedical, automotive, space and defense sectors.

Automotive is shaping up as an area ripe for collaboration.

For instance, India’s Napino Group and Israel’s EVR Motors have agreed to develop (in Israel) and manufacture (in India) highly efficient, lightweight, compact motors for electric two-wheelers in India.

And Indian electric scooter maker Ola Electric made a multimillion-dollar investment in StoreDot, an Israeli developer of extreme fast-charging batteries, aimed at integrating StoreDot’s technology in Indian electric vehicles.

Gilon also noted that “since the beginning of the COVID-19 global pandemic, our countries have come together on a number of joint ventures,” such as implementing Israeli AI-based technologies and medical equipment enabling Indian healthcare personnel to perform various tasks remotely.

Trade Is Brisk

In 1992, bilateral trade between India and Israel added up to [US] $200 million (comprising mainly diamonds). In 2021, total bilateral exchanges of goods, diamonds and business services reached [US] $6.3 billion, according to Joseph Avraham, Israel’s consul for trade and economic affairs in Bengaluru.

If we leave diamonds out of the picture (they’re not truly traded but rather sent back and forth for cutting and polishing), the overall figure totals [US] $3.187 billion.

“India was the second leading export destination for Israel to Asia in 2021, and the seventh largest export destination for Israel in the world,” said Avraham. Make that sixth, if we count diamonds.

“Major export sectors from Israel to India were machinery and electrical equipment, chemical and chemical products, medical and optical equipment and base metals. Business services exports to India were [US] $818 million in 2021,” he said.

“Major imports sectors to Israel were chemical and chemical products, base metals, rubber and plastics, food and agriculture. Business services imports from India to Israel were [US] $150 million in 2021.”

Three Israeli trade missions are active in India—in Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore—and the countries are negotiating a free trade agreement.

Doing Business

Indian–Israeli business ties are tighter than ever.

The India–Israel CEO Forum was formed just before Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Israel in July 2017, and India’s ambassador to Israel, Sanjeev Singla, organizes annual meetings of the India Israel Management Committee and India–Israel Forum.

Indian companies such as Jain Irrigation, Sun Pharma and State Bank of India are expanding their presence in Israel, while Israeli companies are building R&D centers and production plants in India.

Muhamed Heib, spokesman for the Israeli Embassy in New Delhi, said that trilateral cooperation among Israel, India and the United Arab Emirates is growing.

For instance, Ecoppia—an Israeli innovator of robotic technology for cleaning solar panels—will begin producing the robots in India with the support of the UAE.

“We also have the International Forum for Economic Cooperation encompassing Israel, India, the UAE [United Arab Emirates] and USA,” said Heib. “There is a lot of potential for trade and other cooperation among the four countries.”

Experts expect collaboration between Israel and India in the coming years to concentrate on cloud data, cybersecurity, alternative protein, digital health, smart transportation, smart city technologies and fintech.

“India is continuously building amazing consumer tech companies that focus on making the consumer journey better. Israelis can play a major role in supporting that with personalization, cybersecurity and analytics,” said Agarwal.

“In food-tech, Israel is doing amazing work on vegan meat and milk—I visited ReMilk when I was in Israel last time—so as the population of India grows, the shortage of meat production will make food tech even more important. We’ve been doing a lot of good work with Israeli companies and we’re looking to do much more.”

Water and Agriculture

Heib says that agriculture and water projects are a major focus in this 30th anniversary year.

Since 2006, bilateral agriculture projects are implemented through the international development agencies of Israel’s Foreign Ministry and Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Indian agronomists often come to Israel for intensive training. And each year, about 140,000 Indian farmers come to 30 Centers of Excellence for Horticulture in 13 Indian states for training from Israeli experts on smart agriculture and drip irrigation.

Yair Eshel, the current Israeli agricultural attaché to India, is expanding this initiative by creating Villages of Excellence.

“Instead of farmers coming to the centers, we send a trainer to 15 villages in each center,” said Heib.

Harshit Godha, who came to Israel to learn how to grow avocados commercially, eventually planted his orchard with Israeli-bred avocado plants.

“Greenhouse technology, drip irrigation, high-density orchards and optimal pruning techniques all came from Israel. Witnessing it firsthand changed my views about agriculture,” said Godha.

Veteran Israeli hydrologist Lior Asaf came to India last July as the very first Israeli water attaché to India.

“India has an abundance of water,” Heib explained, “but they have challenges in managing their water. Lior works with stakeholders to see where Israel can help. In the Bundelkhand region, for example, he is introducing a holistic approach from harvesting water to managing the whole system.”

People to People

Heib stresses that the person-to-person aspect is what drives Indian–Israeli cooperation in everything from business to culture.

The Indian Cultural Center in Tel Aviv, opened in January 2020, organizes events to promote cultural ties. In August 2020, India and Israel signed a three-year cultural exchange agreement.

Exposure to Indian culture is aided by the approximately 1,000 Indian graduate students studying in Israeli universities, by some 15,000 Indian citizens working in Israel, and by approximately 85,000 Israelis of Indian origin.

With the pandemic waning, Heib noted, “All the Israeli backpackers are coming back to India, big time. There are now three direct Air India flights per week, and they’re quite full, so I hope they will introduce a fourth flight.”

These young artists, tourists and students are a constant catalyst for warm relations between the countries.

“There’s a special connection between the two nations,” said Heib, an Arab Israeli from the Galilee. “It’s hard for me to express how much love and affection we have for each other. India has a large, young population so it will continue to be a strong strategic partner for Israel.”

This article was first published by Israel21c.

Source: (This article was first published by Israel21c and republished by the Jewish News Syndicate on May 9, 2022. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See the JNS version at this link.)

Photo Credit: Israeli Embassy in India/JNS.org

Prayer Focus
Praise the Lord for the warm friendship and ties between the people and governments of Israel and India. Ask the Lord’s continued hand of blessing over cooperations between the two peoples and states, that they will bring blessings to both nations. Pray that more and more nations will see the blessings that come from friendship with Israel and that they will enter into closer ties with the Jewish state.

Scripture

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!


- Psalm 133:1

Twin Israeli Strikes Reported in Southern Syria

by JNS

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IDF soldiers guarding the Israeli border with Syria

Wednesday, 11 May 2022 | Israel struck multiple targets in southern Syria on Wednesday morning, according to Israeli and Syrian media reports.

Syrian state media agency SANA reported that Israeli missiles hit a target near the town of Hader in the northern Quneitra countryside at around 3 a.m., while Israel’s Kan news later reported a second strike, which it said had targeted a Syrian military observation post.

There were no reports of casualties in either strike, but SANA reported that the earlier strike caused material damage.

On April 24, Syrian state media said four Syrian soldiers were killed and three others wounded in an Israeli airstrike on targets in the Damascus area early.

On April 17, the Russian military released what it claimed were details of a previous Israeli air strike on targets in the Damascus region, reportedly as part of a retaliation for condemnations of Russia’s actions in Ukraine by Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid.

Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on May 11, 2022. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Cpl. Gal Ashuach/ IDF Spokesperson's Unit/flickr.com

Photo License: Flickr

Prayer Focus
Lift up Israel’s north in prayer, asking for God’s continued hand of protection over the nation’s northern borders from Iran and its proxies in the region. Pray for Israel’s continuous efforts to stop the Iranian regime and its puppets from shoring up forces and entrenching in the region.

Scripture

The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear Him, and delivers them.


- Psalm 34:7

Lufthansa Apologizes for Preventing Number of Jewish Passengers from Flying

by JNS

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A Lufthansa plane (illustrative) 

Wednesday, 11 May 2022 | Germany’s leading airline Lufthansa apologized on Tuesday for keeping more than 100 identifiably Jewish individuals from flying with the airline last week from Germany to Hungary.

The passengers, many of whom were traveling individually and had been en route on Flight #LH1334 from John F. Kennedy Airport in New York to Budapest with a stopover in Frankfurt. Upon landing in Frankfurt, the recognizably Jewish individuals were denied permission to continue onboard the plane as some, according to the airlines, had not followed proper mask-wearing protocols.

In the May 10 statement, Lufthansa said it “regrets the circumstances surrounding the decision to exclude the affected passengers from the flight, for which Lufthansa sincerely apologizes.”

“While Lufthansa is still reviewing the facts and circumstances of that day, we regret that the large group was denied boarding rather than limiting it to the noncompliant guests,” continued the airline, adding that diversity is a core company value. “We have zero tolerance for racism, anti-Semitism and discrimination.”

It went on to say Lufthansa is “engaging with the affected passengers to better understand their concerns and openly discuss how we may improve our customer service.”

The airline’s apology comes after video surfaced of an employee telling a Jewish passenger that those who were banned are “Jewish from JFK” and that it was the “Jewish people who were the mess, who made the problems.”

Several Jewish groups have called out the airline, demanding that they address the incident.

The Anti-Defamation League tweeted on Tuesday afternoon: “This non-apology fails to admit fault or identify the banned passengers as Jews. It also refers to them as a group, even though many were strangers. They had one commonality—being visibly Jewish. In addition to investigating, ensuring accountability and taking steps to repair the harm, including compensating the victims to the extent possible, Lufthansa, as a German company, has a special responsibility to educate its staff.”

Many of the Jews on the flight had been traveling to the town of Bodrogkeresztúr, formerly Kerestir, in Hungary for the observance of the yahrzeit (anniversary of death) of Rabbi Yeshaya Steiner, known as the Kerestir rebbe.

Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on May 10, 2022. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: TJDarmstadt via Wikimedia Commons/JNS.org

Prayer Focus
Pray against the spreading plague of anti-Semitism and mistreatment of Jewish people simply for being openly Jewish. Pray a protective covering over these people who are facing growing hatred across the world.

Scripture

Moreover I saw under the sun: in the place of judgment, wickedness was there; and in the place of righteousness, iniquity was there. I said in my heart, “God shall judge the righteous and the wicked, for there is a time there for every purpose and for every work.”


- Ecclesiastes 3:16–17