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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.

New US Ambassador Takes Office in Israel

by Ilse Posselt

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PM Netanyahu with US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman

Wednesday, 17 May 2017 | A week before United States President Donald Trump is set to touch down in the Promised Land, the Jewish state’s new American envoy, David Friedman, presented his diplomatic credentials to President Reuven Rivlin in Jerusalem, officially taking up his post as the US ambassador to Israel.

Speaking during the ceremony, Friedman reiterated Trump’s firm commitment to Israel and said that carried the US president’s mandate to support the Jewish state in every possible way.

“As you know, the president has chosen Israel as the site for his first international visit. His love for and commitment to the State of Israel is rock-solid and it enjoys his highest priority,” Friedman vowed.

“Serving the US as its ambassador to the State of Israel is the greatest honor of my life,” he continued, “and I pledge to you to do all that I can to strengthen and enhance the relations between our two great nations that you accurately described as unbreakable and, I would add, without limits.”

“I am so grateful to President Trump for giving me the opportunity and for having confidence in my abilities, and, most importantly, for sending me off this past week with the unequivocal and unambiguous mandate to support the State of Israel in every way, and in all ways,” Friedman shared.

Rivlin bid Friedman and his family a warm welcome to the Promised Land. “I am welcoming you,” the Israeli president reminded, “not only as the president of Israel, but also as a Jerusalemite—seventh generation. I know you have been to Israel many times before. But this time you are an ambassador representing the United States of America, Israel’s greatest and most important ally.”

Rivlin hailed Trump’s upcoming trip as a “sign of the unbreakable bond” between the Jewish state and the US. “We are looking forward to welcoming President Trump in less than a week. His visit is very important. We look forward to working with the new administration to find new ways and think of new ideas of how to move forward – build trust between Israelis and Palestinians.”

For his part, Friedman highlighted the Rivlin family’s historic ties to both the land of Israel and the City of Gold, acknowledging the Israeli president as a veteran of the Six Day War. Rivlin, Friedman said, has walked “in the footsteps of our original warrior-poet King David.”

In an apparent reference to Trump’s election promise of moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to the City of Gold, Rivlin concluded his remarks with a call to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. “Next week… we will celebrate 50 years since Jerusalem was united and Jews were able to once again pray at the Western Wall. But Jewish Jerusalem isn’t 50 years old. Since the days of King David, this city has been our capital,” the Israeli president explained. “It is time for the whole world to recognize Jerusalem as the official capital of the State of Israel.”

Friedman, an observant Jew from New York, arrived in the Jewish state together with his wife and daughter on Monday afternoon. Directly after landing at Ben Gurion Airport, Friedman and his family headed straight to the Old City of Jerusalem to pray at the Western Wall.

He addressed reporters shortly after he had said his prayers. Friedman said, “It was a long trip, but we wanted to come straight to the holiest place in the entire Jewish world … straight from the airport.”

Yesterday afternoon also saw Friedman take his first official meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the latter’s office. Netanyahu welcomed Friedman to Jerusalem, “our eternal capital.” The prime minister also thanked the new ambassador for making the Western Wall his first stop upon his arrival in Israel. “It was a powerful gesture of solidarity. It is deeply appreciated by all our people,” Netanyahu said.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, 17 May 2017)

Photo Credit: Ashernet/Haim Zach/GPO

Prayer Focus
Pray for the new US Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, as he takes office in the Promised Land and endeavors to strengthen relations between the USA and Israel. Ask for strength, wise speech and comfort as he embarks on a new journey in Israel.

Scripture

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye.


- Psalm 32:8

Israel Foils Terror Plot on IDF Soldiers

by Yoav Zitun

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IDF training at the Shizafon army base in the Negev desert

Wednesday, 17 May 2017 | The Shin Bet [Israeli internal security organization] arrested several operatives of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement on the suspicion that they were planning to carry out a shooting attack against IDF [Israel Defense Forces] soldiers, it was cleared for publication Tuesday afternoon.

In a statement released by the Shin Bet, the attack, which was to be carried out against soldiers in Israel’s southern Negev, was planned in retaliation for the government declaring the organization illegal in the last year.

According to the Shin Bet, the operatives that were arrested—all Israeli Arabs—were in the advanced stages of planning the attack and had gathered intelligence on the movements of IDF soldiers in transportation stations and even acquired a submachine gun with which to carry out the shooting. In addition they had purchased bomb-detonating devices.

“The northern branch of the Islamic Movement has maintained close ties with Hamas over the years. The investigation showed that the common ideological basis and the deep connection that exists between the terrorists in both organizations carries a great security risk, with an emphasis on (replacing) alleged humanitarian activities with carrying out terror attacks,” said the Shin Bet.

“The Shin Bet emphasizes that law enforcement will continue to take all necessary steps to enforce the declaration of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement as a terrorist organization, with an emphasis on preventing any activity on behalf of the faction in light of the danger it poses to the security of the state.”

Source: (Excerpt of article originally published by Ynetnews on 16 May 2017. Time related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: IDF/Flickr

Photo License: Flickr

Prayer Focus
Praise God for the Shin Bet as they uncovered plans of the Islamic Movement to attack and shoot IDF soldiers and have arrested those involved. Continue to lift up the men and women of Shin Bet as they seek to discover the plans of Israel’s enemies before they can be put into motion.

Scripture

For they intended evil against You; they devised a plot which they are not able to perform.


- Psalm 21:11

Netanyahu: All Embassies Should be in Jerusalem

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The US Embassy in Tel Aviv, Israel

Monday, 15 May 2017 | Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on all nations to move their embassies to Jerusalem, “the eternal capital of the Israeli people”, The Times of Israel reported Thursday.

Speaking at a Likud party event ahead of President Donald Trump’s scheduled visit to Israel later this month, Netanyahu said that Jerusalem is the “eternal capital of the Israeli people and it is fitting that all embassies, especially that of our friend the United States, be moved to Jerusalem.”

All presidents since 1995 have availed themselves of a provision in the law allowing the president to delay the move, if he signs a waiver affirming that in his judgment the move would harm America’s national security interests. The waiver must be signed every six months and Trump’s visit would be shortly before he is due to sign it.

Most nations that have diplomatic relations with Israel maintain embassies in Tel Aviv. Some like the United States have a consulate-general in Jerusalem, the seat of Israel’s government.

In “Jerusalem Already Has Plenty of Embassies—Just Not to Israel,” which was published in the March 2017 issue of The Tower Magazine, Eylon Aslan-Levy noted that while no nation currently has an embassy to Israel located in Jerusalem, there are quite a few embassies in the city. Ironically those are embassies to the Palestinian Authority.

Aslan-Levy concluded by arguing that moving the American embassy should be viewed as a means to rectify an imbalance:

“Clearly, Jerusalem is the subject of a striking double standard, which no foreign ministry is willing to rationalize or justify. On the one hand, Israel is withheld recognition of its capital, and told it cannot host embassies there lest it give the impression that the international community recognizes its sovereignty in the city. But on the other hand, the Palestinians enjoy the privilege of diplomatic missions in the very same city, without any qualms in the international community about the effective hypocrisy.

“Looked at this way, at least as a moral question, moving the US embassy to Jerusalem could be seen not so much a gift as an act of redress. It would be an admission that the anachronistic proposal to make Jerusalem a UN [United Nations] trust territory is off the table. And it would be recognition that since the Palestinians—by accident—already enjoy diplomatic missions in Jerusalem, the denial of the same to the country that already exists and controls that city would be an act of inconsistency.”

Source: (This article was originally published by The Israel Project, in its publication The Tower on 12 May 2017. Time related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Krokodyl/Wikimedia

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Cry out against the nations who refuse to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and pray for your country’s leaders to realize the importance of Israel. Thank God for leading and guiding PM Netanyahu as he calls on the world to acknowledge Jerusalem’s status by moving their embassies to the city.

Scripture

It shall be in that day that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.


- Zechariah 12:9

Jerusalem Terror Attack Sparks Row between Israel and Jordan

by Ilse Posselt

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The Lions Gate in Jerusalem’s Old City after a stabbing attack (illustrative)

Monday, 15 May 2017 | The attack unfolded like hundreds of similar attacks before this one: out-of-the-blue, utterly senseless and driven by hate and cruelty that is hard to comprehend.

It happened on a Saturday afternoon like any other in the Old City of Jerusalem. Security footage of the attack released by the Israeli police shows the attack unfold. The start of the clip shows a policeman walking through the quiet alleyways of the Old City near the Lion’s Gate. A few vendors stand guard over their wares, eagerly waiting for tourists to pass by.

The placid scene changes seconds into the clip. Without any prior warning an Arab terrorist rushes the policeman, whips a knife from the folds of the black suit he is wearing and viciously starts stabbing the officer. Wounded, the officer initially loses his footing in the ferocious onslaught and hits the cobblestoned alleyway. The terrorist pounces, ready and eager for the kill.

The clip ends without showing the outcome. A statement released by Israeli police spokeswoman, Luba Samri, tells the rest of the story. Two Israelis making their way home from the Western Wall saw the attack and rushed to the officer’s aid. Although the policeman was wounded, he managed to activate his weapon and neutralize the Arab terrorist.

Police and Magan David Adom paramedics arrived on the scene shortly after the attack. Paramedics found the 35-year-old policeman fully conscious but suffering from stab wounds to the head, neck and arm. “We administered lifesaving first aid and bandaged his wounds,” before transferring him to a Jerusalem hospital in a moderate to stable condition.

Police also indicated that they have arrested one of the street vendors who not only failed to help the policeman but also tried to prevent the two Israelis from rushing to the officer’s aid.

The terrorist was identified as Abdullah Salim al-Kasaji, a 57-year-old Jordanian, who had arrived in Israel for a visit via the Jordan River crossing a few days before the attack.

The fact that the terrorist was a Jordanian national elicited a strong response from Amman. Despite the security footage clearly showing al-Kasaji whipping out a knife and repeatedly stabbing the Israeli policeman, the Jordanians accused Israel of committing “a heinous crime,” demanding that the Jewish state offer a detailed official account of the incident.

“The Israeli government, which is the occupying force, bears responsibility for the shooting of a Jordanian citizen in occupied East Jerusalem which led to his martyrdom,” Jordanian government spokesman Mohammad Momani fumed in a statement.

“The government denounces this heinous crime…and has asked Israel to provide full details about it,” the statement continued.

For its part, the Israeli government denounced the Hashemite allegations as “outrageous,” and pointed out that Jordan seemed to be supportive of the “terror attack.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke out strongly, taking Jordan to task for its failure to condemn terror. “It is time for Jordan to stop playing this double game,” he said in a statement. “Just as Israel condemns terror attacks in Jordan, Jordan must condemn terror attacks in Israel. Terror is terror wherever it is.”

Source: (Bridges for Peace, 15 May 2017)

Photo Credit: Ashernet

Prayer Focus
Continue to pray against stabbing attacks that are primarily aimed at security officers. Pray for peace in the city of Jerusalem, asking God to give wisdom to all involved in protecting the nation of Israel! Beseech God to intervene in the deceitful media reports which attempt to distort the truth.

Scripture

O God, the proud have risen against me, and a mob of violent men have sought my life, and have not set You before them. But You, O Lord, are a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering and abundant in mercy and truth…Show me a sign for good, that those who hate me may see it and be ashamed, because You, Lord, have helped me and comforted me.


- Psalm 86:14-15, 17

The IDF Prepares for Possible Future Cyberattacks

by Yoav Zitun

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Cyber Soldiers Monitoring Computer Systems

Tuesday, 16 May 2017 | The IDF [Israel Defense Forces] has been preparing for cyber threats, and according to a senior officer in the Communications and Defense Division, “The paralyzing of social networks in Israel for a few hours by Hezbollah, for example, would be more severe in its effect than a Hezbollah missile attack.”

Over the last two months, the IDF has been preparing for cyber threats of the kind that hit over the weekend, as well as other threats that are constantly emerging.

The officer said in a press briefing at the IDF headquarters that the malware that caused damage over the weekend in British hospitals and hit many countries had already attacked at the end of the past year. “The attack on the weekend was similar to the December attack on social networks in North America.

“The security level of old computer systems in the UK is lower than updated systems and therefore, they were damaged. We are constantly updating our systems,” explained the officer.

He said the attack on the weekend was “a wide-scale attack that touches multiple locations by sending and opening emails with a link in them … There will be many other such attacks, some of which will be synchronized between hackers on a particular day.”

“The IDF’s defense systems are better than civilian ones,” he said. “Attack attempts are always there, we prepared in advance. No hostile element ever penetrated the IDF’s operational network.” According to him, the IDF is always actively seeking new malware being developed around the world and prepare accordingly.

Cyber threats led to the addition of hundreds of specialized soldiers (about 30 percent) compared to last year. This is due to threats from hostile elements such as Hezbollah, Iran and others. “You have to work proactively, initiate… Routine is the enemy in cyber warfare as well.”

The officer also noted that various bodies dealing in cyber warfare, including the communications unit, Military Intelligence, the Shin Bet, the Mossad, and the National Cyber Service, are working together in cyberspace, while using the relative advantage of each party.

(Translated and edited by N. Elias)

Source: (Ynetnews originally published this article on 14 May 2017. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: IDFblog.com

Prayer Focus
Offer thanksgiving for the various bodies in the IDF that deal with and prepare for future threats and cyberattacks from hostile elements such as Hezbollah. Pray for fresh ideas, new inspiration every day and a good night’s sleep as their minds continue to work pro-actively as cyber attacks are constantly emerging.

Scripture

Now David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and his daughters. But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.


- 1 Samuel 30:6

Palestinians Elect Convicted Murderer as Mayor of Hebron

by Ilse Posselt

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Downtown Hebron

Tuesday, 16 May 2017 | Tayseer Abu Sneineh, a terrorist convicted of murdering six Israeli students, was selected to serve as the mayor of the Palestinian population of the city of Hebron in the Palestinian local elections over the weekend.

Nearly four decades ago on 2 May 1980, Sneineh and three other Palestinian terrorists opened fire and hurled grenades at a group of yeshiva (religious school) students making their way from the Cave of Patriarchs to the Hebron’s Jewish neighborhood. Six Israelis died in the bloody attack. Sixteen more were injured.

Although the attackers were apprehended, convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison, all four Palestinian terrorists were released a few years into their sentence as part of a number of prisoner exchange deals during the 1980s. Sneineh went free three years after the murders in a 1983 prisoner swap.

Now, 37 years after the terror attack, the man in part responsible for the carnage has been elected to head up the Palestinian municipality in Hebron.

Sneineh ran on behalf of Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party. According to World Israel News, Fatah used the opportunity to capitalize on the 1980 Hebron terror attack, hailing it as “one of the most important battles and acts of bravery of the Fatah Movement” and “one of the most courageous self-sacrifice operations.” Abbas’s party also lauded Sneineh and his fellow terrorists as “heroes” and men of “delicate emotions.”

A number of Israeli officials voiced their indignation over the election via Twitter. Dani Dayan, the Consul General of Israel in New York, tweeted on Saturday, “Taysir Abu Sneineh was elected today as Mayor of Hebron. His previous career achievements? He assassinated 6 Jewish students.”

Ofir Gendelman, spokesperson to the Arab media in the Israel Prime Minister’s Office, tweeted, “Palestinians in Hebron just elected this man, who murdered 6 Israelis, to be their mayor. Only in the PA can murderers hold public office.”

Minister Ayoub Kara tweeted that Sneineh’s election as mayor of Hebron sent “a clear message from the Palestinians [in favor] of terrorist attacks against Israel. He also called on Abbas to step in and annul the vote. 

This weekend’s polls offered the Palestinians a rare chance to cast their votes, The Times of Israel reports. The last Palestinian presidential and legislative elections took place more than a decade ago. The previous municipal elections took place in 2012.

The election did, however, occur under a cloud of contention between Fatah, the political party governing the Palestinian people in parts of Judea and Samaria, and Hamas, the Sunni-Islamic fundamentalist party ruling the Palestinians in Gaza with an iron fist.

Last year Fatah and Hamas were scheduled to go head-to-head in elections in Judea and Samaria as well as the Gaza Strip. Yet both parties balked, disqualifying each other’s candidates, resulting in the vote being postponed. Fatah subsequently decided to go ahead with elections in Judea and Samaria only, thus running virtually unopposed.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, 16 May 2017)

Photo Credit: Eman/ Public Domain/ Wikimedia

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Intercede for the leadership and government of Israel, asking for God’s wisdom and direction to deal with the new mayor. Pray that he would not have undue influence based on his conviction as a murderer, but instead would come to a place of remorse for his previous actions. Ask the Lord to grant traveling mercies for the Jewish people traveling through Judea and Samaria to reach their homes in Hebron.

Scripture

Therefore, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear and celebrate his rule with trembling.


- Psalm 2:10-11 NIV

Egypt’s Al-Sisi Urges Israel Not to Miss ‘Chance for Peace’

by Roi Kais

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Egyptian flag

Friday, 19 May 2017 | Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi stated in an interview with Arab media Wednesday that he has great faith in US President Donald Trump in ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, while urging Israel not to “miss the opportunity to make peace.”

When asked if there is any hope for a solution to the Palestinian issue under Trump’s leadership, al-Sisi responded that “the Palestinians are open to peace, the Arabs are open to peace and Israel believes that there is an opportunity for it. In truth, there is an opportunity, and if it is taken we could reach a solution and the conflict will become history.”

Al-Sisi went on to describe Trump as being the decisive factor in the success or failure of any deal.

“Trump is the deciding factor in the solution (to the conflict). My estimation is that he doesn’t take much time to decide on things,” al-Sisi said, before turning his focus to Israel.

“You have a chance for peace and there’s an opportunity for us all to live together and allow a better future for our people, one without hate. It will be a grave mistake to waste that opportunity.”

The Egyptian president noted that he is optimistic ahead of the Arab-Islamic-American summit in Riyadh, where Trump is set to participate before making his way to Israel.

“When I met with Trump we focused on the fight against terrorism and in resolving the Palestinian issue. Our interests are aligned on the matter,” he said.

When he was asked how he views the relations between his country and the US after his visit to the White House and Trump’s promises to aid Cairo, al-Sisi stated that he has “a lot of trust in Trump, his capabilities and promises. There are things we will announce and things we intend to keep to ourselves. Things are moving positively.”

Finally, al-Sisi shared his opinion on the US president, saying that Trump “is a unique and great man. When he tackles an issue, he does not accept failure and he will settle for nothing short of success.”

Egypt was the first stop in the Middle East for Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama, who delivered his famous Cairo speech in which [he] attempted to renew relations with the Muslim world and expressed, much to Israel’s dismay, his disapproval of settlements in the West Bank [Judea–Samaria], thereby setting the tone for what was to become a comparably frosty US-Israel relationship.

By contrast, Trump is set to make Saudi Arabia his first destination during his upcoming Middle East visit, after which he will visit Israel. Egypt, this time, does not appear on his itinerary.

On Wednesday, al-Sisi met in the Egyptian capital with Jordan’s King Abdullah in a bid to close ranks ahead of Trump’s visit to the region.

Source: (Ynetnews originally published this article on 18 May 2017. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Open ClipArt Library

Photo License: wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Implore the Lord for Israel’s protection during these turbulent times. Pray for discernment to guide the minds and hearts of Israel’s leaders as Arab countries the Middle East are optimistic about the ultimate peace deal. Also pray for President Trump, asking God to give wisdom and discernment in his negotiations and guidance through Scriptures.

Scripture

You are my hiding place; You shall preserve me from trouble; You shall surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye.


- Psalm 32:7-8

Knesset Chairman to Address Russian Parliament

by Moran Azulay

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Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein

Wednesday, 17 May 2017 | Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein (Likud) is expected to deliver a speech before the Russian parliamentary plenary session in Moscow at the end of next month, during which he will reflect on the past 30 years since being released from Soviet incarceration.

Prior to his imprisonment, Edelstein was denied the right, along with thousands of other Soviet Jews, to emigrate to Israel. Only in 1987 when he was released from the USSR’s prison did he finally make aliyah.

The speech, which will be made as part of a state visit to Russia, will be the first to take place in the Duma (Russia’s parliament) by an incumbent Knesset chairman. Edelstein will be hosted by Valentina Matviyenko, chairman of the Russian Federation Council, the upper chamber of the Russian parliament.

The former Soviet prisoner will deliver his speech both in Hebrew and in Russian and will also meet during his 3-day stay with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Chairman of the State Duma Vyacheslav Volodin, and Russian members of parliament affiliated with the Association for Friendship with the Knesset.

In addition, Edelstein will meet with leaders of the Jewish community in Moscow and will visit the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center. He will also tour areas in the Russian capital where he was an activist as a “refusenik,” (an individual who was denied the right to emigrate to Israel by Soviet authorities), including the site where he was arrested and the court where he was tried and sentenced to jail.

“Obviously this is a special and very exciting visit. The aim is to develop further the excellent relations between the states and especially the ties between the Knesset and the Russian parliament that we have developed,” Edelstein said. “They are better than ever before, with excellent cooperation in different fields and with a deep friendship.”

But Edelstein also reflected on the symbolic power of his journey from a Soviet prisoner to an Israeli politician occupying one if the country’s most prestigious roles.

“But the symbolism of a person who was a prisoner in the Soviet Union and will now stand before parliament in Moscow and deliver a speech as the Knesset chairman cannot be ignored.”

Source: (Ynetnews originally published this article on 16 May 2017. Time related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Yuli Edelstein - יולי אדלשטיין/Facebook

Prayer Focus
Glorify the Lord for the opportunity that Knesset speaker Edelstein has to visit Moscow, where he was imprisoned and aliyah was denied for him and the Jewish community there. Pray for a safe trip and successful meetings as he further develops Israel’s relationship with Russia.

Scripture

You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, to the end that my glory may sing praise to You and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever.


- Psalm 30:11-12

Life Expectancy in Israel Rated as One of the Highest in the World

by Dr. Itay Gal

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(illustrative)

Thursday, 18 May 2017 | The World Health Organization (WHO) published its main report on the health statistics of the OECD [Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development] countries on Wednesday, according to which Israel’s average life expectancy places it at the top of its member states, both among men and women. Data pertaining to medical services here are very good as well—placing Israel low on the scale of deaths caused by serious diseases.

The WHO’s report, published annually in May, includes data from all WHO member states, including life expectancy, maternal and infant mortality, child mortality, the state of sanitation, the rate of use of alcohol and drugs, the rate of vaccination administration and the chances of surviving serious diseases—an index that characterizes the level of medical services and preventive medicine.

According to the report, the average life expectancy in Israel (average between men and women) is 82.5 years, and it places Israel eighth in the world, based on data relating to population mortality in 2015. The life expectancy of men in Israel is 80.6 years, which ranks fourth in the world, after Ireland, Switzerland and Iceland. The life expectancy of women in Israel is eighth in the world and stands at 84.3 years.

In other health indices, Israel’s position is high as well: the rate of vaccinations in Israel reaches 94 percent. According to updated data from the Ministry of Health, the rate of vaccination administration is even higher and ranges from 95 to 97 percent.

The rate of alcohol consumption in Israel is one of the lowest in the world. The highest concentration of alcohol consumption is in the Eastern European countries, led by Moldova, Russia and Romania. Israel is relatively low, far behind most European countries, the United States, Australia and New Zealand. At the bottom of the list are Arab countries, in accordance with the Islamic prohibition on alcohol.

Other indices that indicate the quality of medical services are the infant mortality rate up to one month after birth, the maternal mortality rate at birth and the infant mortality rate. Here, too, Israel occupies one of the lowest places on the table with an infant mortality rate of four deaths per 1,000 births per year, and five maternal deaths per 1,000 births. At the top of this list are poor countries in Africa, Asia and South America.

The World Health Organization also examined the chances of dying from serious diseases including heart attack, stroke, cancer and diabetes at the age of 30 to 70. In this index, Israel is in fifth place in the world, with a 9.3 percent risk of dying from serious diseases—only Iceland, South Korea, Japan, Switzerland and Sweden rank higher. The chances of dying in Israel from these diseases are much lower than in developed Western countries, including Australia, New Zealand, France, Britain, Holland, Germany and the United States.

The organization aims to reduce mortality rates by 2030, increase vaccination rates worldwide and strengthen preventive medicine, which will lead, among other things, to reducing the rate of smoking and alcohol consumption.

Source: (Ynetnews originally published this article on 17 May 2017. Time related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: pixabay.com

Prayer Focus
Give thanks to God for the healthy status of the Israelis which results in their attaining old age. Praise Him as the Giver of life. Pray for new olim to easily adapt to the different lifestyle in Israel and for the elderly to have company and be comforted in their daily challenges.

Scripture

So if you walk in My ways, to keep My statutes and My commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your days.


- 1 Kings 3:14

Israeli Ambassador Donates Party Fund to Soccer League for Nigerian Children

by Itamar Eichner

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Nigerian kids’ soccer league

Monday, 15 May 2017 | Israel’s ambassador to Nigeria, Guy Feldman, has initiated a special soccer league for hundreds of children living in refugee camps in the country. These are children displaced from their homes because of the terrorist organization Boko Haram.

According to a report presented at the UN [United Nations] Security Council, the radical Islamic Jihad has killed more than 3,900 children over the last four years, wounded more than 7,300 and kidnapped more than 4,000 children in northeastern Nigeria.

Feldman, Israel’s new ambassador to Nigeria decided to cancel the reception on Independence Day and do something more useful with the money. He created a soccer league for Nigerian children aged 8 to 12 who are in refugee camps in the state of Adamawa, Nigeria, on the border of Cameroon. There are some 770,000 children displaced in these camps because of Boko Haram.

225 children from three refugee camps were divided into 10 groups and played against each other for a week. The embassy took care of everything: uniforms, balls, coaches, judges. “Our intention was to bring a message of hope to the children, which is also the Zionist message,” explained Feldman, who also gave the league a name: “Israel cares—Kids’ Football League.”

The embassy also coached Nigeria’s former national football team captain, Nwankwo Kanu, and two other local film stars, Desmond Elliot and Funke Akindele (Jennifer) who perform in Nollywood, which is the Nigerian equivalent of Bollywood and produces even more films than her Indian sister.

The two film actors, together with local university officials, were in charge of a video production competition designed to make the league viral, and through it to tell people about the Israeli humanitarian project.

What somewhat clouded the tournament was the fact that, due to warnings from the embassy’s security officer, the ambassador was not allowed to reach the area and he had to send his local bureau chief in his place. “Even though I couldn’t make it, I preferred the event take place. It is more important to pass the message than have the ambassador participate,” said Feldman. “The children were happy and thousands of people in the refugee camps cheered them on until the final game.” The game took place just before Boko Haram released the 82 girls who were kidnapped in 2014.

In addition to the soccer league in which they participated, the children won something just as important. The money saved from canceling the reception at the Israeli Embassy will pay their tuition in the camps for an entire year.

(Translated and edited by N. Elias)

Source: (Ynetnews originally published this article on 14 May 2017. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Israel in Nigeria/Facebook

Prayer Focus
Claim God’s blessing over Israel’s ambassador to Nigeria, Guy Feldman, as he brought cheer to the refugee camps in Nigeria with the “Israel cares – Kids Football League”. Pray that this beacon of hope will change hearts and minds and cause the hopeless to seek and find God as their refuge and trust in very difficult circumstances.

Scripture

How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God! Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your wings. They are abundantly satisfied with the fullness of Your house, and You give them drink from the river of Your pleasures. For with You is the fountain of life; in Your light we see light.


- Psalm 36:7-9

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