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What Will We Do Now?

Friday, May 20, 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.

In the Crosshairs: Israel Holds Drill for Strike on Iranian Nuclear Program

by Kate Norman

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Israeli Air Force and US Air Force jets in the annual Juniper Falcon exercise in Israel

Wednesday, 18 May 2022 | As the talks to revive the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran remain on ice, Israel is preparing for the event that it will have to take stopping Iran’s nuclear aggression into its own hands.

Israeli jets will rehearse a strike on Iran, the Times of Israel reported, during the Israel Defense Forces’ (IDF’s) Chariots of Fire exercise this month. The four-week war games will involve all hands on deck, as nearly every IDF unit is set to take part in practicing a scenario that involves Israel’s enemies attacking on multiple fronts.

Several Israeli fighter jets will take part in the exercise, simulating a strike on Iranian nuclear targets, the Times of Israel reported.

Israel has vehemently objected to a return to the 2015 nuclear deal, asserting that the restrictions are not enough to deter Iran’s nuclear development and that the regime will continue working under the table to develop a nuclear weapon regardless of a deal.

Instead of relying on international world leaders to take a hardline stance with Iran in the Vienna nuclear talks, Israeli leaders have for over a year been touting “military options” to the nuclear problem.

And over the past year, the IDF reportedly has been preparing for such an option, as seen in Chariots of Fire.

In fact, US Air Force refueling jets are set to participate in the drill simulating a strike on Iran’s nuclear sites, Israel’s Channel 13 reported yesterday.

The report did not cite its sources, but American participation in the drill would certainly be sending a strong message to Iran, as the regime in Tehran has stalled the nuclear talks by demanding that Washington remove Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) from its list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations.

While the talks remain on ice, centrifuges continue spinning at Iranian nuclear sites, enriching uranium to higher and higher purities, drawing ever closer to a nuclear weapon.

In fact, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz warned yesterday at a conference that Iran is installing an additional 1,000 advanced centrifuges, putting the regime a mere “few weeks” away from stockpiling enough fissile material for a nuclear bomb.

Gantz’s estimate matches that of the US, as White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki announced last month that Iran’s “breakout period is down from about a year…to just a few weeks or less.”

Gantz is currently in the US to meet with US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin tomorrow at the Pentagon in Washington, DC. At the same time, head of the US Central Command (CENTCOM) landed in Israel yesterday.

The US–Israeli cooperation comes at a crucial time amid Iran’s race to the nuclear bomb.

“The price for tackling the Iranian challenge on a global or regional level is higher than it was a year ago and lower than it will be in a year,” Gantz warned yesterday.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, May 18, 2022)

Photo Credit: Israel Defense Forces/flickr.com

Photo License: flickr.com

Prayer Focus
Cry out to the Lord, who declares the end from the beginning (Isa. 46:10), to bring about His perfect solution to the growing threat of the Iranian nuclear ambitions. Also pray that He will endow Israel with the necessary resources, expertize and ability to protect its people.

Scripture

LORD, how they have increased who trouble me! Many are they who rise up against me. Many are they who say of me, “There is no help for him in God.” But You, O LORD, are a shield for me, my glory and the One who lifts up my head. I cried to the LORD with my voice, and He heard me from His holy hill.


- Psalm 3:1–4

Russia Fires on Israeli Jets in Syria for the First Time

by Ilse Strauss

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Israeli jet (illustrative)

Tuesday, 17 May 2022 | In a concerning first, Russia purportedly fired its advanced S-300 surface-to-air missile battery at Israeli Air Force (IAF) jets during an alleged Israeli strike on Iranian-linked targets in Syria last week, Channel 13 news reported.

Shortly after 11 p.m. on Friday evening, the IAF apparently struck multiple targets—including a weapons depot and other “Iranian sites,” the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said—near the city of Masyaf in northwestern Syria, an area known as a hotbed for Iranian forces and militias operating on Tehran’s say-so.

According to Syrian media, six people were killed in the strike, all crew members of a Pantsir air defense system who tried to shoot down the Israeli warplanes. Satellite images of the bombed site—an apparent underground facility with an entrance and subterranean tunnels—show the structure entirely destroyed.

None of this constitutes controversial news, though. This is, after all, the second alleged Israeli strike in Syria in three days. And although Israel rarely owns up to such allegations, the powers-that-be in Jerusalem have admitted on numerous occasions that the Jewish state often operates in Syrian airspace to prevent Iran from entrenching its fighting forces on Israel’s doorstep and to stop game-changing weapons from being transferred from Iran via the war-torn country to the Lebanese terror organization Hezbollah. In fact, if the allegations are true, Israel has even targeted the Masyaf area on a number of occasions in the past, most recently last month.

What sets Friday night’s strike apart is that for the first time, Russia—the controller of the Syrian skies—did not turn a blind eye to the Israeli planes dropping bombs on Iranian targets on its watch. For the first time, Moscow apparently had Jerusalem’s fighter jets in its crosshairs.

According to Channel 12 news, the state-of-the-art S-300 battery fired a number of missiles into the air, but the radar didn’t lock onto the Israeli planes and thus didn’t constitute a threat. The misfire doesn’t constitute an operation failure on Moscow’s part, though. In fact, bringing down the warplanes was probably never Russia’s objective.

Moscow locking horns with Jerusalem in the skies of Syria is meant to communicate a message from the Kremlin that Russia is irked with Israel. The reason? Ukraine.

Israel has made a dedicated effort to steer clear of the conflict—and for good reason. Jerusalem is one of the only countries that maintains close relations with both Kyiv and Moscow. Israel is home to significant populations of both Ukrainian as well as Russian Jews who made aliyah (immigrated to Israel). Moreover, there are also significant Jewish populations living in Ukraine and Russia for which Israel, as the Jewish state, feels responsible.

Yet perhaps the main motivator behind Jerusalem toeing the diplomatic tightrope between Kyiv and Moscow is that Israel wants to maintain the freedom to act in Syria against archenemy Iran and its terror proxies. And the decision whether Israel retains or forfeits that freedom lies with Russia.

Recent weeks have, however, seen a deterioration of ties between the Kremlin and the Knesset (Parliament). In March, Israel joined 140 other UN General Assembly member states to adopt a resolution slamming the Russian invasion of Ukraine and demanding that Moscow withdraws its military forces from its sovereign neighbor’s soil immediately.

Moreover, last month Jerusalem said it would supply the civil emergency services in Ukraine with helmets and flak jackets, after months of refusing to assist Kyiv with weapons or defensive equipment. Foreign Minister Yair Lapid has also spoken out against Russian action in Ukraine on a number of occasions, notably explicitly accusing Moscow of war crimes.

Perhaps the straw that broke the camel’s back came two weeks ago when Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov aimed to justify Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, a country led by a democratically elected Jewish president, as a valiant attempt to denazify its sovereign neighbor by claiming “that Hitler…had Jewish blood. Some of the worst anti-Semites are Jews.”

Lavrov’s statement was met by a firestorm of condemnation from Israel alongside whispers that Russia crossed the line, inflicting irreparable damage to its relations with Israel.

Lavrov promptly hit back, charging Israel with supporting “the neo-Nazi regime in Kyiv.”

The first sign that the relationship between Jerusalem and Moscow is not what it was came last week when Russia reportedly turned a blind eye to Syrian and Iranian transfers of Russian-made weapons into Hezbollah’s eager hands.

And then came Friday night’s Russian S-300s trained on Israeli jets for the first time.

Could this be a dramatic new precedent, signaling a new era where Moscow will no longer allow Jerusalem to act against Iran in Syria, thus giving the mullahs free reign in Israel’s backyard? Does Friday night point to a significant shift in Moscow’s attitude toward Israel?

Perhaps we’ll have to wait until the next time IAF warplanes head to Syria to find out.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, May 17, 2022)

Photo Credit: Israel Defense Forces/flickr.com

Photo License: flickr.com

Prayer Focus
Bring Israel’s precarious diplomatic position before the Lord, asking Him for a resolution that does not allow Russia to hold Israel hostage over Jerusalem’s ability to act to keep its citizens and borders secure. Also ask the Lord to draw a hedge of protection around the brave men and women who guard the people He calls the apple of His eye (Zech. 2:8).

Scripture

I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress; my God, in Him I will trust.” Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the perilous pestilence. He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge.


- Psalm 91:2–4a

UK to Pass Legislation Preventing Public Bodies from Engaging in Boycotts

by David Isaac ~ JNS

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UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson

Tuesday, 17 May 2022 | UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative government has resolved to pass legislation that will stop public bodies from adopting anti-Israel boycott resolutions. The proposed legislation was outlined in the Queen’s Speech, an annual ceremonial address on May 10 that opens Parliament and sets out the government’s legislative priorities.

The bill’s purpose, according to a government summary, is to stop public bodies in the United Kingdom from engaging in BDS [Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions] measures and to prevent them “adopting their own approach to international relations.”

Several UK municipal councils, among them the Lancaster City Council in 2021, and the Leicester City Council in 2014, have passed BDS resolutions against Israel.

The summary said that boycotts politicize public institutions, erode “community cohesion” and “overwhelmingly target lsrael,” contributing to the “horrific rise in anti-Semitism in the UK—including kosher food being removed from supermarket shelves, Jewish films being banned from a film festival and a student union holding a vote on blocking the formation of a Jewish student society.”

The Conservative Party has shown a determination to put an end to such boycotts. In September 2016, under then-Prime Minister Theresa May, the government introduced regulations, or “guidance,” to stop local councils from making politically motivated pension fund decisions against Israel or UK defense companies.

However, in April 2020, the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom struck down those regulations in a case brought by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), a pro-BDS group.

“Pro-Palestinian activists were successful in securing a Supreme Court ruling in the United Kingdom saying that the advice from the conservative government was unlawful and that local councils had the right to take these kinds of decisions,” said Toby Greene of the political studies department at Bar-Ilan University. “Since then, the conservative government has said that it would propose legislation to enforce its position that local councils should not be able to make such decisions.”

Robert Festenstein, legal counsel for Jewish Human Rights Watch (JHRW), an organization formed in 2014 to stem the “rising tide of anti-Semitism in the UK,” which played a key role in pushing the government to take action against local councils, told JNS he expects the bill could pass before the summer recess of Parliament in July.

“The Conservative Party has been enormously supportive of the Jewish community, and they have made it very clear to us repeatedly that they think that the rise in anti-Semitism in the UK is a matter of very considerable concern,” he said.

JHRW put a spotlight on local council boycotts by filing suit in 2015 against the Leicester City Council, which in 2014 targeted goods from Judea and Samaria.

“Our claim was based upon our view that the debate which has taken place in the council chamber amongst the councilors had not complied with their obligations under what is called the public sector equality duty,” said Festenstein. “What that means is, they’ve got to make sure that nobody is disadvantaged by the actions that they take…We were saying that they failed to do this when they had this debate, that is, to think about the impact this resolution would have upon the Jewish community.”

Festenstein said the Leicester City Council claimed in their defense that the boycott was a non-binding resolution. While the judges rejected that argument, they still ruled in the council’s favor, saying that the council had weighed the impact on the Jewish community. “They were satisfied that the council had discharged that duty,” he said.

Although JHRW lost the case and subsequent appeal, “It wasn’t the great victory they thought it was because after that we turned to the conservative government to say to them, ‘Look, this is ridiculous. We can’t always be arguing with local authorities when they say they want to boycott Israel, which is a country 2,000 miles away and has nothing to do with local politics,’” said Festenstein.

Ian Jade, a spokesman for JHRW, told JNS that the proposed legislation will be an effective tool “because it sends a signal for democracy and decency that it’s no longer acceptable in this day and age to use boycotts against Jews and against Israel.”

“It draws a line in the cement that says we’re not going to put up with this. It’s up to the government to decide foreign policy, not a group of organizations with clear links to Holocaust deniers,” he said, referring to the anti-Israel groups pushing local councils to boycott Israel, particularly the aforementioned Palestine Solidarity Campaign. “We made a series of reports on PSC and we clearly showed that the membership was full of Holocaust deniers,” he added.

JHRW focused its efforts on BDS when it recognized that “there’s never been an organization such as BDS that acts globally with one set of strategies. BDS is unique insofar as it moves as one single organism across the world, and its aim really is to harm Jews, because it can’t take on the Israeli state. It contaminates Jewish life by essentially blaming Jews for the rights or the wrongs of Israeli government actions,” Jade said.

“At the heart of all of this isn’t Israel,” he said. “This is another form of Jew-hate coming down through the years. These people would still exist without the State of Israel.”

Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on May 16, 2022. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Michael Tubi/Shutterstock/JNS.org

Prayer Focus
Shout for joy to the Lord for the UK’s intention to adopt the legislation that will deal a heavy blow to BDS and its efforts to undermine Israel. Ask Him to pave the way for the bill to be passed and adopted without any stumbling blocks. Also pray that other nations will look to the UK as an example in dealing with this scourge of anti-Semitism thinly disguised as criticism of Israel.

Scripture

Do not fret because of evildoers, nor be envious of the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb…Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass. He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday.


- Psalm 37:1, 5–6

Israel Ups Fuel Exports to Europe to Help Lessen Dependence on Russia

by JNS

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The Israeli Leviathan gas-processing rig near Caesarea

Wednesday, 18 May 2022 |Israel is increasing its offshore natural-gas output as part of an effort to reach a deal with Europe in order to supply it with alternatives to Russian energy.

Jerusalem seeks to double production to 40 billion cubic meters as it expands current projects and starts working in new fields, reported Reuters.

“The hope is to create a relatively fast working process, and during the summer, to reach a framework agreement,” said Lior Schillat, director-general of Israel’s Ministry of Energy.

“In the beginning, it will be small amounts, and slowly, as production and delivery capacities rise, (the amounts) will increase,” he said, adding that this probably won’t make a difference until about 2024.

According to the report, a floating, liquefied natural-gas facility that could facilitate shipments to Europe is also being discussed.

Since the start of Russia’s war with Ukraine on February 24, Europe has sought to terminate the use of energy sources from Russia, which currently sends about 40% of its natural gas.

Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on May 16, 2022. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Marc Israel Sellem/POOL/JNS.org

Prayer Focus
Sing praises to the Lord for the possibility of a highly lucrative partnership between Israel and the nations of Europe. Pray for favor and the right open doors that will bring progress and prosperity for all parties involved. Also cover the Jewish state’s developing plans, projects and prospects of expansion and development in prayer, bringing the details, logistics and developments before Him. Above all, thank the Lord for the bounty of the Promised Land in the form of offshore gas deposits that Israel can use to thrive and flourish.

Scripture

For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, that flow out of valleys and hills; a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and honey; a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity, in which you will lack nothing; a land whose stones are iron and out of whose hills you can dig copper.


- Deuteronomy 8:7–9

Israeli Soldier Killed in Jenin Counterterror Operation

by Ilse Strauss

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Jenin, where Israeli soldier Noam Raz was killed in a counterterror operation last week

Monday, 16 May 2022 | The bloody eight-week terror wave in which 19 people have been murdered claimed another casualty over the weekend.

This time the victim didn’t fall prey to a terrorist with a knife or an axe on an Israeli street. Sgt.-Maj. Noam Raz, 47, a member of Israel’s elite Yamam counterterrorism unit, died on Friday when a counterterror operation aimed at capturing prospective terrorists before they can strike ended in a shootout between Israeli forces and Palestinian gunmen.

According to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), Raz was shot during a raid on a terror suspect’s home in the Palestinian area of Jenin in northern Samaria. He was taken to Rambam Medical Center in Haifa, where, despite the doctors’ best efforts, they were forced to declare him dead.

Raz, a Yamam veteran who served on the force for 23 years, leaves behind a wife and six children.

“We lost a hero today—a brave fighter who gave his life for the security of Israel during a complex and delicate initiated counterterrorist operation,” Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said in a statement.

“During his 23 years in the unit, Noam had participated in countless counterterrorist operations, risked his own life and saved lives—as his commanders attest—with courage and modesty. We will continue to fight terrorism with determination and an iron fist until we defeat it and restore security to the citizens of Israel. This is the legacy that Noam leaves behind. May his memory be blessed.”

Raz was laid to rest yesterday in the police section of the Mount Herzl National Cemetery in Jerusalem. A crowd of a few hundred, including Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai and Border Police Commander Amir Cohen, came to bid their final farewell.

“I’m grateful for getting the chance to know you, and thank you for choosing me to be your wife,” his wife, Efrat, eulogized him. “Thank you for teaching us how to be modest, be grateful for what we have, and thank you for the life, love, and joy you brought to our home. All your values were expressed through actions, your connection to the land. Our heart is torn from longing and love.”

As the family made their way from the funeral to their home in the Jewish community of Kida in Samaria, hundreds of people lined the road in an honor guard that stretched for miles, holding Israeli flags and signs thanking Raz for his service and sacrifice.

The terror wave over the past two months has been Israel’s deadliest in over a decade. The Jenin area has emerged as a hotbed of simmering tensions and provocation, with some of the perpetrators of the most deadly terror attacks hailing from there.

As the wave gained momentum, Israel has implemented a preemptive approach that aims to apprehend attackers before they can act. As part of the tactic, the IDF stepped up operations in Judea and Samaria, reinforcing its forces with thousands of troops. Much of the efforts have been focused on the Jenin area, where they arrested a number of suspects and prevented further attacks emanating from the fundamentalist stronghold.

Raz formed part of one of these counterterror operations to arrest a number of terror suspects in Jenin when he was killed. According to the IDF, Raz’s team came under heavy fire during a raid on one of the suspect’s homes.

Israel’s Channel 12 News reports that 11 Palestinians were wounded in the gunfight.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, May 16, 2022)

Photo Credit: أمين/commons.wikimedia.org

Photo License: wikimedia.org

Prayer Focus
Beseech the Lord for His love and comfort to envelop Sgt.-Maj. Raz’s widow, children and loved ones as they mourn the death of a beloved husband and father. Also continue to implore Him that Israel’s preemptive operations will bear fruit and that there will be a swift end to the two-month terror wave.

Scripture

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.


- Psalm 147:3

Anti-Israel Propaganda Preaches Louder than Facts

by Ben-Dror Yemini ~ Ynetnews

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Joint List MK Ahmad Tibi, who has accused Israel of “murder” of the Al Jazeera journalist

Friday, 13 May 2022 | This isn’t new and it isn’t going anywhere anytime soon: the double standard by which other armies, especially Western ones, are judged and the one by which the Israeli military is [judged]. Herein lies the perennial problem when faced with terrorism.

The US flattened 70% of the buildings in Raqqa in the fight against the Islamic State in Syria and a similar centile of buildings in Mosul, Iraq. They’re fighting terror after all, aren’t they?

But Israel, which has put significantly fewer innocent civilians in harm’s way compared to any other Western army, faces fiercer scrutiny manifold.

In the midst of last year’s war in Gaza, the New York Times plastered photos of Palestinian children who were killed on its front page. They never sent similar photos of children killed by the US military to print.

Now it’s the story of the journalist who has been killed, unfortunately, during a military raid in Jenin. The IDF [Israel Defense Forces] is fighting a wave of terror, and Jenin has become the capital of terror.

Journalists who enter the line of fire are commendable as they provide fascinating insights from the ground. Shireen Abu Akleh was killed on Wednesday as she entered the line of fire. It’s definitely unfortunate. Some of my fellow ground reporters tell of her being a seasoned and professional journalist.

With that said, she still represented a media outlet that has become a tool for propaganda in the hands of the regime in Qatar, which supports the Muslim Brotherhood and is despised by many other Arab countries.

While Israeli democracy allows such tools of propaganda to broadcast unmolested, there is not a single conflict zone the world over where journalists are bulletproof.

Just to be clear, even if Abu Akleh does represent a hostile propaganda outlet, her death is still unfortunate, regardless of who had fired the bullets that hit her.

And who fired these bullets?

A video that leaked online shows Palestinians rejoicing at the possibility their armed comrades have killed an Israeli soldier.

“We hit a soldier. He’s [lying] on the ground,” they can be heard exclaiming gleefully.

It seems they jumped the gun with their celebrations, given that no Israeli soldier was harmed. The figure on the ground was Shireen Abu Akleh. This video greatly increases the likelihood that this was Palestinian fire.

But that’s beside the point. Even if the journalist was hit by Israeli gunfire, it was unintentional. Unfortunately, these things happen. There are several bodies that track and record journalist deaths, among them the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), which has reported 1,442 journalist fatalities between 1992–2022, 18 of which occurred as part of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. Meanwhile, 190 journalists were killed in Iraq. There isn’t always an overlap between different sources on this issue, even though they are generally considered reliable.

The Watson Institute at Brown University is holding a record of casualties in wars the US has been involved in since 9/11. Turns out that out of about half a million deaths, 362 were journalists. This happened; it happens. It’s usually not intentional unless we’re talking about the cold-blooded murder of critics as had happened to 38 Russian journalists.

Throughout the history of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, only one journalist has been considered “murdered,” and it was Suleiman Abdul-Rahim al-Ashi, who was slain by the bullets of Yasser Arafat’s Palestinian Presidential Guard.

These are the facts laid out. But this doesn’t stop Joint List [of Arab parties] MK [member of Knesset/Parliament] Ahmad Tibi and his fan club from pinning the blame for no less than “a murder” on Israel.

The journalist’s body is still warm, and the existing few testimonies point to Abu Akleh being killed by Palestinian terrorist gunfire. The Palestinians themselves insisted on conducting an independent probe without international supervision, and certainly without Israeli involvement.

The pathologist who carried out the body’s autopsy claimed it was impossible to determine who shot her. Yet, Tibi and his ilk are in a hurry to scream bloody murder.

This isn’t the first time Israel is facing propaganda of this sort. During the 2014 Gaza War, various Palestinian bodies published a list of 17 journalists who were killed by the [IDF]. The Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center diligently examined every name on the list. Their findings revealed that two of the 17 were killed by Palestinians, and most others were members of Hamas or the Islamic Jihad. Only four were actually killed in the line of duty. The problem is this kind of anti-Israeli propaganda has no dearth of buyers.

The US is demanding a probe, given the journalist had American citizenship. “The investigation must be immediate and thorough and those responsible must be held accountable,” US State Department Spokesperson Ned Price tweeted out.

May we ask the honorable spokesman how many American soldiers or officers, who are “responsible” for killing journalists, were held accountable? [Were] any of them put on trial? He’d scoff.

The Washington Post was quick to publish a culpatory headline singling out Israel. So did Al Jazeera. Most other media outlets were a little more recalcitrant.

As the US fought terrorism and jihad [Islamist war with “unbelievers”], from the Islamic State to Al-Qaeda, Israel is justified in its struggle against Palestinian terror and jihad.

Source: (This article was originally published by Ynetnews on May 12, 2022. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: אמיר דיב - Amir Deeb/commons.wikimedia.org

Photo License: wikimedia.org

Prayer Focus
Cry out to the Lord to shine His light on this duplicity and double standards that seem to apply to Israel alone. Pray that He will grant Christians around the world with wisdom and discernment so that they will not fall prey to the emotive narratives peddled by anti-Israel voices and sold by the mainstream media. Also implore Him to reveal the truth behind the death of the Al Jazeera journalist, even if the PA seeks to keep the facts hidden.

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

Hamas Official Encourages ‘Uprooting Zionists’ with ‘Cleavers, Axes, Guns’

by JNS

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Hamas Parliament member Mushir Al-Masri lauded Palestinian terrorists for murdering Israelis.

Wednesday, 18 May 2022 | Hamas Parliament member Mushir Al-Masri praised the perpetrators of recent deadly terrorist attacks in Israeli cities.

According to a report by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), at a May 7 rally in support of Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar aired on Al-Aqsa TV (Hamas–Gaza), Masri said the Palestinians’ sword will not be sheathed until Israel’s leaders are beheaded.

“We salute the mujahideen [jihadis, Muslim fighters] rebels of our Palestinian people, who taught the Zionist enemy harsh and painful lessons, and sent a clear message of blood and fire: Jerusalem is a red line. [We salute] those who struck down the Zionists in Tel Aviv, Hadera and Elad. [We salute] those who picked up the cleavers, the axes and guns.”

He added that “the heroes shattered their heads with axes as if they were thorns that have to be uprooted.”

Sinwar recently encouraged Palestinians to carry out attacks against Israelis using weapons at their disposal.

He has also instigated the break-up of the Israeli government.

Addressing  Ra’am Party chairman Mansour Abbas, he said: “The safety net you are providing to a government that harms the Al-Aqsa mosque is a crime we will not forgive. This is a denial of our religion and your Arabness.”

Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on May 17, 2022. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: MEMRI/JNS.org

Prayer Focus
Implore the Lord that the Hamas officials’ inflaming words will fall to the ground without producing any fruit. Pray that the ears of the Palestinian youth will be stopped up to calls to murder such as these and that the Palestinians will be roused to the truth that it is their leaders—not Israel—who are responsible for their oppression and misery.

Scripture

When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when a wicked man rules, the people groan.


- Proverbs 29:2

Groups Back International Legal Forum Report Blasting anti-Israel UN Inquiry

by Mike Wagenheim ~ JNS

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The UN General Assembly 

Thursday, 19 May 2022 | A coalition of 25 pro-Israel organizations from around the world has signed on to an International Legal Forum (ILF) report castigating the UN Commission of Inquiry against Israel as “singularly unprecedented, unjust and completely lacking in impartiality or any legal basis.”

Israel faces a first-time-ever, open-ended UN Commission of Inquiry created by the UN Human Rights Council [UNHRC]. The UN General Assembly voted late last year to give the commission a budget of [US] $4.5 million a year, allowing it to hire some 18 full-time staff members—almost the same number as the human-rights office branch of the United Nations covering all of Asia and 60% of the world’s population.

The original basis of the inquiry was the 11-day conflict between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip last May, when the terror group launched more than 4,000 rockets towards Israeli population centers.

The inquiry, however, calls for submissions of evidence of any crimes ever allegedly committed at any point in the past—back to the “root causes” of the conflict or even in the future—as the inquiry’s mandate knows no end, provisions unique to this particular commission.

ILF chair and CEO Arsen Ostrovsky says “this commission makes a complete mockery of international law and is tantamount to an all-out assault against the Jewish state. It only underscores the UNHRC’s persistent, systematic and relentless bias against the State of Israel, which is consistently denied equality before the UN body and pronounced guilty from the outset. When it comes to the UNHRC, Israel does not even stand a chance.”

The ILF-led report takes particular aim at Navi Pillay, a former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and chair of the Commission of Inquiry, whose appointment is contrary to the UNHRC’s own guidelines calling for a history of independence and impartiality in its Commission of Inquiry selections.

The report contends that “any examination of Pillay’s past remarks on Israel makes it clear that she is unable to act in a fair and impartial manner.”

It [notes] that Pillay has “referred to Israel as an “apartheid regime” and accused the Jewish state of “war crimes” and “crimes against humanity”; openly supported the anti-Israel BDS [Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions] movement; been one of the most ardent champions of the anti-Semitic Durban Conference; repeatedly adopted flagrant double standards when applying international law to Israel, while whitewashing Palestinian terror; and has ties to organizations and individuals affiliated with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), an internationally designated Palestinian terror group.”

Dore Gold, former Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations and currently president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA), wrote the preface to the report, saying: “With the appointment of Navi Pillay to head this ‘Commission of Inquiry’ against Israel, it “would become yet another [UN] entity based on foul play and not on strict international legality with some modicum of fairness.”

The report’s signatories join other pro-Israel organizations battling the inquiry, including a group submitting a trove of evidence of Palestinian terrorism in an attempt to balance the commission’s pre-conceived narrative.

The commission’s first report is due next month and is likely to be forwarded to the UN General Assembly for recommendations of legal action against Israel in international courts.

Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on May 18, 2022. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: United Nations/JNS.org

Prayer Focus
Cry out to the Lord to bless the International Legal Forum as it comes against the blatantly biased UN Commission of Inquiry against Israel. Pray that its efforts will bear fruit in revealing the absurdity of the one-sided inquiry, prompting the UNGA and UNHRC to rethink their course of action.

Scripture

Those also who seek my life lay snares for me; those who seek my hurt speak of destruction, and plan deception all the day long.


- Psalm 38:12

Israel Helps Ukrainian Refugee Kids Get Smart Classrooms to Continue Studies

by Diana Bletter ~ Israel21c via JNS

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Refugee students in a SmartAID-equipped smart classroom in Moldova

Tuesday, 17 May 2022 | While the war in Ukraine rages, Israel-based international humanitarian aid and disaster relief organization SmartAID has set up online “smart classrooms” in Moldova, Poland and other neighboring countries.

Here, 1st–12th-graders fleeing the war can continue learning with their geographically scattered classmates and teachers.

More than 700,000 schoolchildren have crossed the Ukrainian border since the war [began] in late February. Most of the children are traumatized, said Shachar Zahavi, founding director of SmartAID.

His nonprofit organization, teaming up with Global Empowerment Mission, Lifting Hands International, the Moldova World Children’s Fund and Pandemic of Love, works in coordination with the Ukrainian Ministry of Education.

SmartAID is opening smart classrooms for refugee children in more than 100 schools in Poland and over 30 in Moldova. In the coming weeks, Zahavi said, the organization will open hundreds more smart classes across host countries.

The classrooms include laptops, projectors, tablets, headphones, smart screens and tech support. SmartAID provides the technology to link the children with their former teachers, some of whom are also refugees and others who remain in Western Ukraine.

“School is psychologically very important because the children’s situation is so difficult,” Zahavi said. “These kids left behind everything” and are now living in temporary shelters or with host families.

With everything in upheaval, smart classrooms provide children with a structure from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. or 3 p.m., Zahavi said.

Since Ukrainian men aged 18 to 60 are not permitted to leave the country, most children fled Ukraine with their mothers and sometimes with elderly grandparents. While the children are in class, Zahavi said, “their mothers and grandparents can deal with their own issues.”

Familiar Faces

Zahavi, who said he “jumps back and forth” to Moldova and the surrounding areas near the war zone, said that he was happy to see “the children’s eyes light up” when they saw their old friends and teachers on the screen.

“The children don’t know where they’re going and what’s going to happen to them,” said Zahavi. “But there they were, looking at familiar faces, doing schoolwork and writing in their notebooks.”

Zahavi is no stranger to traumas around the world. He was with people after the earthquake in Haiti, for example, where “people saw their families perish and die.”

As the Ukrainian war still rages, refugees talk about “their fathers, their husbands, their sons and their brothers who stayed behind to fight,” Zahavi said. “It’s very stressful. The refugees don’t know if they’ll ever see them again.”

In addition to its work with the Smart classrooms, SmartAID teamed up with Moldova World Children’s Fund and SpaceX’s Starlink to install and deploy Starlink units across Moldova in temporary shelters, camps and schools to give hundreds of thousands of refugees, as well as aid agencies and first responders, crucial Internet access.

Zahavi said that the nonprofit organization works with local people on all its projects.

In Moldova, he said, SmartAID has installed smart classrooms in community centers and existing schools with the understanding that once the Ukrainian children return to their homes, the classes will then be used by local children.

“People in neighboring countries are helping the refugees now,” Zahavi said. “In the future, we will then be able to help the local people.”

This article was originally published by ISRAEL21c.

Source: (This article was originally published by Israel21c and republished by the Jewish News Syndicate on May 15, 2022. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See the JNS version at this link.)

Photo Credit: SmartAID/JNS.org

Prayer Focus
Bless the Lord for the outstanding initiative from Israel that helps Ukrainian refugee children maintain a shred of structure and normalcy amid lives torn apart. Ask the Lord to bless Israel’s efforts to enable these children to continue their education and use it as a means to bring comfort and cheer to their lives.

Scripture

Learn to do good; seek justice, rebuke the oppressor; defend the fatherless, plead for the widow.


- Isaiah 1:17