Compassion

Help us bless the people of Israel.

Friday, May 22, 2020

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

 

After 18-Month Political Stalemate, New Israeli Government Sworn In

by Kate Norman

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Blue and White chairman Benny Gantz

Monday, 18 May 2020 | After three national elections in a one-year period, a global pandemic and delays caused by political bickering, Israel’s 35 government was finally sworn in on Sunday.

Israel’s unity government, which puts an end to an 18-month political stalemate without a fully functioning government, will see Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu serve for another 18 months with former rival Benny Gantz serving as defense minister and in the new position of alternate prime minister. In November 2021, Netanyahu will step down and Gantz will assume the premiership with Netanyahu taking on the role of alternate prime minister.

The vote to approve the new Knesset (Parliament) passed 73–46.

The 35th Knesset will be Israel’s largest government in history, with Netanyahu and Gantz creating new ministerial roles in order to divvy out enough positions to satisfy each of their political blocs.

The government will begin with 32 ministerial positions while the Knesset is in its initial six-month “emergency stage,” dedicated largely to combatting the COVID-19 crisis and its economic fallout. Once the government exits the emergency stage, four more ministers will be added, bringing the government to a whopping 36 members.

For the sake of comparison, the Jerusalem Post noted that Israel’s government only consisted of 12–13 ministers between 1949 and 1955.

After the new Knesset was sworn in Sunday, Netanyahu stood before them and outlined the objectives for the new government to tackle. The first priority will be containing the coronavirus and preventing another outbreak. Netanyahu appointed MK (member of Knesset) Yuli Edelstein as Health Minister to take on the job.

The second objective is reviving the economy, which will fall to incoming Finance Minister Israel Katz of Netanyahu’s Likud party.

The third objective, Netanyahu said, is halting Iranian aggression in the region.

Number four is opposing the potential probe by the International Criminal Court into alleged war crimes by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), which Netanyahu called a “strategic threat” to the Jewish state and its military.

The fifth objective is one that Netanyahu campaigned on during the three elections since April 2019: applying Israeli sovereignty over Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, which could begin as early as July.

In his address to the Knesset, Gantz proclaimed that Israel, after more than 500 days, was putting an end to the “worst political crisis in its history” and called for the “era of reconciliation.”

Source: (Bridges for Peace, May 18, 2020)

Photo Credit: U.S. Department of State/Ron Przysucha/flickr.com

Photo License: flickr.com

Prayer Focus
Pray for the success of this unity government in leading and protecting the nation and for the 36 ministers who will be responsible for various areas of the government. Pray individually and specifically for each of PM Netanyahu’s five objectives and earnestly seek the Lord for the reconciliation called for by Defense Minister Benny Gantz.

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

Russian Summit Aims to Repair US–Palestinian Ties

by Kate Norman

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Palestinian Authority President Abbas (left) with Russian President Putin

Thursday, 21 May 2020 | Russia is reportedly trying to set up a roundtable within the next few weeks in an attempt to warm up relations between the US and the Palestinian Authority (PA).

The meeting would provide the PA with an opportunity to suggest alterations to President Donald Trump’s peace proposal in a neutral setting, according to a Channel 13 report that cited unnamed officials.

Other attendees would include the Middle East Quartet—which comprises Russia, the US, the European Union and the United Nations—and officials from various Middle Eastern nations. No one is sure whether Israel will be invited to participate.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov pitched the idea to US Middle East envoy Avi Berkowitz in a phone call on Tuesday. Berkowitz did not reject the idea but conditioned that the US would only participate if the meeting were to use Trump’s peace plan as a foundation on which to negotiate, the Times of Israel reported.

The PA has been banning the US since President Trump declared Jerusalem Israel’s capital in 2017. Each of Trump’s successive actions, including moving the US embassy to Jerusalem, recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights and releasing the peace plan in January, have further angered the Palestinian leadership.

Tensions between the powers have heightened since Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced at the swearing in of the new Knesset (Parliament) that one of the main focuses for the new government is applying Israeli sovereignty over land in Judea and Samaria. The prime minister is seeking to annex land in the biblical heartland in accordance with Trump’s peace plan.

Israeli Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer is rallying support for the move in a race to implement it before the US presidential election in November as Trump’s rival, Joe Biden, has voiced his disapproval of annexation.

Abbas responded to Netanyahu’s announcement with an announcement of his own: the PA will sever coordination with Israel and the US, including security coordination. Few people have taken him seriously, however.

An expert on the region from the European Council on Foreign Relations told the Times of Israel: “We have been here before, many times. Abbas has yet to follow through, emptying such threats of any potential deterrence. Yet, as annexation looms his declaration should nonetheless be interpreted as one last desperate shot across the bow.”

The PA president isn’t the only one to panic at the news. European leaders are also in a kerfuffle, and foreign ministers from the European Union have been issuing statements scolding the Jewish state and meeting to determine how to discourage Israel from moving forward. The UN and even the Vatican also have thrown their hats into the Israel-scolding ring.

Israel’s new defense minister and alternate prime minister, Benny Gantz, has voiced his concerns about annexation but announced earlier this week that he would implement Trump’s plan “and everything it contains.”

Source: (Bridges for Peace, May 21, 2020)

Photo Credit: kremlin.ru

Photo License: http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/56849

Prayer Focus
Pray that Israel’s leadership will have the courage to move forward with whatever plans they are making that are in keeping with God’s will regardless of international reaction. Pray that this conference will only take place with Israel’s participation, and ask the Lord to keep it from happening at all if its only real goal is to further marginalize Israel.

Scripture

Be my strong refuge, to which I may resort continually; You have given the commandment to save me, for You are my rock and my fortress. Deliver me, O my God, out of the hand of the wicked, out of the hand of the unrighteous and cruel man.


- Psalm 71:3–4

US Again Slams International Court for Targeting Israel

by Joshua Spurlock

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US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaking in Israel last week

Monday, 18 May 2020 | The prosecutor for the International Criminal Court (ICC) recently reaffirmed her argument that the Palestinians qualify for jurisdiction of the court despite not being considered an official state under international law—a key component for the court’s jurisdiction—helping set the stage for a war crimes trial targeting Israel. In response, the United States reaffirmed their argument that the proceedings are a sham and warned the court against proceeding.

A panel for the ICC is considering whether or not the prosecutor’s argument will stand regarding jurisdiction for so-called “Palestine.”

“A court that attempts to exercise its power outside its jurisdiction is a political tool that makes a mockery of the law and due process,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement on Friday. “The United States reiterates its longstanding objection to any illegitimate ICC investigations. If the ICC continues down its current course, we will exact consequences.”

While Pompeo wasn’t specific on what that penalty might be, the Trump Administration has not been shy about using financial and diplomatic pressure as a tool to try and drive international policy, including withholding funds from the Palestinians over their payment of terrorists, trade tariffs on China and more.

Typically, the ICC only has jurisdiction over states that accept its authority. The United States and Israel are among the nations who have refused to make their national justice systems subservient to the international court.

The Palestinians have accepted the court’s jurisdiction, but their lack of internationally recognized statehood has so far barred them from convincing the ICC to try Israel for unfounded allegations of war crimes. The ICC prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, referred the matter to the ICC’s pre-trial chamber for review, while arguing in her own statement to the panel that the Palestinians qualify. Pompeo vigorously disagrees.

“As we made clear when the Palestinians purported to join the Rome Statute [for ICC jurisdiction], we do not believe the Palestinians qualify as a sovereign state, and they therefore are not qualified to obtain full membership, or participate as a state in international organizations, entities, or conferences, including the ICC,” wrote Pompeo.

It’s not just the US who feels that way either. Pompeo pointed out that seven other states that are party to the Rome Statute and therefore covered under the ICC—Australia, Austria, Brazil, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary and Uganda—have “made formal submissions to the Court that assert that the ICC does not have jurisdiction to proceed with this investigation. We concur.”

Earlier this month, Yuval Steinitz, speaking as leader of Israel’s taskforce for the ICC, said in a press release that ICC prosecutor Bensouda “continues to espouse her typical anti-Israel stance” by arguing for the Palestinians legitimacy before the court. Steinitz said Bensouda is “influenced” by the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and the movement seeking to attack Israel with boycotts, divestment and sanctions.

“The prosecutor’s disregard for the opinions of some of the world’s leading experts on international law points to her determination to harm the State of Israel and tarnish its name,” said Steinitz in a May 1 press release. “In the name of this objective she has reformulated the rules of international law, inventing a Palestinian state while the Israeli–Palestinian peace process has yet to be concluded.”

Pompeo agrees, rebuking the Court in his statement last week for Bensouda’s approach to the Palestinian claims. “The International Criminal Court is a political body, not a judicial institution,” said Pompeo. “This unfortunate reality has been confirmed yet again by the ICC prosecutor’s attempt to assert jurisdiction over Israel, which like the United States, is not a party to the Rome Statute that created the court.”

Source: (The Mideast Update originally published this article on May 17, 2020. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today.)U.S. Department of State/Ron Przysucha/flickr.com

Photo Credit: U.S. Department of State/Ron Przysucha/flickr.com

Photo License: flickr.com

Prayer Focus
Pray that the ICC will back away from any plans to investigate Israel for war crimes. Thank the Lord for the pressure the United States is exerting to keep this bogus investigation from moving forward. Pray also that the deep-seated Israel hatred of ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda be exposed, calling into question her ability to function objectively in her role.

Scripture

For the LORD loves justice, and does not forsake His saints; they are preserved forever, but the descendants of the wicked shall be cut off. The wicked watches the righteous, and seeks to slay him.


- Psalm 37:28, 32

Brushfires Erupt across Israel as Heatwave Burns On

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Brushfires rage in Israel during an unusually long heatwave (illustrative).

Wednesday, 20 May 2020 | Scorching temperatures during a record-breaking heatwave continued to be felt throughout Israel yesterday, with power outages across the country causing many to be stranded in elevators.

The Israel Electric Corporation reported a record high demand in the early afternoon hours, surpassing its peak in July of last year.

The extreme heat and dry air caused bush fires around the country, with some residents in the north told to evacuate their homes fearing flames would spread to the northern village of Kafr Kana.

Some residents of the West Bank [Judea and Samaria] community of Adam north of Jerusalem were also evacuated Tuesday when a brushfire drew dangerously close to their homes.

Weather expert Nahum Malik from the Meteo-Tech meteorological service said the low humidity, which is no more than 10% in most areas of the country, is a contributing factor to many of the brushfires.

Two Israeli men have died from the heat this week: a 60-year-old man in the southern city of Dimona was found dead on the street on Sunday and a 41-year-old man perished in his car in Hadera on Monday. Both were found to have succumbed to heatstroke.

The government announced yesterday it was lifting its directive for the use of face masks when people leave their homes due to the heat. The measure is in place until Friday when temperatures are expected to drop to seasonal norms.

Source: (Ynetnews originally published this article on May 19, 2020. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: stevepb/pixabay.com

Prayer Focus
Beseech the Lord for the blessing of cooler temperatures and relief from the danger of fires across the nation. Pray also that the Lord will protect Israelis from heatstroke and from opportunistic terrorists who would use weather conditions as a cover for arson.

Scripture

Behold, He who keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD is your keeper; the LORD is your shade at your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night.


- Psalm 121:4–6

Israeli Soldier Hurt in Car Ramming Terror Attack in Judea and Samaria

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The attack took place not far from the community of Negohot (pictured on the hilltops).

Friday, 15 May 2020 | An Israeli soldier was moderately hurt in a ramming attack yesterday near an IDF [Israel Defense Forces] checkpoint in the West Bank [Judea and Samaria].

Another IDF soldier at the scene shot and neutralized the perpetrator, who later succumbed to his wounds. The assailant is a 19-year-old youth who lives in the area. He reportedly left behind a suicide note.

The attack took place not far from the community of Negohot in the Har Hevron Regional Council.

Magen David Adom [Israel’s ambulance service] paramedics said they received the emergency call around 2:43 p.m.

They provided treatment to the wounded man in his 20s, who has been transferred to Soroka Medical Center in Beersheva, with wounds in the upper part of his body.

”When we arrived at the scene, [the] IDF’s medical staff member was already providing the young man hurt by a vehicle with medical treatment,” said Elyashiv Amthi, one of the first responders.

“We quickly put him into a medical vehicle, and he is now in stable condition and fully conscious.”

The area where the attack occurred is close to the Al-Fawar refugee camp near the city of Hebron, where according to Palestinian officials, a 15-year-old teen was killed early on Wednesday in clashes with Israeli security forces.

The Israeli army said the clashes erupted during a raid in the area as part of Israel’s efforts to locate the perpetrator who killed IDF soldier Amit Ben Ygal on Tuesday by throwing a rock at his head.

Source: (Ynetnews originally published this article on May 14, 2020. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: יעקב/wikimedia.org

Photo License: wikimedia.org

Prayer Focus
Ask the Lord to give all of Israel’s IDF soldiers supernatural alertness that they will recognize such attacks and stop the perpetrators before injuries and death occur. Pray for the quick healing and restoration of this young soldier and ask the Lord to help the IDF locate the terrorist who killed IDF soldier Staff Sgt. Amit Ben Ygal last week.

Scripture

Consider and hear me, O LORD my God; enlighten my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death; lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed against him”; lest those who trouble me rejoice when I am moved.


- Psalm 13:3–4

New Health Minister Takes Office, Prepares for Second Virus Wave

by Sivan Hilai

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Incoming Health Minister Yuli Edelstein

Tuesday, 19 May 2020 | Newly appointed health minister said yesterday he is prepared to do his best if another wave of coronavirus hits Israel in the coming months.

Speaking at a ceremony where he officially took control of the office from Yaakov Litzman, Yuli Edelstein thanked his predecessor and said he is ready for the challenges ahead.

“I intend to make sure that we invest all the resources in preparing for a second wave [of COVID-19] if it comes, and if it doesn’t come then it is a historic opportunity to improve the healthcare system in the State of Israel.”

Litzman, who also spoke at the ceremony, said the Health Ministry under his leadership might have acted “too strongly” in the battle against the COVID-19 epidemic.

“I don’t know how many sick are there right now, but the number is low and we draw [conclusions] from that,” Litzman said at a ceremony welcoming his successor. “We succeeded, in large part thanks to our isolation and caution measures, some might have been too harsh, but we did good things,” he added.

“We must also deal with the issue later so that, God forbid, it does not return next winter. We must be careful.”

[Moshe] Bar-Siman-Tov [Director General of the Ministry of Health] for his part thanked Litzman for his support and said the virus “isn’t resting” despite the low number of new cases.

“Don’t be complacent, this war to save lives goes on. Be alert, be professional and don’t panic. We won’t be forgiven if we don’t use this time to prepare for a second wave,” he said.

Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published in Ynetnews on May 18, 2020. Time related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Juris Vīgulis/Saeima/wikipedia.org

Photo License: wikipedia.org

Prayer Focus
Pray that the concerns expressed by the former health minister will be heeded and Israel will take every precaution to protect people from a second wave of coronavirus infections. Pray for new minister Yuli Edelstein as he steps into his role, asking the Lord to give him great wisdom as he assumes responsibility for the healthcare system in Israel.

Scripture

“For I will restore health to you and heal you of your wounds,” says the LORD.


- Jeremiah 30:17a

First Flight from UAE Touches Down in Israel

by Ilse Strauss

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The Etihad cargo jet, painted in all white and missing any marking, landed at Ben-Gurion Airport just after 9 p.m. last night (illustrative).

Wednesday, 20 May 2020 | The United Arab Emirates flag-carrier Etihad Airways made history yesterday as the first direct commercial flight to take off in the UAE and touch down in Israel.

The plane, carrying 16 tons of medical supplies earmarked to help the Palestinians curb the spread of COVID-19, was painted solid white, with the telltale golden Etihad logo and UAE flag and emblem whited out.

Israeli media hailed the flight as a rare moment of overt cooperation between Jerusalem and Abu Dhabi. Like most of its neighbors in the Persian Gulf and the rest of the Middle East, the UAE has continuously turned a cold shoulder to Israel’s outstretched hand of friendship, shunning diplomatic ties. However, rumors are rife that a mutual enmity of Iran has thawed the frosty relations, leading to behind-the-scenes collaboration between the Jewish state and the Gulf state in recent years.

The UAE flag-carrier confirmed the flight in a statement. “Etihad Airways operated a dedicated humanitarian cargo flight from Abu Dhabi to Tel Aviv on 19 May to provide medical supplies to the Palestinians. The flight had no passengers on board. The aid includes personal protective equipment (PPE) and medical equipment. Most notably, it includes 10 ventilators that are acutely needed.”

Speaking on condition of anonymity, an Israeli official corroborated that the medical supplies aboard the Etihad flight would be distributed to the Palestinians through the World Food Program, adding that Jerusalem and Abu Dhabi collaborated to make the necessary arrangements.

Israel celebrated the milestone. “For the first time, an @etihad cargo plane just landed at Israel’s Ben-Gurion airport! Hopefully soon, we will see passenger flights, too,” Danny Danon, Israel’s ambassador the UN, wrote on Twitter. “Having visited, I know the UAE is a fascinating place, and look to continue improving relations between our countries.”

Not everybody is equally thrilled. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei blasted the UAE for committing the “biggest treachery against their own history and the history of the Arab world. They have betrayed #Palestine by supporting Israel.”

The enraged ayatollah failed to clarify how exactly 16 tons of medical supplies sent to help see Arabs through a global pandemic translates to a colossal act of treason against the Arab world—and particularly the Palestinian people. Perhaps Khamenei’s hatred is so all consuming that he would readily sacrifice the lives, health and future of the Palestinians in order to continue shunning Israel.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, May 20, 2020)

Photo Credit: Leo_65/pixabay.com

Prayer Focus
Pray that Israel’s relationship with the UAE will continue to strengthen, allowing the two countries to work together for the good of both nations and the region. Pray that their cooperation will be an example to other Arab nations in the area as well, emboldening them to establish relations with Israel and reap the benefits of a relationship with God’s chosen land.

Scripture

A land for which the LORD your God cares; the eyes of the LORD your God are always on it, from the beginning of the year to the very end of the year.


- Deuteronomy 11:12

Can Jordan Revoke Its Peace Treaty with Israel?

by Amb. Alan Baker

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The Israel–Jordan peace treaty signing in 1994

Thursday, 21 May 2020 | Following warnings to Israel by King Abdullah of Jordan of a “massive conflict” if Israel proceeds with plans to apply Israeli law to parts of Judea and Samaria, some political and media commentators and sources are referring to a possibility that Jordan might revoke its Treaty of Peace with Israel.

A peace treaty, by its very nature, is not limited by any specific time limit, and is not given to cancellation or revocation, unless by declaration of war or by an act of aggression by one of the parties to the treaty, constituting a revocation of the very basis of the peace relationship which includes mutual acknowledgment of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of the other party (article 2).

It is highly unlikely that Jordan would want to take such a step, especially in light of the fact that a unilateral act by Israel of applying law or sovereignty to parts of Judea and Samaria, even if not favored by Jordan, would not constitute an act of aggression against Jordan’s sovereignty or territorial integrity and as such would not be grounds for revoking the treaty.

Since the issue of the status of Judea and Samaria is, in article 3, specifically excluded from the border delimitation provisions of their respective territory, Jordan cannot claim that unilateral application of law or sovereignty by Israel in such territories constitutes a violation of the peace treaty or grounds for its revocation.

Since the Israel–Jordan peace treaty determines such basic bilateral components of their relationship as the delineation of the international border between them (article 3), bilateral security arrangements (article 4), full diplomatic and consular relations as well as normal economic and cultural relations (article 5), it would appear to be virtually impossible to regress backwards from peaceful to hostile relations, unless one side conducts an act of aggression against the other.

Some of the central components of the peace relationship represent interests that are vital to Jordan such as water allocations (article 6), economic relations (article 7), Jordan’s special historic role in Muslim holy shrines in Jerusalem (article 9), freedom of navigation and access to ports (article 14) and civil aviation and rights of overflight, including Jordanian overflight of Israeli territory to reach points in Europe (article 15). To cancel or revoke such vital components would not serve the interests of Jordan and would undermine its very stability.

The parties agreed in article 25 to fulfill in good faith their obligations without regard to action or inaction of any other party and independently of any other instrument inconsistent with the peace treaty.

Should Jordan wish to solve a dispute with Israel regarding the application or interpretation of the peace treaty, article 29 establishes a dispute settlement mechanism of negotiation, conciliation or arbitration.

Source:   (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs originally published this article on May 19, 2020. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Government Press Office/wikipedia.org

Photo License: wikipedia.org

Prayer Focus
Pray that Israel’s peace treaty with Jordan will not be revoked or even endangered by any action taken by Israel to extend sovereignty in the Jordan Valley area. Pray that Israel will proceed with wisdom and caution, and pray that Jordan’s reaction will not cause further instability in the region.

Scripture

The LORD will give strength to His people; the LORD will bless His people with peace.


- Psalm 29:11

Iran Publishes Poster Reminiscent of Nazi “Final Solution”

by Ilse Strauss

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Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

Thursday, 21 May 2020 | The supreme leader of Iran has never been shy about his intentions toward Israel. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s Twitter feed, public speeches and official comments are often peppered with vows to annihilate the Jewish state, which he calls a “cancerous tumor.” In fact, the Islamic Republic has even erected a digital clock in Tehran city center that counts down the days to 2040, when the supreme leader predicts Israel will meet a destructive end.

This week, Khamenei stepped up the Israel-hatred another notch, publishing a poster on his website showing the Temple Mount in Jerusalem after the site has apparently been captured from Israel. The compound is filled with jubilant crowds, presided over by smiling soldiers and the military commanders of Iran’s terror proxies. The Palestinian flag is being hoisted over the Al-Aqsa Mosque, while the Hezbollah and Hamas flags flutter below and the Israeli flag is torched in the background. Pictures of Khamenei, the late Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp Quds Force head Qassem Soleimani and various other so-called “martyrs” are held high. In an apparent attempt to give the poster a pastoral feel, three white doves are released from their cage to circle the festivities below.

While the scene is unsettling, the poster language is particularly disturbing. “Palestine will be free,” Khamenei boasted in English, Farsi and Arabic. “The final solution.” The phrase, “final solution,” is borrowed from the Nazis’ terminology used for the murder of all Jews during the Holocaust.

Israel and the US condemned the poster, accusing Khamenei of calling for genocide against the Jewish people.

“The leader of the world’s top sponsor of terrorism and anti-Semitism denies the Holocaust, sends money and weapons to anti-Israel terrorists, and now has invoked the Nazi call for the Final Solution,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office also responded via Twitter. “Khamenei’s threats to carry out ‘The Final Solution’ against Israel bring to mind the Nazi ‘Final Solution’ plan to annihilate the Jewish People. He should know that any regime that threatens the destruction of the State of Israel faces a similar danger.”

Khamenei was quick to defend himself, claiming he simply seeks the eradication of Israel, not the annihilation of all Jewish people. “Eliminating the Zionist regime doesn’t mean eliminating Jews,” he explained. “We aren’t against Jews.”

The supreme leader was quick to add that the destruction of Israel was but a matter of time. “It will happen,” he assured.

Khamenei also generously offered Iran’s backing to anybody actively seeking to destroy the Jewish state. “We will support and assist any nation or any group anywhere who opposes and fights the Zionist regime, and we do not hesitate to say this.”

The supreme leader has since removed the poster from its website.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, May 21, 2020)

Photo Credit: khamenei.ir/wikimedia.org

Photo License: wikimedia.org

Prayer Focus
Pray for international outrage at Iran’s scandalous promotion of murder and genocide. Pray that God will move on Israel’s behalf to put an end to Iran’s blatant and reprehensible incitement against the nation that is the apple of His eye.

Scripture

Arise, O God, plead Your own cause; remember how the foolish man reproaches You daily. Do not forget the voice of Your enemies; the tumult of those who rise up against You increases continually.


- Psalm 74:22–23

Israeli Business Owners Lament Coronavirus Shutdown

by Joshua Spurlock

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The Jerusalem Municipality is working to make sidewalks more pedestrian friendly and reduce government fees for restaurants.

Wednesday, 20 May 2020 | The current coronavirus crisis may be nearing the end in Israel, but the economic crisis caused by weeks of government-imposed shutdown in response to the virus is still raging. On Monday, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion spoke with business owners in Israel’s capital city, and the response published in an Israeli press release was mostly bleak.

For his part, Lion spoke of efforts by the city of Jerusalem to assist the businesses in the short-term, while Rivlin called for more to be done on a national level. One day later, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with the new Finance Minister Israel Katz to discuss just that.

“Our suppliers continue to ask for their money and we have no way of paying them because the money has stopped. The suppliers have been waiting for two months… And all this comes before I find any money to buy groceries,” Noam Rizi, an owner of the Adom restaurant chain, was quoted in the press release as saying.

“I have colleagues with tears in their eyes. We give money to each other from the nothing we have, and it now doesn’t matter when we open. Give us an option to get through the crisis. I owe NIS 50,000 (US $14,200) management fees for the premises here for the last two months. How? Where from?”

Restaurants would get some relief, according to Lion, who said that the Jerusalem Municipality would allow tables and chairs to be placed on sidewalks without the normal government fees, would make streets more pedestrian-friendly and would fund cultural activities to bring people to the area to shop.

“As a former accountant, I understand what businesspeople are going through,” Lion was quoted as saying. “…I see business owners like my own children.”

It’s more than just restaurants who are struggling. The entire tour guide profession in Israel is at risk, according to guide Gadi Dahan. “I don’t sleep at nights. Our profession is in jeopardy. Our tourists have gotten older in recent years and I am very worried that they won’t come. And everything stopped all at once and people have nothing to eat.”

However, not all is hopeless for the tour guide industry. Esther Sa’ad was quoted in the press release as describing her creative response to the coronavirus shutdown. “I posted my tours on Facebook. I take fewer people because of the restrictions but we go out all the time,” said Sa’ad, who noted the Jerusalem Municipality organized tours for Jerusalem Day. “…Even though we make less, we are working and it’s wonderful. My business has no expenses and if I go out to work, I earn.”

Meanwhile, Netanyahu and Finance Minister Katz met on Tuesday in their first working meeting since Katz was named to his new post. According to a press release from Netanyahu’s office, the meeting “focused on providing incentives for a return to work and restoring the economy to growth.” Katz is set to provide a final outline of a plan at another meeting later this week.

Rivlin, in comments posted in Monday’s press release, noted that Israel has a fully official government “at last” and called for the country to act to help businesses.

“The corona crisis has for some time now been more than a health crisis, with economic and social aspects. Behind every small business there is a big dream and whole lives. There are many Israelis whose livelihoods are under threat,” said Rivlin.

“…The country must come to the aid of small businesses. It is not just its moral obligation, it is also the key to the recovery of the economy as a whole.”

Rivlin and Lion didn’t just talk about helping business owners, they acted as well, grabbing ice coffee to go from a local café. It was more than a small purchase; it was a symbol of hope.  

Said Rivlin, “Israel has faced stiffer challenges than this, and I am sure that we will be able to overcome this crisis too, its health and economic aspects.”

Source: (The Mideast Update originally published this article on May 19, 2020. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today.)

Photo Credit: Jenna Solomon/bridgesforpeace.com

Prayer Focus
Beseech the Lord for wisdom and innovative ideas for Finance Minister Katz as he works to restore Israel’s economy. Cry out to Him for the many small businesses, the tour guide industry and so many others who are at grave risk due to the shutdown caused by the coronavirus. Remind Him of His promises to restore and prosper His people and ask for a miraculous economic recovery that will benefit Israel while revealing His faithfulness to the nations.

Scripture

The LORD will open to you His good treasure, the heavens, to give the rain to your land in its season, and to bless all the work of your hand. You shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow. And the LORD will make you the head and not the tail; you shall be above only, and not be beneath.


- Deuteronomy 28:12–13a

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