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A Light in the Midst of Trauma

Friday, May 5, 2023

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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.

Israel Taking Action against Iran ‘Around the Clock’ as Talks with US Military Continue

by Joshua Spurlock ~ Mideast Update

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The Israeli and US commanders of Austere Challenge 12, a joint aerial defense exercise, speaking at a press conference (illustrative).

Monday, 1 May 2023 | Days after high-ranking military officials from Israel and the United States again discussed the Iranian threat, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the effort to thwart Iran’s terrorism network isn’t just an ongoing process—it’s going on all the time. “We will not allow Iran to tighten a ring of terrorism around us to strangle us. We are taking action on this matter around the clock, at all times, even now, and we will continue to take both offensive and defensive action against Iranian aggression and that of its terrorist proxies,” said Netanyahu at Sunday’s cabinet meeting, according to an Israeli press release.

Netanyahu’s highlighting of the high priority given to the threat comes after Israel again struck assets of the Iranian terror proxy Hezbollah on Saturday, and just days after top Israeli defense officials met with US Central Command (CENTCOM) Commander General Michael Kurilla.

According to a post on the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) website, Saturday’s Israeli missile attack destroyed a Hezbollah ammunition warehouse in Syria. Weapons trucks were also hit. Of note, the Syrian location is defended by three air defense positions which appear to have failed to protect the targets.

Meanwhile, a fuel station was hit in the attack and SOHR reported that while the fuel station was also owned by a Hezbollah operative, it was unclear if the fuel station was struck by Israel or if the air defenses hit the fuel station in error. Four combatants were injured in the overall incident, with SOHR stating there was information on potential fatalities. The Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) claimed on their website that three civilians were injured.

The ongoing back and forth between Israel and Iranian allies in Syria comes as tensions have heated up between Iran and the US–Israel alliance. With that in the background, Israel and the US have taken steps to counter Iranian aggression in the Middle East, while the sides have also held regular security discussions.

The IDF [Israel Defense Forces] Twitter feed reported on Thursday in a series of posts that CENTCOM Commander Kurilla met with IDF Chief of the General Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi, with the IDF head stating that Israel is “actively following the changes in the region, with an emphasis on the increase in Iranian hostility and terror activity. Precisely in this sensitive time period, there is great importance in the close relationship between the IDF and the US Armed Forces. We will continue the cooperation and the common commitment to the security in the Middle East.”

In the same Twitter report, Kurilla said he was “thoroughly impressed by the combat readiness” he saw with the IDF, while noting “our military-to-military relationship with Israel remains ironclad.”

As part of his visit, Kurilla also met with Israeli Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant on Thursday. According to an Israeli press release, the two military officials focused their discussion on Iran, including the delivery of weapons to Iranian terrorist proxies in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and elsewhere in the region.

The press release said that during the discussion, Gallant “expressed the concerns of the State of Israel in regards to Iran’s progress in its nuclear program and aims to achieve nuclear military capabilities.”

The summary said both leaders “expressed their shared commitment to deepen the unique cooperation and intelligence-sharing between their respective militaries and defense establishments.”

Source: (This article was published by the Mideast Update on May 1, 2023.)

Photo Credit: Staff Sgt. Yuval Haker/Israel Defense Forces/flickr.com

Photo Credit: flickr

Prayer Focus
Praise the Lord that the military-to-military relationship between Israel and the US remains ironclad. Pray that the commitment to a secure Middle East continues to unite the two military establishments and pray for an ever-strengthening relationship between Israel and its greatest ally, the US.


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

- Psalm 133:1

The Rollercoaster that is Our Life around the Gaza Border

by Matan Tzuri ~ Ynet

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Israelis hiding in a bomb shelter

Thursday, 4 May 2023 | It is very difficult to describe and understand the small things, the minute and intimate events that take place in our homes in Sderot and other communities around the Gaza Strip border during each round of cross-border violence.

Even if we think we understand—and sometimes we are exposed to images and videos that hit us right in the heart—it is still far from the real thing. It is also difficult to describe in words. But deep inside our homes, within our families, and especially our children, the years-long security situation is showing its signs.

The sprint for the bomb shelter, the whistling of falling rockets, the tears, panic and terror, the questions the children ask without answers, the sleepless nights and restless sleep—this is the reality around these parts. It is difficult for anyone who doesn’t live here to understand, even if they think they are appalled, in routine and in an emergency.

In every home in the Gaza border area, sirens and explosions jolt the soul, and there are unspoken consequences. Why? Because the anxious response is an intimate matter which not everyone feels comfortable sharing. They are transparent shock victims if you will. When you meet them, you won’t feel a thing. They will even smile and say that everything’s fine, but that’s far from the truth.

And you know what? These people are the majority. The silent majority. Among mental health professionals who know about their lived experience, they are considered a “challenge.” That is, the challenge is to locate them, pull them out of their bubble of silence, and take care of them—because otherwise they could erupt and cause more damage.

What will happen to a normal person whose whole life swings between routine and emergency, with uncertainty and under constant mental pressure? We are people, not robots. From a young age, even in kindergarten, we were taught that there is a cause and effect to everything in life. So here is the result of more than 20 years of rocket fire: this is how people look and feel. To which endpoint exactly do you want to bring us?

The residents of the south have already passed their breaking point, more than once. I know that the government and the army expect us to demonstrate resilience and determination in spirit of the generation of Israel’s founding.

Okay, understood, clear. But we are not the generation of 1948, with all due respect to this wonderful generation. In their time, they paid a price for a better and calmer future. What will someone from that generation have to say if we go back in time and tell them that while much like they slept in bunkers, we’re sleeping in bomb shelters? The founding generation did not fight for this reality.

From Tuesday afternoon until the next morning, residents living throughout the entire southern region halted their lives and entered bomb shelters because Islamic Jihad decided so. Not us.

At noon, after 20 minutes of rocket fire, the terrorist group decided they could return to normalcy and stopped firing for a few hours. Where have we heard of something like this before? Well, right here in Israel.

And what does it mean for us? That everything is canceled in an instant: classes, transportation, concerts, hangouts. Complete shutdown. This transition from routine to emergency happens within seconds, a feeling your stomach is turning, an effect that even a rollercoaster in an amusement park cannot achieve.

It is unbearable. Do you know how many parents got on that rollercoaster Tuesday afternoon, with their children not by their side—just returning from school or on their way to see friends—and sirens and explosions going off all around? There were no more places in the rollercoaster’s cars. Just imagine how I felt when it all began and my children didn’t answer the phone.

Source: (This article was originally published by Ynetnews on May 3, 2023. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Israel Defense Forces/flickr.com

Photo License: Flickr

Prayer Focus
Cry out to the Lord for Israeli citizens who live in the Gaza area. Beseech Him for healing for their emotional and psychological wounds suffered from decades of terror and rocket attacks, especially the children. Pray that they will no longer be “hidden” but will get the help they need. Also plead with the Lord for peace: the peace of Jerusalem; the peace of the Gaza area; and the peace of His chosen Land.


“For the mountains shall depart and the hills be removed, but My kindness shall not depart from you, nor shall My covenant of peace be removed,” says the LORD, who has mercy on you.

- Isaiah 54:10

Bridges for Peace CEO Receives Prestigious Award

by Ilse Strauss

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Bridges for Peace International President and CEO Rebecca Brimmer pictured with Keren Hayesod leaders and MK Benny Gantz as she accepts Keren Hayesod’s Yakir award.

Tuesday, 2 May 2023 | Keren Hayesod, one of Israel’s national institutions, awarded its annual Yakir Award last week at a star-studded event featuring the who’s who of the Jewish world. Every year, Keren Hayesod grants the Yakir Award to recipients in recognition of their outstanding commitment, support and contribution to Israel and its people. This year, six individuals were selected for the honor. Five of these recipients were Jews from the Diaspora (the Jewish population outside Israel), who have worked with unparalleled fervor and dedication to prosper the Promised Land. The sixth recipient was Bridges for Peace International President and CEO, Rev. Rebecca Brimmer, the only Christian to be recognized in this way.

Receiving this award is no small honor. Keren Hayesod is a household name in the Promised Land and one of the foremost institutions in Israel. And the fact Rev. Brimmer, representing Bridges for Peace, was the sole Christian among the six recipients speaks volumes.

The relationship between Keren Hayesod and Bridges for Peace is a long and prosperous one. Over the years, we have worked alongside this national institution, particularly in the arena of aliyah (immigration to Israel) as the Jewish people continue to return to their ancient homeland in fulfilment of prophecy.

In the aftermath of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Keren Hayesod made an exceptional effort to rescue Jewish people from the war-torn nation and bring them to safety in Israel. This entailed rescue operations, setting up meeting points on the border, fast-tracking paperwork, arranging lodging, chartering flights and then helping these refugees—many of whom arrived with only the clothes on their backs—settle into their new lives in a new home country. And Bridges for Peace was there, every step of the way, supporting, enabling and helping.

“This award is a symbol,” said Rev. Brimmer. “The history between Jews and Christians is marred with persecution and tragedy. We acknowledge that. But this is a new chapter where we will work to forge the bonds of friendship and goodwill between us.”

According to Rev. Brimmer, the Jewish people were often forced to stand alone in the face of horrendous onslaughts, with nobody rushing to their aid. “This award stands as proof that the reality is different today,” she explained. “This award stands as proof that millions of Christians around the world are there to help the Jewish people in their time of need and then to help see them prosper.”

Rev. Brimmer recognizes that this award is the result of steadfast Christian support for Israel. “It is truly an honor to be the fourth Christian ever to receive this prestigious award,” she said. “But the credit really shouldn’t just come to me. Thousands of Christians around the world are committed to help rescue the Jews of Ukraine, Russia, Ethiopia and the Diaspora. This award is in recognition of the steadfast support, unconditional love, and unwavering commitment of Christians around the world to the nation and people of Israel. Without you, Bridges for Peace would be unable to bless the Jewish people. Today, we want to take the time to thank you. It is an honor serving as your hands and feet in Israel.”

Since its establishment in 1920, Keren Hayesod has been at the forefront of Israel’s growth and progress, intertwining its work and history with the State and people of Israel. Today, Keren Hayesod is one of Israel’s three “National Institutions,” and works side-by-side with the government of Israel and the Jewish Agency for Israel to further the country’s national priorities, including aliyah and integrating arriving immigrants into their new homeland.

Rev. Brimmer has served faithfully as the international president and CEO of Bridges for Peace for 18 years, dedicating her life to building relationships between Christians and Jews in Israel and around the world. In June, she will pass the baton to the CEO-elect, Rev. Peter Fast, while continuing to serve as international president.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, May 2, 2023)

Photo Credit: Keren Hayesod

Prayer Focus
Praise the Lord for this opportunity to show the Jewish world the sincere commitment and love demonstrated by Christians around the world and for the recognition of Bridges for Peace and our nearly 60 years of support for the nation of Israel. Pray that the walls of distrust and hatred between our two communities will continue to come down as together we build a better future for all of humankind. Also pray for Rebecca J. Brimmer and her husband as they enter a new phase of their lives after decades of selfless commitment to the State of Israel.


“The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.”

- Numbers 6:24–26

Speaker of the House Lauds Israel–US Ties in Knesset Speech

by Kate Norman

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US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy

Tuesday, 2 May 2023 | US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy addressed the Israeli Knesset (Parliament) on Monday, touting the strong bond between the Jewish state and the United States based on shared values.

“Our values are your values. Our heritage is your heritage,” McCarthy told the Knesset. “Our dreams are your dreams. America is grateful for our friendship with Israel. We are a better nation because of it, and we must never shy away from defending it.”

Acknowledging the threat of Iran against Israel and the entire region, McCarthy vowed: “As long as I am speaker, America will continue to support fully funding for security assistance in Israel.”

He called for the US and Israel to stand together against Iran’s regional aggression and for the two nations to “always remain resolute in our commitment that Iran will never acquire a nuclear weapon.”

This statement drew heavy applause from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who over the past several years has vowed that Israel will never allow Iran to achieve a nuclear weapon. While Washington has leaned toward diplomatic means of curbing Tehran’s nuclear ambition, Jerusalem has been beefing up its military and conducting military exercises—many alongside the US military—to prepare for a strike against Iran’s nuclear development sites.

McCarthy is the second US speaker of the House of Representatives to address the Knesset, following Newt Gingrich in 1998. This was also McCarthy’s first overseas trip since stepping into his position in January.

The speaker, describing himself as a “lifelong supporter and a true friend of Israel,” offered his congratulations on the 75th anniversary of the rebirth of the modern state of Israel.

McCarthy arrived in Israel on Sunday with a group of 20 members of Congress. Immediately after landing, the speaker traveled to the Western Wall and wrote in the visitor book: “Israel, you are a blessed nation. Our shared values unite a bond that will never break.”

Earlier on Monday, McCarthy visited the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem and laid a wreath at the site to honor the six million Jews murdered in the Holocaust.

He also met with Prime Minister Netanyahu as well as Israeli President Isaac Herzog yesterday.

In his address to the Knesset, McCarthy called the rebirth of Israel a “miracle.”

“Peace, liberty and prosperity are the foundation of our nations’ success,” the speaker added. “They are also the cornerstone of our special relationship. Our special relationship stands for freedom. It stands for safety. It stands for hope…

“I look forward to working with you as we strengthen this unique and indispensable bond,” McCarthy concluded.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, May 2, 2023)

Photo Credit: Matt Johnson / Right Cheer/flickr.com

Photo License: flickr

Prayer Focus
Praise the Lord for US Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy and his remarks indicating his commitment to “continue to support full funding for security assistance in Israel.” Thank God that the US shares Israel’s commitment that Iran will never acquire a nuclear weapon and pray that the American support and cooperation will be there regardless of the decisions Israel deems necessary to deal with Iranian nuclear ambitions.


Give us help from trouble, for the help of man is useless. Through God we will do valiantly, for it is He who shall tread down our enemies.

- Psalm 108:12–13

Israel Fights Back as Indonesia Bans Athletes from International Competitions

by Itamar Eichner

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The girls’ final football match between Japan and Portugal in Summer Youth Olympics (illustrative).

Monday, 1 May 2023 | Indonesian Minister of Youth and Sports Affairs Dito Ariotedjo said Sunday that Israel was not among the 69 countries that have been confirmed for participation during the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) meeting.

“I don’t see Israel [in the participants’ list]. So it won’t be a problem,” he said, as quoted by Antara news agency.

The ANOC will take place between August 5–12 on the island of Bali, with the participation of 1,600 athletes from 130 countries. Indonesia was granted the right to host the games on the condition that all participating countries would be allowed to compete. Recently, there have been reports that the Indonesian government announced that they will not allow entry for Israelis to the competition.

Meanwhile, Israel has been pressuring the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and ANOC to intervene to ensure Israeli athletes are allowed to travel to Bali. Organizers have already prevented Israeli athletes from attending the main delegations conference [which is] taking place these days in Bali.

The Olympic Committee of Israel stated: “After many conversations with the heads of the IOC in recent months, a letter was sent to the President and CEO of ANOC clarifying that Israeli athletes will participate in the ANOC only if they are given equal conditions to those of other countries.

It should be noted that the IOC is in continuous contact with us on the matter, and we are confident that they will uphold the equality and right of the State of Israel to compete in any competition worldwide, as has been done throughout the year.”

Last month, Indonesia was stripped of hosting the men’s Under-20 FIFA World Cup amid political turmoil regarding Israel’s participation.

Following a meeting between FIFA President Gianni Infantino and President of the Football Association of Indonesia (PSSI) Erick Thohir in Doha, FIFA has decided, due to the current circumstances, to remove Indonesia as the host of the tournament.

Source: (This article was originally published by Ynetnews on May 1, 2023. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Sandro Halank/commons.wikimedia.org

Photo License: wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Pray that the ANOC will indeed uphold the equality and right of the State of Israel to compete in any competition worldwide and will respond to Indonesian anti-Semitism with the same force of commitment to equality as was demonstrated by FIFA.


Let all those who hate Zion be put to shame and turned back.

- Psalm 129:5

Family of Israeli Woman Murdered in Terror Attack Meets Patients that Received Her Organs

by JNS

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Left to right: Keren Dee, Dr. Tuvia Ben Gal, Tali Dee, Professor Dan Aravot and Lital Valenci at Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva, Israel.

Wednesday, 3 May 2023 | Lucy Dee’s family on Tuesday participated in an emotional meeting with the recipient of the murdered Israeli woman’s heart.

The gathering took place at Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva and featured a touching moment when Dee’s surviving daughters Keren, 19, and Tali, 17, felt their mother’s heart beating in Lital Valenci’s chest.

Valenci, 51, a mother of two, suffered from severe heart failure for five years before receiving Dee’s heart last month. The 48-year-old British–Israeli woman from Efrat and her daughters Maia, 20, and Rina, 15, were murdered by a Palestinian terrorist in the Jordan Valley on April 7.

The surgery was performed in the early hours of April 11, shortly after Dee died on April 10 at Ein Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem from wounds sustained in the attack. Maia and Rina died at the scene.

“I was so moved when I learned who I was receiving a heart from as I had read about Lucy Dee and what an incredible woman she was, with an exemplary family,” said Valenci.

Dee’s husband, Rabbi Leo Dee, and their son Yehuda, 14, were also present at Beilinson for the meeting.

A total of five people received organ transplants from Dee. The Dee family also met Mordechi Elkabetz, 51, who received one of her kidneys, and Daniel Geresh, 25, who received her liver. Ahmed Suliman, 38, also received one of her kidneys but was unable to attend. He instead sent a plaque with Bible verses as a tribute to Dee.

“Listening to my mother’s heartbeat made me feel like I am with her. It was moving meeting Lital and all the recipients. We have lost so much but are comforted that so many families were saved from similar pain,” said Keren.

“Nobody can understand what it is like losing a mother and two sisters at once and to hear my mother’s heartbeat was comforting,” added Tali.

Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on May 3, 2023. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Beilinson Hospital/jns.org

Prayer Focus
Praise the Lord for the miracle of modern medicine that allowed life to come from Lucy Dee’s death. Thank Him for the emotional and comforting time that her family had in meeting with those who had received donations of Lucy’s organs. Cry out to the Lord for these family members who have suffered such tragedy and yet find comfort in the generosity of their wife and mother.


He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.

- Psalm 147:3

Additional Steps Taken towards Israeli–Saudi Normalization

by Ariel Kahana ~ JNS

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Saudi Crown Prince Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

Monday, 1 May 2023 | Despite the recent rapprochement between long-time regional rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran, the prospect of normalization between Israel and Saudi Arabia is progressing, Israel Hayom has learned.

According to a United States official, Washington is examining demands put forth by Riyadh as conditions for normalization with Jerusalem.

Possible US presidential candidate Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who visited Israel last week, said that there is “a great opportunity to have a US–Israel–Arab country alliance vis-à-vis the nefarious influence of the Iranians, and I think that is something that is doable. I think with proper policy and proper relations you could see Saudi Arabia recognize the existence of Israel.”

Israel’s political echelon hopes that Riyadh will seek to boost ties with Washington as it seeks to maintain its connections with superpowers.

Saudi Arabia is said to have presented the following demands: a defense alliance, a civilian nuclear program, increased trade, and putting an end to criticism of Riyadh over the 2018 killing of Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi.

The efforts are led by US Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who visited Riyadh, and later Jerusalem, two weeks ago. Graham stressed that although he was a Republican, he would support President Joe Biden if the administration accepted the Saudi demands and this would eventually lead to normalization between Jerusalem and Riyadh. He warned, however, that there was a “limited” time frame for the opportunity.

“If we do not do it in 2023 or early 2024, the window might close,” he said.

According to the US source, the process of analyzing the demands will take several months. The source said that for Israel, the most worrisome demand is for civilian nuclear power, however, at this point, Jerusalem’s position on the matter is unclear.

Striking a peace agreement with Saudi Arabia is one of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s main goals in his current term. His close adviser Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer stated several times that a policy change by the Biden administration with regard to Saudi Arabia could lead to peace between Riyadh and Jerusalem and a Nobel Prize for Biden.

Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on April 30, 2023. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Twitter/jns.org

Prayer Focus
Pray that US and Israeli leaders will have great wisdom as they navigate the complex issues that must be settled in order for normalization between Israel and Saudi Arabia to occur. Pray that any such agreements will not sacrifice Israel’s long-term security.


For the LORD gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding; He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk uprightly; He guards the paths of justice, and preserves the way of His saints.

- Proverbs 2:6–8

Israeli–EU Summit Planned

by JNS

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Israel Foreign Minister Eli Cohen, left, meets with EU foreign-policy chief Joseph Borrell in Brussels.

Thursday, 4 May 2023 | Israel’s Foreign Minister Eli Cohen met with his European Union [EU] counterpart Josep Borrell in Brussels on Tuesday with the two reconciling their recently thorny relations.

The talks lasted for more than two-and-half hours, including a one-on-one exchange of more than an hour. Following the meeting, Cohen boasted that “Israel is opening a new page in its relations with the EU.” He then declared: “We decided to hold an EU–Israel summit this year, and we plan to host it in Jerusalem.”

Cohen was referring to a planned meeting of the EU–Israel Association Council, which the foreign ministry said would likely take place in Israel’s capital city.

“Holding the Association Council as the highest institutional level of bilateral dialogue is important not just to continue strengthening [the] EU–Israel relationship but also because of the importance of cooperation to face global challenges, among them Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, or Iran’s regional role,” Borrell’s office said in a statement.

Borrell also “condemned recent terrorist and rocket attacks against Israelis, and underlined the EU’s commitment to Israel’s right to defend itself,” his office said.

For his part, Cohen urged the EU foreign-policy chief to condemn the Palestinian Authority’s “pay-for-slay” policy in which it pays monthly stipends to terrorists and the families of slain terrorists. He also emphasized the importance of stopping Iran’s nuclear program and imposing sanctions on the regime in Tehran.

“This is the time to stop a nuclear Iran,” said Cohen.

Cohen met on Tuesday with European Parliament President Roberta Metsola and European Commission Vice President Margaritis Schinas.

In March, Cohen sharply criticized Borrell for equating Palestinian terrorist attacks with operations undertaken by the Israel Defense Forces.

The rebuke came after Borrell wrote in an article on the news commentary site Project Syndicate that “violence on the part of Israeli settlers in the West Bank [Judea and Samaria] is increasingly threatening Palestinian lives and livelihoods—almost always with impunity. Moreover, Israeli military operations frequently cause civilian Palestinian deaths, often without effective accountability; illegal settlements are expanding on occupied land; and the delicate status quo concerning holy sites is eroding.”

Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on May 3, 2023. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Twitter via MFA/jns.org

Prayer Focus
Pray for the thawing of the relationship between Israel and the EU. Thank the Lord for the upcoming EU–Israel summit. Pray that it will strengthen the EU–Israel relationship but also result in cooperation to face global challenges, among them Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine and Iran’s regional role.


It is God who arms me with strength, and makes my way perfect.

- Psalm 18:32

The Israeli Breakthrough that Could Cure Anemia

by Dr. Itay Gal ~ Ynet

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Red blood cells

Friday, 28 April 2023 | Scientists at the Weizmann Institute of Science and their research partners identified the cells responsible for the production of red blood cells that carry oxygen in our bodies and may lead to cures for anemia and other blood diseases.

The findings reported in the new issue of the journal Nature Medicine may lead to the development of new drugs for anemia and other blood diseases.

Our body cells need oxygen transmitted through the red blood cells, erythrocytes that also remove the normal carbon dioxide emitted from the body. Every second, we produce 2–3 million red blood cells, which make up about a quarter of all new cells that are formed in the body at any given moment.

The process is established by the hormone EPO, which is used to bind to the parent cells of the blood cells found in the bone marrow, causing them to divide and multiply.

The hormone EPO had been identified decades ago, but until now, it was not known in which cells in the body it was produced. In a new study led by Prof. Ido Amit of the Weizmann Institute and colleagues from Israel, Europe and the United States, a subset of kidney cells responsible for the production of the hormone in the human body was identified.

To date, more than 10% of the population in the Western world suffer from chronic kidney disease, which in quite a few cases damages the production of EPO, causing potentially life-threatening anemia. Until recently, the only treatment option was lab-engineered EPO to compensate for the deficiency of the natural hormone.

“The discovery of Norn cells will now enable us to understand how drugs that increase EPO production work and, more importantly, enable us to develop new drugs and treatments,” Amit said.

He referred to the discovery of beta cells—the insulin makers in the pancreas—in the 1950s, as an example when it paved the way for new treatments for diabetes. “In the longer term, new therapeutic approaches may develop that will enable Norn cells to reactivate or regenerate the cells, similar to the groundbreaking treatments recently developed for diabetes that include the restoration of normal beta cells to the patient’s pancreas,” he said.

Source: (This article was originally published by Ynetnews on April 27, 2023. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: qimono /pixaby.com

Photo License: pixabay

Prayer Focus
Bless the Lord for this tremendous discovery that has the potential to help millions of people around the world. Pray that He will lead and guide the researchers as they continue the process. Also pray that this breakthrough will nurture a deep love and appreciation in the hearts of those who benefit from it toward Israel and the God of Israel.


“I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

- Genesis 12:3

As Russia’s Shadow Grows, Europe Increasingly Turns to Israeli Defense Tech

by Yaakov Lappin ~ JNS

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An Arrow 3 interceptor being launched during a flight test in central Israel

Monday 1 May 2023 | As the Russia–Ukraine war enters its second year, European states are scrambling to modernize their armed forces and air defenses.

The result has been a spike in European defense spending, totaling some [US] $345 billion for central and western European countries in 2022—30 percent higher than in 2013, according to data compiled by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). That, in turn, has translated into growing acquisitions of Israeli defense technology.

In Ukraine itself, the government is reportedly planning soon to test an Israeli-made early warning system for civilians, alerting them to incoming aerial threats, according to an Axios report dated April 20.

The Israeli system is to connect Ukrainian military radars and air defense networks to the alert system, enabling more precise warnings in targeted areas, according to the report. The technology is similar to the Israel Defense Forces [IDF] Home Front Command Color Red early warning system, which generates area-specific sirens, phone alerts and media messages, and has divided Israel into 250 alert zones. The more precise the alert, the less disruption it causes.

Bradley Bowman, senior director of the Center on Military and Political Power at the Washington, DC-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies and assistant professor at the US Military Academy at West Point, noted that “this Israeli assistance will save Ukrainian lives, helping Kyiv more effectively respond to attacks by invading Russian forces, many of which employ Iranian drones.”

Meanwhile, on April 20, the Israeli government confirmed that the defense ministries of Israel and Germany, together with Israel Aerospace Industries [IAI], had launched discussions to accelerate the drafting of an agreement for the procurement of Israel’s Arrow 3 air defense system. The cost of the deal is estimated at around €3 billion (US $3.3 billion).

The IAI-made Arrow 3 is operational in Israel as part of the country’s multi-tier air-defense program. It is capable of intercepting ballistic missiles above the Earth’s atmosphere. IAI is now developing the Arrow 4, which will operate both within and outside the atmosphere.

Berlin is keen on acquiring the system to protect itself against Russian missile threats.

According to the Israeli government, advanced negotiations were launched in late April with the aim of drafting a detailed agreement for the delivery of the Arrow 3 system to the German Defense Ministry. The Israeli negotiation party is being led by Moshe Patel, director of the Israel Missile Defense Organization.

Since the Arrow 3 is jointly developed and produced with the United States, the export process is contingent upon the approval of the US government.

“The launch of advanced negotiations for the delivery of the strategic Arrow 3 system to Germany is an important milestone, which further strengthens the ties between our countries. We look forward to a fruitful negotiation process in the weeks ahead of us,” said Patel.

Meanwhile, on April 6, the Finnish Defense Ministry informed its Israeli counterpart of its decision to purchase the Israeli-made David’s Sling air defense system—marking its first international sale.

David’s Sling, produced by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, is designed to intercept advanced aerial threats, including ballistic missiles, aircrafts, unmanned aerial vehicles and cruise missiles.

The deal, valued at some €316 million (US $351 million), is the result of a years-long competitive tender and includes interceptors, launchers and radars, which will be connected to Finnish command and control systems.

Rafael worked alongside IAI subsidiary Elta, which developed the Multi‐Mission Radar, and Elbit Systems, which developed the Israeli command and control system—representing important collaboration between Israeli defense companies, despite the commercial competition between them in other areas.

“The Finnish government’s decision to acquire the David’s Sling system reflects the strong defense ties between our countries, as well as the cutting edge capabilities of Israel’s defense industries,” said Defense Minister Yoav Gallant on April 6. “I am confident that the cooperation between our countries will further enhance our readiness to respond to regional and global threats.”

IDF Maj. Gen. (res.) Eyal Zamir, director‐general of the Israeli Defense Ministry, described the acquisition as “a vote of confidence in the Israeli defense establishment and a quantum leap in the defense collaboration between Finland and Israel.”

David’s Sling has been operational in Israel since 2017, and is a core part of the Israeli multi-tier air defense system.

According to Finnish Air Force Commander Maj. Gen. Juha‐Pekka Keranen, David’s Sling “will significantly strengthen the capability of Finland’s air defense. Together with the commissioning of the F‐35 and the already fielded ground‐based air defense systems in service, the air defense of Finland will be very substantial on the European scale.”

The Finnish version of the system will be manufactured and integrated as a collaboration between Israeli, American and Finnish contractors, led by Rafael and American defense company Raytheon.

As is the case with other European countries, the Netherlands feels a need to protect itself against growing threats posed by Russia.

The move comes amid an expansive overhaul of the country’s military strategy spurred in part by the ongoing war in Ukraine and the growing threat posed by Russia.

As such, it has decided to purchase Elbit’s Precise and Universal Launch System (PULS) for the Dutch army. While Elbit has not confirmed the sale, it did state in March that it had signed a [US] $133 million [€ 121 million] contract to supply the PULS rocket system to a European NATO client.

Elbit’s PULS beat out the US-made HIMARS (High Mobility Artillery Rocket System) for the contract.

PULS can fire Elbit-made surface-to-surface guided rockets and missiles at a variety of ranges.

Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on April 30, 2023. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Avichai Socher/jns.org

Prayer Focus
Thank the Lord for the beneficial outflow even from something as horrid as war. Ask the Lord to use this opportunity to forge close, lasting ties between Israel and European nations that will endure into the future, thus securing increased support for the Jewish state in the international arena.


Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.

- Isaiah 60:3 NASB