Help us bless the people of Israel.

Friday, May 7, 2021

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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.

Israelis Under Attack: Two Terror Attacks in A Day

by Kate Norman

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Israeli police at Tapuach Junction (illustrative)

Monday, 3 May 2021 | Israel saw two terror attacks on Sunday amid heightened tensions in the Holy Land that left three young men injured.

Three yeshiva (religious school) students were wounded in a drive-by shooting on Sunday at a bus stop in Judea and Samaria.

Security footage of the incident shows a car (with a Palestinian Authority (PA) license plate) pull up to the bus stop at the Tapuach Junction south of Nablus, where several young men, including a soldier on duty, are standing. The car stops, and the men at the bus stop suddenly duck as the terrorist opens fire before driving off—heading toward Ramallah, the de facto PA capital.

Soldiers fired at the vehicle, but the terrorist fled the scene. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) set up roadblocks in nearby areas and is still searching for the perpetrator.

“Additional IDF combat soldiers will be reinforcing the Judea and Samaria Division in accordance with our ongoing situational assessment,” the military tweeted. “We will continue to operate against terror.”

The three victims attended yeshiva at the nearby Jewish community of Itamar. One of the young men was critically wounded, receiving CPR on the way to the hospital; the second was seriously injured, slipping in and out of consciousness; and the third was only lightly injured, the Times of Israel reported.

“I wish complete healing to the wounded in the shooting attack at Tapuach Junction and pray for their safety,” Defense Minister Benny Gantz tweeted. “The IDF and security forces will not give up until they get their hands on the terrorists who carried out the attack.”

Hours before the drive-by shooting, a Palestinian woman brandishing a knife approached IDF soldiers and was shot dead at the Gush Etzion Junction—a popular site for terror attacks.

Footage of the incident shows the 60-year-old woman with a knife advancing toward two soldiers, who shout at her to stop and fire warning shots into the air. Unimpeded, the woman continues her knife-wielding approach.

One of the soldiers shot the woman in her upper body, the Times of Israel reported, and she was transported to a hospital and soon declared dead.

These attacks took place amid the month-long Ramadan holiday (one of the Five Pillars of Islam when stringent disciplines are observed), a catalyst of Palestinian rage and rioting, as well as the recent announcement that the upcoming PA elections are indefinitely postponed. PA President Mahmoud Abbas blamed the “postponement” of the elections—which likely would have brought his 16-year service of a 4-year term to an end—on Israel not allowing Palestinians in eastern Jerusalem to vote. Now Israel, once again the scapegoat for the corrupt Palestinian leadership, is paying the price.

Hamas, the terrorist group in control of the Gaza Strip, praised Sunday’s terror attacks.

“This comes as a natural response to the crimes of the Zionist occupation and an act of support for our people in the city of Jerusalem,” a spokesman for the terrorist organization said in a statement. “This is a legitimate branch of our Palestinian people’s resistance in the West Bank [Judea and Samaria], and we salute the rebellious heroes of the West Bank.”

The IDF has dispatched extra security forces to the volatile region of Judea and Samaria, where they remain on high alert—waiting out the wave of Palestinian anger until the end of Ramadan and the ire of the scrubbed elections dies down.

Update: Yehuda Guetta, a 19-year-old religious school student injured in the terror attack, succumbed to his wounds and passed away in the hospital on Wednesday night. Less than an hour after he passed, the Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security organization, announced that it had apprehended the terrorist who murdered Guetta and injured two others. 

Source: (Bridges for Peace, May 3, 2021)

Photo Credit: Israel Police/wikimedia.org

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Pray for the young men who were wounded in this abhorrent attack and for the family of Yehuda Guetta as they mourn the loss of their loved one. Thank the Lord that the perpetrator has been apprehended and cry out to Him for an end to this senseless violence and loss of life.

Scripture

Hear my cry, O God; attend to my prayer. From the end of the earth I will cry to You, when my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.


- Psalm 61:1–2

Lapid Tapped to Form Next Government

by JNS

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Yesh Atid party leader Yair Lapid (left) with President Reuven Rivlin after receiving the mandate to form the next government

Thursday, 6 May 2021 | Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin has announced that Yair Lapid will now receive the mandate to form the country’s next government.

Rivlin made the announcement in a televised statement from his official residence, saying that his “main consideration” was who was the best choice to form the next government.

“From the number of recommendations, it is clear that MK [Member of Knesset (Parliament)] Yair Lapid could form a government that has the confidence of the Knesset, despite there being many difficulties,” Rivlin said, noting that returning the mandate to the Knesset would “be a misapplication of the law and could result in a fifth round of elections before all possibilities for forming a government had been exhausted.

“We will do everything to create an Israeli unity government,” Lapid wrote in a statement on his Facebook account.

The decision to give the mandate to Lapid, who heads the Yesh Atid party and also serves as opposition leader, comes as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed to muster enough support to form a government by last night’s deadline. Netanyahu had been endorsed by 52 Knesset members from his right-wing religious bloc but needed 61 to form a coalition.

In consultations with Rivlin, Lapid was endorsed by 56 MKs, up from 45 in the previous round of consultations. The Yamina party, led by Naftali Bennett, also recommended Lapid, who was able to get the backing this time of Gideon Sa’ar’s New Hope party, as well as several Arab MKs from the Joint Arab List.

Lapid also has the support of the Blue and White, Labor, Meretz and Yisrael Beiteinu parties.

Despite Rivlin’s endorsement, it remains unclear how Lapid could bring together the disparate group of parties spanning the entire Israeli political spectrum from the left, right, religious, secular and even Arab parties, who have never backed an Israeli government. The only clear objective uniting all these parties, who have been dubbed the “change coalition” appears to be removing Netanyahu from power and little else.

One option that has emerged is a rotational premiership, with Bennett serving first and Lapid going second. Both sides have been negotiating in recent weeks about this rotation, as well as the composition of the cabinet and various ministerial portfolios.

In a statement before Rivlin’s decision, Bennett called for a unity government. While he acknowledged that he preferred a right-wing coalition, he said that “Netanyahu slammed the door on us.”

He said there are two options, further elections which would “destroy the country” or the formation of “broad emergency government…that will get the wheel out of the mud.”

However, the recent failure of “unity” government between Netanyahu and Blue and White leader Benny Gantz serves as a [reminder] of the challenge of bringing ideologically opposed factions together.

In the meantime, Netanyahu will continue to serve as prime minister under a caretaker government, while he faces trial under charges of corruption and bribery.

If Lapid fails to form a government within his 28-day mandate, Rivlin has the option of sending the mandate to the full Knesset, where any MK can get the endorsement of 61 others to become the next prime minister. However, if that fails, the Knesset automatically dissolves and heads to new elections, likely in the late summer.

Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on May 5, 2021. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Yair Lapid/Facebook/jns.org

Prayer Focus
Pray that the Lord’s will is done is this very difficult situation. Beseech Him that a government is put in place that will honor Him and lead the nation in the direction He has ordained. Continue to pray that politicians from every side of the spectrum will consider the good of the nation before their own ambitions, saving the nation from the pain of yet another election.

Scripture

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

Israelis of All Sectors Mobilize to Help Meron Victims

by YItzhak Tesler, Kobi Nachsoni, Daniel Salami and Liron Nagler-Cohen

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Aerial footage of Mount Meron the night of the disaster

Monday, 3 May 2021 | In the face of the worst civilian tragedy in Israeli history, citizens from all sectors—Jews and Arabs, religious and secular—rallied Friday to support the victims of the stampede that claimed 45 lives at a Lag B’Omer celebration on Mount Meron attended mainly by the ultra-Orthodox community.

Outside Magen David Adom stations across the country, long queues formed of Israelis from all walks of life hoping to donate blood, until the organization asked people to go home and return another day.

Private groups and local councils flooded social media with offers of accommodation and food while others offered help to locate missing persons, recite psalms and provide hospitality.

The Hatzor HaGlilit regional council set up a special municipal center to provide accommodation for people who were stranded in the north. The council said that 43 people who had planned to spend a festive Shabbat [Sabbath] in Meron have already signed up.

Residents of the Druze villages of Yarka, Beit Jen and Yanuh-Jat also offered to host people who would not be able to return home before Shabbat in their own homes or their bed and breakfast facilities.

Many Arab villages in the Mount Meron area also announced that they would offer assistance to anyone who was injured or stranded after the tragedy.

“Our hearts go out to the families of those killed in the disaster on Mount Meron and we pray for the recovery of the wounded,” said Sheik Mowafaq Tarif, the spiritual leader of the Druze community in Israel.

“There is great sadness when you hear the news about a terrible event. All citizens of the country share in the pain of the loss,” he said.

“The members of the Druze community and the Druze villages share in the grief of the families who lost their loved ones, and are ready and willing to provide any help in the Mount Meron area.”

While tens of thousands were leaving the site in private vehicles, many people were still stranded on the mountain who were unable to return home before Shabbat.

Zarzir local council, which is home to many Bedouin Arabs, set up a refreshment station with water, fruit and cold drinks for those returning from Mount Meron to the center of the country via HaMovil Junction.

The head of the local council, Amir Mazarib, said that everything was strictly kosher.

“My heart goes out to the families of the disaster and I hope for better days,” he said.

Volunteers from Lev Chabad, the association that offers help to patients and their families in Israeli hospitals, was distributing food to the families of those killed and injured in the disaster.

An optician store in Ramla even offered free replacement glasses to people who lost them in the disaster.

“Our hearts go out to the families of those killed and injured,” said Hadar Miller, senior optometrist at Opticnet Barens.

“There is nothing to obscure the pain, but we have decided to do everything to alleviate it even a little bit. We invite the affected families and those whose glasses were destroyed following the disaster to come to the store and get new glasses at no cost.”

The store also urged more companies to join the venture, saying, “Social solidarity is the order of the day.”

The Tabun and Mangal restaurant in Givat Shmuel was offering ready meals “for free and with great love” for the families of the victims who could not prepare for Shabbat.

The Chasdei Naomi charity based in Bnei Brak announced the creation of a special fund for the families of those killed.

“Our support center will be bolstered these days in order to provide solutions for all the families of the victims of the disaster who were killed or injured,” said association chairman Rabbi Yosef Cohen.

“In coordination with the welfare authorities, we will provide food for those sitting shiva [seven-day mourning period] and all the families of those who were injured or killed.”

Cohen urged “all the people of Israel to contribute to the special emergency fund to at least guarantee economic subsistence for the families.”

Israel’s four health funds and various health associations have also offered psychological assistance to those whose loved ones were caught up in the disaster.

Dr. Zvi Fishel, chairman of the Psychiatric Association of the Medical Association, said that “support centers were opened [Thursday night] in Meron and Ziv Medical Center in Safed, as well as in the hometowns of those who attended the event, including Jerusalem, Bnei Brak, Modi’in Illit and Ashdod.”

The health funds are also allocating three free mental health treatments to anyone who requires it.

Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published by the Ynetnews on April 30, 2021. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: News 360 Tv/youtube/screenshot

Prayer Focus
Cry out to the Lord in light of this disaster. Pray for the Lord’s peace and comfort for the families of the victims and for healing for all who were injured. Pray also for the recovery of the Orthodox community and for the nation at large as the entire country is in mourning. Thank Him for the outpouring of support and assistance from all walks of Israeli life.

Scripture

Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me! For my soul trusts in You; and in the shadow of Your wings I will make my refuge, until these calamities have passed by. I will cry out to God Most High, to God who performs all things for me. He shall send from heaven and save me.


- Psalm 57:1–3a

Biden Administration “Dead Set” on Reentering Iran Deal, Despite High Price

by Dmitriy Shapiro~JNS

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Negotiations in Vienna over the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action

Thursday, 6 May 2021 | In recent days, conflicting reports have emerged over the ongoing negotiations in Vienna to revive the 2015 nuclear deal, leading to questions over to what extent the United States will undo Trump-era sanctions against Tehran.

Richard Goldberg, a senior adviser at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies as well as an expert on Iran negotiations and sanctions told JNS that he believes the reports coming out of Iran reflect leaks that the Islamic regime is already declaring victory at the negotiating table with the US giving into 90% to 95% of the sanctions relief the Iranians had been seeking.

Goldberg said it appears that the administration has offered to lift a wide range of sanctions imposed on Iran by the Trump administration, including those placed for its sponsorship of terrorism and its ballistic missile program.

Reportedly, he said, among sanctions that US negotiators might agree to lift may include those on Iran’s central bank, national oil company, a tanker company and a petrochemical company in exchange for Iran reentering the nuclear deal.

On Sunday, Biden administration officials pushed back against reports in Iranian state media that America and Iran have reached an agreement to remove sanctions against the Islamic Republic as part of indirect talks between the two nations to restore the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA.

National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, appearing on “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” on ABC News, contradicted reports from Iran that talks last month had closed in on an agreement.

“There’s still a fair distance to travel to close the remaining gaps,” he said, adding that work will continue in the coming weeks.

Additionally, the US also rejected claims from Iran that it had reached a deal for a prisoner exchange.

“Their Pleas are Falling on Deaf Ears in Washington”

Goldberg said that the US may be giving up more than it’s getting in its effort to return to the original deal.

“The Iranians are agreeing to come into compliance with a deal that is already expiring in their favor with sunset clauses that have already begun, starting last year with the international arms embargo lifting,” said Goldberg. “It really makes no sense from a US negotiation posture. We’re giving up historic leverage in exchange for compliance with an already flawed deal that is already expiring.”

The relief of sanctions, he said, would also go against a policy instituted during the Obama administration that allowed the US to impose economic sanctions on Iran for Iranian belligerence unrelated to its nuclear weapon pursuits, such as supporting terrorism and developing and proliferating long-range conventional missiles.

Throughout the current negotiations, Iran has stated that it would not rejoin the JCPOA unless these sanctions, which were put in place during the Trump administration and not part of the original nuclear deal, were also removed.

Goldberg said that the Biden administration is now claiming that these sanctions are illegitimate under the nuclear deal, something even US Secretary of State Antony Blinken did not agree with during his Senate confirmation hearings.

“So a real question then is, if the Biden administration is going to lift terrorism and missile sanctions on Iran, rejoin a nuclear deal that’s expiring and not require Iran to declare all of its undeclared nuclear activities, how is this in any way in the best interest of US national security?” posed Goldberg.

“On top of all of that, we see a Middle East today that has changed fundamentally from where it was in 2015 thanks to the Abraham Accords and the prospect of further normalization between Arabs and Israelis,” he continued. “That Middle East is speaking with one unified voice, very loudly and clearly to Washington: ‘Do not go back into the nuclear deal. Do not lift sanctions.’ But it appears their pleas are falling on deaf ears in Washington with a Biden administration that is dead set on returning to the nuclear deal and lifting sanctions.”

Last Friday, US President Joe Biden told Mossad [Israeli intelligence agency] director Yossi Cohen that the talks still have a long way to go to reach an agreement. Senior Israeli officials had been in Washington last week to relay their concerns about a possible return to the 2015 nuclear deal.

Barbara Slavin, director of the Future of Iran Initiative at the Atlantic Council, told JNS that she remains “cautiously optimistic that the talks in Vienna will lead to a mutual resumption of compliance with the JCPOA by Iran and the US.”

“The Biden administration has pledged to remove all sanctions “inconsistent” with the deal, and I interpret that to mean sanctions on the Central Bank of Iran, Iran’s national oil company and shipping, and other important economic entities such as Iran’s automotive industry,” she said.

“The Trump administration made this harder by sanctioning these organizations and sectors under non-nuclear authorities but the intent—to prevent a return to the JCPOA—was clear.”

Slavin believes that while the deal remains controversial in both Washington and Tehran, she is confident that it will be restored.

Upping the Ante in Terms of More Sanctions Relief

Goldberg said the capitulations to Iran show desperation on behalf of US negotiators to reenter the deal, which he believes is fundamentally the wrong approach.

Tehran, he said, can drive up the price, such as demanding more sanctions be lifted than fall under the purview of the nuclear deal, such as the previous administration’s still-in-place sanctions on Iran’s metal industry, construction sector and financial holdings of its leaders.

Iran will also be looking for the US to remove the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps to be removed from the list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations, which it was added to in 2019.

Even if an agreement was reached to bring Iran back into the nuclear deal, he said it remains questionable whether Iran would actually be in compliance with the deal. The International Atomic Energy Agency is investigating Iran for concealing undeclared nuclear activities and materials, which not only is a breach of the JCPOA, but of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

While there’s not much constituent support for the Iran deal, the Biden administration may just want to get the Iranian threat off the table and concentrate on other parts of its agenda.

To accomplish this, said Goldberg, the US has to play into Iran’s “racket.”

“Iran extorts the international community through malign activities. There is a dollar amount placed on Iran temporarily suspending some of those activities, and if you pay that dollar amount, you will get some limited temporary change in behavior,” he said. “So you could have a White House that simply wants to kick the can down the road, pay the Iranian racket and make this issue go away for a few months.”

Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on May 5, 2021. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Enrique Mora/European External Action/jns.org

Prayer Focus
Pray for the Biden administration to have the wisdom of the Lord in its dealings with Iran, recognizing the very dangerous long-term effects of the direction they have chosen. Ask the Lord to protect Israel from the ramifications of bad decisions that the US might make, and cry out to Him that the Abraham Accords will not be unraveled under this new American leadership.

Scripture

There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.


- Proverbs 14:12

Shadowy Hamas Terror Chief Issues Warning to Israel over Jerusalem

by Elior Levy

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The Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in Jerusalem

Thursday, 6 May 2021 | The shadowy figure who heads Hamas’s military wing on Tuesday issued a rare public statement warning Israel of retaliation if it doesn’t change its east[ern] Jerusalem policy.

Mohammed Deif, the leader of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, said Israel will pay a “heavy price” if it doesn’t stop the eviction of Palestinian families living in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of the capital. “This is a clear and final warning,” Deif said.

Deif survived multiple Israeli assassination attempts, two of which left him seriously injured. Little is known about the military chief, who rarely makes public statements and never appears in public.

Palestinians have been clashing with police in the Sheik Jarrah neighborhood every night in the past week, after a Jerusalem court approved the removal of 58 people from homes that according to right-wing groups, belonged to Jewish residents before the 1948 War of Independence.

Three people were detained by police during clashes late on Tuesday.

Seven of the eight families facing eviction appealed the ruling to the Supreme Court, which will decide the matter later this month. One family had already exhausted further legal options after the High Court of Justice ruled that their eviction was in accordance with the law.

The holiest night of Ramadan [one of the Five Pillars of Islam when stringent disciplines are observed], Laylat al-Qadr, or “night of power” that marks the night when the Quran [Muslim holy book] was first sent down from heaven to the world, falls between Sunday and Monday of next week—the same day that Israel celebrates Jerusalem Day, marking the unification of the city after the 1967 Six Day War.

Security officials are concerned about potential clashes that might break out between Jews and Palestinians on the day.

The Hamas terror group has been threatening violent retaliation for any Israeli attempt to curtail Palestinian worship.

Hamas political leaders Khaled Mashal and Ismail Haniyeh both demanded that Jews must not be allowed to enter the Al Aqsa Mosque compound during Laylat al Qadr. In an orchestrated media blitz, Hamas has recently been attempting to rouse emotions around Jerusalem.

Palestinian [Authority] President Mahmoud Abbas also told supporters to protect the Muslim holy sites from Jewish demonstrators.

Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published by Ynetnews on May 5, 2021. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: David Shankbone/wikimedia.org

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Cry out to the Lord for His peace to reign during the very volatile time in Jerusalem. Pray that the Israeli government and court system will have His wisdom in dealing with the residents of the Arab areas of Jerusalem, and pray that the current tensions will not lead to violence.

Scripture

“So the LORD of hosts will come down to fight for Mount Zion and for its hill. Like birds flying about, so will the LORD of hosts defend Jerusalem. Defending, He will also deliver it; passing over, He will preserve it.”


- Isaiah 31:4b–5

Israel Said to Strike Iranian Targets in Syria for Second Consecutive Night

by Kate Norman

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The airstrike was reported in the area of the Quneitra border town in the Syrian Golan Heights (pictured).

Thursday, 6 May 2021 | Israel conducted air strikes against Syria for the second night in a row in the early hours of Thursday, according to state-affiliated Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA).

Israeli attack helicopters struck near Quneitra in the Syrian Golan Heights, SANA reported. The regime’s propaganda agency did not report any damage or casualties.

Israel stayed true to its longstanding policy of declining to comment on its involvement in the strikes. However, it is well known that the Jewish state has conducted hundreds of strikes in Syria since the beginning of the Syrian Civil War in 2011. Israel aims to prevent Iran from establishing a foothold in the war-torn country, which would provide the Islamic regime with a springboard on the Jewish state’s northern border.

The early morning Quneitra strike comes on the heels of another alleged Israeli attack just the day before. Syria accused Israel of striking a civilian plastics factory early Wednesday morning, killing one civilian and injuring six others.

Those strikes took place near Latakia—Syria’s largest port and also the site of a Russian base. Though SANA claimed the strikes were intercepted, the state-run agency admitted that the attack caused “material damages.” Footage of the site also showed large fires burning, setting off secondary explosions and causing significant damage.

In the past, Israeli strikes have targeted missile and advanced weapons shipments from Iran, Iranian-backed forces and other terror and military targets.

Joe Truzman, a research analyst at the DC-based Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, called Wednesday morning’s strikes near Latakia “unusual and likely an important target for the Israelis” in a tweet.

“The attack comes on the heels of Mossad chief Yossi Cohen’s visit to the White House,” Truzman added. Last week the chief of Israel’s intelligence agency met with US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan at the White House to discuss Iran and “regional security issues.”

These consecutive strikes are the first reported Israeli strikes in Syria since the end of last month, when the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) openly announced that it was conducting retaliatory strikes in response to a Syrian missile that penetrated all the way to the Negev desert in southern Israel.

Though the Syrian missile landed in an open area and caused no damage, the Jewish state took the threat seriously and responded by striking the Syrian surface-to-air battery that launched the missile as well as several other batteries.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, May 6, 2021)

Photo Credit: Imrich/wikimedia.or

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Pray that these retaliatory strikes accomplish their purpose, and pray that Iranian-backed forces will think twice before launching any further military strikes against Israel.

Scripture

Deliver me, O LORD, from evil men; preserve me from violent men, who plan evil things in their hearts; they continually gather together for war.


- Psalm 140:1–2

Abbas Postpones Palestinian Elections, Provoking Rival Hamas

by JNS

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Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas

Monday, 3 May 2021 | Palestinian Authority [PA] leader Mahmoud Abbas signaled on Thursday that Palestinian elections, which were scheduled for May 22, would be indefinitely delayed, a move that has angered the Hamas terror group that was preparing to gain from the results.

Abbas seemed to blame Israel for not being able to hold elections in eastern Jerusalem, which has seen clashes between Arabs and Jews in the past week.

“We will take the proper decision to preserve all our rights in east[ern] Jerusalem, our eternal capital, including the right to hold parliamentary elections there,” said Abbas, reported the AP.

Palestinian elections have not been held since January 2006. Postponement seems to be a pretext since ways to get around the issue exist, according to several candidates. Mail-in balloting has also been mentioned as a solution that has been done before.

Hamas opposes delaying the elections, saying Palestinians should find ways of “forcing the elections in Jerusalem without the permission of or coordination with the occupation.”

According to the report, Hamas said it “will not be a party to any postponement or cancellation, and will not provide cover.” The responsibility “will rest with those who take it in response to the veto of the occupation,” it charged.

Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip with about 2 million residents, was expected to do well because of internal strife and division within Abbas’s Fatah [leading secular Palestinian political party].

Source: (This article was originally published by JNS on April 30, 2021. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Photo by Flash90/jns.org

Prayer Focus
Pray that the postponement of this election will actually work in Israel’s favor. Pray that the in-fighting between Hamas and the PA will weaken both parties and open the eyes of the Palestinian people to the truth that their own leadership is responsible for their difficulties, not Israel.

Scripture

There are many plans in a man’s heart, nevertheless the LORD’S counsel—that will stand.


- Proverbs 19:21

HRW Crosses Line with Apartheid Accusation against Israel

by Israel Kasnett~JNS

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Omar Shakir of Human Rights Watch

Monday, 3 May 2021 | Human Rights Watch (HRW) has released a report that essentially questions Israel’s right to exist and claims that Israeli authorities are “committing the crimes against humanity of apartheid and persecution.” It comes after Palestinian Authority [PA] leader Mahmoud Abbas said earlier this month that Israel is on the path to becoming an apartheid state.

The 217-page report, however, has been met with significant pushback against its far-reaching allegation of apartheid, and its findings have been refuted by experts and others as being “baseless” and applying a double standard to Israel.

Arsen Ostrovsky, an international human-rights lawyer and CEO of the International Legal Forum, told JNSthat the HRW report “is replete with malicious lies and gross distortions of law while peddling in unhinged hate, incitement and racist stereotypes.

“In short,” he said, “this report is tantamount to an anti-Semitic ‘blood libel’ against the Jewish state.”

According to a US State Department spokesperson, “It is not the view of this administration that Israel’s actions constitute apartheid.”

Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem Fleur Hassan-Nahum called the allegations “preposterous.”

Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations and the United States Gilad Erdan called the report “a collection of lies and fabrications, bordering on anti-Semitic.”

According to HRW, “Inside Israel’s pre-1967 borders, Palestinians hold citizenship, the right to vote and free movement, and encounter less severe policies and practices, but still face institutional discrimination and other abuses.”

But contrary to HRW’s accusations of discrimination and abuse, Arabs like Abdel Rahman Zuabi, Salim Jubran and George Karra have all served as justices on Israel’s Supreme Court.

According to Haaretz, an Israeli left-wing daily, Arabs currently make up more than 17% of the country’s doctors and 24% of nurses.

Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on April 30, 2021. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Photo by Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90/jns.org

Prayer Focus
Pray that the international community will wake up to the fact that this and other such reports from the HRW are nothing short of attacks on Israel’s very existence and attempts to sway international public opinion against the Jewish state. Pray for a global outcry against such virulent anti-Semitism.

Scripture

Save me, O God, by Your name, and vindicate me by Your strength. Hear my prayer, O God; give ear to the words of my mouth. For strangers have risen up against me, and oppressors have sought after my life; they have not set God before them.


- Psalm 54:1–3

Chinese Embassy Posts, Deletes Anti-Semitic Image on Twitter

by JNS

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The flag of the People’s Republic of China

Tuesday, 4 May 2021 | The Chinese embassy in Japan recently uploaded, and then deleted, an anti-Semitic image on its official Twitter account.

The embassy tweeted on Thursday a cartoon image that showed the United States as the Grim Reaper, dressed in a “Stars and Stripes” outfit, who leaves behind a trail of blood as it walks from one door to another. On top of the doors are names of Middle Eastern countries, including Egypt, Syria, Libya and Iraq. The reaper’s scythe is dripping blood and has the Israeli flag on it, complete with a Star of David.

The image’s caption was in Japanese and said, “If the United States brought ‘democracy,’ it would be like this.”

According to a screenshot of the Twitter post shared by i24News, the tweet garnered 1,300 likes and was retweeted 1,600 times before it was deleted.

The tweet was removed on Friday after Israel’s Ambassador to Japan Yaffa Ben-Ari, reached out to her Chinese counterpart, Cheng Yonghua, as Israel’s foreign ministry deputy director-general for Asia and the Pacific Gilad Cohen contacted the Chinese embassy in Israel to alert them of the image, reported the Jerusalem Post.

The embassy has so far not issued an apology.

Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on May 3, 2021. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Philip Jägenstedt/Flickr/JNS

Prayer Focus
Pray that a sincere apology from the Chinese will be forthcoming and pray for those who liked the post to repent as well. Ask the Lord for His supernatural protection over the Jewish people worldwide as these types of inflammatory and destructive attacks on Jews become more and more commonplace.

Scripture

In You, O LORD, I put my trust; let me never be put to shame. 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.


- Psalm 71:1,3

EU Parliament Passes Resolution Censuring UNRWA for Teaching Hate in Schools

by JNS

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The European Parliament

Friday, 30 April 2021 | The European Union Parliament passed a resolution on Wednesday that targeted the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) for teaching “hate speech and violence” in its schools.

The resolution demanded that hateful material be “removed immediately” from UNRWA-run schools and insisted that EU funding “must be made conditional” on the educational content complying with UNESCO standards of peace, tolerance, coexistence and non-violence. The resolution is part of the EU’s annual budgetary procedure, which scrutinizes how European taxpayer funds have been spent through its projects.

UNRWA’s teaching materials came under fire in two reports published in January and February 2021 by IMPACT-se.

The watchdog group found that educational writings created, printed and distributed by the UN agency included content that rejected peace while glorifying terrorism and incitement to violence. UNRWA tried to defend the existence of what it called “inappropriate material,” saying that it was “mistakenly” distributed to students at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.

UNRWA and the Palestinian Authority in the European Parliament engaged in intense lobbying to stop the resolution that was passed this week with PA [Palestinian Authority] Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh even appearing in front of the parliament’s Committee of Foreign Affairs to defend the curriculum taught in UNRWA schools.

IMPACT-se CEO Marcus Sheff said the resolution is an “important step in the fight to prevent UNRWA from inciting many thousands of children every school day to violence, extremism and anti-Semitism.”

“It is the very first time a legislature has stepped up and said to UNRWA, ‘enough,’” he added. “Today, the European Parliament has shown the way for all those who do not want to write blank checks to this deeply flawed organization. It is crystal-clear that an external audit of UNRWA’s teaching materials is necessary before millions of taxpayer dollars are transferred to finance the daily radicalization of children.”

Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on April 29, 2021. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons/jns.org

Prayer Focus
Thank God for the actions taken by the EU Parliament, demanding that violence, extremism and anti-Semitism be removed from schools. Pray that immediate action will be taken to comply with the EU’s demands, and pray for the minds of countless Palestinian children that have been intentionally poisoned by those tasked with their education.

Scripture

“And like their bow they have bent their tongues for lies. They are not valiant for the truth on the earth. For they proceed from evil to evil, and they do not know Me,” says the LORD.


- Jeremiah 9:3