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What Would Jesus Do?

Friday, November 12, 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.

Israel “Accelerating” Plans to Thwart Iranian Nuclear Ambitions

by Ilse Strauss

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IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi

Wednesday, 10 November 2021 | According to the top brass of the Israeli army, Jerusalem is ramping up measures to deal with the menace of a nuclear Iran head-on.

Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi told the Knesset’s (Parliament) Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee yesterday that the IDF “is accelerating operational planning and preparedness to deal with Iran and the military nuclear threat.”

Kochavi’s comments come nine months after he instructed the military to begin drafting operational attack plans, three weeks after NIS 5 billion (US $1.6 billion) was allocated to prepare for the execution of such plans and two weeks after a report that the Israeli Air Force (IAF) is allegedly set to start training for a strike to dismantle Iran’s nuclear program as early as the beginning of next year. It also comes a week after the European Union announced that talks between Iran and world powers China, France, Germany, Russia and the UK regarding a return to the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action will resume in Vienna on November 29, after being at an impasse since the election of Iran’s ultra conservative President Ebrahim Raise in June.

The nuclear deal offered the embattled Islamic Republic sanction relief in exchange for curbing its nuclear ambitions. It also prompted Israel to shelve plans of military action against Iran in favor of a diplomatic resolution.

However, Jerusalem’s priorities shifted with the US withdrawal from the deal in 2018 and more specifically, Tehran’s subsequent violation of restrictions which advanced its program significantly in the race to the nuclear breakout threshold—a line Israel vows it won’t allow Iran to cross. Israel sees Iran going nuclear as an existential threat, and it is precisely Iran’s vigorous dash for Israel’s red line that has reintroduced the need to prepare a strong military threat to dissuade the mullahs from realizing their nuclear ambitions.

US President Joe Biden believes in a diplomatic solution and favors a return to the 2015 accord. Israel, however, is clearly not banking on a diplomatic solution and has been particularly outspoken about crafting a military answer to Iran’s nuclear ambitions in recent months.

In his remarks to the committee, Kochavi told lawmakers that Iran isn’t Israel’s only foe and that the Jewish state faces “many security challenges” on numerous fronts. However, security forces have managed to beat back Israel’s enemies in the past and will work to do so in the future.

“In the past year we’ve continued to act against our enemies in missions and secret operations throughout the entire Middle East,” he said. “The IDF will continue to act to remove threats and will respond forcefully to any violation of [Israeli] sovereignty.”

Source: (Bridges for Peace, November 10, 2021)

Photo Credit: IDF Spokesperson's Unit/CC BY-SA 3.0/commons.wikimedia.org

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Cry out to the Lord of Hosts, the Commander of the Angel Armies of Heaven, to equip and enable Israel with His plans, His initiatives and His strategies as this nation navigates the complex process of crafting a solution to neutralize the existential threat of a nuclear Iran. Continue to pray that He will be the great Strategist and Operational Director behind any and all plans that Israel drafts, approves and ultimately puts in place.

Scripture

Plead my cause, O LORD, with those who strive with me; fight against those who fight against me. Take hold of shield and buckler, and stand up for my help. Also draw out the spear, and stop those who pursue me.


- Psalm 35:1–3a

Knesset Passes 2022 Budget

by Danielle Roth-Avneri and Yehuda Shlezinger~JNS via Israel Hayom

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A general view of the assembly hall during a vote on the 2022 state budget in the Israeli Knesset

Monday, 8 November 2021 | Israel’s Knesset (Parliament) passed the 2022 state budget early on Friday by a vote of 59 to 56 following a marathon overnight session. The passing of the 2021–2022 budget bills was a major hurdle for Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s fragile coalition. The final approval of the NIS 452.5 billion (US $145.2 billion) budget came far ahead of its March deadline.

The NIS 432.5 billion (US $133.8 billion) spending plan for 2021, which passed early on Thursday, shored up the government’s stability after years of political crises that saw the Knesset fail to pass a national budget for more than three years. Failure to pass the budget by November 14 would have brought down the government and triggered a fifth election in just over three years.

“With quiet persistence and joint effort, we have steered the ship to safe shores,” said Bennett during a press conference on Saturday.

“The government is stable; it will serve a full term. Now we must look to the long list of tasks that awaits us, everyone in their sphere, and get to work,” he said.

“We took responsibility,” said Foreign Minister Yair Lapid. “We kept our promise. We passed the ’21–’22 budget for the State of Israel and all of Israel’s citizens.”

Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman called it a “social and responsible budget.”

“We will continue sticking to the task, avoiding narrow considerations, and bring good news to all the country’s citizens,” he said.

Source: (Excerpt of an article originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate via Israel Hayom on November 7, 2021. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90/JNS.org

Prayer Focus
Bless the Lord for paving the way to achieve this significant milestone, furnishing Israel with a budget for the first time in over three years and preventing yet another round of elections. Bring the decision makers responsible for implementing this budget before the Lord, asking Him to make them trustworthy and diligent to act as responsible, prudent and wise stewards, leading Israel into an era of prosperity.

Scripture

He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding.


- Daniel 2:21b

Fifth Annual Christian Media Summit Held in Jerusalem

by Janet Aslin

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PM Bennett said Israel stands united with Christians.

Thursday, 11 November 2021 | Top members of the Israeli government are set to address the Christian Media Summit this evening in Jerusalem. The annual event, sponsored by Israel’s Government Press Office (GPO), is now in its fifth year. The GPO announced that “over 150 news executives and opinion leaders in Christian media are set to attend.”

One of Israel’s toughest battles is fought on the platform of mainstream media which often presents a skewed view of happenings in the Middle East. Israeli leaders have long understood that evangelical Christians are among their staunchest allies in a world that can turn hostile very suddenly.

President Isaac Herzog summed up this belief in a GPO press release when he said, “We know that we can count on you, dear friends and allies in the Christian world, to stand with us in the fight against terror and to be our partners in the efforts to counter the lies and spread the truth about Israel.”

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, followed by President Isaac Herzog and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, will speak at the beginning of the evening. Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked and former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will speak later in the program.

Dr. Mike Evans, founder of Friends of Zion, Michelle Bachman, former US congresswoman, and Ward Simpson, founder of GOD TV, will be the primary Christian speakers, with other leaders participating in panel discussions.

This year, the summit’s panel discussions will be focused on one year after the signing of the Abraham Accords and how the region has been impacted.

The GPO will be live-streaming the remarks and panel discussions on its website as well as its Facebook page.

In a press release Bennett said, “…today more than ever, Israel stands united with Christians, we are brothers and sisters, we are united, and we won’t let anyone extinguish our light.”

May these Christian media executives and opinion leaders take what they have learned at the summit, return to their homes and continue to be “vital channel(s) of information to Christian viewers, readers and internet users across the globe”(https://www.cms-israel.com/ ).

Source: (Bridges for Peace, November 11, 2021)

Photo Credit: James Emery/Flickr.com

Photo License: Flickr

Prayer Focus
Thank the Lord for the warming ties between Christians and Jews, and pray that He will continue to strengthen and grow the relationship. Also ask the Lord to bless the media summit so that it will indeed enable Christian media executives and opinion leaders to function as “vital channel(s) of information to Christian viewers, readers and internet users across the globe.”

Scripture

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.


- Proverbs 17:17

IDF Home Front Command Simulates War Scenario to Boost Preparation

by Yaakov Lappin~JNS

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The IDF practices evacuating simulated patients via ambulance during a war scenario.

Wednesday, 10 November 2021 | The Israel Defense Forces’ [IDF] Home Front Command has recently practiced the evacuation of a hospital in northern Israel under a heavy missile attack during a simulated war in order to create space in the hospital for treating wounded civilians and military members.

The drill was conducted as part of the Home Front Command’s national exercise, held October 31 to November 4, which also included the National Emergency Management Authority (NEMA), Magen David Adom paramedics, the Health Ministry and other first responders.

“The multi-organizational National Home Front Exercise is unique in scope and cooperation across all emergency services. The focus of the exercise is to practice the intricacies of operating together in order to be synchronized during a time of emergency,” the IDF said in a statement.

Col. Dr. Tomer Koler, chief medical officer of the Home Front Command, told JNS on Sunday that “our role in emergencies is both to medically assist civilians who have been harmed, and to support and prepare the entire Israeli medical system for war. During war, our role is to assist the medical system.”

And so, the Home Front Command uses peacetime to hold drills and boost its readiness, he stated.

“The past week was the national home front exercise and beyond military challenges, there are many challenges to Israeli home front,” he said.

Koler added that “the whole idea of the drill was to examine how we provide solutions so that basic services can keep running for civilians, and that information keeps flowing to civilians and to [civilian] authorities,” he added.

In an all-out war scenario, with heavy rocket barrages raining down on Israel, civilians will be in safe areas, and the Home Front Command together with other authorities would keep essential services running, including the medical system.

“We drilled various scenarios, such as what happens if [medical] clinics close? What happens if we have injured civilians?” posed Koler.

In line with this scenario, the Home Front Command teamed up with Magen David Adom and the Health Ministry to practice evacuating via ambulance 35 simulated patients from the Galilee Medical Center in Nahariya to the Shaare Tzedek Medical Center in Jerusalem.

“Already Improved Readiness for a Real Event”

By removing the sick and injured from a northern hospital, the Home Front Command would create space for treating newly wounded civilians and soldiers.

“It sounds simple, but it’s a complex event to plan and implement,” said Koler. “How many patients do we evacuate? Which kind of patients? Some of them include severely sick people; some would be hooked up to respirators and need medical treatment on the way. To which hospitals do we evacuate, and how does information flow from the hospital being evacuated to the one receiving the patients? What happens if some patients deteriorate on the way or if their condition changes in any way?”

Other scenarios could involve air evacuations, according to Koler.

“This was a large-scale preparation of the system. We refreshed our orders and readied hospitals for sending and receiving patients,” he stated. “I’m very glad we did this exercise. It has already improved our readiness for a real event.”

The drill also saw the Home Front Command’s hospital control center practice coordinating information among institutions, while the two hospitals involved in the exercise also practiced emergency communications with one another directly.

“Everyone Has to Prepare Themselves”

Another drill held in recent days saw a simulated evacuation of a medical institute filled with elderly people, some in wheelchairs, to an alternative treatment center.

“We are ready for emergencies, and we will continue to drill so that we can deliver suitable solutions,” said Koler. “Everyone involved in responses has to prepare themselves.”

In a statement, the IDF said a “very significant learning process” was carried out following the 11-day conflict in May with Hamas in Gaza, dubbed “Operation Guardian of the Walls.”

The national war drill examined the implementation of those insights, it added, including the activation of rocket warning systems.

In addition, the exercise saw the activation of the Civil Aid Regiment for the first time a logistics battalion whose entire function is to support the civilian sphere. The regiment is tasked with enabling supplies for civilians who have to stay in rocket safe rooms for a long time.

In addition, the Northern District of the Home Front Command held a hazardous materials exercise, simulating a missile strike in an industrial plant that leads to an explosion of a chemicals container. Soldiers from the Home Front Command’s Rescue Brigade entered the factory in protective suits to contain the subsequent simulated chemicals leak.

Source: (Excerpts of an article originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on November 9, 2021. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: IDF Spokesperson’s Office/JNS.org

Prayer Focus
Intercede for every young man and woman serving in the IDF as they shoulder the daunting responsibility of standing guard over Israel and protecting its citizens during times of war and disaster. Ask the Lord to strengthen, protect, shield and guide every soldier with His presence.

Scripture

The angel of the LORD encamps all around those who fear Him, and delivers them.


- Psalm 34:7

Biden Official Confirms Plans to Reopen Consulate for Palestinians

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Rep. Lee Zeldin (R–NY) speaking at a Capitol Hill briefing on the reopening of the US Consulate for the Palestinians in Jerusalem.

Friday, 5 November 2021 | Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources Matt McKeon confirmed on Wednesday that the administration is seeking to reopen the US Consulate for Palestinians in its original location in Jerusalem.

McKeon was grilled by Rep. Lee Zeldin (R–NY), co-chair of the House Republican Israel Caucus, during his testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee and asked whether he was involved in planning the reopening of the consulate.

McKeon confirmed that he was, telling Zeldin that the administration was contemplating opening the consulate at a facility already owned by the United States on Agron Road in Jerusalem in the western half of the city.

“Already having a site that the United States owned is an important factor in this because having to go find a different site could be a challenge,” he said. “The main purpose of this consulate—and the main reason we want to use the one on Agron Road—is that [it] is the mechanism through which we have engaged the Palestinians in the past and for well over a century before it was closed. That’s what’s driving our decision-making on that.”

Zeldin asked whether the administration believes that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel.

McKeon confirmed that it was the administration’s position, though he did not want to weigh in on Zeldin’s follow-up question as to whether officials also believe the city should remain undivided.

McKeon said that he does not deal with such policy issues every day.

“I believe we still regard Jerusalem as a final-status question,” he said. “But I want to get you a more precise answer for the record.”

Zeldin pointed out that the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995, which then-Senator Joe Biden (D–Del.) voted for, states that Jerusalem should remain the undivided capital of Israel. He also cited a recent video where the Palestinian Authority [PA] said the purpose of putting an embassy in Jerusalem was to divide the city.

“So the Palestinian Authority wants the US government to do this,” stated Zeldin. “Their intent, their purpose, their motivation is to divide Jerusalem.”

Earlier this week, more than 200 House Republicans sent a letter to US President Joe Biden expressing strong opposition to reopening the consulate.

It was closed under the Trump administration and replaced by a Palestinian Affairs Unit as a branch of the US embassy in Jerusalem, though continued to operate from the same building on Agron Road.

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

Photo Credit: Screenshot/JNS.org

Prayer Focus
Remind the Lord of His plethora of promises concerning Jerusalem, including His perpetual presence in the city and His pledge to give it as an inheritance to the offspring of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Pray that the nations of the world, particularly Bible-believing Christians, will recognize Israel’s legitimate claim to the Land and the city of God’s promise.

Scripture

“Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.”


- Genesis 17:8

Gantz: Israel Working all the Time to Prevent War

by JNS

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Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz speaks during the unveiling of a new factory belonging to the Rafael defense company in northern Israel.

Thursday, 11 November 2021 | Israel will not allow Hezbollah to obtain weapons that will harm Israeli military superiority or allow such weapons to reach other Iranian proxies in the arena, vowed Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz during a speech in northern Israel on Tuesday.

Speaking during the unveiling of a new factory belonging to the Rafael defense company in Shlomi, Gantz said that “15 years ago, this place burned because of Hezbollah’s rockets and was threatened by the Iranian entrenchment in Syria. The strengthening and fortification of this location through another factory and another growth engine is a clear message to our enemies that our determination is unshakable.”

He added that “from the operational perspective, we are working in a broad manner against attempts [by our adversaries] to build up their force and to breach the balance in the arena.”

In order to remain alert and prepared, Israel began a new project last week to fortify structures in northern Israel—to the tune of billions of shekels—and held a national Home Front Command war drill.

“We are working all of the time to prevent war—conducting operations, transferring messages and preventing force buildup. But if, and when, a war will occur here on the front, we will be prepared…to conduct operational actions that we have not seen in the past through means we did not possess in the past, which will harm the core of terrorism and [the enemy’s] capabilities.”

Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on November 10, 2021. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Ariel Hermoni/Israel Ministry of Defense/JNS.org

Prayer Focus
Beseech the Lord to thwart the wicked schemes of Israel’s enemies round about her. Pray specifically that He will act to bring to nothing Iran and its terror proxy Hezbollah’s plans to turn Israel’s northern border into a fortified warzone. Pray that the Jewish state will know the peace it so desires.

Scripture

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May they prosper who love you. Peace be within your walls, prosperity within your palaces.” For the sake of my brethren and companions, I will now say, “Peace be within you.”


- Psalm 122:6–8

Soccer Fans Sing Anti-Semitic Chants at Jewish Man on Ryanair Flight

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The West Ham United Football Club flag

Monday, 8 November 2021 | A video surfaced online late last week depicting soccer fans singing anti-Semitic chants at a Jewish man on a Ryanair flight.

The footage, which began circulating on social media last week, showed fans of the London-based club West Ham United on a plane to Belgium consuming alcohol and chanting anti-Semitic slurs to an ultra-Orthodox Jewish passenger as he was making his way to his seat. The man did not respond to his detractors.

The plane departed from London Stansted to Brussels on Thursday and was full of West Ham fans as the English Premier League side was playing Genk in a Europa League match outside of the Belgium capital.

The chants are typically sung at fans of London rivals Tottenham Hotspur as an insult and reference to the club’s affiliation with the city’s Jewish community.

The incident was met with apathy from flight attendants but spurred police to arrest a 55-year-old suspect, who now faces hate crime charges.

West Ham blisteringly condemned the chants and vowed to issue the offenders with indefinite bans from the club.

“West Ham United is appalled by the contents of the video circulating on social media and condemn the behaviour of the individuals involved. The club is liaising with the airline and relevant authorities to identify the individuals,” a statement read.

“We continue to be unequivocal in our stance—we have a zero-tolerance approach to any form of discrimination. Any individuals identified will be issued with an indefinite ban from the club. Equality, diversity and inclusion are at the heart of the football club and we do not welcome any individuals who do not share those values.”

Source: (This article was originally published by Ynetnews on November 7, 2021. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: jorono/Pixabay.com

Prayer Focus
Continue to bring the surging tide of anti-Semitism and the blatant disregard for the devastating consequences it has before the Lord. Beseech Him that this incident and the vile spirit behind it will not be swept under the rug or trivialized, but that the perpetrators will be held accountable and made to face the consequences of their deeds as a deterrence to others.

Scripture

For he who touches you touches the apple of His eye.


- Zechariah 2:8b

Israel Downs Hamas Drone near Gaza Border

by Elior Levy, Matan Tzuri

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Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (illustrative)

Tuesday, 9 November 2021 | The Israeli military said they intercepted an unmanned aerial vehicle [UAV] believed to belong to the Hamas terrorist group near Israel’s border with the Gaza Strip by firing an Iron Dome missile at the drone.

The Iron Dome missile defense system is normally activated against incoming rockets from Gaza. No rocket alerts sirens were heard in Israeli communities near the border at the time of the incident.

The IDF [Israel Defense Forces] said shortly afterwards that the defense system intercepted a UAV that seemingly attempted to cross into Israel via the sea.

According to the military, the UAV had been under strict surveillance before it was finally shot down after it approached the Israeli territory by the soldiers operating the Iron Dome.

Sources in Gaza, meanwhile, claim the system was activated due to a drill that saw several missiles launched from Gaza towards the Mediterranean Sea.

Hamas frequently tests its drones near the border with Israel, and the IDF intercepts them if they deviate from a certain altitude or airspace areas.

During the May conflict between Israel and Gaza’s militant factions, the Iron Dome shot down no less than three of Hamas’ UAVs attempting to enter Israel’s airspace—while three others were shot down by undisclosed means.

According to military estimates, Hamas managed to [procure] a sizable arsenal of UAVs, among other munitions and projectiles, since the 2014 Gaza War.

Source: (This article was originally published by Ynetnews on November 8, 2021. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Lt.–Col. Leslie Pratt/commons.wikimedia.org

Photo License: wikimedia.org

Prayer Focus
Bring the ever-volatile situation on Israel’s southern border with Gaza before the Lord. Intercede for the men, women and children who live their daily lives under the threat of destruction from Hamas, a fanatical regime dedicated to eradicate Israel. Ask the Lord to strengthen these Israeli communities in the line of fire physically, emotionally and spiritually, enabling them to thrive and live boldly even in this severely stressful situation.

Scripture

When the wicked came against me to eat up my flesh, my enemies and foes, they stumbled and fell. Though an army may encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war may rise against me, in this I will be confident.


- Psalm 27:2–3

UN Event Bolsters Relations between Israel and Africa

by JNS

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Israeli Ambassador Gilad Erdan holds an event at the UN to boost ties with Africa.

Wednesday, 10 November 2021 | Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan held a program on Monday to showcase Israel’s technology and boost ties between the Jewish state and Africa.

The event, held in collaboration with Innovation: Africa and its founder Sivan Ya’ari, was attended by 25 ambassadors from Africa at the United Nations, including the Ambassador of Kenya, who currently serves as a member of the UN Security Council, and the Ambassador of Ghana, a country recently elected to the Security Council.

Erdan and Ya’ari detailed to the African ambassadors, together with MASHAV-Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation and other leading Israeli organizations, groundbreaking activities for the people of the various countries such as connecting thousands of villages in Africa to running water and electricity.

“The same spirit and creative energy that made Israel a startup nation are what makes Africa the continent of the future,” said Erdan. “Israel is constantly investing in expanding our relationships and creating new ties with Chad, Morocco and Sudan, and opening new embassies and trade offices. Israelis and Africans are working together on countless projects. Through MASHAV, we are establishing agricultural centers, building medical centers, empowering farmers and preserving the environment.”

Erdan said that a strategic alliance between Israel and Africa can stimulate innovation and change our environment.

However, he noted that efforts are underway by critics of Israel to undo its new status as an observer to the African Union [AU]. When Israel became an observer to the AU in July, several African countries, including Botswana, South Africa, Namibia and Algeria, opposed this move, citing Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians.

“This discrimination against Israel—which has a land border with Africa and enjoys relations with 46 African countries, and is engaged in development and extensive economic activity—is hypocritical, biased and impairs the progress of our region.”

Ya’ari told the ambassadors that the event highlighted the “importance of energy in improving the lives of people in Africa.”

“Through Israeli solar, water and agricultural technologies, Innovation: Africa has already improved the lives of more than 3 million people,” she said, “and through the partnerships established tonight, we will continue, together, to help millions more.”

Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on November 9, 2021. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Permanent Mission of Israel to the U.N./JNS.org

Prayer Focus
Pray that the event would yield abundant fruit, causing many more people, communities, villages, cities and nations on the African continent to benefit and as a result, rise up as proud supporters of Israel. Pray that these partnerships will stand as beacons showcasing God’s faithfulness in keeping His promise that Israel would be a light to the nations and a vehicle through which He pours out blessing on the rest of the world.

Scripture

“In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.”


- Genesis 22:18