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Every week, we post from 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.

Report: “Cease-fire” Has Been Reached

by Itamar Eichner, Yoav Zitun, Elior Levy

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A cease-fire has been reached and the rockets from Gaza have stopped—for now.

Wednesday, 14 November 2018 | Arab media reported Tuesday that Israel and Hamas agreed to hold fire. According to a political source, Hamas requested a cease-fire using four different mediators. In response, Israel said it reserves its freedom to act and that the state of affairs would be determined on the ground.

Earlier Tuesday, after a seven-hour meeting, a statement was issued saying that the security cabinet instructed the IDF [Israel Defense Forces] to continue to operate in Gaza as necessary, although most of the ministers who attended the meeting agreed with the defense establishment that the Egyptian efforts to reach a cease-fire should be given a chance.

Cabinet officials said that at the moment, everything depends on recent developments on the ground and whether Hamas and the Islamic Jihad will cease fire. According to a senior Israeli official, “The situation is very fluid and sensitive, the chances for a cease-fire are 50:50. One mortar shell can change the entire picture.”

Senior officials in the cabinet said Hamas had suffered a severe blow and Israel had to decide whether to stop the operations now, or to continue the strikes on Gaza until the end. “If we had intensified the attacks, rockets would have been fired at Tel Aviv,” senior cabinet officials said. All the ministers—including Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Minister Naftali Bennett—did not object to a cease-fire.

Following this report, the defense ministry said that Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s support of a cease-fire deal was “fake news.” The statement said that the defense minister’s position was consistent and had not changed. Ministers Naftali Bennett, Ayelet Shaked and Ze’ev Elkin also said they did not support a cease-fire deal with Hamas.

Meanwhile, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said Tuesday that “if Israel stops the aggression, it will be possible to go back to the cease-fire understandings… the resistance defended its people against Israeli aggression, and the Palestinian people, as usual, continued to the resist with patience and pride.”

The military wings in Gaza have also announced that a cease-fire has been officially achieved and that they will be committed to it “as long as Israel is committed to it.”

On Tuesday afternoon, Arab media outlets reported that the Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip have reportedly agreed to halt rocket fire into Israel, though a senior Israeli official denied Jerusalem was involved in any cease-fire negotiations.

Hamas official Izzat al-Rishq insisted, however, that efforts are being made by various Arab states and international organizations to put an end to the latest round of hostilities on the southern border, which saw more than 400 rockets fired at Israeli territory.

“Urgent talks are being held with a large number of Arab and Western countries, as well as with international organizations, to condemn the Zionist escalation and to bring an end to the continued aggression against our people in the Gaza Strip, during which innocent civilians are hurt,” al-Rishq said.

An Egyptian delegation will arrive in Israel on Wednesday to discuss efforts to achieve calm on the Gaza border, Russian Sputnik news agency reported.

Meanwhile, Norway’s foreign ministry said it is cooperating with Egypt and the United Nation to achieve calm between Hamas and Israel. Oslo condemned Hamas for launching rockets at Israel and called on both sides to show restraint.

On Tuesday morning, Israel’s security cabinet met for nearly four hours to discuss the strategy in Gaza going forward.

At the same time, the Israel Air Force (IAF) attacked two terror cells launching rockets at Israel, resulting in a death of one Palestinian, according to Gaza’s health ministry. Since the start of the current escalation, a total of six Palestinians have been killed in IAF strikes in Gaza.

In another incident earlier, two Palestinians breached the border fence near the abandoned Karni crossing in northern Gaza. The two men tampered with the fence and fled back to the Strip a short time after that.

Earlier, the IDF Spokesperson’s office reported that several high-profile targets belonging to Hamas, including a few multi-story buildings, have been attacked by IAF fighter jets since Monday night in response to the barrage of missiles from the Strip.

Although a large number of rockets had been intercepted by the Iron Dome system, several of them landed in residential areas, resulting in the death of a 40-year-old Palestinian from Hebron after his apartment in Ashkelon sustained a direct hit.

In light of the events, Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas cut short his visit to Kuwait and will return to Ramallah soon.

The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), Maj. Gen. Kamil Abu Rokon, directly addressed the Gaza residents via a message written in Arabic on his Facebook page.

“Hamas and the terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip are the ones who bring destruction upon Gazans! There are dire repercussions to the continued launching of rockets at Israel. Terror has consequences,” he warned. “Israel will continue to act with force against all terror activity by Hamas and other factions in the Strip, which infringes on our sovereignty and harms our citizens.”

Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published by Ynetnews on November 13, 2018. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Israel Defense Forces/Flickr

Prayer Focus
Intercede for the leaders of Israel during this time of crisis along the Gaza border. Pray that there will be true unity among them.

Scripture

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


- Psalm 133:1

Action
Editor’s note from the CEO: A cease-fire has been agreed to. Does this mean the war is over? No! In fact Hamas is openly gloating that they won and boasting that they will hit Haifa and Jaffa next time. This cease-fire is simply Hamas saying “we need time to reorganize ourselves for the next time.” When will that be? A day? A week? A month? Meanwhile we need to continue to supply bomb shelters, fire equipment, food and encouragement to the Israelis who live close to the Gaza Strip. If you want to help, please donate to our Crisis Assistance Fund.

Chaotic Scene in Gaza Border Community Marks Significant Escalation

by Kate Norman

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Rockets from Gaza have destroyed Israeli homes.

Tuesday, 13 November 2018 | In a significant escalation of violence on the Israel–Gaza border, one man in Ashkelon has been killed and several others are being treated for injuries after multiple rockets bombarded the community, located just 13 kilometers (8 miles) north of Gaza.

The man—a 48-year-old Palestinian from Judea and Samaria (West Bank)—was killed in his bed after the apartment was hit directly by a rocket Monday night.

The rocket hit the building just before midnight. Emergency responders immediately conducted a search and evacuated the building, rescuing a 60-year-old woman and taking her to a hospital in Ashkelon in critical condition.

A medic told the Times of Israel they found the woman unresponsive in one of the apartments, suffering from injuries caused by shrapnel from the rocket. Her condition was stabilized and she was transferred to another hospital in serious condition.

It wasn’t until almost 2.00 a.m., a civilian called the responders back to the same building, where they found the dead man, identified as Mohammed Abdel Hamid Abu Isbah, and a moderately injured woman amid rubble and debris in the bedroom of the apartment.

Ynetnews quoted the fire department describing the complex, chaotic scene as the responders worked.

“During the firefighting and rescue operations, there was another direct hit of a structure far from this scene, and most of the forces were diverted there following information of great destruction and a large number of people trapped and wounded. All firefighting and rescue forces returned immediately upon finishing work on the second direct hit and worked until the last of the trapped people was extracted,” the department stated.

During the rocket attacks, the Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon treated 75 people: one was moderately injured, 62 lightly wounded and 12 suffering from shock, Ynetnews reported.

A Jerusalem Post journalist who was on the ground in Ashkelon last night described the terrible scene: “As the crews worked in the building sirens sounded overhead and the scores of residents who had come out now had to run to find shelter. Some crouched down next to cars and walls. Overhead Iron Dome missiles intercepted several rockets. Flashes and booms could be seen and heard. It was a duel in the skies above, a war over our heads, while on the ground the emergency crews waited to emerge and get back to work.”

Over 400 rockets have been fired into Israel from Gaza since Monday afternoon. Code Red sirens have been blaring all through the night, into the morning and continue to go off. The IDF (Israel Defense Force) has responded by striking over 150 terrorist targets across Gaza. The Iron Dome (Israel’s missile defense system) has intercepted over 100 of the rockets. Several rockets hit civilian targets, and the rest landed in open fields.

Officials say the situation has not yet reached the point of crisis where Gaza border residents need to be evacuated from the region, but the mayor of Eilat, the southernmost city in Israel, ordered for the preparations to host 300 families this weekend, according to Ynetnews. The potential evacuees would stay in Eilat hotels and in residents’ homes.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, November 13, 2018)

Photo Credit: Screenshot/IDF/Twitter

Prayer Focus
Remember the Israelis who live along the Gaza border. Ask the Lord to comfort those who have sustained injuries or lost loved ones. Pray that they will know they are not alone.

Scripture

“Comfort, yes, comfort My people!” says your God.


- Isaiah 40:1

Action
As communities near the Gaza border begin to recover from these violent attacks, Bridges for Peace is one the ground providing much needed support. We need to continue to supply bomb shelters, fire equipment, food and encouragement to the Israelis who live close to the Gaza Strip. If you want to help, please donate to our Crisis Assistance Fund.

Israel Defense Minister Lieberman Resigns after Cease-fire with Hamas

by Kate Norman

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Israeli defense minister Lieberman resigns after disagreements on cease-fire.

Thursday, 15 November 2018 | Israeli defense minister Avigdor Lieberman announced his resignation yesterday following the latest cease-fire agreement with Hamas.

After a significant escalation of the Israel–Gaza conflict earlier this week with Hamas firing nearly 500 rockets over the border into Israel, killing one man and injuring several other people, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israel’s security cabinet went into a seven-hour meeting. They came out offering little information but acknowledging another tentative cease-fire with Gaza.

The next morning, Lieberman announced his resignation, asserting his disagreement with the cease-fire. The former defense minister has been pushing a sharper response to the violence in Gaza, saying even several weeks ago that Israel has “reached a situation of no choice.”

He officially submitted his resignation Thursday morning, meaning his leadership will end within 48 hours.

Earlier this month, Israel allowed Qatar to deliver (US) $15 million to Gaza in order to allow Hamas to pay government workers’ salaries, a decision Netanyahu called a way to avert an “unnecessary war.”

Lieberman said during his resignation announcement that he disagreed with that decision, calling it a “mistake.”

Sources are conflicted as to who will fill the role of defense minister: Netanyahu himself, current Education Minister Naftali Bennett or someone else.

Lieberman’s resignation comes at a precarious time for the country with the crisis at the Israel–Gaza border. The former defense minister is taking his party members with him, leaving the coalition with Netanyahu’s party, which commanded a comfortable majority of the Knesset (Parliament). The big question is whether this will lead to a call for another election in the Knesset. It will certainly happen if Netanyahu loses his already narrow majority of one seat—which is what he has without Lieberman’s party.

One thing is certain: defense minister of the State of Israel is a big job to fill, and whoever takes on the role will need to be a strong leader—able to navigate the political arena and make tough decisions to ensure the national security of the world’s most targeted nation.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, November 15, 2018)

Photo Credit: Preiss/MSC/wikimedia.org

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Intercede for the nation of Israel as there is such division among the leadership over the cease-fire agreement. Pray for Prime Minister Netanyahu, asking that he will seek the Lord for wisdom and understanding. Pray for the Lord’s protective shield over Israel during times of unrest.

Scripture

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye.


- Psalm 32:8

US State Department Condemns Hamas, Says “We Stand with Israel” on Gaza Attacks

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Jason Greenblatt, US special representative to the Middle East says the US stands by Israel’s right to self-defense.

Wednesday, 14 November 2018 | As terrorists in Gaza continued Tuesday to launch rockets at Israel amid ongoing cease-fire mediation efforts, The United States department of state slammed the terrorist group, Hamas, and reaffirmed that Israel has the right to defend itself, the Algemeiner reported.

“We are aware of reports of ongoing rocket and mortar attacks from Gaza against targets in Israel,” a state department official told JNS on Monday. “We condemn these attacks and call for their immediate halt. We stand with Israel as it defends itself against these attacks.”

Jason Greenblatt, the White House’s special representative to the Middle East, had earlier condemned Hamas—which exercises complete political and military control over Gaza—in a tweet.

“Terrorists in Gaza are again attacking Israel with tools of war. These rocket and mortar attacks on Israeli towns must be condemned by all. Israel is forced once again into military action to defend its citizens. We stand with Israel as it defends itself against these attacks,” Greenblatt said.

“Hamas’ activities continue to prove they don’t really care about the Palestinians of Gaza & their only interest is to use them for political purposes. Even Palestinian lives seem not to matter to Hamas,” Greenblatt added. “The world has grown tired of Hamas’ violence and the violence of other bad actors in Gaza. This violence prevents any real help for the people of Gaza.”

Dan Shapiro, the US ambassador to Israel under President Barack Obama, also reaffirmed Israel’s right to self-defense.

“When a terrorist organization on your border launches 300 rockets at your civilian population, you have to respond,” Shapiro said. “You are justified to respond. Wishing the people of southern Israel and Gaza a quiet night, with no Hamas rocket launches and no need to respond.”

Hamas’s dire strategic situation dictates its moves against Israel. The group is running out of ways to attack Israel and wants to distract from the fact that it is directly responsible for the suffering of its own civilian population, wasting hundreds of millions in aid money on military infrastructure.

After weeks of sending masses of civilians into direct confrontation with Israel—including women children, even babies—to act as a buffer between its operatives trying to infiltrate the border, Hamas has resorted to previous tactics of firing directly on residents on the Gaza border.

Source: (This article was originally published by The Israel Project, in its publication The Tower on November 13, 2018. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: US Embassy Tel Aviv/Wikimedia.org

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Give thanks for this strong stand of support for Israel as she acted to defend herself. Pray that other nations will follow the leadership of the United States in this area.

Scripture

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

Action
As communities near the Gaza border begin to recover from these violent attacks, Bridges for Peace is one the ground providing much needed support. We need to continue to supply bomb shelters, fire equipment, food and encouragement to the Israelis who live close to the Gaza Strip. If you want to help, please donate to our Crisis Assistance Fund.

Nuclear Experts: Archives Show Iran Had “Advanced Capabilities” to Produce Nukes

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The head of the UN atomic agency, Amano (red tie), on a visit to Iran (Illustrative) 

Thursday, 15 November 2018 | The documents in an archive seized by Israel show that Iran had “more advanced capabilities to make nuclear weapons themselves,” according to a paper being prepared by an anti-proliferation think tank, Foreign Policy reported Tuesday.

Foreign Policy, which saw an early draft of the paper being produced by the Institute for Science and International Security—written by the Institute’s president, former weapons inspector David Albright, former Deputy Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and Andrea Stricker, a senior policy analyst at the institute—reported that the information contained in the archive “demonstrates that Washington and the IAEA were constantly underestimating how close Tehran was to a bomb.”

Though the deal was meant to limit Iran’s ability to highly enrich uranium to fuel a nuclear bomb, the archive shows that Iran had also developed the capabilities “to make the nuclear weapons themselves.” This aspect of the archive is described as “a surprising and troubling finding in the new intelligence.”

“The archive is littered with new stuff about the Iranian nuclear weapons program,” Albright said. “It’s unbelievable how much is in there.” Based on what he has learned from reviewing the documents in the archive, he said that the Iranians “were further along than Western intelligence agencies realized.”

Albright noted that though the United States government believed that it would take Iran two years to build a nuclear weapon, “the information in the archive makes it clear they could have done it a lot quicker.”

The documents and files that Israel smuggled out of Tehran in January, which Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu publicized at the end of April, consists of some 100,000 pages and covers Iran’s nuclear weapons program during the years of 1999 to 2003.

The haul is so massive that Albright said, “I don’t think even the Israelis have gone through it all.” He added that “every day when they go through it they see something new.”

In a previous paper published by the institute, Albright, Heinonen and Frank Pabian, a former United Nations nuclear chief inspector in Iraq for the IAEA, argued that the new information contained in the archive “necessitates calling for more action by the IAEA and the Joint Commission, which administers the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).”

In an op-ed published last month in The Hill, Josh Block, the president and CEO of The Israel Project, noted that the IAEA had failed to follow through on the recent Israeli revelations and the implications of those failures on the agency’s overall knowledge of Iran’s nuclear weapons work.

“The gaps in the IAEA’s knowledge—of Iran’s past nuclear work, of its military sites, of items mentioned in Section T of the nuclear deal, and of the nuclear sites discovered by Israeli intelligence—raise questions about the full extent of Iran’s nuclear program,” Block argued.

Source: (This article was originally published by The Israel Project, in its publication The Tower on November 14, 2018. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Tasnim News Agency/wikimedia.org

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Intercede for the situation in Iran, thanking the Lord that Israel was able to obtain solid proof of Iran’s nuclear capacities. Pray that the sanctions, now in place, will bring a halt to their weaponry program.

Scripture

They [the Lord’s enemies] have said, “Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation, that the name of Israel may be remembered no more.”


- Psalm 83:4

Newly Appointed Ambassadors from Jordan, Egypt Reaffirm Commitment to Peace with Israel

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President Rivlin with the incoming ambassador of Jordan, Ghassan Majali (GPO/Haim Zach)

Monday, 12 November 2018 | The incoming ambassadors of Jordan and Egypt both reaffirmed their countries’ commitment to sustainable peace with Israel in a meeting with Israeli president Reuven Rivlin in Jerusalem on Thursday, the Times of Israel reported.

Rivlin, who greeted the men in Arabic, accepted letters of credence from Ghassan Majali of Jordan and Khaled Azmi of Egypt, the newly appointed ambassadors to Israel. In separate meetings with the officials, Rivlin hailed the peace agreements with Jordan and Egypt as anchors of regional stability, while expressing his wish to strengthen and deepen the relationship.

“We are determined to live in peace with our neighbors, and we are hopeful and optimistic that others will do as you have done,” Rivlin told the Jordanian ambassador.

Majali, who previously served as the Hashemite Kingdom’s envoy to Spain, stressed the important anniversary of the peace treaty that will be celebrated next year.

“We remember the huge efforts made by great leaders, the late King Hussein [bin Talal of Jordan] and the late Yizhak Rabin, who stood firm in the face of all odds,” he said. “King Abdullah believes that the peace treaty is a cornerstone for peace in the region and in the world and that a breakthrough in the Israeli–Palestinian peace process is a top priority for the Hashemite Kingdom. Thank you for your warm welcome, Mr. President.”

Rivlin responded to the ambassador, saying: “We appreciate the key role that Jordan plays as an island of stability in our region. But we can still do more to broaden cooperation in areas that impact on both our peoples.” He continued: “We breathe the same air and live on the same piece of land. When you lack water, we lack water. We must do more to find ways of confronting these challenges together.”

In his meeting with the Egyptian ambassador, Rivlin observed that in a few months both countries will mark the 40th anniversary of the Egyptian–Israeli peace treaty.

“Since the peace treaty was signed nearly 40 years ago, we have welcomed six Egyptian ambassadors. Now you are the seventh. I wish you success during your time here,” Rivlin said.

The Egyptian ambassador took the opportunity to mark the occasion. “It was an important step and the vision of great statesmen, and it remains a pillar of stability and an example that should be followed around the region,” Azmi said. “Egypt remains committed to the peace treaty and to bringing peace to the whole region. We are proud of our history, which is a model of tolerance, coexistence and acceptance.”

Rivlin observed that, “We face similar challenges and our military and intelligence cooperation is of strategic importance.” He also noted the vital cooperation between Egypt and Israel in fighting Islamic extremism.

“Together, we can face the challenges of terrorism and ISIS in Sinai and Gaza better. Under the leadership of your president, Egypt plays a key role in the Arab world as a voice of reason and moderation. We appreciate your efforts towards stability in the region, and particularly with the Palestinians in Gaza,” Rivlin stated.

Jordan and Egypt remain the only two Arab countries to have signed peace treaties with Israel. However, in recent months, several other Arab states have intensified their relations with the Jewish state, including Oman, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

In an op-ed published in the Wall Street Journal on Monday, Joshua S. Block, CEO and president of the Israel Project, said these developments “will change the region for the better.”

Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published by The Israel Project, in its publication The Tower on November 9, 2018. Time related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: GPO/Haim Zach/Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Prayer Focus
Offer thanksgiving for these peace treaties that have allowed Israel to enjoy calm along her borders with Egypt and Jordan for 40 years.

Scripture

Praise the LORD, O Jerusalem! Praise your God, O Zion! For He has strengthened the bars of your gates; He has blessed your children within you. He makes peace in your borders, and fills you with the finest wheat.


- Psalm 147:12–14

The Jews of North Africa under Muslim Rule

by Ruthie Blum ~ Gatestone Institute

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There is a long history of persecution of the Jews in the Maghreb (Northern Africa).

Thursday, 15 November 2018 | Exile in the Maghreb, co-authored by the great historian David G. Littman and Paul B. Fenton, is an ambitious tome contradicting the myth of how breezy it was for Jews to live in their homelands in the Middle East and North Africa when they came under Muslim rule.

“Ever since the Middle Ages,” the book jarringly illustrates, “anti-Jewish persecution has been endemic to Muslim North Africa.”

Littman, before his untimely death from leukemia in 2012, had intended this book on the Maghreb [northern Africa] to be the first in a series that would cover the social condition of the Jews of Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Syria, Palestine, Iraq, Yemen, Iran and Turkey—an ambitious project that he was unable to tackle in its entirety.

The impetus for the book, which was first published in French in 2010 and in English in 2016, was to expose the misrepresentation by certain historians of the relations between the Jews of Morocco and Algeria and their Arab rulers. One such historian cited in the book was the French Orientalist, Claude Cahen, who dreamily wrote in his chapter on “Dhimma” in the Encyclopedia of Islam:

“There is nothing in medieval Islam which could specifically be called anti-Semitism … Islam has, in spite of many upsets, shown more toleration than Europe toward Jews who remained in Muslim lands.”

The original idea for the book—a massive collection of personal testimonies, photos and documents spanning ten centuries (from 997–1912)—came to Littman when he was on a humanitarian trip to Morocco in 1961.

Littman noted: “Following the independence of their country in 1956, the Jews of Morocco had begun to redefine their hopes regarding the future. Whereas new opportunities for them began to loom on the horizon, I was astonished to observe that the Moroccan Jews were making every possible effort to leave their native land to immigrate to the struggling young State of Israel or even to Europe, whose communities were still painfully recovering from the tragedies of World War II.”

In an article for the Jerusalem Post entitled, “Exploding the Myth of Moroccan Tolerance,” Lyn Julius described an anti-Israel documentary by Al Jazeera that blamed the Mossad [Israeli intelligence agency] for “play[ing] a key role in convincing thousands of Moroccan Jews that they were in danger and covertly facilitated their departure” to the newly established State of Israel. Prior to that, according to the broadcast, “Jews first began to settle in Morocco over 2,000 years ago and for centuries they and Muslims have happily co-existed there.”

Julius writes that Exile in the Maghreb provides “a corrective to this common historical distortion.”

There is, for example, the account of Samuel Romanelli (1758–1814), an Italian Jew who visited Morocco at the end of Sultan Sidi Mohammad III’s reign (1757–1790), and wrote about his travels in Oracle from an Arab Land (1792):

“Most of them [the Jews of Morocco] never die a natural death nor do they share the lot of common mortals: execution, torture, expropriation, incarceration are their fate. Their bodies might be mutilated and their residences turned into cesspools…”

In the article, “What Is a ‘Refugee’? The Jews from Morocco versus the Palestinians from Israel,” published earlier this year, the renowned lawyer, Alan Dershowitz, writes:

“Jews lived in Morocco for centuries before Islam came to Casablanca, Fez and Marrakesh. The Jews, along with the Berbers, were the backbone of the economy and culture. Now their historic presence can be seen primarily in the hundreds of Jewish cemeteries and abandoned synagogues that are omnipresent in cities and towns throughout the Maghreb…

“Now they are a remnant in Morocco and gone from the other countries. Some left voluntarily to move to Israel after 1948. Many were forced to flee by threats, pogroms and legal decrees, leaving behind billions of dollars in property and the graves of their ancestors.

“Today, Morocco’s Jewish population is less than 5,000, as contrasted with 250,000 at its peak. To his credit, King Mohammad VI has made a point of preserving the Jewish heritage of Morocco, especially its cemeteries. He has better relations with Israel than other Muslim countries but still does not recognize Israel and have diplomatic relations with the nation state of the Jewish people. It is a work in progress. His relationship with his small Jewish community, most of whom are avid Zionists, is excellent…”

Exile in the Maghreb is a most important book, which sets the record straight about the true plight of the Jews after the conquests of the lands in which they had peacefully resided.

To encourage the work to be continued by others, Littman quoted Rabbi Tarphon in the Ethics of the Fathers: “It is not incumbent upon you to complete the work, but neither are you at liberty to desist from it.”

Littman concluded: “[T]he task of completing this exploration of the historical reality of Jewish existence under the Crescent rests upon future generations of researchers, to whom, it is hoped, our modest contribution will serve as an inspiration.”

Ruthie Blum is the author of “To Hell in a Handbasket: Carter, Obama, and the ‘Arab Spring.’”

Source: (The Gatestone Institute originally published this article on November 14, 2018. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Connormah/Wikimedia.org

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Rejoice that a majority of the former Jewish population of Morocco has returned to Israel. Pray for others who have not yet made that journey. Proclaim that the Lord’s purposes to bring His children home will be fulfilled.

Scripture

And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with singing, with everlasting joy on their heads. They shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.


- Isaiah 35:10

Israel to Host Arab Nations in Judo Tournament for the First Time

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Judo-ka Sagi Muki (left of PM) and Peter Paltchik (right of PM) meet with PM Netanyahu after winning gold in Abu Dhabi.

Friday, 9 November 2018 | First, it was the Israeli national anthem playing at a Judo tournament in an Arab nation that showed just how far Israel had come towards being accepted in the Arab sports world. Now, it’s Arab nations who are coming from afar to compete in Judo—in Israel.

“For the first time ever, Israel will host an int’l Judo championship in which judokas from Arab countries that we don’t have diplomatic relations with will also participate along w/ their flags and their national anthems. It’s a great achievement for Israel & for Israeli Judo” Ofir Gendelman, Israel’s Arabic spokesman for the prime minister’s office, posted to Twitter on Thursday.

Arab nations have long tried to refuse to recognize Israel, even in the sports world, where simply competing against an Israeli can have negative connotations. In the past, in Judo tournaments in Arab nations, Israel’s national anthem was not played when their athletes were victorious. But that changed in the last competition in Abu Dhabi in October, where the national anthem played not once, but twice.

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu commented on this significant moment in comments to the gold medalist Israeli judokas on Thursday. “I’ll tell you a secret, when I heard Hatikva twice; I also had tears in my eyes,” said Netanyahu in a press release from his office. “It was so exciting, I do not believe that there was an Israeli who was not excited at this moment, it really has very broad implications. Keep it up, this is a tremendous thing.”

The steps towards cultural normalization between Israel and Arab nations are part of a broader series of diplomatic achievements for Israel. Netanyahu was a guest in the country of Oman last month, and Israeli transportation minister Yisrael Katz has been in Oman this week touting an Israel–Arab train line. The Times of Israel reported that Katz told an international transportation conference in Oman that a link from the Gulf of Arabia to the Mediterranean Sea via Israel would be positive for the Saudis and the Palestinians.

For now, it’s victories in the sports world that Israel is celebrating—both gold medal and symbolic wins. Israel’s culture and sports minister Miri Regev, at the event with Netanyahu and Grand Slam Judo competition gold medal winners Peter Paltchik and Sagi Muki, noted the significance of what the Israeli athletes accomplished in Abu Dhabi.

“It’s no secret that today that sports and cultural events are being utilized to de-legitimize the State of Israel, and to prevent our athletes from taking pride in their country as well. And the athletes gave us a wonderful gift here,” said Regev in the press release. “We also arrived for the first time to a Muslim country with which we have no diplomatic relations. We also sang Hatikva twice.”

Regev also thanked the president of the International Judo Federation, Marius Vizer, who “insisted that every athlete could appear anywhere in the world, including Arab countries, with their flag and anthem … [and] did everything to enable our country and athletes to be presented as equal among equals.”

Source: (The Mideast Update originally published this article on November 8, 2018. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today.)

Photo Credit: PM of Israel@IsraeliPM/Twitter

Prayer Focus
Pray that this “step toward cultural normalization” between Israel and Arab countries will have an impact on their diplomatic relations as well. Ask the Lord to grant wisdom and understanding to those who are organizing the event.

Scripture

With Him are wisdom and strength, He has counsel and understanding.


- Job 12:13

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