Print Friendly, PDF & Email

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.

Israel Thwarts Smuggling of Tons of Explosives into Gaza

by Yoav Zitun

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Collecting samples of the suspicious cargo

Friday, 24 November 2017 | An Israeli laboratory at the Kerem Shalom Gaza crossing recently thwarted an attempted smuggling of several tons of explosive substances that were headed for terror groups in the strip.

The lab, which was recently established at the crossing at the behest of the Land Crossings Authority in the Ministry of Defense, was called into action after a truck arrived at the area that was carrying what was said to be a large load of car oils.

Guards conducting the security checks grew suspicious of the truck’s content, and transferred specific oil types to the lab for further investigation, where it transpired that the oils were not intended for car engines, but were rather dangerous substances intended for the production of large quantities of explosive devices.

Following the discovery, the Land Crossings Authority unveiled the dangerous chemicals uncovered by the lab for the first time since it was recently established.

Lab experts who initiated the joint project between the Land Crossings Authority, the Shin Bet and the Police border crossings department use a wide range of advanced equipment to identify the substances, which included gas, liquids, powder and solids, before they enter Gaza.

Lab tests quickly determined that the dangerous substances were not car oils

The laboratory’s special methods to swiftly identify the dangerous materials are intended not only to limit terror activities in the southern enclave, but also to reduce delays that commonly accompany the entrance of cargo into the Strip due to meticulous security checks.

Head of the Land Border Crossings Authority Brig. Gen. (res.) Kamil Abu Rokon, praised the work of the laboratory, noting the significant expansion of methods at its disposal to thwart similar smuggling attempts.

“The establishment of the chemicals lab greatly widens the ‘tool box’ for security officials in their daily and uncompromising struggle against smuggling into the Gaza Strip,” Rokon said.

“The lab’s abilities include a range of means and the most important of all is the human element—those who do the security checks at the crossings,” he added. “With our smart work, we know today how to locate forbidden materials that could help strengthen terror elements in the Gaza Strip.”

Source: (YNetNews originally published this article on 22 November 2017. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Screenshots/Ynetnews/Ministry of Defense

Prayer Focus
Bless the Lord for the great ‘detective’ work the IDF and their extended units are doing at the Keren Shalom Gaza border crossing. Continue to intercede for them as they face challenging situations. Pray that the Lord will continue to guide them and bless them with supernatural knowledge as the enemy is increasing in craftiness.

Scripture

Listen to counsel and receive instruction, that you may be wise in your latter days. There are many plans in a man’s heart, nevertheless the LORD’s counsel–that will stand.


- Proverbs 19:20-21

Israel to Approach Trump Peace Plan “according to Security, National Interests”

by Joshua Spurlock

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Trump Peace Plan specifics: “just guessing” by media at this point

Monday 20 November 2017 | Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu officially addressed the reports surrounding a potential Israel-Palestinian peace plan by the Trump administration on Sunday, although he refused to get pulled into the “speculation” on what the plan would propose. “We heard plenty of speculations over the weekend; I am not planning to address them,” said Netanyahu on the Trump plan in comments released by his office. “I would like to say however, that my attitude towards this plan will be determined according to security and national interests of the State of Israel, and these were made clear to our American friends.”

The Israeli leader’s comments come as Israeli media reported that the Trump plan would be detailed with specific ideas on a two-state solution. Haaretz cited a report by Israel Television News saying the plan would involve a Palestinian state with land swaps with Israel, although the 1967 armistice lines may not be the baseline standard used. Jerusalem’s status and any potential evacuation of Israeli settlements would be deferred, per the report. Haaretz, however, said that the White House denied the report, saying the stated specifics are nothing more than “guessing” and citing pre-existing ideas.

Even if the reports may be inaccurate, the territorial dimensions of a Palestinian state would be a key detail in any specific peace plan. The Palestinians have long insisted on using the lines established by the ceasefire between Israel, Egypt and Jordan that ended the 1967 war. That would give them the Biblical heartland of Judea and Samaria, the Biblical city of Jerusalem and Gaza.

It would also leave Israel with hundreds of thousands of settlers to evacuate and serious security concerns, not to mention the religious and cultural implications.

The Jerusalem Post, while not listing any specifics in the Trump plan, cited senior White House officials in reporting that the plan as described to them would be highly detailed, rather than another “roadmap” for peace.

The timing of Netanyahu’s addressing of a Trump plan overall as a given and not just an idea, while noting that Israel’s intentions were provided to the Americans, comes just days after a national security meeting between the nations.

Israeli spokesman Ofir Gendelman said on Twitter that last week the Israeli National Security Council met with a US delegation led by members of the White House National Security Council.

Gendelman did not include the peace plan as a topic of discussion, but did tweet that “during this visit, Israeli and US officials discussed high priority security matters, including developments in Syria and the opportunity President Trump has created to address the flaws” of the Iranian nuclear deal “and ensure that Iran never gets nuclear weapons.”

Source: (The Mideast Update originally published this article on 19 November 2017. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today.)

Photo Credit: Wickey-nl/Wikimedia

Photo License: wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Intercede for PM Netanyahu and Pres. Rivlin, praying that they will have steady hearts and their minds will not be influenced by the rush of the media while they await the peace proposal from the US. Continue to pray that God’s will, supersedes all the plans of humanity and that He will clearly guide Israel in the days to come.

Scripture

And it shall be, when the LORD brings you into the land of the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Amorites and the Hivites and the Jebusites, which He swore to your fathers to give you… And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so as to go by day and night.


- Exodus 13:5, 21

Israel Fires “Warning Shot” at Syrian Forces for Ceasefire Violation

by Joshua Spurlock

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Ceasefire violation prompted command for IDF tank to fire a warning shot (illustrative)

Monday 20 November 2017 | Israel has been concerned about how close enemy troops might get to their border in the current ceasefire in Syria. But this weekend Israel felt the need to fire a “warning shot” at Syrian positions twice, not for violating the Syrian calm, but for breaking the 1974 ceasefire with Israel. The IDF spokesperson posted on Sunday to Twitter that “the Syrian Armed Forces violated the 1974 ceasefire by strengthening a military post in the demilitarized zone between Syria & Israel. In response, an IDF tank fired a warning shot towards the area.”

The Times of Israel reported that this was the second Israeli shot at Syrian forces in the demilitarized zone in two days. Following the incident on Saturday, the IDF filed a complaint with the United Nations peacekeeping force stationed in the area, according to the report. The technical ceasefire between Israel and Syria has been less than calm during the current Syrian civil war. Errant fire from Syria has landed in Israel on numerous occasions, with Israel retaliating and last month threatening “to intensify its response,” according to a tweet at the time posted by the IDF spokesperson.

Syria has certainly been on the minds of the Israelis lately. According to press releases from the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office, officials have discussed the northern neighbor with the US and France in recent days.

In regards to the latter conversation, Syria was a topic during a call between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and French President Emmanuel Macron on Sunday. According to a press release from Netanyahu’s office, Macron requested the call, during which they “discussed the nuclear deal with Iran, Iran’s establishment attempts in Syria and its activities in the region.”

In addition, Macron briefed Netanyahu on “the measures he is taking in the crisis in Lebanon.” Syria and Lebanon are intertwined, as key Syrian ally and Iranian patron Hezbollah effectively runs the country. Recently, Lebanese Prime Minister Sa’ad Hariri resigned his post while in Saudi Arabia in protest of the control held by Hezbollah, according to The Daily Star.

According to the press release on Netanyahu’s call with Macron, plans have been made to speak again later this week and meet in Paris in December.

Source: (The Mideast Update originally published this article on 19 November 2017. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today.)

Photo Credit: IDF/Ashernet

Prayer Focus
Beseech God for a solution to the continuous tension on Israel’s northern border which includes Syrian non-compliance with the ceasefire lines. Ask God to give wisdom to the IDF and Israel’s government who plan the strategy to deal with the persistent threat of Iran’s presence near Israel’s border. Remember all the soldiers who are risking their lives to serve there.

Scripture

Redeem Israel, O God, out of all their troubles!


- Psalm 25:22

Arab League Echoes Israel’s Concerns over Iran and Hezbollah

by Ilse Posselt

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

PM Netanyahu remains undaunted in his commitment to protect the people of Israel through diplomacy and other means

Wednesday, 22 November 2017 | This past Sunday foreign ministers from most of the Arab League’s 22 member states flocked to the League’s headquarters in Cairo. They came at the behest of Saudi Arabia, who called an emergency meeting to decide on a way to counter the main threat currently facing the Middle East: the growing Shi’ite stranglehold that Iran and its terror proxy, Lebanese terror group, Hezbollah, impose on the region.

The meeting comes amid soaring tensions in an already unstable neighborhood between the Sunni Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on the one side and the Shi’ite Islamic Republic of Iran on the other. The rise in animosity follows an escalation in the civil war raging in Yemen, in which Riyadh and Tehran back opposing forces, and the surprise resignation of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri, who cited Iran’s increasing influence in his country and the growing grip of power that Hezbollah wields in Lebanon as his reasons for stepping down.

The consensus of Sunday’s meeting was that Iran and Hezbollah interfere in Arab countries’ internal affairs, something which the Arab League could not allow. The League proceeded to condemn Tehran and its Lebanese proxy in the harshest possible terms, and denounced Hezbollah as “a terrorist organization” that supports “extremist groups in Arab countries with advanced weapons and ballistic missiles.”

Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia, Adel Jubeir, said at the meeting that Riyadh “will not hesitate to defend its security” against the onslaught of Iranian “aggression.” According to Jubeir, “[a]ny leniency in dealing with their policies would only encourage them more, so we must stand together.”

Foreign Minister of Bahrain, Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa spoke out harshly against Hezbollah, calling the terror group “Iran’s biggest arm in the region at the moment.” Al-Khalifa also cautioned that Lebanon “is subject to full control by this terrorist group.”

For his part, Arab League Secretary General, Ahmed Aboul warned that “Iranian threats have gone beyond all limits and pushed the region into a dangerous abyss. He clarified that the gathering of Arab nations did not intend to “declare war on Iran at this stage,” but gave no specifics as to how the League intends to counter Iranian aggression.

Both Iran and Hezbollah were quick to reject the Arab League’s statements as “full of lies” and the result of “pressure and propaganda” from the Saudis. The role of Hezbollah, Iranian President, Hassan Rouhani, maintained yesterday, “is to defend the Lebanese people,” “its weapons… for defensive purposes only.”

Despite Iran and its proxy’s claims to the contrary, the outcome of Sunday’s meeting underscores the very concerns that Israel has attempted to bring to world leaders’ attention. In recent months, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman have grown increasingly outspoken to highlight the devastating consequences that Iran and Hezbollah’s encroaching power and presence in Syria and Lebanon can hold for Israel and its neighbors.

Following Hariri’s resignation at the beginning of this month, Netanyahu made yet another appeal to the international community to heed the threats before the proverbial writing is on the wall. “The resignation of Lebanon’s Prime Minister Hariri and his remarks [on Iran] are a wake-up call to the international community to take action against the Iranian aggression, which is turning Syria into a second Lebanon,” the prime minister said via his official Twitter account. “This aggression endangers not only Israel, but the entire Middle East. The international community needs to unite and stand against this aggression.”

While recent developments may have forced the Arab League to take Israel’s warning seriously, not everyone is convinced. According to Reuters, the terms of a ceasefire deal to bring peace to Syria that was inked between the United States, Russia and Jordan last weekend allow Iranian-backed forces in the war-torn country to retain their current positions a mere five to seven kilometers (3.1 – 4.3 miles) from the Israeli border in certain areas. Days later, Russia’s foreign minister described Tehran’s presence in Syria as “legitimate.”

Moreover, earlier this month, BBC aired satellite footage proving Iran’s growing presence in Lebanon, Israel’s other northern neighbor and home to Hezbollah. The footage showed ongoing construction on permanent structures in the south of the country some 50 kilometers (31 miles) from the Jewish state border, built to house soldiers and store military vehicles from Tehran.

Amidst the reports, Netanyahu remains undaunted in his commitment to protect the people of Israel through diplomacy and other means. Yesterday, the prime minister spoke on the phone with Russian President, Vladimir Putin, for half an hour. The conversation focused on Syria and Iran’s attempts to entrench itself on the Jewish state’s doorstep. According to the Prime Minister’s Office, “Prime Minister Netanyahu insisted on Israel’s security principles.”

Meanwhile, Lieberman has requested that the Knesset [Israeli government] increase the military budget by more than $1 billion over the next three years in order to enable the military to face Tehran and its terror proxy on Israel’s northern border.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, 22 November 2017)

Photo Credit: Kobi Gideon/GPO/MFA

Prayer Focus
Pray for PM Netanyahu as he persists in warning the world’s leaders of the need to unite against Iranian aggression. Pray that he will be fearless, bold and stand firm as he faces the world’s lack of interest. Pray that the Arab League’s sudden awareness of the Iranian/Hezbollah threat facing them will result in concrete actions that will promote peace in the Middle East and safety in Israel.

Scripture

And the LORD, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.


- Deuteronomy 31:8

IDF Patrol Comes under Fire on Egyptian Border

by Ilse Posselt

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Israel-Sinai border fence

Tuesday, 21 November 2017 | A unit of Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers came under fire early on Monday morning while on patrol along Israel’s southern border with Egypt, the army said in a statement.

The gunfire from the Sinai side of the security fence hit an army vehicle, injuring an Israeli soldier lightly. The soldier was treated on site, before being evacuated to the Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba. The IDF did not return fire.

This marks the first time in three years that an Israeli soldier was wounded in an attack originating from Egypt’s tumultuous Sinai Province.

According to the army’s statement, the gunfire is suspected to be “spillover” from battles between Egyptian forces and armed factions loyal to the Islamic State (IS) in the Sinai Province. An investigation to determine whether the attack was deliberate is, however, ongoing.

Over the past three years, the Sinai Province has been a hotbed for IS-affiliated activity, with the Egyptians waging an ongoing war on terror to regain stability in the region. Since the overthrow of Islamist president, Mohammed Morsi in 2013 and the ensuing clampdown on his extremist following, hundreds of Egyptian soldiers and policemen have died in terror attacks, gunfights and suicide bombings perpetrated by jihadist elements in the province.

While the Egyptians have borne the brunt of the aggression, Israel has also suffered more than its share of violence. In February, May and October this year, rockets were fired from Sinai on the Jewish state.

The Islamic State Sinai Province claimed responsibility for the February attack, which saw four rockets fired on Israel’s Red Sea harbor city, Eilat. In the aftermath of the attack, the terror group posted a statement online, saying, “A military squad fired a number of Grad rockets at communities of Jewish usurpers in the town of Eilat.”

An IS-affiliated group also claimed responsibility for the October attack, when two Grad rockets struck the south of Israel.

While aerial attacks on the Jewish state have been ongoing, Israel has made every effort to protect its citizens from cross-border raids originating from Sinai. In 2013, the Jewish state invested roughly NIS 1.6 billion ($400 million) to construct a 400 km (245 mile) border fence between Israel and Egypt. The project came in the aftermath of a 2011 attack, when terrorists from Sinai crossed the border and perpetrated a three-part ambush just north of Eilat, murdering eight Israelis.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, 21 November 2017)

Photo Credit: Ashernet

Prayer Focus
Lift up the brave IDF soldiers who physically patrol the borders of Israel. Give thanks to the Lord for their resilience, faith and commitment to serve Israel with all of their strength. Ask the God of Israel to go before them, guiding them with knowledge, alertness and safety as they walk in the shadow of the Most High God.

Scripture

Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out. The LORD will cause your enemies who rise against you to be defeated before your face; they shall come out against you one way and flee before you seven ways.


- Deuteronomy 28:6-7

Welcoming the Rain

by Janet Aslin

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Friday, 24 November 2017 | 365 Fascinating Facts about Israel contains this nugget of information: “It is a remarkable fact that Jerusalem and London share the same average rainfall of 22 inches (55 cm) per year! The difference is that in Jerusalem it all falls within about 50 days in heavy downpours, whereas in London it is spread over some 300 days.”

Tuesday morning much of Israel awakened to sound of rain drops and the refreshing smell of a newly-washed world. Typically, the northern and western areas of the land receive heavier rainfall with the southern area of the Negev receiving very little moisture. This pattern held true with most of the rain falling in the north and on coastal cities.

Rainfall began Monday evening and by the next morning, the Golan Heights had received 20 millimeters (0.8 inches), the Lower Galilee 15–30 millimeters (0.6 – 1.2 inches), and Tel Aviv 30 millimeters (1.2 inches). Although Jerusalem’s early morning rainfall measured a scant 2 millimeters (.08 inches), the rain continued steadily throughout Tuesday and resulted in a total accumulation of 6.6 millimeters (0.25 inch) by the end of the day.

Light showers continued for a second day, bringing the welcomed moisture to communities as far south as Beersheva.

“In the Talmud [rabbinic commentary], abundant rain is compared to blessings streaming down on us from Above, strengthening and nourishing us spiritually just as rain sustains us physically” (Aish.com). Rain is truly considered a blessing in Israel and welcomed as a sign of God’s favor.

This week’s gentle outpouring of rain has been a good beginning but Israel desperately needs to receive above-normal amounts of rainfall during the next few months to replenish the water in her underground aquifers and raise the level of the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) above both red lines.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, 24 November, 2017)

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Prayer Focus
Praise God! Praise Him for His word is true and His promises endure forever! Thank Him for the rain that has fallen during this week and continue to pray for more, much more—enough to fill the underground aquifers and to significantly raise the level of the Kinneret.

Scripture

Sing to the LORD with thanksgiving; sing praises on the harp to our God, Who covers the heavens with clouds, Who prepares rain for the earth, Who makes grass to grow on the mountains.


- Psalm 147:7-8

Family of Israeli Held Captive by Hamas Pleads with UN for Help

by Itamar Eichner

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Brother and mother of Abera Mengistu with Israel’s UN Ambassador, Danny Dannon

Tuesday, 21 November 2017 | The family of Abera Mengistu—who has remained in Hamas captivity since voluntarily crossing the border into Gaza in 2014—addressed the UN [United Nations] at its headquarters in New York Monday, calling for international pressure to be exerted on the terror group to release their son.

“We call upon the international community to use its full weight to help in the release of our son,” the Ethiopian-Israeli family said during a press conference.

“We call for a special UN discussion and for a resolute decision that will ensure that international rescue organizations will be allowed to visit Abera,” said Mengistu’s bother, Ilan.

Since Abera was captured, Hamas has persistently refused to provide any word on his wellbeing.

“Hamas is cruelly playing with the fate of a civilian who has mental problems, who never did anything wrong to anyone. This is completely contrary to basic human morals and all laws, either conventional or international,” Ilan continued.

“My brother is alive. He is helpless and he is in need of your help,” he appealed to those in attendance.

“Look at my mother. Like all mothers, she also deserves to know what has happened to her son. We call upon the international community to exert pressure on Hamas.”

Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon also spoke during the press conference, slamming Hamas for its “cruelty.”

“Hamas is refusing to give any sign of life to the Israeli families that are constantly suffering. We are here today with the mother and brothers of Abera in order to demand an answer. Anybody who calls for an end to the humanitarian situation in Gaza must also call for the release of Israelis cruelly held in Hamas’s hands,” Danon said.

“Israel will not stay silent until all its citizens and soldiers are returned,” he said in a reference to Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin, whose bodies were abducted by Hamas during Operation Protective Edge in 2014 and never returned.

“Hamas is also holding the residents of Gaza as hostages. Instead of supplying them with education and a comfortable life, they invest in digging terror tunnel and building missiles that prevents them from having the chance to have a good life.

Speaking earlier in an interview with Ynet, Ilan Mengistu explained that the family’s central goal was to convey the message to human rights groups that they had an obligation to take the issue in hand and use their abilities to bring Abera home.

“We will demand from the UN, which deals with humanitarian issues in the Gaza Strip, that Abera will also not be forgotten. They also need to worry about his life and wellbeing,” Ilan said.

At the end of last week, the Mengistu family also met in the White House with President Donald Trump’s special Middle East Envoy, Jason Greenblatt.

After the meeting Greenblatt posted a prayer on his Twitter account, both in English and Hebrew, for Avera’s speedy return, accompanied with a picture of him with the Mengistu family and one of Avera himself.

“Today I welcomed the family of Avera Mengistu to the White House. Abera has been held by Hamas in Gaza for over 1,000 days since he disappeared in September, 2014. It is outrageous that Hamas will not let him return home or communicate with his family,” Greenblatt wrote on the tweet.

The Mengistu family will continue their efforts to enlist support in the US for their son this week, with meetings arranged with leaders of Jewish organizations in New York.

On Tuesday, they are scheduled to meet with diplomats from the US, Ethiopia, the EU and the Red Cross.

Source: (Ynetnews originally published this article on 20 November 2017. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Screenshot/YouTube/I24

Prayer Focus
Cry out for the suffering families and their sons who are held in captivity in Gaza by Hamas. Pray that the UN will heed the cry of the Mengistu family to hold discussions and find solutions to release all hostages held by terror organizations like Hamas. Also pray for added international pressure and lobbying in this matter.

Scripture

Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me?


- Jeremiah 32:27

Aliyah as an Act of Faith

by Michael Freund

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Bnei Menashe “coming home”

Wednesday 22 November 2017 | As they emerged from the plane at Ben-Gurion Airport, exhausted yet suffused with excitement, the latest batch of 82 Bnei Menashe immigrants from northeastern India to arrive in Israel marched toward passport control and suddenly burst into song.

Invoking the verse in the Book of Jeremiah (31:16), where the Creator consoles our biblical matriarch Rachel that her descendants, the people of Israel, will one day be restored to their land, the new arrivals mustered every ounce of their remaining energy and proceeded to chant the ancient Hebrew promise, “and the sons shall return to their borders.”

The words, of course, were full of meaning, as these descendants of a lost tribe of Israel, whose ancestors were exiled more than 2,700 years ago by the Assyrian empire, were at last fulfilling the dream of generations to reunite with the Jewish people.

More than 3,000 Bnei Menashe have thus far made aliya thanks largely to Shavei Israel, the organization I founded and chair. Another 7,000 are still in India, all of whom wish to come.

Not surprisingly, the scene at the airport evoked a great deal of interest, as Israelis and tourists alike stopped to take photographs as they smiled and marveled at the unusual sight. After all, it is not every day that a group of airline passengers can be seen crooning as they make their way through passport control.

Indeed, bureaucratic processes just are not generally associated with evoking spiritual uplift. That, of course, is to be expected. In a world of paperwork, paper trails and paper-pushers, the numbing experience of waiting for a clerk to assess you based on the certificate you present is more likely to conjure phrases and expressions that are anything but divinely inspired.

Yet as I watched it all unfold amid my own fog of fatigue mixed with exhilaration, and added my voice to those of the Bnei Menashe in song, my thoughts turned to those countless Jews throughout the millennia who longed for Zion and dreamed of Jerusalem, yet did not merit to set foot on her soil.

Battered and beaten, banished and brutalized, they nevertheless continued to clutch to the seemingly impossible dream that the exile of the Jewish people would one day come to an end. How they managed to do so, whether in the depths of czarist Russia or while living under the sword of Islam, is one of the greatest tales of faith and fortitude in the annals of mankind, one so inspiring that it defies rational explanation.

No less inexplicable, however, is the extent to which millions of Jews around the world currently take for granted their ability not only to visit Israel, but to make it their home. Now that there is a sovereign Jewish state, our forefathers would surely find it difficult to comprehend why so many choose not to take advantage of that for which they so fervently prayed down through the ages.

That is why I am ever more convinced that making aliya nowadays is truly an act of faith, an assertion that one believes not only in the meaning of Jewish history but also in the inevitability of Jewish destiny.

Regardless of whether a person is fleeing persecution in Ukraine or leaving behind the tranquility of California out of Zionist commitment, the decision to move to Israel demands courage. It is an act of embracing the unknown, of moving to a country surrounded by foes, besmirched by much of the international community and emblazoned in the headlines on a daily basis.

Each of us who has chosen to live here, and those who were born here but choose to stay, is implicitly making a profound statement of faith and confidence in tomorrow. For some it is faith in the Creator, while for others it is the belief in finding a better future. But whatever the motivation, those who make their homes in the Jewish state are tying their fate with that of the Jewish people and the Jewish future. In the post-Holocaust world, no statement can possibly resonate more powerfully than that.

It is said that the great 19th-century Rabbi Yehoshua Shapiro, known as the Eizel Charif, was once seen by his students with his head bowed while receiving a blessing from a guest, who was a seemingly ordinary Jew.

When asked what had happened, the visitor explained that he was about to make aliya so he had come seeking a blessing from the rabbi, but when the latter heard of his plans, he took the Jews’ hands, placed them on his head and said, “Before you ask me for a blessing, I would like to receive a blessing from you.”

Perhaps without realizing it, each of the Bnei Menashe, and every other Jew who returns to this land, is doing just that, conferring a blessing on us all by bolstering our collective existence both demographically and spiritually.

Having lived here for more than two decades, I know well enough just how challenging being an immigrant can be. But I also know, when I see my children donning the olive-green uniform of the Jewish army, or witness the return of a lost tribe to our people and our land, that something very special is afoot, something historic and profoundly sacred, something whose significance we have only just begun to grasp.

May the arrival of the Bnei Menashe in Israel, along with growing numbers of French, Russian, Brazilian and other immigrants, inspire other Jews abroad to seize the opportunity that has been given to our generation and make the move—just as their forefathers would have wished.

Source: (The article was originally published in the Jerusalem Post on 16 November 2017 and is reposted here with the permission of the author. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Michael Freund/Shavei Israel

Prayer Focus
Offer thanksgiving for those Jews who have decided, in faith, to return to Israel, regardless of the increased threats posed by life in the Jewish state. Pray that the joy of being in the land will overtake the challenges that come with making aliyah. Thank God for each one who contributed financially to this project and pray God’s blessing over them.

Scripture

Lift up your eyes all around, and see: They all gather together, they come to you; Your sons shall come from afar, and your daughters shall be nursed at your side. Then you shall see and become radiant, and your heart shall swell with joy…


- Isaiah 60:4-5a

Action
Bridges for Peace actively participates with Michael Freund to help the Bnei Menashe return to Israel, the land of their inheritance. Please consider joining us by sending a gift to our New Immigrant Fund.

Netanyahu Commemorates 40th Anniversary of Sadat’s Trip to Israel

by Ilse Posselt

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Egypt’s Anwar Sadat, addressing the Knesset during his historic 1977 visit to Israel

Monday 20 November 2017 | On 19 November 1977, a highly unexpected visitor touched down at Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport. Anwar Sadat, then-president of Egypt—a country that had, up until that point, faced Israel on the battlefield in four bloody wars, upheld a state of war against the people of the Promised Land since its rebirth in 1948, and failed to recognize the Jewish state—stepped from the plane and made history as the first leader of an Arab nation to make an official visit to Israel.

Sadat came to the Jewish state with a singular mission. The next day, he stood in front of the Knesset (Israeli government) to address the Israeli lawmakers in what would later be known as one of the most significant speeches in Middle Eastern history. The Egyptian president spoke in Arabic—one of the Knesset’s official languages. His message was broadcast live to millions of viewers and hundreds of diplomatic missions around the world. Following three decades of hostilities and after being bested by the Jewish state in four major conflicts, Sadat revealed that Egypt was finally ready to extend a hand of peace to the nation of Israel.

The Egyptian leader made it clear early on during his address that the reason for his visit was not to negotiate a partial peace or a temporary lull in hostilities. “[W]e welcome you among us with full security and safety… Today I tell you, and declare it to the whole world,” he vowed, “that we accept to live with you [Israel] in permanent peace based on justice.”

Sadat’s words sent ripples of anticipation around the world, and ultimately paved the way to peace between former enemies Israel and Egypt sixteen months later—the first peace treaty to be signed between the Jewish state and an Arab state. Moreover, Egypt became the first Arab nation to formally recognize the existence of Israel.

Yesterday, during the weekly cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu commemorated four decades since Sadat came to the Israeli capital and took the first step towards peaceful coexistence between Jerusalem and Cairo.

“We are marking 40 years since the historic visit of Egyptian president Anwar Sadat to Israel,” Netanyahu said. “President Sadat took a very courageous step by coming to the Knesset and to Israel. He was warmly welcomed by the entire country.”

In the four decades since Sadat’s visit, “the peace with Egypt has survived ups and downs,” yet the agreement between the two countries has managed to stand the test of time, Netanyahu held.

The prime minister continued by stating that today the two former enemies find themselves facing a common menace. “Now Egypt and Israel, as well as other countries, are on one side of the barricade in a stubborn struggle against the terrorism of radical Islam and its various facets.”

Netanyahu added that the alliance between Israel and its moderate Arab neighbors in the battle against Muslim extremists “is a significant contribution to Israel’s security. I hope that, in the future, it will contribute to the expansion of the circle of peace.”

Since signing the historic peace treaty on 26 March 1979, the relationship between Israel and Egypt has been fluctuating from a frosty commitment to refrain from violence to warm ties of cooperation on a number of matters. Israel has an embassy in Cairo and a consulate in Alexandria, while Egypt has an embassy in Tel Aviv and a consulate in Eilat.

Al Jazeera reported, however, that the relationship between the two countries has reached “full partnership and unbreakable alliance,” under the leadership of current President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. “Egyptian-Israeli relations are today at their highest level in history,” Nathan Thrall, a Senior Analyst for the International Crisis Group (ICG), told Al Jazeera last year.

Various aspects contribute to the warmer ties. Both countries are committed to clear the Sinai Peninsula area of armed factions loyal to the Islamic State terror group and have reportedly joined forces to see this happen. Secondly, both Jerusalem and Cairo see the Gaza Strip-based terror group, Hamas, as dangerous to the region and its people. In fact, Egypt has played a leading role in the reconciliation efforts between Gaza and the Palestinian Authority (PA), which has resulted in the terror group agreeing to cede civilian control to the PA. Lastly, Israel and Egypt view the growing influence of Iran as the biggest threat facing the region.

According to The Jerusalem Post, Netanyahu and al-Sisi communicate frequently and even have an open line. Moreover, Yoram Meital, an Egypt specialist at the Ben Gurion University, told The Jerusalem Post that Jerusalem continuously puts in a good word on Cairo’s behalf in Washington and have spoken out against the US cutting aid to Egypt.

“During the past two years relations have been a kind of honeymoon,” The Jerusalem Post quoted Meital as saying.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, 20 November 2017)

Photo Credit: Government Press Office

Prayer Focus
Glorify the God of the impossible, Who is able to turn enemies into friends and change the future of Israel for the better. Thank God for the relationship between Israel and Egypt, praying for its continuing stability. Ask that Egypt’s example of making peace with Israel will indeed result in many more Arab nations forming relationships with Israel in the future. Ask God to bless PM Netanyahu for all his diplomatic efforts in the Arab nations and current Egyptian President al-Sisi for his boldness.

Scripture

When a man’s ways please the LORD, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.


- Proverbs 16:7

Free Weekly Israel Prayer Update & News



Prayer Updates