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Caring for the Community

Friday, November 25, 2022

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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.

Terror Bombs Explode in Jerusalem for First Time in Nearly a Decade

by Ilse Strauss

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Wednesday, 23 November 2022 | A 16-year-old boy is dead and scores more people were injured—two critically—in two terror bombings in Jerusalem this morning in what Israeli police call a coordinated Palestinian terror attack.

Both explosions occurred at crowded bus stops, the first at the main entrance to Jerusalem near the Central Bus Station and the second in a busy residential area.

This is the first time that terror bombs have exploded in the Israeli capital in nearly a decade and brings back horrific memories of the terrible days during the Second Intifada (uprising) when explosions tore through busses, restaurants and shopping centers all too frequently.

The first explosion rocked the city just after 7:00 a.m., when roads are chock-full with cars and busses inching through rush hour traffic, sidewalks teem with pedestrians and commuters spill from crowded bus stops. There’s one more thing. At this hour, Jerusalem overflows with children heading to school.

The terrorists chose their target well: a crowded bus stop perched right on main artery pumping traffic into the city, right across the street from a popular playground. More than a dozen people were injured in the blast, including two critically and two seriously. One of the victims, 16-year-old Aryeh Shechopeka, was later declared dead at the hospital.

The second bomb exploded minutes later. This time the target was an equally packed bus station in a nearby residential area. Five people were injured in the blast.

According to the police, the terrorists left the explosives in bags at the bus stops and then detonated the bombs remotely. The bags were also stuffed with nails that were sent flying in the blast, tearing metal, glass and vulnerable human flesh to shreds.

Nobody has claimed responsibility for the attacks yet, but Hamas, the terror group ruling the Gaza Strip, hailed the bombings.

“The coming days will be intense and more difficult for the enemy, the time has come for the creation of cells that are spread all over Palestine and are ready for a confrontation,” Mohammad Hamada, a Hamas spokesperson said in a statement.

This morning’s blasts come amid heightened tensions. In an ongoing wave of terror that has ebbed and flown, Palestinian terrorists have murdered 29 people since the beginning of the year in a spate of stabbings, shootings and car-rammings. The majority of the attacks were, however, concentrated in Judea and Samaria, with a number of stabbings and attempted stabbings in Jerusalem.

As Jerusalemites square their shoulders—yet again—and return to the routine of daily life, as it is forced to do every time when terror strikes, we urge you to join us as we pray for the peace of Jerusalem (Ps. 122:6).

Source: (Bridges for Peace, November 23, 2022)

Photo Credit: bridgesforpeace.com

Prayer Focus
Cry out to the One who watches over Israel without slumbering or sleeping (Ps. 121:4b) to spread His wings of protection over the people He so lovingly calls the apple of His eye (Zech. 2:8). Pray that God will bring a quick end to the wave of terror and that the bombing attacks will not serve as a harbinger of an escalation in the violence. Also pray for God’s comfort over the loved ones of Aryeh Shechopeka as they mourn his death and for full and complete healing for the injured.

Scripture

I will lift up my eyes to the hills—from whence comes my help? My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth…Behold, He who keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.


- Psalm 121:1–2, 4

Hezbollah Stockpiles Cache of Chemical Weapons

by Ilse Strauss

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Hezbollah soldiers

Monday, 21 November 2022 | Nearly two weeks ago, hundreds of Iranian missiles armed with the lethal chemical thionyl chloride arrived at a warehouse in Al Qusayr, a city nestled in the mountains of western Syria with a bird’s eye view of the Lebanese border a mere 15 kilometers (9.3 mi.) southeast, the Saudi news channel Al-Hadath reported on Sunday.

The deadly horde—including 110 Fajr and over 300 Fateh missiles, all equipped with chemical warheads—was apparently transferred there from the infamous Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Center, commonly known as CERS, in Masyaf under the supervision of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Unit 2250, the report said.

The recipient of the cache of death? Hezbollah, the Iran-backed Lebanese terror army perched within easy striking distance on Israel’s northern border.

According to Al-Hadath, Hezbollah has Iran and North Korea to thank for its new arms. Tehran manufactures both the Fajr and the Fateh missiles. The report further claims that North Korean experts traveled to CERS in Syria specifically to upgrade the missiles’ capacity to maim and kill by arming them with chemical warheads—all under the watchful eye of an Iranian chemical weapons expert.

The missiles won’t be in Al Qusayr for long either. Plans are reportedly in place to move the arsenal to the Bint Jbeil area in southern Lebanon, a scant 5 kilometers (3 mi.) from the Israeli border.

Israel is well aware of the threat. In April, Al-Hadath reported on “Project 99,” a joint endeavor by the IRGC’s Quds Force and Hezbollah to develop ballistic missiles, chemical weapons and drones—in Masyaf, Syria.

Five months later in September, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz identified ten locations in Syria where Iran has set up military facilities to produce advanced weapons for its proxies in the region, including Hezbollah.

As an example, Gantz pointed to CERS. “Iran transformed CERS into production facilities for mid and long-range, precise missiles and weapons, provided to Hezbollah and Iranian proxies. In other words, it became yet another Iranian front—a factory for advanced, strategic weapons,” Gantz said.

And now, two months later, it seems that hundreds of these advanced missiles are making their way via the Syrian border to southern Lebanon and Israel’s backyard.

Israel has not sat idly by though. The military and political brass in Jerusalem has admitted openly that Israel has conducted hundreds of strikes on targets in Syria—reportedly including CERS in August and last year—to prevent game-changing weapons from falling into Hezbollah’s open hands.

The latest such strikes allegedly came on Saturday morning, with attacks attributed to Jerusalem targeting Iran-linked weapons caches in among others the Masyaf area where CERS is located.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, November 21, 2022)

Photo Credit: Voice of America/commons.wikimedia.org

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Ask for the Lord’s favor to rest on Israel’s interventions to stop these deadly weapons from falling into the hands of radical terrorists who have vowed the Jewish state’s destruction. Beseech the Lord to bring the wicked schemes of Israel’s enemies to nothing, and pray against the evil alliance between Iran, Hezbollah and North Korea.

Scripture

Your hand will find all Your enemies; Your right hand will find those who hate You. For they intended evil against You; they devised a plot which they are not able to perform.


- Psalm 21:8, 11

Azerbaijan to Make History as First Shiite Muslim Nation to Open Embassy in Israel

by Joshua Spurlock ~ The Mideast Update

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Flag map of Azerbaijan

Monday, 21 November 2022 | Azerbaijan is officially ready to take their place in the record books as the first nation of the Shiite Islamic sect to open an Israeli embassy, following Azerbaijan’s parliamentary decision on Friday to move forward with the plans. This contrasts dramatically with the majority Shiite country of Iran and the Shiite terror group Hezbollah, who have long been Israel’s staunch enemies. Of course, Azerbaijan is living proof that not all Shia Muslims are the same—the country has had diplomatic relations and cooperation with Israel since the early 1990s—even as the formal approval of the embassy is an exciting step forward.

“The decision to open an embassy reflects the depth of the relationship between our countries. This move is the result of the Israeli government’s efforts to build strong diplomatic bridges with the Muslim world,” said Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid on Friday in comments released by Israel. “I want to thank [Azeri] President Ilham Aliyev and congratulate the Azeri people who will now be represented for the first time in the State of Israel.”

The move comes as Israeli relations with the Muslim world have expanded significantly with the Abraham Accords peace deals signed with Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Sudan and Morocco. Israel and Azerbaijan have long worked together economically and militarily, with Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz visiting Azerbaijan last month.

On Sunday, Gantz released a statement saying he spoke with Azeri Defense Minister Colonel General Zakir Hasanov and “thanked him on behalf of Israel’s defense establishment for the important decision taken by the Azeri parliament to open an embassy in Israel.”

The embassy move might very well have been broached with Gantz during last month’s trip, as a summary of his conversations released by Israel noted that Gantz and his counterparts discussed “changes in the Middle East region following the signing of the Abraham Accords” and “Israel’s developing ties with Turkey and additional countries in the region and the world.”

Azerbaijan is a neighbor to Iran, and despite shared religious beliefs, the two nations aren’t friendly. In 2012, for example, Haaretz reported that Iran accused Azerbaijan of assisting Israel’s Mossad spy agency in anti-Iran activities.

Beyond shared security and geopolitical concerns, Israel and Azerbaijan have other ties. Lapid, in his comments on Friday, noted that not only is Azerbaijan an “important partner of Israel,” they are also home to “one of the largest Jewish communities in the Muslim world.”

The ties look to be personal as well. In his comments on Sunday, Gantz referred to his Azeri counterpart as “my friend.”

In a part of the world where religious wars have been commonplace, Israel and Azerbaijan have been—and will now be even more so—proof that peace can still succeed.

Source: (This article was originally published by the Mideast Update on November 20, 2022. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today.)

Photo Credit: Ekelon/commons.wikimedia.org

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Bless the Lord for this historic first! Cry out to Him to pour out His blessings on Azerbaijan and its people in line with His promise, so that this Shiite Islamic nation will stand as a testimony of the fruit of standing with Israel. Also pray that many other Muslim nations will follow suit as they witness God’s hand of favor and come to the realization that Israel is not their enemy.

Scripture

I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you.


- Genesis 12:3a

Russian Aliyah Spikes Sharply in 2022

by JNS

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Ukrainian Jews arrive at Ben Gurion International Airport

Friday, 18 November 2022 | More than four times as many persons made aliyah [immigrated to Israel] from Russia in the first 10 months of 2022 than in all of last year, according to Ofek Israeli—The National Aliyah Promotion Company.

A total of 32,494 Russian citizens immigrated to Israel under the Law of Return this year compared to around 7,800 in all of 2021.

In addition, 14,450 people from Ukraine, 3,280 from North America, 1,957 from France, 1,750 from Belarus and 1,474 from Ethiopia made aliyah so far his year. A total of 493 Jews moved to Israel from the United Kingdom, 1,000 from Argentina and 411 from South Africa.

By mid-November, around a total of 61,000 immigrants had arrived in Israel in 2022, more than twice the 27,057 who came last year.

Next week in Ashdod, Ofek Israeli will host a conference for hundreds of emissaries. These emissaries work with Jewish communities worldwide and are in charge of the aliyah process there.

Source: (This article was originally published by Jewish News Syndicate on November 16, 2022. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Tomer Neuberg/Flash90/jns.org

Prayer Focus
Rejoice before the Lord over the homecoming in fulfilment of the prophecies He has given thousands of years ago. Pray for each precious new immigrant as they embark on the journey of putting down new roots and building a life in the land of their promise. Also pray for Bridges for Peace that we will have the means and ability to come alongside these new immigrants to bless them with the love of Christians from around the world and to show them that they are not alone.

Scripture

“And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land; I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, in the valleys and in all the inhabited places of the country. I will feed them in good pasture, and their fold shall be on the high mountains of Israel. There they shall lie down in a good fold and feed in rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. I will feed My flock, and I will make them lie down,” says the Lord God. “I will seek what was lost and bring back what was driven away, bind up the broken and strengthen what was sick…”


- Ezekiel 34:13–16a

Action
While we praise the Lord for the homecoming in fulfilment of His word, these new olim (immigrants) face a very difficult journey ahead. Many of them never planned to leave their home countries, but are now forced to flee the Ukraine or Russia with nothing. They now have to learn Hebrew, and then only can they start looking for a job in order to start building a new life from scratch. It is our honor and privilege to come alongside these new Israelis, blessing them with food so that they can support their families while they focus on learning Hebrew and finding a job. Your donation to our New Immigrant Fund will help us offer these new olim with the safety net they need to survive and thrive in Israel. It will also show them that they are not alone, that Christians from around the world care for them and want to see them succeed.

Is the Palestinian Authority Teetering on the Brink of the Abyss?

by Kate Norman

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The emblem of the Lion’s Den terrorist group

Tuesday, 22 November 2022 | The Palestinian Authority (PA), chaired by PA President Mahmoud Abbas, is at risk of collapsing and losing its grip on the Arab population in Judea and Samaria, the chief of Israel’s security organization warned last week.

Shin Bet (Israeli internal security organization) chief Ronen Bar cautioned Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu about the deteriorating situation in a briefing last week, Israel’s Walla news site reported. The PA’s collapse, Bar reportedly warned Netanyahu, would greatly deteriorate the security situation in Judea and Samaria, or the so-called West Bank.

Though the PA funds terrorism in its “Pay-for-Slay” program and decries the Israeli “occupation” before the international audience, the entity does maintain a tentative balance in the Palestinian-governed parts of Israel’s biblical heartland. In fact, Israel’s security forces frequently coordinate with their PA counterparts in security matters, such as arresting terror suspects.

The PA’s disintegration is the result of several different factors: the impending end of 87-year-old Abbas’s reign and the resulting power grab to fill the vacuum; years of corruption and mismanagement by the PA government, resulting in the disillusionment of the younger generations of Palestinians; and the rising influence of other groups, such as the Gaza-based terror group Hamas and the new Lion’s Den terrorist group.

Tensions have been high in Judea and Samaria particularly since this summer, when a string of six separate terror attacks left 19 people across Israel dead. In response, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) launched Operation Breaking the Wave to curb the wave of terrorism.

The operation involves frequent night raids in which Israeli security forces arrest suspected terrorists and those who have known ties to terror groups and take them in for questioning.

In addition to protecting Israeli civilians from planned attacks, the operation has also sparked tensions among radicalized Palestinians, particularly in Jenin and Nablus (biblical Shechem), where the relatively new Lion’s Den terror group is based. The group is known to be behind several terror attacks against Israeli military and security personnel.

In addition, four more Israelis have been killed in two separate terror attacks over the last month. Most recently, three men were killed in a terror attack in Ariel.

With fears that the tensions could boil over into a third intifada, incoming Prime Minister Netanyahu has a full plate.

This meeting between Netanyahu and Shin Bet chief Ronan was the first since Netanyahu’s right-wing bloc of political parties won 64 seats in the November 1 election, giving them a comfortable majority in the 120-seat Knesset (Parliament).

Now, as Netanyahu is working within his deadline to divvy out ministerial positions and form a government, whom he places into what role will affect the tone in Judea and Samaria—and the rest of Israel as well.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, November 22, 2022)

Photo Credit: F aisal/commons.wikimedia.org

Prayer Focus
Pray for stability within the Palestinian leadership. Ask the Lord to remove the leaders who are guiding their people toward violence, hate and the destruction of Israel and to replace them with leaders who will influence the Palestinian people for peace and prosperity.

Scripture

When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when a wicked man rules, the people groan.


- Proverbs 29:2

‘Naval Iron Dome’ Successfully Passes Final Test

by JNS   

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A C-Dome system test

Friday, 18 November 2022 | Israel’s Navy and Defense Ministry as well as Rafael Advanced Defense Systems completed a C-Dome system advanced interception test, the IDF [Israel Defense Forces] announced on Thursday, marking a significant step toward introducing the naval version of the Iron Dome aerial defense system.

The C-Dome is a more advanced version of the Iron Dome aerial defense system controlled by the Missile Ship INS Oz, a Saar 6-class corvette. The system was installed on the INS Oz corvette as part of the interception test, the second of four advanced missile corvettes received by the Israeli Navy in the last two years.

In addition to simulations of real-world threats, the test included the system successfully detecting and intercepting targets in difficult scenarios.

The C-Dome system significantly adds to the Israeli Navy’s defense capabilities in various missions, including the protection of strategic assets like the exclusive economic zone in its coastal waters as well as the maintenance of Israel’s regional maritime superiority.

“The operationalization of the C-Dome system is a significant milestone for the State of Israel’s naval defense capabilities,” Defense Minister Benny Gantz said.

Source: (This article was originally published by Jewish News Syndicate on November 17, 2022. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Israel Ministry of Defense Spokesperson's Office/jns.org

Prayer Focus
Thank the Lord for providing Israel with this new weapon in its defensive arsenal. Pray that its mere existence will act as a deterrence to the Jewish state’s enemies and that Israel will actually never have to use it. More importantly, pray that Israel will know that its defense and security do not come from state-of-the-art weapons or military might, but from Him alone.

Scripture

No king is saved by the multitude of an army; a mighty man is not delivered by great strength. A horse is a vain hope for safety; neither shall it deliver any by its great strength. Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear Him, on those who hope in His mercy.


- Psalm 33:16–18

IDF Chief: ‘Critical Time’ to Respond to Iran Nuke Program

by Joshua Spurlock ~ The Mideast Update

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The emblem of the International Atomic Energy Agency

Wednesday, 23 November 2022 | Israel’s top military official warned in a series of Twitter posts on Tuesday that the Iranian nuclear threat has reached a “critical time” while hinting at the “acceleration” of plans for military action against Tehran’s nuclear program. The posts of comments by Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Chief Lt. Gen. Aviv Kohavi came the same day major powers in Europe condemned with alarm Iran’s latest move to increase the production of enhanced nuclear fuel, saying the move actually risks the global effort to stop the proliferation of nuclear weapons.

The IDF Twitter page posted comments from Kohavi on Tuesday, after he met with senior US officials in Washington the day before. The post said the Iran nuclear threat was the primary discussion topic. “On the one hand, Iran is under many economic, military, and internal pressures, and on the other hand, it continues to promote its nuclear program. The IDF strongly promotes all operational plans against the Iranian threat,” Kohavi was quoted in the post as saying.

“During the discussions, it was agreed that we are at a critical point in time that requires the acceleration of operational plans and cooperation against Iran and its terrorist proxies in the region.”

Israel has long hinted at a potential military strike against Iran’s nuclear program, but has so far preferred other operational activities in a covert campaign involving espionage, sabotage, and the assassination of key persons in Iran’s nuclear program—according to media reports.

Meanwhile, France, Germany and the United Kingdom, also known as the E3, stopped short of making threats in their warning. Nonetheless, they called Iran’s latest move to enhance its nuclear fuel production “especially concerning.”

In a joint statement published by Germany’s Federal Foreign Office, the E3 said on Tuesday, “Iran’s step is a challenge to the global non-proliferation system. This step, which carries significant proliferation-related risks, has no credible civilian justification.”

The three European powers noted that the Iranian actions are “even more concerning” given Iran’s decision five months ago to stop implementing nuclear transparency actions related to the now-defunct 2015 nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

The E3 statement follows Iran’s decision to begin uranium enrichment to 60% purity at its underground Fordow plant, noted in a report by Iran’s Press TV. The 60% enrichment level for nuclear fuel is well on the way towards the 90% enrichment needed for nuclear weapons and far above standard civilian use.

According to Press TV, Iran took the move in response to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governor’s resolution critiquing Iran’s lack of cooperation in nuclear matters. The E3 said that Iran’s escalation in response to the IAEA resolution was “unacceptable” and noted that  Iran is “legally obliged under the Non-Proliferation Treaty [NPT] to fully implement its safeguards agreement.”

The E3 comments are the second Iran nuclear-related statement in less than a week from the European powers, who last week joined with the United States in applauding the IAEA Board resolution against Iran. In that press release, the four allies said the IAEA resolution “sent a clear message that it is essential and urgent that Iran fulfills its NPT-required safeguards obligations and take the actions specified without delay.”

Specifically, the West nations’ statement noted that Iran “must provide technically credible explanations for the presence of uranium particles identified at three undeclared locations in Iran and clarify the whereabouts of the related nuclear material and/or contaminated equipment.”

With those nuclear questions outstanding, concerns for Israel and Europe continue to grow. For now, the only public action being taken against Iran are sanctions and ongoing discussions amongst the allies opposing Iran.

Said the E3 statement, “We will continue to consult, alongside international partners, on how best to address Iran’s continued nuclear escalation.”

Source: (This article was originally published by the Mideast Update on November 22, 2022. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today.)

Photo Credit: AnnychkaMelenchuk/commons.wikimedia.org

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Continue to cry out to the Lord to thwart Iran’s ambitions for a nuclear weapon. Beseech Him to unite the hearts and minds of those who can block Tehran’s path to the bomb so that they will rally with Israel to put a stop to the Islamic Republic’s plans at this “critical time.”

Scripture

“I will give peace in the land, and you shall lie down, and none will make you afraid; I will rid the land of evil beasts, and the sword will not go through your land.”


- Leviticus 26:6

Israel to ‘Immortalize’ Holocaust Survivor Testimony via Social Media and More

by Joshua Spurlock ~ The Mideast Update

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A sculpture at Yad Vashem depicting Polish–Jewish doctor and author Janusz Korczak and children from his orphanage, who all perished in the Holocaust.

Tuesday, 22 November 2022 | As the number of remaining Holocaust survivors dwindles, Israel is setting aside 3.5 million NIS (US $1 million) to document Holocaust survivor testimonies and photographs, including processing them into a format for social networks.

Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid, whose father is a Holocaust survivor, said in the announcement of the move on Sunday, “I’m moved and proud that today we passed this important decision to document the stories of Holocaust survivors from Israel and around the world—a decision which will make a mark for generations to come.”

The efforts include digitizing photographic evidence of Holocaust survivors from Israel and the world, offering it for the education systems of partner nations and making it compatible with social media to make “the content accessible to the younger generation.”

“We are at the cutting edge in terms of collecting, researching and documenting the stories of Holocaust survivors living around the world,” said Social Equality Minister Meirav Cohen in the press release. “The average age of the survivors is 86, and we have only a few years left to improve the quality of the lives of the survivors, and secondly to gather as much evidence as possible to be immortalized for the benefit of future generations.”

The Israeli announcement noted that the decision “comes against the background of Holocaust denial events around the world and in view of the advanced age of Holocaust survivors living today, which requires urgent action on the issue of documenting their testimonies.” The combination of Holocaust denial and the loss of eyewitnesses make teaching the next generation even more important—and the next generation is particularly active online.

This isn’t the only Israeli attempt to make Holocaust history available online. The Yad Vashem World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Israel has an online library that includes photos, as well as social media accounts. The organization has also led the “IRemember Wall” online program that allows persons who sign up to be “matched” with a Holocaust victim and that link published to the website as a way to publicly remember the victim.

Holocaust survivors can also get involved online directly. Lily Ebert’s Holocaust survivor testimony has been posted to the TikTok social media site, with NBC News last week covering her great-grandson Dov Forman’s efforts to document her story. Ebert has posted more than 500 videos and her account had over 32 million “likes.”

For the State of Israel, Holocaust education isn’t the only way they are seeking to honor Holocaust survivors. In Sunday’s press release, Lapid noted that his government has “led multiple efforts to benefit Holocaust survivors and to continue preserving the memory of the Holocaust for future generations.”

Cohen said, “This documentation project comes alongside a series of moves that we have led in the past year to improve the lives of Holocaust survivors living in Israel. We have emphasized increasing income for poor Holocaust survivors from the state budget and resources we have mobilized from countries around the world.

“I thank Prime Minister Yair Lapid for his personal commitment to this important issue and for the support I received throughout the term in promoting the rights of Holocaust survivors.”

Source: (This article was originally published by the Mideast Update on November 20, 2022. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today.)

Photo Credit: Berthold Werner/commons.wikimedia.org

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Bring each of the precious Holocaust survivors before the Lord. Pray that they will find healing and comfort as they share their stories. Also pray that their testimonies will stand as a stark warning that will speak directly to the hearts of the emerging generation—and those who are to come—that may never meet a Holocaust survivor in person.

Scripture

For the LORD will comfort Zion, He will comfort all her waste places…Joy and gladness will be found in it, thanksgiving and the voice of melody.


- Isaiah 51:3

Israeli Doctors Help African Children Smile

by Kate Norman

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Surgeons performing maxillofacial surgery (illustrative)

Wednesday, 23 November 2022 | Two Israeli doctors are making a difference for children in Equatorial Guinea by performing complex surgeries and providing local doctors with support and technology to perform the operations by themselves.

Drs. Oded Nahlieli and Michael Abba recently returned from another trip to the central African nation, where they performed dozens of successful surgeries on children, mostly under the age of 10.

The maxillofacial surgeries are complex and involve reconstructing the face, whether from trauma or birth defects. For example, one of the surgeries from their recent trip involved treating a six-year-old boy with a jaw problem that prevented him from opening his mouth and being able to eat for four years. However, following the surgery, he could smile and eat just like other children.

Nahlieli and Abba have been traveling to Equatorial Guinea to perform these complex surgeries since 2014, Israel21c reported. They do not charge for their services, and the hospital pays for their flights and provides them with CT scans of the patients in order to build 3D models to practice on before the surgery.

The doctors usually travel to Equatorial Guinea three times per year, performing much-needed surgeries for about 10 days.

However, these doctors were grounded during the pandemic and barred from providing their life-saving services.

That is why Nahlieli and Abba on their recent trip began training local doctors to use ORVizio, an Israeli “telemedicine” technology that will allow Israeli doctors to walk the local doctors through the surgery in real time.

ORVizio is an Israeli-based start-up of which Dr. Abba is the CEO. The website describes the technology as the “best surgical video streaming using cutting edge technology, ensuring you don’t miss a thing.”

Before using ORVizio, Nahlieli told Israel21c they had to use WhatsApp to walk the local doctors through the procedures.

In addition to providing telemedical support, Nahlieli said their goal is to establish a local medical clinic to train local doctors from Equatorial Guinea as well as Cameroon and Gabon to perform the surgeries and use the ORVizio technology for help when needed.

Without the help of these Israeli doctors, patients in Equatorial Guinea who desperately need facial surgery would have to wait years for foreign specialists to come and perform the operations.

“If we do not do it, no one else will,” Nahlieli told All Israel News. “It is our privilege to come and operate on these children, many of whom have no other option. It is not like in the West where they can just go and find another hospital.

“No,” he added, “in most cases, the children will die.”

And in addition to saving lives, Nahlieli said that he and Abba “get so much joy out of seeing the children” they help. Indeed, these Israeli doctors are putting smiles back on the faces of children in Equatorial Guinea.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, November 23, 2022)

Photo Credit: SSgt Wesley Farnsworth/commons.wikimedia.org

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Bless the Lord for this beautiful example of a fulfilment of His promise that Abraham’s physical offspring will act as a blessing to the nations. Pray that God will bless Nahlieli and Abba as they work to bless those who would otherwise have no source of help.

Scripture

But he who has mercy on the poor, happy is he.


- Proverbs 14:21b