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What Would Jesus Do?

Friday, November 29, 2019

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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.

Rockets, Riots Mark Palestinian “Day of Rage”

by Joshua Spurlock

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Two rockets fired from Gaza punctuated a violent day in Israel on Tuesday. (illustrative)

Wednesday, 27 November 2019 | A pair of rockets fired from Gaza punctuated a violent day in Israel on Tuesday, after Palestinians in Judea and Samaria rioted in protest of the United States’ decision to call Israeli [communities] not inherently illegal. Israel laid the blame of the rockets on Hamas, with the IDF [Israel Defense Forces] official Twitter feed reporting that one of the rockets fired Tuesday evening was intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system. No injuries were reported in the attack.

Afterwards, Israel hit back. “In response to the rockets fired from Gaza at Israeli civilians earlier tonight, our fighter jets just struck a number of Hamas terror targets in #Gaza,” tweeted the IDF. “Hamas will bear the consequences for actions against Israeli civilians.”

The attack follows a major flare-up between Israel and Gaza earlier this month, in which Israel assassinated a senior terrorist commander for the Islamic Jihad group in Operation Black Belt and the Gaza terrorists responding by launching hundreds of rockets at Israeli civilians. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made it clear on Tuesday that renewed Gaza violence was not acceptable.

“If someone in Gaza thinks that he can raise his head after Operation Black Belt, he is sorely mistaken,” said Netanyahu in comments released by his office. “We will respond vigorously to any attack against us and we will continue to guard the security of Israel on all fronts.”

The Gaza rocket incident also follows a day of riots in the other region claimed by the Palestinians, which they call the West Bank [Judea and Samaria]. The Wafa Palestinian news agency reported that thousands of protestors opposing the US settlement viewpoint rallied in at least five cities, including Bethlehem and Hebron.

Dozens of Palestinians clashed with Israeli soldiers in marching on security checkpoints, with some throwing rocks at the Israelis and others burning tires. The Israeli soldiers responded with tear gas and other crowd dispersal means.

While there were some injuries in the riots, Wafa reported no fatalities, with the report mentioning just one Palestinian taken to the hospital.

Wafa said the protests had been backed by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah [leading secular Palestinian political] faction, following the announcement last week by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. The US—Pompeo told reporters last week in comments published by the State Department—was reversing the Obama Administration’s stance on Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria.

“The establishment of Israeli civilian settlements in the West Bank is not per se inconsistent with international law,” said Pompeo. “…Calling the establishment of civilian settlements inconsistent with international law hasn’t worked. It hasn’t advanced the cause of peace.”

The Americans have been touting a yet unveiled Middle East peace plan, which the Palestinian leadership has already rejected without even seeing the proposal.

In defense of the US decision on the [Jewish communities], Pompeo last week said, “The hard truth is there will never be a judicial resolution to the conflict, and arguments about who is right and wrong as a matter of international law will not bring peace. This is a complex political problem that can only be solved by negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians.”

Editor’s Note: Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria as well as the Golan Heights are often referred to in the international community as “settlements” or by those who do not recognize Israeli sovereignty over the land as “illegal settlements.”

Source: (The Mideast Update originally published this article on November 26, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today.)

Photo Credit: paffairs_sanfrancisco/wikimedia

Photo License: wikimedia.org

Prayer Focus
Thank the Lord for His hand of protection over the Land and the people of Israel as no casualties were reported from the Palestinian “Day of Rage.” Ask Him to continue to protect the Jewish state as American authorities have issued travel warnings for heavily Arab populated areas for fear of violent acts in retribution of the US recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the biblical heartland.


“No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment you shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is from Me,” says the LORD.

- Isaiah 54:17

US Warns another Iran Attack “Very Possible”

by Joshua Spurlock

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General Kenneth McKenzie, Commander of US Central Command

Monday, 25 November 2019 | Recent months have seen Iran attack oil shipping, shoot down a US drone and launch a wide-scale attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil industry—and it’s likely that more Iranian violence is coming, the United States and Israel confirmed this weekend. Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, Commander of US Central Command, was quoted by Foreign Policy in an interview as saying on Friday that in his view, “it is very possible” that Iran will attack again. Specifically, McKenzie expressed concern about another Iranian large-scale attack of drones and missiles similar to the one against the Saudi oil industry.

On Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed the general threat analysis while touring the north of the country not far from Syria—where Iran has sought to build a base of operations. “Pay attention to what General McKenzie, the head of US Central Command, responsible for US forces in the Middle East, said—that Iran is planning more attacks. I can confirm that and I can also confirm to you that we are continuing our plans to thwart this aggression by various means.”

Netanyahu, whose comments were published by his office, highlighted Iran’s efforts to transfer weapons to Syria and “turn Iraq and Yemen into bases for launching rockets and missiles” against Israel. Netanyahu said they are acting to prevent Iran from accomplishing these goals.

“Iran’s aggression in our region, and against us, continues. We are taking all necessary actions to prevent Iran from entrenching here in our region,” said Netanyahu. “…Our commitment and our readiness to struggle against Iranian aggression is absolute and we are acting with all means to prevent Iran from achieving its goals. I cannot go into more detail but this is a constant process.”

In addition to threatening the rest of the region, Iran is attacking their own citizens, who have been protesting in the country.

“In recent weeks, they have slaughtered hundreds of Iranian citizens,” said Netanyahu on Sunday in separate comments released by his office. “This is a tyrannical regime par excellence, the image and true face of which is now being exposed to the entire world. This is the largest terrorist regime in the world, regarding its own citizens as well.”

On Friday, the US announced sanctions against Iranian officials who were part of the effort to censor the Internet in Iran. “The United States stands with the people of Iran in their struggle against an oppressive regime that silences them while arresting and murdering protestors,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement on the sanctions released by the State Department.

In view of Iran’s malignancy, Netanyahu on Sunday called for others to also participate in efforts to pressure Iran.

“I call on all countries around the world that want to achieve peace and stability in our region, and throughout the world in general, to join in the effort and apply more and more pressure on Iran, and, additionally, to support Israel as it takes action against this aggression,” said the Israeli leader.

“We have taken action and we will continue to do so.”

Source: (The Mideast Update originally published this article on November 24, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today.)

Photo Credit: Kathryn E. Holm/U.S. Secretary of Defense/flickr.com

Photo License: flickr.com

Prayer Focus
Ask the Lord to heed the call from Israel and the US to apply more pressure to Iran in an effort to squelch its nuclear ambitions and to stand with Israel as it stands against the Islamic regime. Pray that the Lord will protect Israel and any other nations or people who have the courage to stand up to Tehran.


And he said, “Listen, all you of Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem…Thus says the LORD to you: ‘Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s.’”

- 2 Chronicles 20:15

Israeli Attorney General Indicts Netanyahu

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PM Benjamin Netanyahu

Monday, 25 November 2019 | What happened: Israel’s Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit formally indicted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu [Thursday] night for bribery, fraud and breach of trust in three separate corruption cases, affirming his preliminary decision from February this year. In a dramatic televised statement, the attorney general said he was taking the decision with “a heavy heart but wholeheartedly,” adding that “enforcement of the law is not optional” and that there were reasonable chances of conviction once the cases reached trial.

  • Mandelblit rejected any accusations of political bias, saying it was “not a matter of right or left, or of politics” and that no other actor had influenced his decision. Incitement against the legal establishment was “dangerous and like playing with fire” and had to be “denounced and condemned,” he said.
  • Speaking shortly after Mandelblit in his own televised statement, Netanyahu continued to deny any wrongdoing and said the indictments were “an attempted coup against a sitting prime minister.” Netanyahu called the investigations “contaminated and wrongful” and accused police investigators and state prosecutors of “outside considerations,” “selective enforcement” and unlawful investigation practices, adding that Mandelblit had not withstood the pressure from these other actors.
  • Netanyahu rejected any talk of resignation and vowed to continue leading the country “according to the law,” demanding an external committee be formed to “investigate the investigators.” “I won’t let the lie win,” he said.
  • Yisrael Beteinu leader Avigdor Lieberman said: “This is a difficult day for the State of Israel. We should give the prime minister the opportunity to prove his innocence in court.”
  • Netanyahu was supported by party colleagues, Likud Faction Chairman MK [Member of Knesset/Parliament] Miki Zohar said: “The first emotion that arises in me: Deep sadness. I am pained for the prime minister; what a ‘wonderful’ gift the state gave him for contributing his best years for our sakes. It was all known in advance, we knew that the attorney general would not withstand the pressure on him. We won’t be silent. We won’t back down.” Culture Minister Miri Regev said: “I want to support the prime minister and his family at this difficult time. You could see in his speech that he was speaking from his heart. The prime minister did well to continue in his post as the law enables him, to fight for his innocence and for the rule of democracy in the State of Israel. I am certain of his innocence.”​​​​​​​

Context: In “Case 1,000” Netanyahu is suspected of receiving illegal gifts from businessman Arnon Milchan worth up to £300,000 [US $386,000] in return for acting in Milchan’s interest in a deal to sell an Israeli TV Channel (Channel 10) as well as helping him get a US visa, after Milchan’s was rescinded. Netanyahu is also alleged to have pursued a deal linked to Indian businessman Ratan Tata, who was Milchan’s business partner, and supported a law to extend tax breaks given to Israelis returning to live in the country after ten years (such as Milchan). Netanyahu is charged with fraud and breach of trust. Milchan has not been charged.

  • In “Case 2,000” Netanyahu is accused of working with Yediot Ahronot [Israeli daily newspaper] owner Arnon “Noni” Mozes for better media coverage, by offering to restrict circulation of rival newspaper Israel Hayom, which is financed by US-based Netanyahu supporter Sheldon Adelson. The indictment said that Netanyahu and Mozes “recognized that the one had the ability to promote the other’s interest” in the run-up to the 2015 elections and discussed such possibilities. Netanyahu claims he was not serious about the agreement and never intended to implement the deal. Netanyahu is charged with fraud and breach of trust. Mozes has been charged with bribery.
  • In “Case 4,000” Netanyahu is suspected of promoting regulatory decisions that benefited Shaul Elovitch, the controlling shareholder in the Bezeq telecom giant, in exchange for positive coverage from the Elovitch-owned Walla news site. The indictment says the relationship between Netanyahu and Elovitch was “based on give and take,” and the prime minister’s actions benefiting Elovitch netted the businessman benefits to the tune of some NIS 1.8 billion (US $500 million) in the period 2012–2017. In exchange, Elovitch’s Walla news site “published your political messages that you wished to convey to the public.” Netanyahu is charged with bribery, fraud and breach of trust. Elovitch is charged with bribery.​​​​​​​

Looking ahead: The real question in the days ahead is whether Netanyahu’s support holds within the Likud party. At this point Foreign Minister Israel Katz, Environment Minister Ze’ev Elkin, Justice Minister Amir Ohana, and party whip Miki Zohar have publicly come out in support of the embattled premier, stating that he was innocent until proven guilty and did not have to resign. Defense Minister Naftali Bennett and former Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked of The New Right party, who recently united with Likud, also issued statements of support and said there was no legal impediment to Netanyahu serving as prime minister in the future even under an indictment.

  • In normal circumstances, Netanyahu would have 30 days to ask the Knesset [Parliament] to vote to grant him parliamentary immunity, but the Knesset House Committee, which grants immunity, has not been formed as no coalition has been agreed. It is also highly unlikely that 61 Knesset members would vote to give him immunity. Complicating matters is the fact that the Knesset only has until 11 December to form a governing coalition, otherwise the Knesset is dissolved and elections called to take place in March 2020.
  • There is also legal uncertainty as to whether Netanyahu could form a government in the event that he emerged from an election with enough support to build a coalition. That is likely to be tested in the courts with petitions to the Supreme Court. If the Likud party thought it likely they would lose such a case they may opt to force an internal leadership primary to replace Netanyahu.​​​​​​​

Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published by BICOM on November 22, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Matty Stern/U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv/wikimedia.org

Photo License: wikimedia.org

Prayer Focus
Lift up this situation before the Lord, asking Him to bring the truth to light. Thank the Lord for the fact that He is in control, and ask Him to untangle the political web and ensure that His chosen nation is led by leaders who revere Him.


God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though its waters roar and be troubled, through the mountains shake with its dwelling.

- Psalm 46:1–3

Arab Council for Regional Integration Calls for Better Ties with Israel

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The council called for the development of relations with Israel and rejection of boycotts. 

Friday, 22 November 2019 | What happened: A new group of Arab journalists, artists and politicians issued a landmark statement yesterday calling for the development of relations with Israel and the rejection of calls to boycott Israel. The statement was issued at the end of a two-day meeting which took place in London. The 32-member Arab Council for Regional Integration includes a number of prominent figures such as late Egyptian President Anwar Sadat’s nephew and namesake Anwar Sadat; Mustafa el-Dessouki, the Egyptian managing editor of Majalla; Lebanese cleric Saleh Hamed; and Palestinian academic Mohammed S. Dajani.

  • The council met privately, although it allowed the New York Times to monitor and write up the proceedings after their conclusion. In the founding document, they urged adversaries to debate with them “rather than resort to old methods of silencing critics and demonizing reformers.”
  • Mohammed S. Dajani referenced Oslo when he said: “Peace discussed between diplomats and generals was never fully matched by preparations for a wave of peace between peoples, allowing spoilers on both sides to win the day.”
  • Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Mustafa el-Dessouki said: “Boycotting Israel and its people has only strengthened both, while doing great harm to Arab countries, and not least to the Palestinians. For the sake of the region, it is long past time to move forward to a post-boycott era.” He added: “That’s where the Arab Council for Regional Integration aims to go.”
  • Former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair praised the group, saying in a message to the council: “The developing Arab–Israeli relationship can, should and must provide the critical underpinning” to peace negotiations, alongside US involvement.

Context: Israel signed peace treaties with Egypt in 1978 and with Jordan in 1994, after the landmark Oslo Accords was agreed between Israel and the PLO [Palestinian Liberation Organization] in 1993. But the peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan have never led to a broader people-to-people relationship. There have recently been a number of reports of warming ties between Israel and Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states as well as close intelligence and security cooperation.

  • Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited Oman earlier this year and Israeli Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz visited Abu Dhabi in the UAE [United Arab Emirates] in July.
  • Yet the difficulties the Arab Council for Regional Integration has faced demonstrates why relations have been slow to improve.
  • Many in the group have been shunned for advocating engagement with Israel, and many fear a backlash when they return.
  • Husam Zomlot, who leads the Palestinian Authority mission to the UK, described the council’s members as an “extreme fringe of isolated individuals.”

Looking ahead: The Arab Council statement will kick off a debate about Arab relations with Israel and is symbolically very significant. The participants have said the London meeting is just the start of their work and they hope to announce a number of new people-to-people projects shortly. But the council also made it clear they reject the view that Arab countries can achieve full diplomatic relations with Israel without resolution of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict.

Source: (BICOM originally published this article on November 21, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: geralt/pixabay.com

Prayer Focus
Praise God for this group of influential Arabs who are opening their eyes to the truth and seeking to cooperate with Israel rather than demonize it. Pray for the Lord’s hand of protection around them as they no doubt will encounter vehement opposition, and ask God to bless their efforts.


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

- Proverbs 16:7

Dutch Government to Stop all Aid to the Palestinian Authority

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Dutch MP Joël Voordewind decided to cut aid to the PA after learning the money was funding terror.

Friday, 22 November 2019 | After a lengthy process that started in November 2018 with a lecture in Dutch Parliament by Palestinian Media Watch’s [PMW’s] director Itamar Marcus and terror attack survivor Kay Wilson, the Dutch government has announced that it will no longer provide aid to the Palestinian Authority’s [PA’s] budget. The decision was made as a result of PMW’s documenting to the MPs [members of Parliament] the PA’s “Pay-for-Slay” terror reward policy and its refusal to abandon it.

Immediately following the PMW presentation, Dutch MP Joël Voordewind announced his intention to seek a cut in funding to the PA:

“I was very impressed with the story of Kay Wilson, that she survived 13 stabbings in her body. This makes Itamar Marcus’ appeal even stronger, that the [PA’s] paying of convicted terrorists should stop, and we’ll put this forward in our Parliament again.”

[Parliament of The Netherlands, Nov. 7, 2018]

Just three weeks after that, MP Joël Voordewind submitted a resolution, and Dutch Parliament voted 94–56 to cut 7% of Dutch funding to the PA. The cut of 7% was chosen because PMW documented that the PA spends 7% of its budget on payments to terrorists in jail and to families of killed terrorists (the so-called “martyrs”).

The new decision to cut all Dutch aid is a major development. The Netherlands, [which] had until now been funding the PA’s Ministry of Justice, is saying that the PA’s paying salaries to terrorists makes the PA ineligible for any funding—even if the donor money pays for a legitimate need, such as the Ministry of Justice. In addition, money is fungible and any donor money frees up other PA money for terror support and terror rewards.

While accepting the evidence provided to them by PMW documenting the PA’s terror rewards, other European governments have responded that they “have guarantees” that their donor money is not being used to fund this policy, but rather to fund other legitimate PA expenses. The Netherlands is now rejecting this European excuse to continue funding the PA even though it incentivizes terror.

PMW director Itamar Marcus called MP Joël Voordewind today to personally thank him and congratulate him on the government’s decision.

It’s worth noting that the Dutch report of the new decision states that since Marcus’ trip to the Dutch Parliament in 2013, the Dutch government has raised the subject of the PA’s “Pay-for-Slay” policy over 20 times with PA officials, but they have refused to budge and declined to abandon their terror reward policy.

Holland is the first European country to cut all aid to the PA as a result of PMW’s exposure of the “Pay-for-Slay” policy, and the fourth country overall. The Australian government cut aid to the PA in 2018 shortly after a lecture given by Marcus to Australian lawmakers. America cut the aid to the PA as part of the 2018 Taylor Force Act. Canada similarly cut direct aid to the PA many years ago. Australia and Canada continue to fund UNRWA [United Nations Relief and Works Agency].

An additional message that the Netherlands is sending to the PA is straightforward: It is inconceivable that the PA receives hundreds of millions of dollars each year from foreign governments to support its activities, while all the time the PA squanders hundreds of millions of dollars each year to pay salaries to terrorist prisoners and released prisoners and allowances to the families of dead terrorists.

Source: (Palestinian Media Watch originally published this article on November 21, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Remco van de Pol/wikimedia.org

Photo License: wikimedia.org

Prayer Focus
Thank the Lord for revealing to the Dutch government the evil their money was funding. Ask Him to continue to reveal the truth to other nations who are funding terror—whether they know it or not—so they will cut off the money supply that rewards the spilling of Jewish blood.


O LORD, You have seen how I am wronged; judge my case. You have seen all their vengeance, all their schemes against me….Repay them, O LORD, according to the work of their hands.

- Lamentations 3:59–60, 64

President Rivlin Attends Special Meeting in London with Heads of Impact Funds

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President Reuven Rivlin speaking in London yesterday

Wednesday, 27 November 2019 | President Reuven Rivlin was the guest of honor yesterday at a special meeting in London of heads of impact funds which advance projects and initiatives in Israel and in the Middle East. The meeting, at the invitation of Yad HaNadiv–The Rothschild Foundation and the Portland Trust, discussed a number of initiatives under consideration for the coming year, in the spirit of the president’s 2015 “Four Tribes” speech and in relation to social dynamics in Israel and the region.

The projects presented focused on advancing shared existence, social diversity and confidence-building across society. President Rivlin, Chair of Yad HaNadiv–The Rothschild Foundation Lord Jacob Rothschild, Chair of the Portland Trust Sir Ronald Cohen, CEO of the Portland Trust Douglas Krikler and Chair of UJIA [United Jewish Israel Appeal] Louise Jacobs spoke at the meeting.

“Israel is a success story,” said the president at the beginning of his remarks. “Israel is a miracle. But if we want to preserve this miracle, we must recognize the great challenges before us.

“The four main tribes that make up our society—secular, national-religious, ultra-Orthodox and Arab—are becoming closer in size,” noted the president, stressing that we must build partnership between them, based on two pillars: firstly trust between the different sectors and trust between them and the state; and secondly the promise of economic integration and mobility. “That is why I launched the Israeli Hope initiative which focuses on education, higher education, employment [in] the public sector and local government. Today, we are working with a broad range of partners, government agencies, civil society, philanthropists and Jewish communities—to realize this vision.”

The president also noted the work done by ‘Israeli Hope’ in a number of other fields, including employment in the Israeli–Arab sector and vocational training in the ultra-Orthodox sector, as well as a number of other programs in the pipeline.

Among the projects under discussion during this visit is the “Land of the Monasteries,” which the president has promoted with the assistance of Maj–Gen (ret) Yoav (‘Poli’) Mordechai, former IDF [Israel Defense Forces] Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories. The president has been involved in the project since his first day in office and now is also working with Yad HaNadiv–The Rothschild Foundation and the Portland Trust who are promoting the initiative. The plan includes the restoration of the Christian holy places in the Jordan Valley and increasing the number of visitors.

At the end of his remarks, the president addressed the meeting, saying: “Friends, as we seek to build a new Israeli partnership and a better future for all in the region, the partnership between us, with leaders like you, is critical. Your commitment, from the foundation of the State until today, is the key to writing the next chapter of the Israeli success story. Together we can build a new Israeli hope, and a new hope for peace and prosperity throughout the region.”

Chair of Yad HaNadiv–The Rothschild Foundation, Lord Jacob Rothschild, thanked the president for joining the meeting and said, “’Israeli Hope’ is the true wind of change in Israeli society and the fact that change is happening in the areas that the program targets fills us with hope.” Lord Rothschild mentioned the activities of Israeli Hope in Sport, Israeli Hope in Education and Israeli Hope in advancing employment in the Arab and ultra-Orthodox sectors.

Israeli Hope is President Rivlin’s flagship program for strengthening civility and partnership among the four main sectors of Israeli society—secular, national-religious, ultra-Orthodox and Arab. Israel Hope works to bring the sectors together in meaningful social and economic interaction, create cooperation between them in key fields, primarily education, academia, employment, local government and sport. Israeli Hope aims to strengthen the ‘together’ of Israeli society through respect for each of its component parts, with the aim of securing the resilience and success of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state. The activities of the program include a wide range of links with government ministries, philanthropic funds and civil society organizations in order to promote partnership in Israeli society.

Source: (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs originally published this article on November 26, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: ןילביר יבור ןבואר הנידמה אישנ/YouTube/screenshot

Prayer Focus
Lift up President Rivlin’s efforts to increase peace and prosperity in and around the Jewish state, with help from leaders around the world. Pray that God will put it on the hearts of world leaders to join in his efforts, and pray that his work will bear fruit.


The LORD will give strength to His people; the Lord will bless His people with peace.

- Psalm 29:11

Swastika Painted on Statue of “Fiddler on the Roof” Creator in Kiev

by Itamar Eichner, Edward Doks

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The monument of Sholem Aleichem in Kiev

Tuesday, 26 November 2019 | A monument to famed Jewish writer Sholem Aleichem, the creator of the story later immortalized in the movie “Fiddler on the Roof,” was vandalized with a red swastika spray painted by unknown assailants in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev on Monday morning.

A complaint was filled to local police on the matter. Kiev city council announced it will clean and restore the statue.

The statue resides in front of the Brodetsky Synagogue in the center of Kiev, itself a site of several anti-Semitic attacks over the last few years. The latest attack was in October, when an effigy of a local Jewish leader was laid at the steps of the building covered in red paint to symbolize blood.

The Sholem Aleichem statue was created by the Jewish–Ukrainian sculptor Valeriy Medvediev and was inaugurated in Kiev in 1997.

Kiev Chief Rabbi Moshe Reuven Essman described the graffiti as a “fanatical provocation.”

Israeli Ambassador to Ukraine Joel Lion tweeted that “Ukraine has to wake up, urging authorities to track down the culprits, bring them to justice and also educate against hatred.”

Many Jewish and Israeli tourists visit the statue, which has over time become a symbol for the Kiev Jewish community.

Sholem Aleichem, born Solomon Naumovich Rabinovich, was a Ukrainian-born Yiddish writer and is one of the most known Jewish writers of all time. He would write frequently about the lives of Ukrainian Jews during the late 19th century.

His most famous literary characters, the Jewish merchant Menachem Mendel and Tevye the Dairyman, have over the years become the archetype of Jews in the Diaspora [Jewish population outside Israel]. Tevye later was adapted into the stage and movie “Fiddler on the Roof.”

Valeriy Medvediev is considered by some the most famous Jewish sculptor in Ukraine. Many of his works are shown all around Kiev, including the Sholem Aleichem statue, a plaque at Golda Meir’s childhood home in the city and the statues commemorating the Babi Yar massacre of about 34,000 Jews by the Nazis during the Holocaust.

Medvedev, who immigrated to Israel last April, told Ynet then that “when Sholem Aleichem’s granddaughter came to Kiev, I gave her a tour. She was very excited to see the statue. We had many long talks and I had the utmost respect in meeting her.”

Source: (Ynetnews originally published this article on November 25, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Dmitri Semenovsky/wikimedia.org

Photo License: wikimedia.org

Prayer Focus
Pray against the spreading poison of anti-Semitism and hatred, particularly in Europe. Ask the Lord to protect the Jewish people living outside of Israel from acts of violence and hatred. Pray that more and more people will have the courage to stand with Israel and Jewish people both in Israel and around the world.


Consider my enemies, for they are many; and they hate me with cruel hatred. Keep my soul, and deliver me; let me not be ashamed, for I put my trust in You. Let integrity and uprightness preserve me, for I wait for You. Redeem Israel, O God, out of all their troubles!

- Psalm 25:19–22

Fugitive Iranian Judoka Calls Israeli Competitor His “Best Friend”

by Oren Aharoni, Nadav Zenziper

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Iranian judoka Saeid Mollaei (left) competing at the Judo Grand Slam in Japan

Wednesday, 27 November 2019 | Israeli judoka Sagi Muki congratulated Iranian judoka Saeid Mollaei after he made his competitive debut under the International Judo Federation [IJF] Refugee Team at the Judo Grand Slam in Osaka, Japan.

“I would like to congratulate Saeid Mollaei who competed today as part of the Grand Slam Osaka Refugee Team,” Muki wrote in an Instagram post. “This is a triumph of sports over politics. Thank you to the Israeli Judo, World and Olympics Association for their support.”

Mollaei commented on Muki’s post, calling the Israeli judoka his “best friend.”

“Hi muki very very thank you and good luck for you all time my best friend.”

The 27-year-old had fled to Germany after he was instructed by the Iranian authorities to withdraw from competing to avoid a potential contest against Muki in the semi-final of the 2019 World Judo Championships in Tokyo in August.

This incident has led the International Judo Federation to suspend the Iran Judo Federation from all activities held by the international organization.

On the tatami mat, Mollaei finished only in seventh place. It is still unknown whether he and Muki will meet before the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

These comments are a follow-up to an interview Mollaei gave to German news outlet Deutsche Welle in September, where the Iranian cited Muki as a friend and shared his hope to establish a friendship with the Israeli outside of competitive settings.

“I am friends with Sagi Muki, as I am with all other athletes. He supports me and I thank him for this,” said Mollaei. “I hope that we can one day extend our friendship to the tatami mat. It doesn’t matter who wins, what matters is friendship.”

Source: (Ynetnews originally published this article on November 24, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Judo/YouTube/screenshot

Prayer Focus
Ask the Lord to bless Saeid Mollaei for his courageous stand against senseless hatred and anti-Semitism. Pray for God’s hand of protection over him against any attacks of retribution from those who hate Israel and people who stand with Israel. Pray that this bold action in standing with Israel and against the orders of Tehran will spark similar stands from others.


Learn to do good; seek justice, rebuke the oppressor…

- Isaiah 1:17a