Help us bless the people of Israel.

Friday, November 6, 2020

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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.

What Will President Trump or Biden Mean for Israel?

by Joshua Spurlock

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Voting stickers in the United States

Monday, 2 November 2020 | The United States’ election day is Tuesday, but Israel has good reasons to watch from an ocean away to find out who the next US president will be. From Iran policy to relations with peace process partners, there are real differences between incumbent President Donald Trump and his opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden. Here is a quick look at some of the candidates’ key views on the Middle East.

Donald Trump

President Trump is finishing up what may be the most pro-Israel four-year term in American history. He became the first US president to formally recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, moving the US embassy there from Tel Aviv. President Trump also set a historic precedent by recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, which Israel claimed after the 1967 defensive war against Syria. There was even discussion of possibly recognizing Israeli sovereignty over Judea and Samaria, which Palestinians claim as the West Bank, although that appears to have been taken off the table at this time.

Despite President Trump’s support of Israeli positions, he managed to nonetheless convince three Arab nations to reach historic peace agreements with Israel: the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan. The peace deals were achieved partly by dropping the aforementioned prospect of recognizing Israeli sovereignty over Judea and Samaria, but Israel was apparently willing to make the exchange for the first modern Israel–Arab peace deals that didn’t involve Israel formally withdrawing from territory.

But peace isn’t the only focus for President Trump in the region. Addressing Iran’s threat to the region has been a priority as well. First, President Trump insisted on incorporating Iran’s missile program into the Iran nuclear deal. When that effort was rebuffed, President Trump pulled the Americans out of the 2015 nuclear accord known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Since then, the US has led the way on imposing devastating sanctions on Iran, crippling the economy of the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism. Trump also greenlighted the assassination of Iranian spymaster Maj.–Gen. Qassam Soleimani, a key cog in Iran’s policy of regional aggression.

It is that last area, the American approach to Iran, that stands as the most likely Middle East policy to change if Joe Biden wins the White House.

Joe Biden

After serving for eight years as vice president for former US President Barack Obama, on top of decades as a US senator, there is little uncertainty about Biden’s plans regarding Iran—and he hasn’t tried to hide them. On the Joe Biden website, he makes it clear that if elected he would reenter the Iran nuclear deal “if Tehran returns to compliance with the deal.” While Biden makes vague comments about intentions to “strengthen and extend” the accord, the current reality is that the nuclear deal has recently allowed Iran to start buying and selling weapons and is actually set to sunset certain nuclear restrictions in 2026 and 2031.

Subtly, Biden also plans to step back from efforts to fight Iranian proxies. On his website, he specifically notes that he would “end our support” for the Saudis’ war in Yemen against the Iranian-backed Houthis group. The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) website summarizes Biden’s view as even stronger anti-Saudi, calling for an end of arms sales to what has been a key US ally in the Middle East, with the change coming for human rights reasons. That could also hamper efforts to achieve peace between Israel and more Arab nations, as the Saudis are a highly influential nation in the Arab world and perhaps might even consider peace with Israel themselves under the right conditions.

As for Israel, Biden’s former partner—Obama—took a hardline approach to Israeli settlements, even abstaining on a United Nations Security Council resolution condemning the Israeli enterprise. However, the Times of Israel has reported that former US administration officials claimed that Biden was opposed to the US permitting the UN condemnation.

On his website, Biden promises to sustain an “ironclad commitment to Israel’s security,” and his top foreign policy advisor, Tony Blinken, told the Times of Israel that Biden has supported and would continue to support Arab normalization with Israel. The CFR summary of Biden’s foreign policy said he would keep the US embassy in Jerusalem as well. As for the peace process, Blinken said Biden backs the two-state solution, but recognizing Palestinians and Israelis aren’t ready to sit down for peace talks right now, the former vice president would instead try to prevent steps that would make a peace deal harder to reach.

That would contrast with Obama, who made Israel–Palestinian peace a high foreign policy priority early in his administration. Yet, ironically, it was during Obama’s tenure that the Palestinians stopped peace talks with Israel and haven’t restarted them since.

In the end, some things are unlikely to change in the US–Israel relationship regardless of who wins the American presidential elections on Tuesday. The US and Israel will remain allies, and the US will likely continue to back Israel’s security.

But the US approach to Iran would definitely be different, and it is unclear if President Trump’s progress in Middle East peace would continue under new management—especially if Biden shuns the influential Saudis. That could be welcome news to the Palestinians, who have so far rejected Trump’s approach to Middle East peace. It also sounds as though Biden may take a tougher stance on Israel than Trump, but not as strong as former President Obama.

This week, Americans will cast the remaining ballots that will decide if Trump or Biden leads the United States for the next four years. But Israel will be one of many non-American places impacted by who wins.

Source: (This article was originally published by the Mideast Update on November 1, 2020. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today.)

Photo Credit: Element5 Digital/unsplash.com

Prayer Focus
Lift up the United States in prayer, as they are nearing the end of a contentious, divisive election. Ask for the Lord’s hand of blessing over the nation, that His will be done for the US and that the right people will be voted into office who will honor and obey Him and seek His will for the nation. Thank the Lord that He is in control and that nothing surprises or worries Him.

Scripture

There are many plans in a man’s heart, nevertheless the LORD’s counsel—that will stand.


- Proverbs 19:21

Israel Embarks on Human Testing of COVID-19 Vaccine

by Kate Norman

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The first vaccine was administered yesterday (illustrative)

Monday, 2 November 2020 | Israel’s first human subjects were injected with the Jewish state’s vaccine candidate on Sunday, beginning phase 1 of human trials before the vaccine becomes available to the general public.

“I see the light at the end of the tunnel now,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said while visiting the hospital to meet Israel’s first volunteer to test the vaccine. “This will be the real way out of this crisis.”

The vaccine, called “Brilife,” was developed by the Israel Institute for Biological Research (IIBR), managed by the Defense Ministry. “Bri” is from the Hebrew word for health—briut, while “il” stands for Israel, bookended with the hopeful word “life,” according to Professor Shmuel Shapira, the IIBR director–general.

The first phase of testing on human subjects will begin with injecting 80 volunteers—ages 18 to 55—one-third of whom will receive placebo injections.

The first Israeli to be injected was 26-year-old Segev Harel at Sheba Medical Center in Ramat Gan. Another man, 34-year-old Anar Ottolenghi, was also given the vaccine at Hadassah Ein Kerem Medical Center in the outskirts of Jerusalem.

Both men will be monitored in the hospital for 24 hours.

If all goes well and there are no immediate negative effects on the first 80 subjects, the next phase will begin in December with testing on 1,000 volunteers, including those with preexisting conditions.

Pending good results in phase two, phase three will begin around April 2021 with 30,000 volunteers before the vaccine is approved. The vaccine will be ready for the general public by this summer if it clears the testing phase.

Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Benny Gantz visited the Sheba Medical Center and met Harel while he was there to begin testing.

“The true exit from the coronavirus crisis is in the development of vaccines,” Netanyahu said. “Therefore, this is a very important day, a day that gives a shot of encouragement.”

The prime minister praised Harel for being among the first to volunteer for the vaccine candidate and expressed hope in its success.

“With God’s help, we will have a vaccine made here in Israel,” Netanyahu said. “This is a very big thing.”

While Israel isn’t at the front of the race to develop the vaccine, one expert noted that the Jewish state is making significant progress for such a small budget compared to the other world powers in the end stages of development.

Netanyahu said Israel’s Health Ministry is cooperating with major pharmaceutical companies and that he is using his international connections to bring vaccines to Israel from other countries. Netanyahu said he has spoken to leaders from the US, Germany, India, Russia, Italy and others about procuring their vaccines—both at the beginning stages of testing as well as those that are already being developed.

Defense Minister Gantz said during the hospital visit that “this process is still a long process. It will take time to follow, process the data and analyze the meanings, so patience is necessary.”

Both Netanyahu and Gantz urged the public to continue following health guidelines, especially to maintain social distancing and wear masks.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, November 2, 2020)

Photo Credit: cottonbro/pexels.com

Prayer Focus
Praise the Lord for the progress that Israel has made thus far in developing a potential vaccine for the virus, and ask His hand of blessing over the rest of the process. Pray that their efforts will be successful and that the Lord will use this vaccine to rid the world of the scourge of the pandemic.

Scripture

“Ah, Lord GOD! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for You. You show lovingkindness to thousands…”


- Jeremiah 32:17–18a

Alleged Anti-Semitic Terror Attacks Tear through Vienna

by Ilse Strauss

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Police in Vienna have launched a massive manhunt to apprehend at least one more terrorist. (illustrative)

Tuesday, 3 November 2020 | At least four people were killed and 15 wounded in an “Islamist terror attack” last night when multiple gunmen opened fire on passersby in a bustling street in Vienna.

The attack began outside Vienna’s main synagogue—the Stadttempel—which raises fears that the onslaught might be anti-Semitic in nature, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said. The synagogue was closed at the time.

The first shots were fired shortly after 8 p.m., with the terrorists striking in six different locations, according to the Austrian police. Footage shared on social media shows the terrorists prowling the streets seeking hapless victims and mowing down everyone crossing their path. One of the videos features a terrorist yelling “Allahu akbar” (“Allah is greater” in Arabic).

Police shot and killed one of the terrorists, while a massive manhunt is underway to apprehend at least one more attacker. Interior Minister Karl Nehammer described the slain terrorist as “radicalized” and an Islamic State sympathizer with ambitions to travel to Syria. He was reportedly wearing an explosive belt that turned out to be fake at the time of the attack.

Until now, Austria has largely remained untouched by radicalized Islamic terrorists striking in many European cities. Last night’s attack—the worst Vienna has experienced in years—comes in the aftermath of three serious Islamist terror attacks in France.

It strikes at the heart of what local business owner Shalom Berenholtz described to Israel’s Army Radio as “the nerve center of the Jewish community” in Vienna.

The carnage began in front of the city’s great synagogue and continued through the Carmelite Quarter, an area where a number of synagogues, the offices of the Jewish community, kosher restaurants and a number of other Jewish businesses are located.

According to Oskar Deutch, president of the Jewish Community in Vienna, the consensus among the community is that the attack was not aimed at Vienna’s Jewish population, seeing that no Jewish institutions were targeted. However, given the strategic location, anti-Semitism as a motive cannot be ruled out.

In the aftermath of the attack, all Jewish institutions have closed their doors for the foreseeable future. Jewish residents have also been cautioned to remain in the safety of their homes and to remove any identifiable objects, like a kippah (skullcap), when venturing outside.

Israeli leaders were among the world officials who denounced the attack in the strongest tone.

“Israel condemns the brutal attack in Vienna and stands in total solidarity with Austria,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted. “Civilized peoples everywhere must unite to defeat the savagery of resurgent Islamist terrorism.”

“Our thoughts are with the Austrian people and with the Jewish community of Vienna this morning,” Defense Minister Benny Gantz wrote.

Yet Israel feels more than empathy for tragedy-stricken Vienna.

“I can picture the exact location in my mind, down to the cobbled stones on the street and the paint on the synagogue wall,” Emanuel Miller, writer/researcher for Israeli media watchdog group HonestReporting, wrote on Facebook. “The image in my head is one of Jews running, terrified, from a murderous brute with a gun. Around 75 years ago, Viennese Jews were running for their lives from other murderous brutes with guns.

“Our reaction to extreme Islamism should be the same as to Nazism: zero tolerance. No apologetics, no appeasement, no seeming to ‘understand’ what we have done to ‘deserve’ this,” he concluded.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, November 3, 2020)

Photo Credit: Michael Heigl/commons.wikimedia.org

Photo License: Wikimedia

Prayer Focus
Lift up Vienna and all of Europe in prayer, as they are suffering under the wrath of an upsurge of Islamist radicalism and terrorism. Pray that everyone involved in this despicable attack will be brought to justice. Pray for the loved ones of those who were viciously murdered. Ask for the Lord’s hand of protection over the Jewish community in Vienna and other places in Europe who fear living out their faith in freedom.

Scripture

I have seen his ways, and will heal him; I will also lead him, and restore comforts to him and to his mourners. “I create the fruit of the lips: peace, peace to him who is far off and to him who is near,” says the LORD, “and I will heal him.”


- Isaiah 57:18–19

Iran and Hezbollah Have War Plans for the Golan Heights

by Alex Fishman

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An IDF soldier in the Golon Heights near the Syrian border (illustrative)

Monday, 2 November 2020 | The Syrian media this week reported that Israeli aircraft had dropped leaflets over the Syrian side of the Golan Heights, warning local residents and members of the Syrian Army’s 1st Corps stationed there that anyone who assists the Hezbollah terror organization in acts of aggression towards Israel would be targeted by the IDF [Israel Defense Forces].

“While Hezbollah sits comfortably in Lebanon, they have put you on the front line. Be warned,” the leaflets read.

The leaflets were dropped a day after another Syrian media report (that was not corroborated by Israel) that the IDF fired an anti-tank rocket at a target near Quneitra and hit Hezbollah and other pro-Iranian fighters.

Those incidents are further proof that the border area on the Golan Heights is deep in military conflict.

Israel and Russia jointly agreed to allow Syrian forces back into the region in order to restore stability, but that stability has not come to pass.

The fighting continues. Pro-[Syrian President Bashar] Assad forces, anti-Assad fighters, pro-Iran, Hezbollah proxies and others are all fighting each other. Dozens of fighters are killed each month and occasional crossfire even crosses the border into Israel.

Israel is in a strategic race against Iran and the Assad regime over influence on the Syrian Golan, with Russia playing a key role in events.

Iranian forces were already seen entering the region at the end of 2018, even before the IDF dismantled its field hospital on the border that offered medical assistance to Syrian citizens affected by the country’s civil war. Hezbollah forces soon followed. Now, two years later, all humanitarian efforts by Israel have ended.

There is no normal civilian life on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights today. There are only armed fighters battling for territory and influence, with some attacks against Israeli targets carried out by Syrian civilians paid [US] $30 per month by Iran and Hezbollah.

Israel is closely monitoring the constant flow of Hezbollah fighters into the region who are operating in close cooperation with the Syria forces positioned there.

Ali Ahmad Asa’ad, commander of the Syrian Army 1st Corps, openly visited Hezbollah’s positions. Israeli military officials have detected what they call Syrian–Iranian “duplicate command” in some of the Syrian military units, with pro-Iranian forces in Syrian Army uniforms operating in tandem with the soldiers, while Hezbollah fighters coordinate their activities with them.

Israel identified and targeted joint intelligence gathering operations as early as a year ago. The Israelis are also aware of an Iranian intelligence base built near the border.

In response, the IDF is running a war room furnished with sensors, radars and cameras to provide troops with a constant flow of information from deep inside Syrian territory.

Israel and Russia share a common interest in stopping Iran’s influence over the Syrian military. Russian efforts to block Iranian and Hezbollah incursions into the area have been apparent over the past months.

The Iranians have been increasing their efforts to entrench themselves within the Syrian military and especially the 7th Division of the 1st Corps.

It is from within this division that Iran is executing what it calls its “Golan File”—an effort to build a network of terror cells along the Israeli border on the plateau. The plan also includes establishing branches of Hezbollah’s southern command to lay the groundwork for a second front against Israel in a future war.

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah has announced he would demand retribution for every fighter killed in Syria by Israel.

In his eyes, the account with Lebanon’s neighbors to the south remains unsettled after one of his operatives was killed during an alleged Israeli raid near Damascus airport in July.  

Unlike its actions on the Lebanon border, Israel does not hold back in military strikes against Syrian territory.

Source: (This article was originally published on October 31, 2020. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Matan Portnoy, IDF Spokesperson Unit/flickr.com

Photo License: flickr.com

Prayer Focus
Pray for a hedge of protection around Israel’s northern borders, especially from attacks by Hezbollah and other Iran-backed terror groups. Beseech the Lord to thwart any plans to attack Israel or her citizens, and ask Him to root out ill-intentioned groups from the region.

Scripture

He frustrates the devices of the crafty, so that their hands cannot carry out their plans. He catches the wise in their own craftiness, and the counsel of the cunning comes quickly upon them.


- Job 5:12–13

Israel’s Unemployment Soars beyond 20 Percent

by Gad Lior

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Israel’s unemployment rate is now above 20% (illustrative)

Wednesday, 4 November 2020 | Israel’s unemployment figures have soared since the country [entered] its second nationwide lockdown, with joblessness rate climbing above 20%.

According to data published by Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics on Monday, 1,079,500 registered as unemployed during the first half of October, of whom 832,600 are believed to have been directly affected by the coronavirus crisis and were either fired or furloughed.

The bureau reported the unemployment for the first half of October—before the government began easing the lockdown restrictions—ranged somewhere between 20.7% and 22.7%.

This is compared to 672,400 unemployed (17.1%) registered in the second half of September, when the second lockdown was first implemented—an increase of over 160,000 jobless. If those who have been unemployed since the first lockdown in March are added to this list, the number for the second half of September rises to 767,400 (19.1%).

According to the bureau, the non-pandemic-related unemployment rate in Israel stood at 5.1% in the first half of October with 205,200 jobless, compared to 165,000 unemployed in the second half of September, which constitutes an unemployment rate of 4.2%.

Former director general of the Finance Ministry and current economic advisor to the National Security Council in the fight against the pandemic, Yarom Ariav, told Ynet on Monday that Israel is on the verge of an economic catastrophe, adding the government must act as soon as possible to reduce the growing unemployment numbers.

In the meantime, despite the danger the economic crisis presents to Israel’s credit rating, the international credit rating company Moody’s decided not to lower the country’s rating and left it at A1, which is considered to be relatively high.

Source: (This article was originally published by Ynetnews on November 2, 2020. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Jenna Solomon/bridgesforpeace.com

Prayer Focus
Cry out on behalf of the needy people of Israel, on behalf of those who are unable to make ends meet, especially during these challenging times amid the pandemic. Ask the Lord to move the hearts of Christians across the world to stand with Bridges for Peace as we stand with our Jewish brothers and sisters who desperately need help keeping food on the table during this crisis.

Scripture

But I am poor and needy; yet the LORD thinks upon me. You are my help and my deliverer; do not delay, O my God.


- Psalm 40:17

Action
With the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic—and particularly the compound effect of the first and second lockdowns—continuing to ravage the Israeli society, Bridges for Peace continues to receive additional calls for help. They come from single mothers who lost their only source of income, fathers who can no longer feed their families, new immigrants we helped when they first arrived in Israel, and the list goes on. We want to answer every one of these calls, but we can only do so with the help of Christians around the world who love God and the people He calls the "apple of His eye" (Zech. 2:8). Will you show your support for Israel during this critical time in a practical way?

Stormy Weather Causes Widespread Flooding in Israel’s South 

by Itay Blumenthal, Danny Rup, Matan Tzuri

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Rain is expected to continue throughout Israel today (illustrative)

Thursday, 5 November 2020 | Stormy weather on Wednesday morning caused widespread flooding in southern Israel as wintry weather expected to continue in the coming days.

The coastal city of Ashdod appeared to have taken the biggest hit with major flooding in several neighborhoods that saw cars submerged in water. Officials said since 8 a.m., over 35 millimeters [1.4 in] of rain hit the southern city.

Local fire department officials said they have been called to assist residents trapped inside their vehicles.

In one incident, divers were called to look for residents trapped in a flooded basement of a residential building.

A local commander said the fire department is prepared for any eventuality and has increased its on duty deployment in advance. “We ask the public to follow instructions and ask four-wheelers to stay away from the flooded area in order to save both lives and property.”

The city’s coronavirus testing site has also been inundated by rain, and roads have been blocked for traffic.

The Ashdod municipality said in a statement that for the safety of commuters, the city has blocked off traffic in some streets. “We suggest drivers use the Waze app to see the best routes to take. This is a winter weather system and requires public vigilance.”

In addition, flooding was also reported in the central city of Yavne, while in the Haredi [ultra-religious] city of Bnei Brak a sink hole has reportedly appeared on one of the main streets, blocking the area for cars.

Ynet weather reporter Danny Rup said the rainy weather is expected to continue throughout the day, accompanied by thunderstorms and hail in some areas.

On Thursday, rain is expected in the early hours of the day but will weaken later in the evening and into Friday.

By Saturday, temperatures are expected to rise and sunny weather will return.

Source: (This article was originally published by Ynetnews on November 4, 2020. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Sarah Yoder/bridgesforpeace.com

Prayer Focus
Thank the Lord for the beginning of the rainy wintry season, and ask that He will send abundant rain to water the parched land after a long, dry summer. Ask, however, that the rain will shower the land without causing flooding or any dangerous conditions for the people of Israel.

Scripture

Are there any among the idols of the nations that can cause rain? Or can the heavens give showers? Are You not He, O LORD our God? Therefore we will wait for You, since You have made all these.


- Jeremiah 14:22

Israel Begins Second Phase of Lifting Lockdown Restrictions

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Half a million pupils in year one to four returned to school yesterday (illustrative)

Thursday, 5 November 2020 | What happened: Israel has begun lifting coronavirus restrictions on public activities as the number of new cases continues to fall.

  • Half a million pupils in year one to four returned to school yesterday, following a break of a month and a half. Children will be divided into pods of up to 20 and will be required to wear masks during lessons and break time.
  • [Bed and breakfasts], hair salons, beauty parlors and driving instructors were allowed to reopen [Sunday], as were nature reserves and national parks to the public.
  • Synagogues also reopened, provided that no more than ten people assemble indoors and no more than 20 assemble outside. Weddings and other celebrations are also now permitted under similar restrictions.
  • According to the Health Ministry, there were 676 new cases confirmed over Sunday out of 21,115 tests, representing a positivity rate of 3.1%. There are currently 372 patients in serious condition, 170 of them on ventilators.
  • Also yesterday, clinical trials of a coronavirus vaccine on human patients began. The vaccine was developed by the Israel Institute for Biological Research and the trial will be conducted on 80 volunteers.

Context: On Sunday, the Health Ministry revealed that for the first time since July 2, Israel has less than 10,000 active coronavirus cases. Since the start of the pandemic, 2,554 people have died.

  • While some businesses could open [Sunday], many street-front shops were instructed to remain closed for another week, causing further anger and distress for hundreds of small businesses that face a battle to survive.

Looking ahead: Following its initial stage, the coronavirus vaccine trial will be expanded to 960 people in December. Should those trials succeed, a third stage with 30,000 volunteers is scheduled for April/May. The third phase will also take place overseas, in a country with a high coronavirus infection rate. If all goes well, the vaccine could be available by the end of next summer.

Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published by BICOM on November 2, 2020. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Thought Catalog/unsplash.com

Prayer Focus
Praise the Lord for His grace and mercy, that the virus numbers in Israel are declining. Pray for wisdom and discernment for Israel’s leaders as they are constantly making difficult decisions on how to handle the pandemic. Cover Israel in prayer as they slowly exit the last lockdown, praying that the virus numbers will continue declining instead of going back up.

Scripture

Our soul waits for the LORD; He is our help and our shield. For our heart shall rejoice in Him, because we have trusted in His holy name. Let Your mercy, O LORD, be upon us, just as we hope in you.


- Psalm 33:20–22

Malawi Vows to be First African State with an Embassy in Jerusalem

by Ilse Strauss

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The flag of Malawi

Wednesday, 4 November 2020 | Malawi’s top diplomat, Foreign Minister Eisenhower Mkaka, touched down in Israel yesterday, carrying a message from his president to Israel and her people.

“Malawi will be the first African country to establish its embassy in Jerusalem,” Mkaka told his Israeli counterpart, Gabi Ashkenazi.

The southeastern African nation is one of the sole states on the often troubled continent that has enjoyed continuous diplomatic relations with Israel. Despite the warm ties, however, Malawi has never had an embassy in the Jewish state—a situation Malawian President Lazarus Chakwera now intends to rectify, Mkaka vowed.

And instead of toeing the politically correct line and opting for a spot in Tel Aviv, Malawi will take the “bold and significant step” to establish its mission in Jerusalem by next summer, making it the third embassy in the City of Gold after the US and Guatemala. 

“This important statement testifies to the depth of relations between Israel and Malawi, and will lead to their continued strengthening of the cordial relations between the two nations,” Ashkenazi said in a joint statement between Jerusalem and Lilongwe.

“The city of Jerusalem, Israel’s eternal capital, will be a bridge of peace to the entire world and I call on other countries to follow Malawi’s example and transfer their embassies to Jerusalem, the capital of Israel,” Ashkenazi continued.

Jerusalem and Lilongwe’s warm relations date back to decades before Malawi’s independence in 1964. Nyasaland, as Malawi was called pre-independence, offered persecuted Jews a safe haven during the terrible years of the Holocaust. The reborn State of Israel returned the favour by offering Malawi aid and assistance, particularly in the field of agriculture.

Ashkenazi reiterated Israel’s commitment to prosperity building in Malawi and vowed to strengthen bilateral cooperation between the two countries. An Israeli development expert, he said, would be posted to Lilongwe, while MASHAV, the Foreign Ministry’s development agency, will introduce development courses for Malawi.

“We will help Malawi build a better future, for the next generation,” Ashkenazi said.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, November 4, 2020)

Photo Credit: pxfuel.com

Prayer Focus
Thank the Lord for the nation of Malawi and their fervent desire to befriend the Jewish state. Pray that Foreign Minister Mkaka’s promise will come to pass and that the African nation will establish an embassy in Jerusalem, inspiring other nations to follow. Pray that a friendship between Israel and Malawi will blossom that will be a blessing to both nations.

Scripture

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion.


- Ecclesiastes 4:9–10a

PA to Compensate Family of Terrorist Attack Victims

by Yael Friedson

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The Jerusalem District Court ruled that the Palestinian Authority must pay NIS 13 million [US $3.84 million] in compensation (illustrative).

Thursday, 5 November 2020 | The Jerusalem District Court ruled on Monday that the Palestinian Authority [PA] must pay NIS 13 million [US $3.84 million] in compensation to the family of Tzipi and Gadi Shemesh, who were killed in a suicide bombing in the capital in 2002.

The ruling came after a precedence was set two years ago holding the PA directly responsible for the act of terror that killed the couple and their unborn twins.

The attack took place in March 2002 in central Jerusalem. The couple were walking down Jerusalem’s King George Street as suicide bomber Muhammad Hashika activated his explosive belt. The resulting explosion killed Tzipi on the spot and mortally wounded her husband, who was taken to the hospital, where he died a few hours later.

The attack also killed Yitzhak Cohen, a father of six from the city of Modiin, and wounded 80 others.

“This evening we finally have closure after many years of struggles in court,” said Shahar and Shoval, the slain couple’s daughters. “From the first moment what was most important to us is that justice be served.”

“We wanted to say thank you to the judicial system for the ruling and the justice served…Our goal has always been to show that we can stand up to terrorist organizations. To show them we are strong in the face of what has happened to us.”

The verdict comes sixteen years after the family first filed the lawsuit against the PA and the PLO [Palestine Liberation Organization]. The suit claimed that the perpetrators of the attack were members of a Palestinian terrorist organizations that acted as a result of the PA’s policy which allowed the killing of innocent Israeli civilians.

The PA on its part, argued that the family’s claims are general and irrelevant, and that the questions they raise are complex historical questions that should not be deliberated in a court of law.

The ruling was based on the opinion of Lt.–Col. (Res.) Alon Eviatar, a Palestinian expert and former Arab adviser to the Coordinator of Operations in the Territories.

According to Eviatar, the terrorist who perpetrated the attack, Muhammad Hashika, was arrested by the PA and released specifically to carry out the attack at the request of Abd al-Karim Avis, an officer in the PA’s general intelligence apparatus.

Moreover, the materials used to make the explosive device were taken from the office of the PA’s head of General Intelligence Service Tawfiq Tirawi, who paid an aide to drive the terrorist to the scene of the attack.

Fatah [leading secular Palestinian political party] official Hussein a-Sheikh, now the minister in charge of relations with Israel, was also found complicit in the attack, after he gave the terrorist and others involved money and hand grenades.

In recent years, several lawsuits were filed by families of terror victims against the PA over attacks carried out during the second Intifada [uprising].

Three years ago, a district court ruled that the PA must compensate the Ben Shalom family, who lost their parents Sharon and Yaniv Ben Shalom, in a shooting attack on Route 443, for the sum of NIS 62 million [US $18.3 million]. The court determined that the PA failed to stop the attack.

In another case, the Supreme Court ruled that the Palestinian Authority would compensate the family of Amos Mantin, who was killed in a terrorist attack in Baqa al-Gharbiya in 2003. He was shot dead by a boy who was attending a PA-sponsored training camp.

Source: (This article was originally published by Ynetnews on November 3, 2020. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Ri_Ya/pixabay.com

Prayer Focus
Thank the Lord that the Palestinian leadership is being held responsible for this terror attack, and ask that this measure will discourage the PA from inciting further violence by its people toward innocent Israelis. As always, lift up the people of Israel in prayer, asking for God’s divine hand of protection over them from terror attacks.

Scripture

For the LORD loves justice, and does not forsake His saints; they are preserved forever, but the descendants of the wicked shall be cut off. The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell in it forever.


- Psalm 37:28–29

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