Compassion

Help Bridges for Peace pursue our mission of doing good in the Land of Israel.

Friday, November 8, 2019

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Every week, we post from seven to ten news stories from Israel with a suggested prayer focus and scripture for each one, guiding readers how to pray for Israel’s most urgent needs. This Prayer Update is also sent to over 18,000 subscribers every Friday by e-mail. Please contact us at intl.office@bridgesforpeace.com if you would like to receive this Prayer Update by e-mail.

Hamas Warns It Has Enough Rockets to Target Tel Aviv for “Six Months in a Row”

by Elior Levy

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Hamas warned it has enough rockets to turn Israeli cities into “ghost towns.” (illustrative)

Tuesday, 5 November 2019 | Hamas’s leader in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, on Monday threatened to turn Israeli cities into “ghost towns” and warned that the terror group has enough firepower to launch rockets into Tel Aviv “for six months in a row.”

The remarks come just days after the latest cross-border flare-up between Israel and Palestinian factions in the coastal enclave, which saw at least 10 rockets being fired at Israeli communities near the Gaza border. A home in the southern city of Sderot sustained a direct hit. In response, the military said, a series of Israeli strikes targeted sites belonging to Hamas.

Speaking at a rally in Gaza, Sinwar appeared to be unfazed by the threats made by Israeli officials following the rocket barrage on Friday evening. “We have heard the threats Israeli leaders made towards us, but we will still make them curse the day they were born.”

“Various intelligence agencies are trying to undermine the stability in the Gaza Strip,” Sinwar said, adding that Hamas has “many secret tools to counter the attempts made by Israeli intelligence to infiltrate Gaza.”

The 57-year-old also warned Israel against launching a ground operation in Gaza, claiming there are “hundreds of thousands” of traps waiting for Israeli soldiers and “hundreds of kilometers” of attack tunnels hidden underground.

He added that Hamas militants are manufacturing anti-tank missiles themselves in order to counter Israeli armored forces in the area.

Earlier, Sinwar said negotiations regarding a possible long-term cease-fire arrangement, as well as prisoner exchange talks, have stalled since Israel doesn’t have a government and is unable to make important decisions.

Source: (Ynetnews originally published this article on November 4, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Israel Defense Forces/flickr.com

Photo License: flickr.com

Prayer Focus
Pray that the voice of Yahya Sinwar will be silenced, that he will no longer be able to incite the people of Gaza to violence. Pray that the Lord will defend the people of southern Israel and protect them from any weapon formed against them.

Scripture

You shall destroy those who speak falsehood; the LORD abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man.


- Psalm 5:6

Iran Announces Newest Violation of Nuclear Deal

by Kate Norman

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Iranian President Rouhani (left) and nuclear chief Salehi outside a nuclear plant in Iran (illustrative)

Wednesday, 6 November 2019 | Iran announced that today it will take the fourth step in breaching its commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal in response to the US pulling out of the deal and reimposing crippling sanctions on the Islamic regime.

In the newest transgressions of the crumbling nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Iran announced that it will resume nuclear development at an underground fuel enrichment plant and that it will enrich the uranium farther above the level set by the deal.

Israel will “fight back,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared at an event in Jerusalem hours after the announcement.

“We will never let Iran develop nuclear weapons,” he vowed.

“This is not only for our security and our future,” the prime minister added, “it’s for the future of the Middle East and the world.”

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani revealed that the Islamic Republic will begin injecting gas into 1,044 centrifuges—which are used to enrich uranium, potentially to weapons-grade purity—at its underground Fordo nuclear facility in the northeastern province of Qom. The head of Iran’s nuclear department, Ali Akbar Salehi, added that the regime will “enrich uranium to 5%,” Reuters reported.

The uranium enrichment limit set by the JCPOA is 3.67%, which is enough to meet civilian needs and far below the 90% purity required to make nuclear weapons.

Dr. Emily Landau, head of the arms control program at an Israeli think tank focused on national security, explained the significance of the most recent Iranian violation in a Twitter post.

“Iran’s breaches of the JCPOA are exposing the dangerous flaws in the deal, such as leaving [Fordo] open when it has no significance in the context of a civilian [nuclear] program,” she wrote.

Tehran began the process of stepping away from its nuclear limitations under the deal this past summer, rolling out different violations in phases. One of the first steps was to increase uranium enrichment to 4.5% this summer. The regime has also nearly doubled the amount of enriched uranium it is allowed to stockpile. This process of phasing outside of the nuclear limitations came a year after the United States pulled out of the deal—calling it “flawed”—and reimposed sanctions on Iran’s oil and metal.

Plunged into an economic crisis, Iran has responded by pressuring the remaining nations in the agreement to counteract the financial effects of the US sanctions—or Tehran warned that it will take further steps in violation of the accord.

Officials from the United States and Israel have deemed this move “nuclear extortion.”

“Iran has no credible reason to expand its uranium enrichment program, at the Fordo facility or elsewhere, other than a clear attempt at nuclear extortion that will only deepen its political and economic isolation,” said a US State Department spokesperson, as quoted by the Times of Israel.

“We will continue to impose maximum pressure on the regime until it abandons its destabilizing behavior, including proliferation-sensitive work,” the American official added.

The Iranian president in his announcement on Tuesday told “all the remaining sides with the JCPOA and other friendly countries” that the “new measures” would be supervised by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the international nuclear watchdog tasked with making sure the Islamic Republic adheres to its nuclear limitations set by the 2015 accord—and apparently tasked with watching up close as Tehran openly oversteps those limitations.

President Rouhani asserted that these next steps, like all the others, are “reversible.”

“As soon as the other sides to the agreement begin to live up to their commitments, we will resume our own suspended commitments as well,” he declared, as quoted by Iranian Fars News Agency.

The president also acknowledged the attempts by other countries to placate Tehran in an effort to stop today’s nuclear violations, essentially calling them good but not good enough.

“Some countries made efforts to reach positive results before the fourth deadline ran out, but we have no other choice but to take the fourth step starting [Wednesday],” Rouhani said.

Israel’s UN envoy Danny Danon also condemned the Iranian violation and called for international action to curb Tehran’s nuclear ambition.

“Iran’s decision to increase uranium enrichment is an alarming violation of the nuclear deal,” Danon posted to Twitter. “Despite sanctions, the regime is proving it has always wanted nuclear weapons. The [international] community must act to avoid this. Israel will never allow the regime to obtain nuclear weapons.”

Source: (Bridges for Peace, November 6, 2019)

Photo Credit: Tasnim News Agency/wikimedia.org

Photo License: wikimedia.org

Prayer Focus
As Iran continues on the path to nuclear capability, pray that the nations of the world will heed PM Netanyahu’s warnings and join Israel in putting whatever pressure is necessary on the Iranian government to bring these efforts to a halt. Pray that the world’s leaders will not capitulate to Iran’s threats and intimidation but will stand strong for the safety of all nations.

Scripture

Deliver me from my enemies, O my God; defend me from those who rise up against me. Deliver me from the workers of iniquity, and save me from bloodthirsty men. For look, they lie in wait for my life; the mighty gather against me.


- Psalm 59:1–3a

Israel Braces for European Decision to Mark Goods from Jewish Communities

by Itamar Eichner

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The European Court of Justice (ECJ) in Luxembourg

Friday, 1 November 2019 | The European Court of Justice (ECJ) in Luxembourg is expected to rule on November 12 on whether to mark the export of goods, produced in Israeli [communities] in the West Bank [Judea and Samaria] and the Golan Heights, to European Union countries.

This decision will be made following a petition filed by Psagot Winery to the Administrative Court of France against the 2015 EU [European Union] directive to mark products manufactured in the West Bank, the Golan Heights and east Jerusalem with a special label.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry fears that an ECJ precedent, which would require labeling products from [Jewish communities], would be forced upon all 28 EU countries and embolden the BDS movement (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) and other de-legitimization organizations against Israel to fight Israeli exports.

In addition, Israel is worried that the BDS movement will take advantage of the precedent and will call on countries outside Europe to mark the produce of the [communities].

This decision is a follow-up to the EU’s guidelines approved in November 2015 for labeling products from the [communities], a move that has been criticized by Israel as “discriminatory” and damaging to peace efforts with the Palestinians.

Thanks to efforts made by the Foreign Ministry and Israeli representatives around Europe, the implementation of the new guidelines was successfully blocked in most European countries.

France became one of the first countries to adopt these guidelines, and in 2016 the French Ministry of Economy even issued its own guidelines requiring the marking of products from the [communities].

The Administrative Court of France later annulled the decision until further notice after Psagot Winery, among others, filed a petition against marking its products, claiming that the directive contravenes the French constitution.

Since it is a European regulation, the French court then forwarded the issue to the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg—a supreme court whose decisions cannot be appealed.

The ruling might effectively provide practical tools to attack Israel and Israeli exports to Europe.

Its public impact will be great, as stated, not only because of the implications for export but also in the de-legitimization efforts against the State of Israel.

The ruling will allow BDS activists to appeal to their local courts across the EU, which will be obliged to implement it without holding hearings on the matter.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry is preparing for the decision. In the event of an unfavorable ruling for Israel, most of the activities of the Israeli embassies will be directed at the local ministries of economy and agriculture in order to convince them not to apply the ruling or interpret it lightly.

Source: (Ynetnews originally published this article on October 31, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Cédric Puisney/wikimedia.org

Photo License: wikimedia.org

Prayer Focus
God has spoken that Israel will be a blessing to the nations, and today Israel’s superior produce is being exported to the nations. Pray that the European Court of Justice will not act in opposition to God’s Word but will rule in Israel’s favor.

Scripture

I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you.


- Genesis 12:2–3a

Netanyahu Attends Christian Media Summit in Jerusalem

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PM Benjamin Netanyahu at the Friends of Zion Museum in Jerusalem at the opening of the Christian Media Summit

Monday, 4 November 2019 | Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, attended the Christian Media Summit last evening at the Friends of Zion Museum in Jerusalem.

An international media center was launched at the Friends of Zion Museum to strengthen Israel’s ties with the world and the struggle against pro-BDS [Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions] organizations. Prime Minister Netanyahu participated in a ceremony to affix a mezuzah [Scripture box affixed to a doorway].

Also attending last evening’s event was US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Leon, Friends of Zion Museum founder Dr. Mike Evans and other senior officials.

Prime Minister Netanyahu [English]:

“We have to congratulate President Trump for recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moving the embassy here. And we have to recognize also Ambassador Friedman’s pivotal role in this action, and I do that again and again.

I want you to know that President Trump consulted with me before he did this move. And he said, ‘What do you think will happen? Will there be a lot of violence? Will there be demonstrations and protests throughout the Arab world?’ And I said, ‘Look, I can’t guarantee that there won’t be such manifestations of protests, but I don’t think so. You know, I just don’t think so.’ Anyway, he did. He did it and what happened as a result? Nothing.

Now, this wasn’t the only place for which we had an historical attachment. There’s another place. And that place had a Jewish presence some 2,000 years ago, which continued until the eighth century, until a great earthquake shook us from that place. And that place is the Golan Heights. We uncovered some 30 synagogues, 30 synagogues—ancient synagogues—in the Golan Heights. Some have been remarkably reconstructed.

And again, President Trump decided to recognize the Golan Heights as part of Israel, sovereign State of Israel. And people said again there’ll be a tremendous convulsion. And what happened? Nothing. Why did nothing happen? The reason nothing happened is because something very big is happening, and what is happening is the transformation of Israel in the minds of many in the Middle East.

It is no longer being perceived as an enemy, but as an indispensable ally against the common enemy of militant Islam—first the one led by the militant Sunnis, al-Qaeda and Daesh [Islamic State of Iraq and Syria], and more and more by the militant Shiites, of course by Iran and its various proxies.

The Arab states recognize that this militancy is a danger to them, no less than it is a danger to us. And therefore they make common cause with us.

But as they make common cause with us to defend ourselves against a common foe, relations begin to normalize in other fields as well. Not only to drive out the bad, but to foster the good—economic relations, technological relations and other things as well. There is a clear shift. And that is important. It’s important for peace. This is the way peace will ultimately be achieved.

The fact that we have common interests is not necessarily the same as common values. That is not necessarily the same. I do not claim that the Arab countries around us are Western European democracies. They are not. But they also understand that unless we cooperate, we could be threatened by a great evil power that would make the possibility of change, the hope for a better future for our peoples.

But there is also the sharing of common values, and that’s what we have here today. What we have today is the alliance of those who believe in our great Judeo-Christian tradition. We have no better friends in the world than our Christian friends. And I want to thank each of you for your friendship. And it’s no accident that in Israel that’s the only place in the Middle East where Christians are free to practice their faith, complete religious freedom for all, and especially for Christians who are constantly under attack in the Middle East.”

In response to a question, Prime Minister Netanyahu said [English]:

“The most important thing is to make sure that Iran does not develop nuclear weapons and that its march towards empire and conquest is stopped. I think that President Trump’s policy of putting maximum economic pressure on Iran is the right one, and I’m glad to see that it’s been increased recently, more sanctions. I know that it’s having a telling effect on Iran’s ability to fund its aggression. We can see that. And equally, we are committed to preventing Iran from entrenching itself militarily in our borders, especially in Syria. And we take the necessary action to prevent that.

I think that’s a necessity, because if Iran has its way, then the Middle East will collapse. And I would say categorically: If Israel wasn’t here in the heart of the Middle East, then Iran would have won. And by way, would have already had nuclear weapons.

We are committed to both goals: preventing Iran from developing a nuclear arsenal and preventing Iran from conquering our part of the Middle East. And we are cooperating with the United States in many, many ways, more ways than I can describe here, to achieve those two aims. And they remain our aims.”

Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published by the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs on November 3, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: IsraeliPM/YouTube/screenshot

Prayer Focus
Thank the Lord for Israel’s Christian friends and their increasing willingness to speak out in favor of Israel and what God is doing in her midst without any anti-Israel spin. Ask God to prosper these media outlets, including Bridges for Peace, as we work to fight anti-Israel bias and bring the truth to the nations.

Scripture

Thus says the Lord God; “Behold, I will lift my hand in an oath to the nations, and set up My standard for the peoples; they shall bring your sons in their arms, and your daughters shall be carried on their shoulders.


- Isaiah 49:22

Israeli President Tells US, European Envoys “Anti-Semitism Not A Jewish Problem Alone”

by Joshua Spurlock

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Elan Carr, US Special Envoy on Combating Anti-Semitism

Tuesday, 5 November 2019 | Envoys and coordinators tasked with fighting anti-Semitism from the United States and Europe met with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin on Monday, and that globally diverse crowd was fitting for Rivlin’s message. “We share the understanding that anti-Semitism is not a Jewish problem alone. It is a problem for all humanity,” said Rivlin, according to a press release recap of his comments.

“We are engaged in a bitter joint fight against any expressions of anti-Semitism—from the right, the left or from radical Islam. Anti-Semitism is anti-Semitism is anti-Semitism. There are no gray areas and there is no option other than zero tolerance.”

Rivlin went on to highlight a specific modern form of anti-Semitism that impacts his country directly: anti-Israelism. “One can criticize us so long as it is criticism,” said Rivlin. “The moment it turns to boycotts and actions against Israel that are influenced by anti-Semitism—we will not accept it.”

One of the government officials joining Rivlin, German Government Commissioner on anti-Semitism Dr. Felix Klein, was quoted as echoing the Israeli president’s belief in a global response.

“Anti-Semitism is taking on new guises, and working together around the world is vital,” said Klein. “This is a global issue and we must join hands to fight it. A strong international reaction must be part of the solution.”

The spectrum of voices combatting anti-Semitism was broad. In addition to the European envoys, United States Special Envoy for Monitoring and Combating anti-Semitism Elan Carr brought a message from a different side of the political spectrum from President Donald Trump. “Many leaders around the world understand that anti-Semitism is not only against the Jews, but against society as a whole. It is a great honor to work alongside such leaders for a better and more just world, and I am proud to call them partners,” said Carr. “President Trump calls anti-Semitism poison.”

Carr went on to say that President Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo both “stand with you in the struggle for the security of Jewish people around the world and for the State of Israel.”

The challenges facing Jews around the world are growing, and some of that challenge comes from those in Europe who oppose traditional Jewish religious practice. It’s a complex struggle that seems to even impact the European Commission Coordinator on combatting anti-Semitism, who acknowledged what she called “legitimate discussions” around such views.

“In this campaign, we face challenges around legitimate discussions on the banning of kosher slaughter of animals, or the banning of circumcision. What we have in common is that we manage to overcome these challenges together,” said Katherina von Schnurbein. “We have seen 180-degree changes in the positions of countries after we hold discussions and joint activities. Things can change. We must continue our work because it can lead to change. As someone who saw the fall of the Berlin Wall, something we thought could never happen, I know to say that change is possible.”

Rivlin, on the other hand, was forceful in his condemnation of anti-Semitism. Speaking at a conference held after the time with the envoys, Rivlin was quoted as saying, “We must ensure the security of Jewish communities, not just accept as fact that schools and synagogues need guards, walls and gates. That is not normal! Security does not solve the problem of anti-Semitism, it just shows its severity.”

Rivlin also slammed the publication of anti-Semitic cartoons in the New York Times and official Arab media, expressions of anti-Semitism by political parties in the West and the violence against synagogues in Pittsburgh in the US and Halle in Germany.

It was in Germany that some of the worst expressions of anti-Semitism were seen less than 100 years ago, and yet those lessons still have not been fully learned.

“Soon, we will mark the 81st anniversary of Kristallnacht [“Night of Broken Glass”]. We must always remember that if anti-Semitism is not stopped in time, it quickly goes from words to broken glass, violence and murder,” said Rivlin.

“We must take bold action. We must be extremely concerned that anti-Semitism is rising around the world.”

Source: (The Mideast Update originally published this article on November 4, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today.)

Photo Credit: Boris Lozhkin/flickr.com

Photo License: flickr.com

Prayer Focus
Thank the Lord for President Rivlin and his strong words condemning anti-Semitism and encouraging the nations to wake up to the fact that crimes against and hatred of Jews are not just a Jewish problem but effect society as whole. Pray for the safety of the Jewish community worldwide as anti-Semitism continues to rise.

Scripture

Be my strong refuge, to which I may resort continually; You have given the commandment to save me, for You are my rock and my fortress. Deliver me, O my God, out of the hand of the wicked, out of the hand of the unrighteous and cruel man. For You are my hope, O LORD GOD.


- Psalm 71:3–5a

Hamas Joins Iranian Plan to Foil Arabs’ Anti-Corruption Protests

by Khaled Abu Toameh~Gatestone Institute

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Iran considers the anti-corruption protests in Lebanon a major threat to its interests in the region.

Wednesday, 6 November 2019 | In the context of its effort to thwart the current anti-corruption protests in Lebanon and Iraq, Iran has enlisted Khaled Masha’al, the former head of the “political bureau” of the Palestinian Hamas movement, to warn Arabs about the consequences of their demands for reform and democracy.

Iran considers the anti-corruption protests a major threat to its interests in the region. That is most likely why it has decided to unleash Hamas and its other proxies—Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hashd al-Shaabi in Iraq—against the demonstrators on the streets of Beirut and Baghdad. What Iran evidently wants is to see Arabs protesting against the US and Israel—and against nothing else.

As far as Iran’s leaders are concerned, Arabs demanding reform and democracy are damaging Tehran’s effort to dominate Arab countries and prepare for war against Israel. Iran seems to believe that thanks to Tehran’s technological advances, destroying Israel has become possible. “The sinister regime [Israel] must be wiped off the map, and this is no longer a dream but an achievable goal,” said Major General Hossein Salami, commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Speaking at the “Jerusalem Pioneers Conference” in Turkey earlier this week, Masha’al expressed concern that the anti-corruption protests, which are also directed against Iran, could turn out to be harmful for the Palestinians.

His major concern, he said, is that the Arabs’ preoccupation with their domestic problems and conflicts would divert their attention from the Palestinian issue and push it to the bottom of their list of priorities. “We hope that this is a temporary preoccupation,” Masha’al said. “We hope that Palestine will return to the top of the [Arabs’] agenda.”

The former Hamas leader also warned Arabs and Muslims to be aware of Israel’s “influence over internal policies in your countries.”

The voice is that of Masha’al—but it seems clear that he is speaking on behalf of his patrons in Tehran, who appear to be extremely worried about the mass protests sweeping Lebanon and Iraq—the two countries where Iran has large political and military presence.

In the past few weeks, Hezbollah thugs have attacked peaceful demonstrators in Lebanon with knives and clubs. The thugs also forced a Lebanese youth, Luay Shibli, publicly to apologize for “insulting” Hezbollah Chief Hassan Nasrallah. Under threats from Hezbollah, Shibli posted a video on social media in which he said, “We are not as valuable as the shoes of Hassan Nasrallah.”

Earlier, Nasrallah had come out against the anti-corruption protests in Lebanon by warning that the demonstrations will plunge the country into chaos. He also claimed that the protests were being “funded by foreign parties.”

What Nasrallah forgot to mention is that his Hezbollah terror group, like Masha’al’s Hamas, receives financial and military aid from Iran.

In Iraq, Iran’s proxy, the Hashd al-Shaabi militias, are reported to be playing a major role in quashing the anti-corruption protests. The militias, accused of serving as Iran’s instrument to dominate Iraq, reportedly stationed snipers on Baghdad’s rooftops to shoot those participating in the protests against corruption.

Back to Masha’al. This man represents a movement that has been controlling, with an iron fist, two million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip since 2007. Hamas has been no slouch with regard to suppressing its opponents and blocking demands for reform and democracy.

In recent weeks, Hamas security forces arrested several Palestinians for allegedly planning a new wave of protests against corruption and economic hardship in the Gaza Strip. Hamas, in other words, is doing exactly what Hezbollah and Hashd al-Shaabi have been doing against peaceful protesters in Lebanon and Iraq.

Hamas’s allies in Islamic Jihad, the second-largest terror group in the Gaza Strip, are also funded by Iran, and they, too, are opposed to any anti-corruption protests. The excuse Hamas and Islamic Jihad have given for their opposition to demands for reform and democracy is that Palestinians should be devoting their efforts to fighting Israel. That objective seems precisely the reason Hamas continues to send Palestinians to protest near the border with Israel, while Islamic Jihad terrorists continue firing rockets at Israel. Acting on instructions of their masters in Tehran, Hamas and Islamic Jihad clearly want Palestinian anger to be directed solely toward Israel.

Masha’al’s statement against the anti-corruption protests in Lebanon and Iraq demonstrates that Hamas cares nothing for the well-being of Arabs and is prepared to do its utmost to defend Iran’s interests not only in the Palestinian arena, but also in the entire region.

In the view of some Palestinians, Iran’s ongoing and obsessive meddling in Palestinian affairs—particularly its financial and military aid to Hamas and Islamic Jihad—has been catastrophic for the Palestinian cause.

“Khaled Masha’al says that the crises in the region have a negative impact on the Palestinian cause,” said Palestinian political analyst Hassan Alnewaihi.

“Which crises are you talking about, Mr. Masha’al? Is the [Iranian] occupation of Iraq a crisis or a catastrophe that has befallen the [Arab nation] and destroyed the Palestinian cause? Which crises are you talking about when Iran is occupying four Arab capitals, destroying the capabilities of Arabs and taking them many years backwards? Is the uprising of Arabs against their oppressors a crisis? Are revolutionaries against [Iranian] occupation a crisis that harms the Palestinian cause?”

Alnewaihi added that the “popular revolutions against the [Iranian] occupiers and [Arab] executioners are a luminous point and milestone that will serve the interest of the Palestinian issue.” Noting that Hamas did the right thing when it sided with the Syrian people in their uprising against the regime of President Bashar Assad, the political analyst said:

“Hamas may regret its support for Iran. Hamas will lose a great deal if it continues to side with Iran and stands against the people who have revolted against [Iranian] occupation and the executioners.”

Such criticism, however, is unlikely to deter Hamas from pursuing its agenda of promoting Iran’s interests in the region. The Arabs who are risking their lives to demand good governance and an end to corruption are now being targeted by Iran and its puppets in the Gaza Strip, Lebanon and Iraq.

It now remains to be seen whether the Arabs who have finally woken up to realize that Iran—and not Israel—is the real threat to their well-being will be able to keep up the momentum and continue their uprising against corruption and Iranian dominance over their countries.

By continuing to align itself with Iran, Hamas is leading its people straight toward even greater suffering. The only way for the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip to alleviate their misery is by revolting against their “leaders” in Hamas. Instead of firing rockets at Israel and demonstrating at the Gaza–Israel border, Palestinians ought to learn from their brothers in Lebanon and Iraq who their real enemies are: Iranian-backed dictators and fake Palestinian leaders, who only know how to lead their people toward further suffering.

Khaled Abu Toameh, an award-winning journalist based in Jerusalem, is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at Gatestone Institute.

Source: (Gatestone Institute originally published this article on November 5, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Shahen books/wikimedia.org

Photo License: wikimedia.org

Prayer Focus
Beseech the Lord for His protection over those Arabs who are awakening to the truth of their situation, that Iran and not Israel is the real threat to their well-being. Pray that their protests will bear fruit, and ask the Lord to deliver them from the oppression of wicked leadership.

Scripture

A ruler who oppresses the poor is like a driving rain which leaves no food. Evil men do not understand justice, but those who seek the LORD understand all.


- Proverbs 28:3,5

Jordan Returning its Ambassador to Israel after Prisoner Exchange

by Kate Norman

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A protest in support of Hiba al-Labadi, who was being detained in Israel.

Tuesday, 5 November 2019 | Jordan agreed to return its ambassador to Israel within the next few days following an agreement for the release of two Jordanians being detained in the Jewish state.

The pair were being held under administrative detention in Israel for undisclosed “security offenses,” which Jordanian officials vehemently protested. Unwilling to jeopardize the tentative peace with the neighbor sharing their longest border, Israeli officials decided to release the detainees.

“Israel views the relationship between Jordan and Israel as a cornerstone of regional stability and will continue to act to ensure the region’s security,” the prime minister’s office said in a statement released yesterday.

Israel’s National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat visited Jordan yesterday to tackle the diplomatic negotiations, and the PM office’s statement reported that the director of the Shin Bet (Israeli internal security organization) handled the security terms with his Jordanian counterpart.

Tensions between the nations were high following Israel’s arrest of two Jordanians on separate occasions and placing them under administrative detention. Jordanian officials protested the arrests, calling them illegal since the prisoners were not charged. Israel countered, saying it was within its rights as the pair were being held for “security offenses.”

In protest, Jordan recalled its ambassador to Israel, Ghassan al-Majali, last week, saying he would not return to the Jewish state until the pair was released.

Hours before the prime minister’s office released its statement confirming the exchange, Jordan’s Foreign Minister announced the detainees would be returned to the Hashemite kingdom “before the end of the week.”

Hiba al-Labadi, 24, was arrested while entering Judea and Samaria to attend a family wedding on August 20, and Abdul Rahman Miri, 29, was arrested while crossing into Israel on September 2.

Though the pair were not formally charged, Israeli media reported that Hiba al-Lebadi was detained for a meeting with a Hezbollah operative in Lebanon, and i24News reported that Abed a-Rahman was suspected of involvement with Hamas, the terror organization in control of the Gaza Strip.

Al-Labadi threw fuel on the diplomatic fire when she began a hunger strike over 40 days ago, which resulted in her health deteriorating so severely that she had to be hospitalized. She has now reportedly ended her hunger strike.

An Israeli citizen was arrested last week while swimming in the Jordan River and crossing over the border into the Hashemite kingdom. Ynetnews, citing “diplomatic sources,” identified the prisoner as Oleh Chadash, who recently immigrated to Israel from a former Soviet nation. A Jordanian lawmaker suggested using him as “a bargaining chip” to negotiate the release of the Jordanian detainees.

Nothing has been reported about Chadash’s status since he was arrested a week ago.

This diplomatic dilemma came on the heels of the anniversary of Israel and Jordan signing the Treaty of Peace in the Arava Valley 25 years ago. Both nations in what is acknowledged as a “cold peace” let the milestone anniversary pass by without fanfare or acknowledgement from leaders on either side.

One of the clauses in the peace treaty allowed for 250 acres (101 hectares) of land under Jordanian sovereignty to be leased by Israel for private agricultural use for 25 years—which are now up. The Hashemite kingdom stunned Israel last year by announcing that it would not renew the lease. As of November 10, Israel will no longer have access to the land.

The diplomatic win of securing the pair’s release will ease pressure on the Hashemite government, which took heat from its citizens who protested the pair’s detention and criticized the Jordanian government for failing to negotiate their release. The Jordanian government is also going through a shake-up, with the cabinet resigning ahead of an upcoming reshuffle caused by severe debt.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, November 5, 2019)

Photo Credit: i24NEWS English/YouTube/screenshot

Prayer Focus
Ask the Lord for His protection of the relationship between Jordan and Israel and the regional stability it provides. Pray that the leaders of both nations will have wisdom in their dealings with one and another and a true commitment to peaceful coexistence and cooperation. Pray that this prisoner release will have no negative consequences for the state of Israel.

Scripture

For the LORD gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding; He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk uprightly; He guards the paths of justice.


- Proverbs 2:6–8a

Dancing and Singing, Thousands of Young Diaspora Professionals Gather in Israel

by Ilan Levinsohn

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Participants in the Masa Israel Journey event Ra’anana Park Auditorium

Wednesday, 6 November 2019 | Thousands of young Jewish volunteers and professionals from all around the world gathered at Ra’anana Park Auditorium in central Israel last week to celebrate the start of Masa Israel Journey’s 2019–20 program year.

The vibrant event, which saw an unprecedented 2,500-participant turnout, marks Israel’s largest-ever single gathering of Diaspora [Jewish population outside Israel] Jews volunteering and working in Israel.

The event on Monday began with a keynote address by Masa’s Acting CEO Ofer Gutman, followed by a massive organized dance-off, in which Masa’s energetic staff and the thousands of participants rocked together to the sound of Israeli hits.

The event closed with a special performance by international sensation and 2018 Eurovision Song Contest winner Netta Barzilai, who mesmerized the crowd with an electrifying performance of hits such as “Basa Sababa” and her Eurovision winning hit-single “Toy.”

Attendees also participated in community-building workshops, consisting of games, an art wall, and a volunteer event: Sixty-seven bicycles were assembled and donated to Potchim Atid—a Jewish Agency initiative that supports children and their families living in Israel’s social and demographic periphery.

Masa Chairman Ilan Cohen, who was also one of its co-founders as part of his job as director general in the Prime Minister’s Office, explained about Masa’s grandiose vision.

“Masa was born from (former Prime Minister) Ariel Sharon’s and the Jewish Agency’s vision, wanting Jewish young people from all around the world to spend a significant time period in Israel, regardless of whether they go back to their countries or decide to stay.

“A young person who lives here for half a year or a year will not be the same as before. We want participants to live here—study, work or do an internship. A young person who has a job here, a bank account, friends, a person who travels the country or goes to an ulpan [school for intensive study of Hebrew]—is someone who truly knows Israel.

“Masa’s initial goal was to bring 20,000 Jewish youths to Israel every year. This year we have over 12,000 participants and growing. Our vision was to do something very significant, something that will change the relations between the Jewish world and Israel.”

Masa’s Acting CEO Ofer Gutman also shared his thoughts on the event and the program.

“Today we are celebrating 15 years of Masa and some of the main things we celebrate today are the sense of community and diversity. There are participants from over 60 different countries here tonight, each coming from their own community.

“When they see other Jewish young people, who come to Israel and are interested in Israel, they feel like they’re a part of something bigger and it empowers them.

“One of our main goals is to empower them as leaders. We want the participants to stay in Israel, as roughly 30% of them choose to do, but we also want Israel to stay a part of the Jewish identity of those who go back to their communities and give them tools to become the next generation of Jewish leaders in their communities.”

Ynetnews spoke to some of the young participants and heard about their experiences in Israel and their respective programs.

Benji from South Africa, who is on a gap year in Israel, told us about his voluntary service—where he interns at Jewlicious—a blog revolving around Israel and Judaism.

“I was born in an Orthodox Chabad family and instead of going to a yeshivah [religious school], I wanted to learn about myself before proceeding into Torah [Gen.–Deut.] studies.

“I’ve been having amazing fun and learning about Israel. I’ve also matured a lot. I’ve gone out of the Jewish bubble in South Africa—meeting new people all around the world, learning new perspectives.

“I intern for this place called Jewlicious with a man named David Abitbol. Although it’s a play on the words ‘Jew’ and ‘delicious’, it’s not a cooking site. It’s more of a Jewish activist page and we write blogs about current events in Israel that appeal to the youth.

“Now I’m ready to go to the next stage of my studies and take what I’ve learned from this program and Masa. Masa has offered me an opportunity to mingle with other people and make contacts all over the world. Connections, networking—It’s amazing. I think I am set for college now and life beyond that.”

Lexi from London is volunteering as an English teacher in Masa’s teacher track at Katzir Alef middle school in Rehovot.

“I work with grades 7 to 9 and I absolutely love it. I came on the Masa track following Birthright, which was last year, and it really spiked me.

“On the last day of Birthright, I wrote a note to myself, saying how I know I belong in Israel and that if I came back, I’d be supported, I’ll be able to find friends and family—the Jewish family.

“After I went home, I decided that this was my time. I’m going to go back to Israel, find myself and become who I truly am meant to be. Each day is a new adventure, it’s a new blessing. I am feeling free and illuminated and I am so grateful for the opportunities that are presented to me on a daily basis”

Masa also announced the full-fledged launch of its MasaTech program. A first-of-its-kind, innovative initiative, MasaTech will bring more than 200 full-time high-tech professionals to Israel for unmatched work opportunities at the highest echelons of Israel’s high-tech sector.

“MasaTech will completely transform the way Israel’s robust high-tech industry conducts business, recruits talent, and engages with the global workforce,” Gutman said. “It was a thrill to take part in an event that celebrates both the launch of this game-changing initiative and also the energy and enthusiasm of the thousands of Masa fellows and alumni.”

Masa Israel Journey is the largest immersive, long-term educational experience for young adults ages 18–30. On its programs that range from two months to a year, Masa offers an authentic, unmediated and challenging journey into Israeli society, culture, politics and history—and acts as the largest pipeline for the Jewish Diaspora to access the finest Israeli businesses, social enterprises and academic institutions.

Since its 2004 founding by the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office and the Jewish Agency, Masa has served over 150,000 young people from more than 62 countries.

Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published by Ynetnews on November 5, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Masa Israel/YouTube/screenshot

Prayer Focus
Praise the Lord for this exciting event and the work of Masa. Pray that they will continue in their efforts to introduce Jewish young people to life in Israel, and pray that those experiences will encourage more and more Jewish people in the Diaspora to make aliyah.

Scripture

“For behold, the days are coming,” says the LORD, “that I will bring back from captivity My people Israel and Judah,” says the LORD. “And I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it.”


- Jeremiah 30:3

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